Laughter & giggles



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One of biggest things that I love about my husband is that he makes me laugh every day. So this weekend I thought I would share some of this part of our life with you.

I have shared that this winter was difficult, but it didn’t stop us laughing: from Rich mimicking me whenever he could: I now hear myself say oh! Before a sentence or asking for something; because he would mimic me and what I had said whenever I did it: ‘boh! Bring my iPad down babes! Or ‘boh. Turn the water in babes!’ As I hear myself say it now I start giggling, whether he is here or not.

Then there are the times I lift something heavy: I didn’t realise that I puff my face out as I do it, like a determined puffer fish until I looked at Rich the other end of whatever we are lifting pulling the same face back at me. Then I start laughing, nearly always drop what I am lifting and end up calling him a bastard!

But I get my revenge: so here is a recent story of my escapades into trying to teach Rich some French:

We are sat on or respective sofa’s when I say to Rich ‘I was thinking to really get to grips with another language you need to understand verbs, adjectives and nouns.’ (Rich never excelled in English grammar, he couldn’t see the point.)

Rich now looks at me suspiciously, but I carry on: ‘Because the French put their adjective after the noun, where we put our adjective in front of the noun, and I think that confuses you.’ Rich looks at me and says ‘whats an adjective?’

Me:’It’s a word that describes a noun. For example the black table. What’s the adjective?’


Me:’No that’s the noun.’

Rich:’What’s a noun?’

Me:’The name of something: Tree, Fire, Dog’. (I’m looking around the living room for inspiration) ‘So the black table, what’s the noun?’


Me:’Table, table, table, for fucks sake I just told you.’ Rich starts giggling nervously. But I wasn’t giving up (although I think that’s what he wanted)

Me: ‘So the black table: what’s the noun?’

Rich:’Table’ (yey)

Me: So what’s the adjective?

Rich: ‘The’ (Oh for fucks sake!)

Me (I’m starting to stifle a giggle now) ‘The, the the! What does ‘the’ describe?’

Rich:’The table’

Me: ‘If an adjective is a word that describes the noun how can it be the? What is describing the table?’

Rich: (desperately trying to work out what he has not said) ‘black’

Me: By now I am talking in a very high pitched voice trying not to laugh’ Yes! So if we put our adjective before our noun, what is an adjective?’


Me: (rolling up with high pitched laughter) ‘I give up! I haven’t even got to French yet! You can’t speak English you’ve got no hope with French!’

So moving on to Friday night: I’m cooking the ‘Friday Night Kebab’ with my back to the kitchen. We’re jimbied up (got our pyjamas on), hubby’s milling round the kitchen. Suddenly I hear what sounds like a bumble bee on steroids: I turn to look and see my husband spinning round the kitchen, whilst blowing a continuous raspberry, and spinning either end of his dressing gown belt around. I started to giggle:

‘What are you doing?’

‘I’m a helicopter’

‘Are you really!’

He’s 56 this year!

And that’s why I love him.


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.

French Winter Gardens and Welshies


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Winter arrived quickly, and for the past few mornings we have woken to frosts and temperatures below freezing, which means we are lucky enough to watch the amazing sunrises every morning.

We are up early for work, RD goes off and my day is full of the chores you have when living in an old stone house, in the middle of rural France, on a limited budget: the good old log splitting, hoovering, mopping, cleaning the kitchen, and today removing the mould that I occasionally grows on our old stone walls (I side). It’s just part of this life we chose, I don’t stress over it any more.

I have often said how winters can be long, and that we should all try and embrace this season. Today I took my advice. It is a cold, crisp, sunny winters day, and I am currently sitting in the garden on one of our garden chairs drinking tea; spending time with nature and my dogs.

I was pushing the wheelbarrow of logs across the garden, with the habit I fight every day taking pride of place: planning what I should do next, when I looked around and thought ‘what am I doing?’ I realised I should seize the moment on this glorious winters day, and take time to sit in the garden with my tea and spend time with my puppies, they remind me very day to cherish each moment.

Even Daisy the cat is giving me stinkeye because she wanted to come out and join us!

She looks like a Bond villain!

I don’t know how long I will live in this beautiful place, so I need to embrace it whilst I can, in every season.

As is my want, being brought up by people who worked hard to fill every day with work, to always keep going. As my counsellor said: I am a ‘doer’ I just will work and set myself what are often un-achievable targets, I don’t feel I have achieved if I don’t and often I don’t feel I have because the targets are un-achievable. Those ingrained habits are hard to break! Despite knowing that we should all take time; despite writing in my diary at the beginning of the year a quote from Deepak Chopra:

‘ set aside a little time every once in a while to experience silence…’

I still have to pull myself up short to do it. I probably achieve it once a month!

But today I have taken the time but sadly my teas is now finished, and the sun is now hazy, my fingers are cold and it is time to get on. Now where are my rubber gloves?


The Renovation Continues: All the little details


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I love things that sparkle, I must have been a magpie in another life. I love the subtle lighting and ambience it brings.

I have been told often that I have an eye for detail, so we are now taking this forward in our business and offering a staging service, although I fear it will be lost out here! Hey ho!

But this post is about our bedroom: We love it!

Many moons ago I wrote about when we were packing up to leave our old Edwardian house. I wrote about how much I loved that house, I had put my heart and soul into it. But after ‘The War’ it was never the same for RD, and now, after living here for nearly five years I can understand why.

We had so many pretty things in that house, but a lot of things got damaged, and broken, and looking back now I think that was life’s way of telling me to make something new. But I didn’t listen (as we so often don’t) and when we got here we tried to recreate our old home.

Now I have realised that this is new, make it new. I have never opted for mostly all white deco, but now we have, from the white deliberately shabby floor, to the three white walls and the white painted furniture.

The little sparkly stars have been had made by us, the lantern at the beginning of the post was something from two summers ago, which has now evolved into a blue sparkling light. When I wake in the morning this is what I see…

The bliss was something we bought for our first home together, and, despite everything, it has remained with us, sporting various colours along the way. But now it has been embellished to sparkle in the lamplight. My life with RD has always been bliss, and it will be no matter where we live in the future.

I love to sit on our bed and write, and when RD came into our room the other night he said ‘I love this room.’ With its vintage French mirrors, and lampshades, the French vintage glass bowls, and its renovated, recycled furniture So do I …

Our view has changed, we now look out over the valley! In fact RD sleeps by the window, and I no longer look out on my tree of Tao, but is still there, when I need it.

Counting my blessings, and enjoying the here and now.


I look at things differently now. It’s an ever evolving world.


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As I wheeled the wheelbarrow across the garden, full of logs to keep us warm this week, in howling winds and driving rain with two mad Welshies running at my feet, I remembered last year and how different I felt then. I can remember RD and I being in the garden, cutting wood to use that winter and begrudging, in some ways, that we had to do it.

When we came here we were both ready to embrace the rustic lifestyle, we both knew we would be cold, with only a log burner and some expensive electric heaters to heat our house. We both knew that living in a stone house would be chilly. But I think we were both looking at the challenge with optimism, and that neither of us really understood how difficult it would be to adjust to a new way of life: a life with no heating at the click of a switch, a life where you had to put the work in to stay warm. In fact in January we considered whether to stay or leave this life we had chosen, for many reasons.

Fast forward now to this year, and as I wheeled the logs across the garden, buffeted by the wind, I smiled to myself because I now respect the fact that I have to put in the effort for what I need. I no longer take heating for granted, I no longer take what this beautiful planet offers me for granted; and because I have to put in the effort I don’t waste what we have. In this world of climate change (living in a rural setting it has become so noticeable) that has to be a good thing.

As always we are open to change, I believe you have to be in life; and one of our biggest lessons has been to not hold on too tight. But next time we will take all we have learned from this adventure on to the next chapter. When that happens….life will show us the way.


Inky blue skies, and howling winds, counting my blessings.


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I am sitting here in one of our wingback chairs, and this is the view from our window. We woke up this morning to howling winds and rain; although the rain is pretty much the norm now, as it has rained every day for the past month!

It is 8.30 but the sky is literally a dark inky blue. The wind is whipping up a frenzy around our little house on the hill, our shutters are rattling, the trees are bending in the wind and I can feel a draft blowing up from the cellar. I am drinking tea, Daisy the cat is snoring and I have two sleeping Welshies around me.

I am braving myself because today I have to split logs. We ordered some as a top up, or stop gap, so that on days like today we didn’t have to chop and split our huge amount of wood available from our very own garden. But there was a problem with the wood and the delivery was cancelled!

With RD at work, decorating our bedroom, Felling cherry trees and cleaning out the cellar, which is finally dry now the cess is working properly, poor RD feels overwhelmed. So we still haven’t had time to cut up the huge branches from the oak, that are buried under the bramble in our garden now! That will be a job for after Christmas when RD has two weeks off. But when the cess was repaired the huge pine tree that was cut down nearly two years ago was pulled out of the ditch by the samaritan Marc (I think that will be his name now) and was laying in the front of our garden. It had seasoned all on its own in the ditch. So RD got to it last weekend and cut it up. Some of it is too big to be split, it has to be chopped, but we have smaller logs and some oak left from what had been chopped. I need to split them for us to use this week, or we will have no fire!

Imagine me today, welligogs on, fighting my way across the from the goats shed (no we have no goats they used ro live there before we moved in) through the now sodden quagmire that is our garden (and we live on a hill!) with a wheelbarrow full of logs buffeted by the wind!

Would I have it any other way? No I wouldn’t!

I am blessed.


The Renovation story: The Beast


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It will come as no surprise to any people who read this blog that I love old furniture, and in France there is an abundance of old furniture.

This is what I have fondly come to call ‘The Beast’! It is a very old dressing table, 1860 to be precise as the date is written on the back of the mirror! It has had woodworm in its lifetime, and shows the life it has lived. It weighs just under quarter of a ton, with its marble top, and mirror. So imagine the look on RD’s face when I said I wanted it in our new bedroom!

This is our wonderful French curved, small stairwell that we had to try and get this piece of furniture up. We moved all the furniture in the living room and opened up the second door to our stairs (essential for moving furniture, it’s going to be hidden behind a mirror!) as we attempted to get ‘The Beast’ from RD’s van to the bedroom.

And we huffed, and we puffed, as I was at the bottom at one point I thought ‘if he lets this go now I am going to die!’ It got stuck on the low ceiling at the bottom of the curve in the stairwell, so we brought it down and sawed of legs that had been added to it at some point. ‘That should do it!’ Said RD. so up we went, huffing and puffing and it got stuck, really stuck. RD lost it, and punched it and it moved and was free! Once in situ RD said ‘when we sell this house this bloody thing is staying here!’

But the beast was not finished with me: I decided there was too many scratches on it so I was going to paint it (who am I kidding? I didn’t like the colour!) I primed the bottom first, and it bled through like a bastard! So I primed it again, and it bled! I painted it with acrylic and it bled! I painted it another two times with an acrylic lacquer and yey! Then I painted it with chalk paint. It only took me fifteen hours all told! The detail on the pillars had to be painted with an artists brush so that I didn’t lose the definition.

The only way to open the heavy draws was with the key, you can see the keyhole in the centre of each drawer. With our clothes in lace it was too heavy, and unpractical so I added crystal handles.

Then on to the mirror: I had learned and this only took three coats, but each coat took me two hours because all of it had to be done with an artists brush, so as to not lose the definition of the pretty flowers and filigree. But it all served as a distraction for me, to stop me being ‘driven’ about my book I have learned my lessons!

it really is a pretty detailed piece. I finally finished it, I started it over a month ago! But I love it, it now has a new lease of life.

It makes my life so easy putting our clothes away, as the beast contains them all, that and the little French armoire beside it.

Perhaps ‘The Beast’ is no longer an appropriate name for something so pretty.

More to come the bedroom is now our sanctuary.


Cherishing every moment


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These are two of our cats (we only have three left now!) Molly, the cat ‘doing the washing’, and Daisy, the cat being washed. I took this photo yesterday as I sat at our window in our wingback chairs blogging.

I am cherishing the moment. You see Molly is nearly twenty years old, and we know that the time is coming that she will leave us. In the past two weeks alone I have shed tears for her. As her condition deteriorates I have thought I would wake up and she would be gone. But every morning when we come downstairs she has rallied, and gives a loud miaow.

On Saturday she took a turn for the worse, and wouldn’t eat. We always said that when she wouldn’t eat it was time, all day she just lay in front of the fire. So we topped it up with logs before we went to bed, just to make sure she was warm.

RD got up on Sunday morning (our ‘have our tea in bed day’) because he didn’t want me to find her; but when he came down she was up, perky, and shouting; she ate a bowl of food and had two plates of milk and cream! (She can have what she wants now, in her limited time).

But I know, after holding her close on Tuesday when she deteriorated again that our days left together are few.

Twenty years is a long time.


Winter is on it’s way…


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Depending on the seasons the sunrises and sunsets change here so much.

When winter takes hold and we have cold mornings the colours are vibrant and intense.

Since my Autumn sunrise post earlier this week winter has started to creep in and we have had frosty mornings.

So now the sunrises are changing, we were up early this morning…..


A sense of community: Torrents


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I have shared in the last year how rivers have burst their banks here, and people have been flooded, not least when Rich got stuck at a job.

The winters have ben warmer than we first arrived, who can forget theHoarfrost one winter and the freeze when our gas froze?

But generally the winters have been warmer but incredibly wet. We can deny global warming as much as we want, but it clearly here, with increasingly wet, torrential weather in autumn and the winter and droughts in the summer.

This year the forecast for our region is for a wet winter. Over the past couple of years rivers have burst their banks on occasions and last year the Mayenne river was drained and dredged. This year they are taking it further:

Throughout this region of France, and in most regions, there are ditches that run alongside the roads. I wrote only recently of how our ditch was blocked and caused problems with our cess. Well last week up pulled a digger and dumper truck, and each and every ditch along our road was cleared out, including ours which was a result!

When I asked Marc our neighbour he said it was the commune who had arranged for all of the ditches to be dug out, and pipes fitted under the road to take any excess water down to the river. Our ditch is now clear and RD has breathed a sigh of relief because clearing that out would have been hard work.

The commune are preparing because they know that the long term forecasts are for heavy rain, even over the past few weeks we have had torrential rain, with three inches of rain in just one night! Add that the long heavy showers we have had for most of the days in the last few weeks, and our ditch was over a quarter full. But as you can see it is now virtually empty again. Drainage systems work!

But it is not just here work has been carried out in the other surrounding small towns and villages to ensure that contingencies are in place.

It frustrates me when I watch on TV the awful situation that the people of Yorkshire find themselves in due to recent rainstorms in England; with the government refusing to call it a state of emergency. Yes there is community in that people help each other, but where is the sense of community where those who are meant to support the people are concerned? Why did they not look at long term forecasts? When was the last time the rivers were dredged, or the drains cleared out, or ditches dug? Where is the sense of community to the community? This is not aimed at one political party, because this has been something that has been going on for so long. Too long! And it makes me so frustrated.

Since living here I have realised just how much RD and I had lost our sense of community, and I am glad for the lesson I have learnt since living here.

Wherever we end up in the future, it will need to be somewhere with a sense of community.


Sometimes I just get inspired


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I woke up this morning, came downstairs, opened the blinds and was greeted by this….

It is probably the thing that keeps me going the most. To look out at this view and think to myself am blessed.

Whatever the season the sunrises always take my breath away, but autumn, with its mists and the colours in the skies just makes them so atmospheric and poignant.

Being on the pinnacle of a hill on mornings like this it feels as if we are floating amongst the clouds, like a little island.

Every day is a new beginning, every day is something to cherish. I know that I need to treasure it for I also know that one day I will leave this house, and being able to wake up to this will only be a memory.

Here and now, here and now.


There is nothing wrong with a little vignette…


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I wrote a few weeks ago about how we were moving bedrooms and after RD did his stuff, I am still working on it until completed, as RD has been understandingly busy fighting with trees!

Not content with painting the floor and the walls, I decided to paint the furniture as well! The mirror in the above picture has been hand painted with small silver ribbons and flowers.

The mirrors have all been painted, but the door and other things need to be finished, not least this beast…

Three weeks in, 2 coats of undercoat, 2 coats of acrylic, stain bleed, and

we are ready for chalk paint. I still have the mirror to do. Add to that this grey shelf

Even the BLISS is having a makeover.

So not finished yet, but it has a celestial theme, with home made stars, angels, and vintage French lights, and vintage French mirrors. Just a few vignettes for now….

More to come…