A house is not a home….



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Sealsea- (2)

Three years ago yesterday i moved out of my beautiful house, by the sea, to start this adventure. I loved this house, have always said it was the most beautiful house I would ever have the privilege  to live in. Edwardian, with so many original features….


I had put my heart and soul into it, worked so hard on it renovating and decorating and making it into our home.

We were so rushed when it came to moving day I do not even remember closing the door for the last time, but I do remember sitting in the pub that night with tears rolling down my face. When my book comes out you will understand why the house,  for Rich (and now, as time has gone by I realise  for me also),  had become contaminated; it could never be the home we thought it would be; and as three years have passed I have come to realise that.

So then we found our house on the pinnacle of the rolling hills that are Ambrieres les Vallees, and we fell in love. For me it was bittersweet, it was not the house I had left, it was not the house that had taken part of my soul. But over the three years, despite the well running dry, the crappy cesspit (literally, all over the cellar floor sometimes!!) and the mold on the walls; it has shown me this …….

I sit in my bedrom and I look out at this my favorite tree and I feel at peace


And over the years I have realised that a home is about love, companionship, laughter, and tears; it is not the house, it is the people in it. I look at my husband, and he is happier here. I know neither of us could go back to a house where you could reach out and touch your neighbour, surrounded by people and noise. We are too used to the peacefulness that surrounds us; and I have finally come to realise that I do not miss my old home, it was ONE of the most beautiful houses I lived in; but this is the most beautiful home. It has not taken my soul it has replenished it.

A chair is still a chair, even when there’s no one sittin’ there
But a chair is not a house and a house is not a home
When there’s no one there to hold you tight
And no one there you can kiss goodnight

The late great Luther Vandross..

Have a good Sunday folks.


You may want to check out my other blog

It may surprise you, and it may give you hope.

The week started off badly….


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Apologies to all of my Moisy’s French adventure readers for the lack of postings,  it is safe to say it has been a bad week!

I have been busy, blogging on my other blog   (phew two blogs are hard to keep up, and maintaining your social media presence is even harder!) and also preparing some new stock for a Christmas Fayre I am attending on Saturday the 15th. So I have been trying out some new designs and making little angels..

With wooden christmas trees on stands to follow, and of course my signature stars (still a work in progress folks) I also have some unicorns to finish and it is all very time consuming.

But this is not why it has been a crappy week, a week that started off badly and then got worse – although is starting to look a bit brigher now the weekend is on the way. Let me explain:

On Monday I had to go to the bank, and do some errands. We were up early and there was a slight drizzle in the air when I left; but as I drove to our post office it started to actually rain. I arrived at the post office only to find that it was shut! Now I don’t like the post office at the next town of Gorron, I find the woman in there to be a sour faced cow! She never smiles, barks at you and is just generally rude  (think the cliche of a rude French person and that is her, she really lets the side down.) But I had to post a parcel so needs must, and  I knew I would have to go there as I was going into Gorron anyway.

Off I set and as I drove through the grey French winter countryside the heavens opened and it poured down. When I arrived at the post office there were no spaces in the car park so I had to park and walk a couple of minutes  in torrential rain. I looked like a drowned rat. I gave the parcel to ‘les miserables’ and weirdly it cost me ten euros more than a larger and heavier parcel I had posted the week before in the post office at Ambrieres. How I longed to be able to go there with the lovely, friendly French lady; but, alas it was not to be.

Out I came and hurried back to my car, still in the torrential rain; in fact by now I could hardly see there was so much water on my glasses. I then drove on to the bank which was shut, as was expected, but I knew that I could still access the foyer to pay my money in  (banks are shut in France on a Monday, hence the term bank holiday) But to do that I needed a rib which I did not have with me, so I got a rib from the cashpoint (still in the pouring rain) and went inside. But oh no! This was the day when nothing was going to be simple! The bank had no pens to complete the deposit envelope! I went back out to my car (in the pouring rain) in the  hope that there would be a pen there, but of course there wasn’t so off I went to the tabac (in the pouring rain) to buy a pen; then back to the bank (in the pouring rain) to deposit the money. I had experienced enough, so I then went home and sod whatever else we needed!

However the morning from hell was not over; as I entered our kitchen there was rain pouring in down the wall from our roof. The roof we have only just had replaced! Now this is another story that I will tell in the future – once the issue has been resolved, but all I will say is that I will write about it and, despite a thinly veiled threat from someone, the story will be told. I pay for this blog, and I will write what I want!

Having said that there are some people who don’t warrant the word space so the story will be what actually happens and not about people who are so insignificant that they don’t need to be included. There is an important part here though: For those living in France it is worth taking out legal cover with your house insurance, they will then deal with issues like this for you, whilst getting your roof repaired.

Anyhow….. The rain poured in and we had buckets and bowls everywhere which meant tht we had to try and resolve things with odious people which you might have guessed we were unable to resolve.

What a day! I think I will start the week again tomorrow I thought; but I should have known better than to think that it couldn’t get any worse! On Tuesday I broke my tooth, and it was so sharp that it cut my tongue open. I now have a very sore tongue, am still trying to resolve our healthcare cover and cannot afford to go to the dentist! So I did what any self respecting person would do who is in pain and I filed the sharp bits of my tooth myself! Hopefully this will resolve it!

It is funny how some people can bring so much darkness into your lives when you let them in; and I knew that the problems we experienced this week with the roof was one of these occasions and that the only way to stop it was to stop interacting them. But even so it can sometimes still bring you down. I have documented many times the awful people that there are out here, but I am also a positive person normally and I do try and see the good; despite this  I was starting to lose that ability. I was in immense pain with my tongue, and couldn’t speak properly; but despite the pain I was in hubby, as ever, managed to make me laugh when he went off to get some bits from the shop with the list of things I had told him to get: Cat litter, bottle of wine, and potatoe wedges. Here is what he wrote (whilst giggling all the time):

As always I perservered and I got my things done for the craft fair (well some anyway) but I could not shake the feeling of being pissed off: pissed off with people’s shitty attitude; with the pain in my mouth, with French bloody bureaucracy, with people telling you there is an English speaking line and then nobody there speaks English! Pissed off with my mouth really hurting because I have to keep speaking French to people (which is not easy when you have to roll nearly every syllable!) Pissed off with feeling as if I am getting nowhere when nobody rings me back! Pissed off with feeling like I am getting nowhere generally. I had actually started looking at the possibility of moving to Ireland! At least I would have family there and they speak English (well not for Rich, he struggles to understand them, so he said he may as well move to Germany!).

By Wednesday evening I did not want to put my Christmas tree up, I did not want to go the craft fayre, I was in agony and could have cried. So on Thursday morning I messaged a person who I think it is fair to say is (along with my dear friend Mary) one of the kindest people I have met. I just asked if she was up for a chat because I felt pissed off. Now she knows, as you all know, that this is not like me; I am, generally, a positive person but I was struggling and she knew it. She rang me within ten minutes invited me over and helped me with contacting who I needed to about the roof – who were really helpful and prompt (I can say no more at this time) she chased the French bureaucrats with regard to our health cover and they are sending a form to Rich to get it sorted (yey!) and she gave me a hug. That was all I needed. When I came home hubby was worried about me – I am normally the one who keeps him buoyant, so he sat on the sofa and did something so simple – he tickled my leg! My sister called me to see how I was, nagged me to rinse my mouth in salt water, because I know that she worries about me; and I knew that I am blessed to have people who care.

Then I looked out of the window and I saw this….


I remembered what Marty (a lovely man who reads this blog) always says about how blessed we are; and I know that we cannot have it all. By last night I had started to cheer up; I just hope my tongue gets better now!

Like I always say in my other blog it is the small things that count, and they make up the good things. Big hugs to those who helped me this week, big hugs.



A story of hardship, serendipity, and love -Sophie The Sofa Loaf


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This is Sophie The Sofa Loaf.

When we first moved to France Rich we were ‘given’ Sophie by some people we had just met. In fact she was just brought to the place where Rich was working and left with him because someone’s wife had seen on my Facebook page that I loved cats! We were not given a name for her ;and the person who gave her to us had found her so they did not know her history, how old she was or anything. I suppose that you could say that good old serendipity looked out for Sophie on that day!

Rich could not just ‘let her go’ as he was told to do if he did not want her; so he brought her home to what was then a rental property we were staying in. The first thing I did was offer her some cat treats and it was only as she struggled to pick them up off the floor  that we realised that she had no teeth! I looked up why a cat would lose its teeth and established that for a younger cat it was likely to be stress related; and I knew that this poor little, determined cat had been through rough times.

We took her to the vets because she had a cough and also because in France they do not tend to have their cats neutered; and as we already had four other cats and Harley the Welshie at that time it was essential that no more kittens would be coming our way. The vet flipped her over and informed us that she was between six and eight years old and had been neutered! From that we assumed that she had been owned by English people, or a French person who had really loved her as a pet. Either way it meant that her story was incredibly sad because somewhere along the way she had lost the people she had loved.Over the months it became very clear that she had obviously been loved by someone in the past who had cuddled her because she would snuggle up on you, the closer to you skin the better and go to sleep; making her story all the more tragic.

There was another side to her though and she would swipe out with her razor sharp claws for no apparent reason, or at the slightest movement of your hands, especially if you moved your hands near her or raised them up near her;  again we could only assume that there had been times when someone had hit her and raised their hand to her.

When she first arrived all she did was eat and sleep on some sofa’s in a room that we did not use; I think she was literally exhausted; and hence the name Sophie The Sofa Loaf.

Now introducing a fully grown cat to four other adult cats and a Welshie is not easy and Sophie has never really been accepted into the fold. She would be so unpredictable and stressy that our cats just stopped trying to be nice to her; and sadly the two youngest started to pick on her. We do call her our ‘special needs’ cat because  she can be fine one moment and then biting you the next (with he gums) and has to be calmed down; add to that she doesn’t like change and becomes highly agitated we have had to accomodate her over the years.

Sadly in the first two years she lived with us our two youngest cats picked on her, and we would have to settle her down in a camp where she could see nothing else (the rocking chair with a blanket over it!). She drove me nuts at times, and would leap out from under the bed and attach herself to your leg; but Rich has always been so patient with her and she sits on his shoulder as he walks around the garden, and curles up on his belly at night.

Over time this kindness paid off and she started to calm down, and have her  own little quirky ways: Whenever we arrived back from shopping she would run out from wherever she was hiding to greet us, meowing her head off and we started to call her ‘Cat/Dog’; or you will find her sitting in the sink! Any sink, bathroom or kitchen; and sometimes when she is really relaxed she will look at you with her tongue hanging out of the side of her mouth, oblivious.

We have to hide any food (butter, cheese, chicken, and only recently my freshly cooked walnut tart!) from her; because she is a cow for climbing up to eat what she shouldn’t; but despite her eccentricity (her other name is Nitty Nutty Nora) I fell in love with this vulnerable little cat with such a sad story to tell.

Fast forward to yesterday: I decided that the Welshie’s needed a walk; I have spent so much time writing lately that they have been cooped up in our acre of garden, and despite catching the odd rat they were bored.

So off I went with what Rich and I affectionately call the ‘stunt kite’ (you try walking two welshies on the lead!) down our road; as we left the garden Sophie came running over and decided that she would come too!

Picture the scene: There I was walking down the road with  two Welshies and a cat in tow (see I told you:Cat/Dog!) I was laughing to myself as this little cat pranced along beside me and the Welshie terrors without a care in the world and thought to myself ‘the French must think I am mad!’

Now our lane is narrow and the French drive like madmen’; as we walked the postman came driving down the road towards us in his van; he smiled and waved and could see I had Sophie Loaf with me, so he slowed down because she decided that she was not going to move! Eventually she moved over to the side and the problem was over; or so I thought. But as postie drove back up the road Sophie decided she was going to sit in the road and front him! He did slow down but instead of moving over to the side Sophie decided to run, right in front of his van, and the French being the French he carried on driving terrifying her along the way. She started to run up the road in front of his van and  as she was running up the road away from me, our other neighbour came down the road in his van meaning Sophie was in trouble.

I was shouting at her to move to the side, the dogs were barking and she was terrified! She jumped into a field by a derelict house and both of the vans sped past; how they missed her I do not know.  I was confident that she had not been hit, confident that she would follow me back down the road to our house; as I had started to make my way back becasue  it had started to rain. I stopped intermittently and called and called her but Sophie did not come.

I put the dogs back in the house and went back out into the garden to call her, but there was no sign. By now it was pouring with rain and the wind was blowing up and I just hoped she could hear me calling her. I started to worry. ‘She’ll come back in a couple of hours” I said to myself, but by four o clock in the evening the dark was drawing in and there was still no sign of Sophie.

I decided to go drive back to where I had last seen her. I pulled up by the derelict house where she had been and called and called her through my car window, but there was still  no sign of her anywhere. I got out, wearing only my slippers, and looked in the ditch and the field where I had seen her jump into; and then I started to question: ‘surely the van didn’t hit her, I watched and she was okay. Wasn’t she?’

When Rich got home it was blowing a hooley, but he went back out to look for her with a torch; she loves him so much we thought she would respond to his voice. But there was still no sign. She did not come home for dinner and by the time I went to bed I had tears in my eyes for the little grey cat that had experienced so much hardship. Just when she was happy and coming for walks like a cat/dog it all seems to have been taken away from her.

I kept waking all through the night wondering  why hadn’t I gone back to check on her? Why had I assumed that she was okay? Why hadn’t I helped her? By the morning there was still no sign and it was still raining. So I got dressed and before Rich left for work we went down together to the place I had last seen her, by the fenced off derelict house; hoping that she had not died in a ditch on her own in the pouring rain.

I called her, Rich called her, but there was nothing. I started to cry and said ‘Poor Sophie, she just had a lovely life and now this, life is so cruel’. With that Rich climbed over the barb wire fence into the overgrown field calling her as he went; suddenly he came running back to say he could here her; she was in the derelict house!

Rich went back to the van to turn it off so we could hear clearly and there it was: Sophie’s loud meow answering us every time we called her. She was in an upstairs room in the boarded up house.

We were clearly trespassing because only recently they had replaced the fencing to stop people going on the land; but we did not care, we didn’t know if she was laying in there injured or what.  I called her and called her and you could hear that she was following the sound of my voice until she appeared at the ledge of the upstairs window. God knows what the French people in the house opposite were thinking: The mad English are now climbing all over the derelict house opposite in the pitch black with torches!

We through caution to the wind and Rich precariously climbed up on the wall by the steps and then up again hanging onto rusty bits of metal hanging out of the house, until he was about a foot below her ‘come on Soph, jump on daddy’s shoulder’ he said; and she did! There he was my six foot one husband climbing down a wall of very old French house, with a cat on his shoulder!!

Needless to say she was hugged, fed and given milk and cream. Now she is ensconced behind mummy as she tells you all her story. Love conquers everything if you let it, and I love this little, pain in the arse, cat!


Changes: I never thought it


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When we originally moved to France I always had it in the back of my mind that I would write the book that I am now serialising in my other blog .

But I also thought that I would be able to continue to work in some way, and I think I said many moons ago that I would do anything. Well arthritis has put paid to that, and whilst I can still do any admin task I cannot clean gites, and chateaus. or houses anymore, or help Rich, because my hands have now given up the ghost, as has one of my legs. In addition I think that all of the horrible people that I met along the way was life’s way of telling me to have the confidence to write. I believe that I will get published one day.

It does drive me nuts that I am not working in some way, so I turned my hand to writing my book, and this blog, and the other blog, and now it has turned into a full time job – albeit not a paid one at the moment.

But there have been so many other rewards: The cyber friends that I have made across the world including the USA  and Canada. I have had the most wonderful conversations and giggles with them, not least Marty from Snakes in the Grass who has sent me the most wonderful emails, or Dolly Allen from the Queen Is In with whom I have had some real giggles – not least last week talking about cockney accents and Dick Van Dyke! Methinks we are pretty similar. I have been told that I must visit should I ever find myself in America – how lovely is that?! You may want to read their blogs folks I can recommend them.

But over the last two months there have been people who have contacted me for help in understanding what has happened to them, and for hope that it can get better. That is why I have written my book, that is why I have started the other blog. Who would have thought that out of so much heartbreak good can come from it by using what you learnt to help others?

There have also been people who have contacted me to say how I have inspired them, through my writing, to take the plunge and have that adventure. Not least my dear friend Mary, who is off to the rural countryside in England and doing something new, and a lovely lady from England who told me that my post about what happened to me, and my breakdown made her cry and realise that she had to make change. For some people I know… I little bit more about me

But more than anything I never would have believed that this adventure would lead me to a whole host of people who just want to give hope and support to others, in what are really difficult times in their lives.

I just wanted to say this – you never know what an adventure will hold for you, I didn’t expect this!

Have a good Sunday folks.

And this one’s for Marty –  a lovely foggy sunrise that Rich snapped last week.


Me socks ‘r on!!


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We’ve been blessed with glorious weather this autumn, as you know from previous posts. We haven’t been lighting the fire until the evening, and no need for the other expensive electric heaters. They have a double tax on electric out here in France, they tax you and then tax you on the tax!

But winter is creeping in now, it has crept up the valley and across the fields and under the fence into the garden..

It was freezing yesterday with a bitter Easterly Wind, and flurries if snow. The chooks tucked themselves up in their henhouse (there not moving out now, best they stay with us after last Friday) see my post If I bite my tongue too long and I even gave them a fat ball.

This morning we woke up to a freezing fog and the valley was shrouded.

Living in a stone house is stunning, but they have no foundations and once they get cold they impersonate a fridge! If you don’t warm them up early then you have to put everything on to warm them up later.

I was out today – hence the socks!

But I am grateful for what I’ve got, not least the ability to reflect!

To my American readers have a wonderful Thanksgiving, whatever your circumstances be thankful for the small things.

For those to whom Thanksgiving is not of their ilk for any reason – be grateful.

Have a reflective holiday folks, keep it mellow.


There is nothing like being in the crisp, cold air…


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You’ll all be glad to know that the Incredible Hulk is now back in his cage.

Yesterday after blogging and writing I spent the afternoon in the garden with hubby and the puppies.

The sun was shining on this late autumn day, and it was cold, with a nippy wind, and I loved it. I let the cold air blow through my brain, and remind me, as the Tao so often does, that what is needed is what you’ve got.

We spent the afternoon using our wonderful new tool that has been a life saver for Rich, the log splitter:

Nearly three years ago we chopped down fourteen pine trees that divided our garden and cut out the light. They were big babies and trying to cut through them with just a chainsaw was nigh on impossible.

But with the log splitter life was made easy because Rich could cut the logs to the right size and the log splitter did the rest. Making light work of it – almost

They’ve been protection for the chickens, an extra to make sure Wiglet could not get under the wire. They have been used to hold the fencing down around the garden, and they have been used as perches for the chooks. But the time has come to use them, before they rot.

There is nothing more rewarding than using what is available to you, letting nothing go to waste. Add to these the logs we have from the sycamore we pollarded in January, with more to cut; and the oak logs, with more to cut, that will not be ready until the winter after next, and we are set up for the next three winters.

So the log store is full with a mixture of pine and hardwood (you can burn pine providing you mix it with other woods) I’ve burnt calories, the puppies are happy and our garden is getting tidy, in small steps.

I don’t have a lot in material things, but what I do have money cannot buy. I am blessed.


Have a good week folks

If I bite my tongue too long


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Most people who have been reading this blog for any length of time will know that four years ago I had a breakdown, and the Incredible Hulk started to live in me. Over the years, and from reading the Tao I have learnt to control that beast because I know the damage it can do.

I also learnt that this  had happened to me because I had bitten my tongue too long. I should have said what I thought to people in a controlled way, and I never. Hence the reason for this blog, I decided to write what I wanted to write and say what  wanted to say – and over twenty thousand of you have appreciated it over the years – A big thank you.

Add to that the fact that I am by nature a kind person ( I don’t see the point in being horrible to people life really is too short) and I think that I have set myself up as a Patsy; because since living here I have found that my kindness has been seen as a weakness; you see the incredible hulk has not come out since moving to France, so people over here don’t really know of the creature that lies within.

Sadly despite being kind to numerous people they have then assumed that they can behave inappropriately and I will not say anything. Here are some examples:

We helped someone this summer who was in a terrible situation, and me being the empathetic sort helped them, even going on a long journey with them that took all day.  Rich worked for them, and he worked hard,  and we thought that they needed people to be kind. Instead they gave the future work that had been promised to Rich, to someone else and messaged me to say that some day they would tell me how ‘Rich had talked himself out of a job!’ Assuming that I would go ‘Oh Okay then!!!!!’

I get that people are entitled to employ who they want, but they’re not entitled to tell me what they see as failings in my husband, and they should not have taken our help if that is what they thought!

With regard to clients that Rich has had we have answered queries on a Sunday, late at night, we have waited for guests to arrive until ten in the evening, for no charge only for the people to not pay us for the work Rich has done. We have took responsibility for things that have gone wrong and contacted people to tell them that there is a problem (they left the door open being one of them, and they weren’t even in the country) but there hasn’t even been a thank you.

I have looked after people’s gardens whilst they have been away, looked over the house for them, fed the kittens that they had – for no pay. But those people have then been rude to us, in fact downright rude to us.

So I decided yesterday that, yes I do have too much empathy and I am not going to be kind to people anymore – other than the six that I can count on one hand that live here. I won’t be unkind, I am not getting dragged into the gutter with the others, and that is not the way of the Tao, but I am not going out of my way  for people anymore; sorry I have been bitten once too often!;  Whilst I know that this is not what the Tao recommends I have to look after myself and my health first, and sadly there are too many sad and bitter people over here that I need to be aware of.

Over the past few weeks I have been put in a position where I have bitten my tongue quite often, and again it is with a person who I have shown kindness to (do I never learn!)  Sadly they clearly saw this as a weakness and their behaviour became worse towards me. I got the feeling that they were trying to push my buttons, and I used all that I have learnt to not respond, but I forgot about he Incredible Hulk, and as their behaviour got worse and worse I could feel it start to stir.

For those who don’t like bad language look away: but if those buttons are pressed (which they have not been for over four years) I can be a cunt!!

When it happens it makes me feel ill, in fact it often puts me to sleep because my brain shuts down, and that is why I avoid it. I take no joy from making people eat shit  But today I did just that: A person got told in no uncertain terms where they stood and also told that they would not like me at all if I really lost it. The look on their face told me that they knew that they probably needed to shut up. They threw some things at me, but you see when I get into that zone I  will throw them back and some! Because as I have always said – I don’t give a fuck!!

My old job in England was about listening to people and then analysing what they had said, picking up on certain words or nuances, and I did this today. As I said I take no joy in making people eat shit, but perhaps they shouldn’t speak it in the first place!!

So I am sitting here now, at my desk, and I am being honest – as I have always said about this blog it will be warts and all because that is the way of an adventure – that is the way of life, it ain’t pretty all of the time!

It is foggy outside, the promised sun has not materialised, hubby is here because I asked him to come home to support me in case the Incredible Hulk really did come out – and I am spurred on like never before to send my book off to agents. This time it has not sent me to sleep it has woken up the beast inside me and made me want to write!

So that is me, I have the Tao on one side, and the Incredible Hulk on the other, and I have always said ‘I am not an easy person to get to know.’

I will read my Tao this afternoon! But I won’t be going to sleep!

I have had enought!!


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Do we carry on?

Do they stay in puppy class?

Dylan's Welshie World

Dylan and I have finally won an award. Not the coveted Kennel Club Bronze that is slipping further from our grasp, but next week Dylan and I will be officially the longest serving members of puppy class plus.

At the moment, Dylan is stomping round the bedroom in pure Welshie sulk mood. I think the realisation of what happened (or rather didn’t happen)at puppy class has sunk in.

Last week there was no puppy class as it was firework night in the UK. So instead Dyls and I have spent the week practising sit/stays, off lead recalls, heels walks and going through gates – all in readiness of the Good Citizen.

And Dyls has been brilliant. Well that is to say she happily sits and waits at gates now before going through, but faced with a steep slope, some brambles and mud on the way into our favourite field, and…

View original post 523 more words

I had a little cry…..


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I started to write my second blog (See link below) on the 2nd of October. I know that some people do not read it, the subject is one that they find difficult, it is a story of Rich and I in times gone past. A story of heartache and pain but ultimately a story of hope; because we are here today, happy and content with what we have.

After polling my readers on this blog I decided to serialise some of the book that I had written, about what happened to us. I truly believe that it is a tale that will help other people when they are in the place of utter devastation and desolation that we found ourselves once.

Well it went mad!!

On Saturday night, thirty nine days after my initial post, my blog hit ten thousand views. and I have had such wonderful comments:

‘@moiraswindell I’ve already binge read your blogs’

‘You’re story gives me hope, it is incredibly inspiring’

‘This completely resonates with me, word for word’

Not least the number of people who have said that they are going out to get a journal!

So on Saturday night as that figure crept up and over the ten thousand mark  I cried! Why? Because I always knew that we had a story to tell; I knew that others would want to read it, I knew and I never gave up. The emotion that I felt, after so much hard work just overwhelmed me.

When someone told me once to ceremoniously burn the journal that I kept then, the journal that kept me sane and kept us together, I said I would never do that; because at the time I wrote that journal I wanted to read someone else’s that would be like mine – that would show me my pain was normal but also show me I would get through it.

Over the past three years I have had people do that thing – you know – ‘hmmmmm’ when you tell them you are writing a book; had people smile at me as if to say ‘of course you are!’ And people who have said  ‘but that won’t get you money now! You need money now, you need to leave that and go and do other work.’

But I didn’t listen to them, and I never, ever, gave up! I cannot tell you the confidence that the response has given me with regard to my writing, and I cannot tell you how grateful I am to all of you who have read this blog and given me such encouraging words- not least

‘You should write a book, I would buy it.’

A big thank you to you all.

I have sent my book off to an agent now, and will send it to another one this week, because those ten thousand viewers told me that they want to read my story. If nobody takes it up then I will self publish it, because I have a story to tell and now I know that others want to read it!

What has that to do with living in France? Moving here and having this adventure gave me the freedom to do this; this blog gave me the confidence, you all supported me, leaping off that cliff got us here now. That’s what it has to do with an adventure, it gives you freedom, if  you let it.

Believe – that’s what I say – believe.


Image result for quotes about using the past to make a better future

Change – Windswept gardens and saving lives


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Only last week I posted this picture or our garden.

This weekend the hooley escalated to what looked like a typhoon, we literally felt as if we were enveloped by the storm, the rain and hail were so torrential that you could not see the field beyond our garden. Winter is letting us know that he is on the way!

All week our new roof has been fantastic, but this rain was exceptional and just found the couple of small flaws that we knew would be there, because such is the case with a new roof! Of course they were where the concrete seal had been added and are easily remedied; after not having a roof at all for three years we have learned not to worry about small things – we literally ‘don’t sweat the small stuff¬’

But the trees and the gardens took a battering and on Sunday morning we woke up to find the old heavy oak door (that had once been our front door) that we had propped against the tree of Tao ( to give the impression that you could walk through a maginal door and into another secret garden – I love a bit of folkelore and mysticism me!) had been blown over and the oak bench in front of her had literally been flipped upside down.


As you can see the trees have been undressed of their leaves and in just two days the door is virtually covered! As is the rest of the garden.


The serial killer known as ‘Wiglet’ was however in full form. On Friday she had a wonderful day with me, as I collected the twigs for kindling she protected me from anything that may be lurking in the branches that I was pulling out from the huge pile we have to deal with. Harley was with me too, laying at my feet, but she was snuffling backwards and forwards in the twigs (as far as her fat bum would take her) and behind them. She disappeared for a while and when I went down to load the logs up and into the wheelbarrow to bring in to the house I found that she had left me a present – a big fat dead rat! I told you had nothing to worry about!!

Sadly though this meant that she had got a taste for murder and after the wet weather on Friday night she set her sights back on poor Claudy the cockerel. Rich had to go and get her from the fence by the chicken coop on Friday night and on Saturday morning, whilst drinking my first cup of tea of the day in my jimby jambies, I heard a noise. I quickly got up and opened the door and could hear screaching and clucking – she had got back in with the chickens, by managing to move a post that was pliable in the soft wet ground!

Without further thought I ran up to the chicken coop – remembering what Rich had said about making a loud bang with something,because Wiglet does not like loud bangs, in fact they terrify her. Needs must I grabbed my prop from my washing line and, dreading what I was going to see, headed for the chicken coop gate. But a surprise awaited me – whilst she was giving Claudy the odd nip, she had not gone in for the kill and the other chicken was also alive (all but terrified!). I quickly banged on the corrugated iron of the shed and she ran to the corner of the coop giving Claudy time to squeeze himself between the new chicken house and the fence so she could not get him.


I shouted at her ‘arretez’ which means stop in French, and she answers to French commands better than English in times like these. To my surprise – after having a quick lunge at the other chicken – she sat and did as she was told. There was no killing frenzy she actually just stopped! Rich came up and got her out, because although she had got in through the tiny gap she had made she could not get her fat arse back out!

A decision had to be made: I love Claudy, he is a stunning cockerel and chats to you whenever you go up to the coop, but if we keep him his days are numbered, because she will kill him one day. It is a bit like a lion, it goes after the one wilderbeast no matter how many are there, and Wiglet has had a taste of Claudy!


So with heavy heart Rich and I contacted a friend who has just re-homed ten battery hens, he is an animal lover and he has agreed to re-home them both, giving them a safe haven from the serial killer. I will be sad to see them go, it is the end of an era. Butm we have to think of Claudy and the one remaining girly, and, as we know, all things change; and this season is the one to remind us of that like no other.


I know! Butter wouldn’t melt right?!



Why I have come to love wind and rain


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I am surrounded by trees. My home has so many in the garden I could not list them all, but not least is my tree of Tao…


I have written before how much I love this tree, as she blows majestically in the wind, no matter whether it is light breeze or a hooley, she never seems to move any faster and her branches always sway slowly as it to say she will not be hurried, and what is needed will come.

Last night a hooley blew in. Living on a hill we are susceptible to high winds and when I first moved here I wondered if we had made a mistake, especially when we lost our kitchen roof, and the tornado struck!

We didn’t realise quite how high up we were or how much the wind would blow around us; but as time has gone on I have come to love the wind; I love the way it blows through the branches and leaves of the trees, I love it when you can see the leaves, at this time of year, swirling and dancing their last dance, and I love it because it reminds me that we need to blow the old away to bring in the new.


So  last night as I lay in bed  (I tend to wake at night, and often cannot get back to sleep)  listening to the wind and the rain battering against the shutters, it made me feel safe, and it made me feel lucky. Here I was laying in bed warm and loved with my husband snoring beside me, one of my Welshie’s snuggled up to me and the other snoring in her bed (she loves her new bed our baby!) and I knew that was all I need.


I felt protected by our house, and the shutters, and I felt blessed that I was where I was. It really is the simple things!

Sometimes I can lay awake for hours , but  last night listening to the wind and the rain it was as if mother nature had sung me a lullaby and I fell back to sleep.

Today when we woke  the hooley was still in full swing, and as I sit here now writing this the rain is battering away at the window pain, my Welshie’s are asleep on our spare bed and one bar on my gas fire is keeping me warm.

But more than anything the thing I love about the wind and rain is that whilst the rain can calm you the wind can blow your fears away. I woke up today with something on my mind – you know – when there is something there but you cannot quite put your finger on it! So I decided to embrace what life had sent me and I went out into the garden, with my beautiful dogs, and as I did so the sun came out! I just stopped and looked out over the valley, with it’s sunny skies and dark clouds reminding me that the hooley was still with us and I took a breath.

I do not do this enough; I get caught up in the day to day things (writing two blogs, sending my book to agents, admin, unicorns – I know obscure!) and I don’t come out here whatever the weather, with my beautiful puppies who, God willing, will be with me for as long as they can, and even then that will still not be enough; and just spend an hour a day with them surrounded by nature.


As I spent over an hour gathering the twigs from the enoumous piles of trees we still have to sort,  they hunted whatever I had disturbed from it’s winter hideaway, and just ran around with me, happy that I was outside with them.

As  I let the wind blow through my mind, and blow the cobwebs away, I looked at this amazing place that I am blessed to live and in it reminded me (as it so often has in my life) that we really are just small things that are here for a fleeting moment, and all the things we have on our minds are insignificant really.

Did I find out what was on my mind? No, but I did come in with the reasurrance that whatever it is it will all resolve itself in the end.