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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?’

Rich:’Table’

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?’

Rich:’The’

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?’

Rich:’Table’

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.

Moisy

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….

Sealsea-1

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

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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.

Moisy

You may want to check out my other blog

http://makingthisbetter.com

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

Learning lessons: The holiday

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We will have lived in France four years and four months, lived in our house four years last week. Wow! The time has truly flown.

Those who have been following this blog know that we have had some good times, but boy we have had some tough times; and it has only been this year that I have fully recovered: back to being me

As a result of my full recovery I have taken over the management of our small property management business, set up the website, and promoted the hell out of H: He is good at what he does.

Because of this H (my new abbreviation for Danny/Rich, it’s just easier!) has had more work and last week we realised that it was actually the first ‘holiday’ we have had since living here.

That’s the thing with an adventure like this: you’re setting up a new life when you move to a new country: bank accounts, language, culture, in France in particular finding your way around the mountains of admin. All the things that you just took for granted: like opening a letter and reading it, or being able to pick up the phone to sort something out just goes out of the window.

This was our house when we viewed it, the paper on the walls was damp and mouldy in the living room.

Our kitchen had the unit you can see and nothing else. It had to be taken out and H built us a kitchen on a budget, and over the years we have actually taken the wall between the laundry room and kitchen.

When people embark on this type of adventure they want ‘the land’ but as I have written about before land means work! Add it to having to translate everything, renovating, trying to build a business and oh my! So suffice to say to have an adventure is hard work, unless you don’t have to work, or have enough money to pay others. And you are always doing something, if it’s not work it’s the house, or admin, or in our case starting up two blogs, writing a book, setting up an Etsy shop, and so much more beside. We are always on the go, and we haven’t taken any kind of holiday, until now.

Life intervened to make this a holiday, where we took a break from everything, including admin, and housework, and renovation and gardening: it made me ill.

I am the driving force, H would tell you that. But my failing is that being a ‘doer’ I cram things in to every day. I am always looking to achieve, but this last week I stopped. We did the basic tidying that you have to do on a daily basis, we lay in bed until mid-day (albeit with a cup of tea), and we chilled. H had a window to fix that was smashed in the winds the week before last, and every day he said he was going to fix it, and every day I said it was fine. It’s not freezing, it didn’t have to be done on our week off. Being ill, and still not one hundred per cent even now, made me stop.

Yesterday was our last day of our holiday and with the fuel to drive around we had spent the total of twenty-two euro. It proved to us we didn’t need money, we just needed each other and simple things like sitting in the washer-woman’s wash house watching the rain plop into the river in the beautiful Chailland.

Or just chilling with tea in the morning with the Welshies, who couldn’t be happy seeing this every morning.

As we sat in the garden last night drinking our last bottle of red wine (before our self imposed change to not drink on weekdays) H looked at me and said ‘I have had such a lovely time, and really felt as if I have had a holiday.’ I agreed with him and it made us realise that life has changed for us: being busy has enabled us to appreciate the holiday we have had, and also made us realise that we don’t need money to have a good time.

Here is to more galavanting, time permitting.

But just one other thing: if you don’t have bad times then you won’t know good times, that is the biggest lesson we have learnt from this adventure. If you’re not busy, how do you enjoy relaxing? Or does each day just merge into another? I have also learnt from this break that you can get caught up in the busyness and forget to sometimes just stop, and that there are so many beautiful places just on our doorstep, we just need to take the time out to enjoy them.

Rosie

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Galavanting: off to a new department – Saint-Céneri-le-Gérei

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This is Saint-Céneri-le-Gérei, a stunning town nestled in foothills cut out by the river Sarthe that runs through it. It’s history dates back to the 8th century, and as with most French villages involves a monk, and a monastery, but it also involves vikings (who burned down the monastery) and the good old English who the French managed to hold off for a good while during the hundred year war.

It is, quite simply, stunning, and only an hours drive from our house. The village has a history steeped in art, from the original pictures from the first artists who visited, showing how poor the village was, to current pictures now showing it’s affluence. I was destined to come here as there is a famous auberge: Auberge Moisy (which we all know is my real name).

It was a tavern that was owned by the Sisters Moisy. Frequented by the visiting artists who used to paint on the wall, it is now a museum.

The town’s beauty just speaks for itself.

Due to my new diet (and a lot less alcohol) I was able to walk up and down the hills and dales for two hours before my knees started to complain, although I did pay for it yesterday.

We visited both the roman church and the medieval chapel that sits in the middle of a huge pasture right next to the river.

It was a fitting end to our week of galavanting (although we are contemplating a vide grenier today) and all in all we spent six euro in the whole week! We have had a fantastic time, taking packed lunches, simple food, and fruit; highlighting that you don’t need money to have fun.

Perhaps I should rename these posts: simple things.

Rosie

Galavanting – Just chillin

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Yesterday was our 20th wedding anniversary, and we just took a relaxing day, did a small amount of shopping for our wedding anniversary dinner (minted lamb chops mmmm) which we ate in front of the TV, on our laps, whilst watching Outlander (Danny aka Rich) said that it is my ‘soft porn’! That was all we needed.

In fact this week has been lovely, just spending time together. We have been busy (for which we are grateful) over the year and it is the first time since we have lived here that we have felt as if we are actually on holiday.

Today is a bank holiday in France and we decided to take the puppies for a walk to a park really near to us in the town of Gorron. I tend to use Gorron as a functional town: we bank there, the butchers is there, but it doesn’t and never has inspired me. But a few weeks ago D/R noticed a park just outside of the town, and suggested we visit.

As D/R may have a job in Gorron we decided to pop over to take a look at it, and went on to the park with the Welshies after. I was surprised. The park is pretty with numerous different walks, little streams, and a zip wire in the trees; not for us, but hubby did try the child’s version and ended up on his arse! Possibly because he is over six feet tall and it was made for little people of under four feet! How I laughed, but saved him the indignity of taking a photo as he sat on the dirt.

There is a pitch and putt mini golf with nine holes and after walking one of the two kilometre walks we sat on a comfortable little bench made from pallets and watched a family play golf (trying not to giggle).

I am loving this week, but our change in eating habits has already begun, with cereal and fruit every day for us now.

More to come folks we are going somewhere very pretty tomorrow, look out for the post coming soon.

Life is simple, life is good.

Rosie (also known as Moisy)

Galavanting: I’ve found where I want to live

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It’s as if the summer in France was so intense it literally burnt itself out! This time last year we were enjoying temperatures in the late twenties, but it has been clear since the beginning of August that autumn is creeping in early. In fact as I sit here writing this I have my dressing gown on and my flip flops have been discarded for my autumn slippers (trust me my winter slippers are way bigger, with two pairs of socks underneath!)

After my sudden illness last weekend I am now ninety five per cent recovered, all but a bit delicate. I have lost four kilo, we are both eating healthier than we have in a long time (fruit has never been our thing. Salad’s yes, fruit was often just left to rot in the bowl) and we now have an occupied fruit bowl.

I would like to thank you all for your well wishes, and concern, but I was true to my word: we now have top up insurance and tomorrow I am sending off the docs for my carte vitel which is the seventy-five per cent provision from the government. As the lovely The grey divorcee said I really do feel as if a weight has been lifted from my shoulders. We will have to find the money every month but I do believe that life shows you the way, and I do believe life was telling (in fact yelling) at us to get it; so now I believe that life will ensure we have the provision to pay for it. Like I said it’s no longer an ‘option’, and it is about belief.

So back to my post. It is our twentieth wedding anniversary tomorrow, those who read my other blog you will know it has not been a smooth road, but then is anything in life? In fact if we all had a ‘smooth road’ all the time when would we know that we are experiencing something special? But I digress: after Danny (aka Rich) put in his holiday request form we are having this week off. We have a small budget but we only need to have each other and the Welshies to have a good time. So today we set off for the afternoon, to visit some recommended villages and towns near to us.

The weather was cloudy but warm when we arrived in St Denis de Gastines, where there was supposedly some gardens to walk around; but true to form for France it is August, everything is shut because everyone goes on holiday en masse, and there was not a sign for a garden anywhere. I love this country but sometimes there lack of entrepreneurial pzazz drives me insane!

What we did find though was this beautiful chateau

Oh wow! We said, let’s go and look at that, but sadly when we walked around to look through it’s gate it has just been left to rot. It was so pretty, with it’s walled garden and cloisters at the back, but it has been left and I understand that to maintain it would be so costly you would need lottery money to fund it.

Only the rabbits were in situ, frantically running for cover because they could probably smell Wiglet (aka the serial killer).

We left St Denis for a larger town nearby where something would be open for coffee, and during the journey we found this…

This is Chailland, a tiny medieval city of character, only forty minutes from where we live now. It nestles in the valley, with a large statue of Mary overlooking the town from a sheer rock-face cut into the hill.

It has some a few pretty bars and restaurants (all closed for the en masse holiday that the French take in August) but oh my that didn’t matter, it was quintessentially French, tranquil, and so so pretty.

The rivers Ernee and Varmourin run through it having carved there way through the rocks centuries ago. We both fell in love with it.

We had grabbed an impromptu ‘lunch’: crisps and nectarines, and we sat at a little table/bench that had been purposefully built opposite the rock face, river and old mill. What a place to eat your lunch with the man you have just spent the last twenty-one years with. I took these photos as we sat on the bench.

We both just sat there and thought this is what we need, perhaps life was showing the way! As the clouds rolled in and the rain started to fall we took shelter in the centuries old washer women’s area, right by the river. We just watched the river gain momentum as the rain fell, watched the raindrops plop into the water, and looked at each other and said ‘I am really enjoying myself’.

We Don’t have much in material sense, but we have each other, and tonight we have two sleeping Welshies, one in her own French antique cot!(She’s been dying to get in that because she’s seen the cats in it!)

We are galavanting a lot this week, with crisps and coke, and water, and fruit and Welshies, we are happy with what we have because we fought so hard to keep it.

Rosie

Making me think

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Next week Danny (aka Rich) and I will be celebrating our 20th Wedding Anniversary. As many of you know we have been through many tough times to get here, but they have all made us stronger. The old adage ‘what don’t kill you makes you stronger’ is true.

So why the picture of the toilet? This is our old loo, the one we have had in situ for four years (yes we have lived here four years last Friday). The cracks that are in it were there when we moved in and the ‘thrifty’ or tight, depending on how you want to look at it, French farmer who sold us the house had sealed the cracks with mastic! I kid you not, mastic!

As you know if you follow this blog, money has been tight and other jobs have taken priority, but because we planned to celebrate by inviting the Frenchies and some other friends over for a BBQ on Saturday, we knew that we needed to get the loo replaced.

We had bought the new all singing, all dancing toilet come spaceship from a really lovely couple Danny had worked for many months ago; they were kind and they sold it to us very very cheap. But we struggled to pull the money together to get it fitted and something else always got in the way. Then along came Bob.

Rich has been working on a lovely ladies house (and doing an excellent job) and life showed us the way because Bob said he could fit our loo. He came over, made us laugh and told us that we had been lucky to have not crashed into the cellar below because of the state the toilet had been in. Life, as always, had shown us the way, and it had to be done before the shindig…or so we thought

Danny had put in a holiday request form, and I had booked him (and me) out for an eleven day holiday. Living in a rural environment there is something to do twenty-four hours a day, and I was aware of how we never seemed to have a day when we ‘did nothing’. But because of the shindig on our first day ‘off’ we found ourselves washing curtains, bringing the garden chairs round from the barn, putting shelves on the wall, hoovering and mopping and on and on and on. As always we had a very late lunch which seemed to knock me out, even though it was only a small sandwich; but being me (with her ‘doer’s attitude’ as the counsellor told me years ago) I got up and told myself onwards and upwards’ and went to hoover and mop my stairs. But then life took over, I began to sweat and felt really ill, but still I carried on, when I had finished I said to Danny ‘I need to sit down, I don’t feel well’. Within minutes I was in the smallest room in the house putting the new loo to use, and that has been the pattern ever since.

I am one of those people who has to get out of bed even when they are ill, because staying in bed makes me feel worse. But if on the rare occasion I do stay in bed then that is a sign that I feel really ill. On Friday I could not get out of bed. We were due to go to a fish and chip supper with some friends, but I sent Danny on his own and I can honestly say that if I had healthcare cover at that moment in time I would have gone to the hospital. And there lies the crux: we have winged it, Danny has seventy five per cent cover because he is in the system, I am still waiting for my cover to come through, and I actually found myself thinking ‘I can’t go to hospital I don’t have the money’. Then a voice in my head said ‘what is the point of having this house if you are dead!’

We lose perspective don’t we.

This was another of life’s lessons, as Bob said to Danny ‘good job I put the new toilet in!’ But the toilet was not put in for the shindig, everything that happened was to make me think about our priorities: we need to get healthcare cover sorted, maybe at the cost of something else; we are both in our mid fifties and we have to wake up to reality that we need to cover our health, wherever we live.

For the last two days Wiglet would not leave my side, in fact I knew I was in a bad place when she growled at Harley because she knew I was weak and took to guarding and protecting me. I made it to the chair yesterday morning, she ousted Danny and sat in the chair opposite me, just like a Welshie version of ‘Nanny’ from Peter Pan. When she finally left me to go into the garden, I took that as a positive sign.

Of course I googled my symptoms and scared the shit out of myself (literally) but I also realised, from what I read, that we have to make some lifestyle changes, even though my husband is resistant;and change them we will. Watch this space.

Needless to say the shindig had to be cancelled; and everyone was so understanding. My lovely French friends brought me a gift (by this time I had made it down to the sofa, but couldn’t get off it.) others messaged me, and ginger biscuits saved my life.

I am still not out of the water (or toilet) yet, but I do feel seventy per cent better than I did.

Life shows you the way, and I am listening, we will have healthcare by the end of the year, even if I have to sell my car.

But right now I am recuperating by sitting in the garden, with tea (it finally tastes okay) and toast made by Danny, the weather is fine, with intermittent sun, and a light breeze, and just sitting with nature is making me feel better.

Rosie

Galavanting: I learned a lesson from a beautiful place

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Life never seems to stop showing me the way! In June Danny (R) saw an ad for a large scaffold tower, on one of the local Facebook pages; after liaising with the owner we agreed to buy it and went off to collect it one bright Sunday lunchtime.

As we drove in past golden fields of wheat, dotted here and there with a smattering of red from the poppies, I commented on how pretty it was. The house was just outside the medieval town of Lassay Les Chateaux, surrounded by rolling hills and countryside.

On arrival we were met by the mad little Jack Russell, Milly, happy to meet people new, and the lovely Sue and Kevin. They invited us to have some coffee and as I sat on their covered patio I was blown away by my beautiful surroundings. It was just rolling hills, and a huge fishing lake that Kev had dug out himself.

Sitting there I realised that if I had been there on holiday I would be so happy in those surroundings: with the swimming pool, and your own gite; and even though we don’t fish I would have been in my element and just a little bit envious of my hosts.

But I also realised something else: if I had been holidaying there I would have been so envious of their lifestyle: with the rolling hills and beautiful surroundings, but I would not have seen the reality behind the beautiful grounds and house, which is a lot of bloody hard work! And that is how we have changed: we now live here, and living in the countryside is hard work. As I sat on their patio, blown away by the surroundings, I found myself thinking ‘oh my God! All that work, everyday!’

I said as much to our hosts when they told us that they have twenty six acres, so much that Kev cannot mow it all! In fact they lost two oaks last year that are laying where they fell because there us no time to chop them up!

It made me realise how much we all ‘think’ we want something, because so often we only see what we want to see. I watch programmes where people view houses and are so happy when they are told there is twenty acres, or even an acre (as we have) and I just smile now and ‘say good luck maintaining it!’

It is another lesson we have learned: see the bigger picture!

We have visited Kev and Sue a number of times now, new friends, nice, warm and lovely people. We didn’t pick the scaffold up for three weeks, because every time we went we just ended up chatting to them!

As we drove out of their house last time, I looked across the fields of corn and said to Rich ‘I would come here on holiday, and I live here!’

Rosie

If you would like somewhere gorgeous to stay, then you can visit Remieu using This link. Not shameful promotion just a beautiful retreat in which to stay.

Rosie

Catching up

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Where do I start? The book is at the publishers after another edit, the blog is just about to hit 75,000 views, and hubby is doing such wonderful work in his business.

Here is his current project: barn doors he has been working on, they had to be prepped and the metalwork needed detailed paintwork; I am so proud of him because I know what he is capable of. To see the project from the beginning you can visit our website it is under the section ‘a renovation story.’ The client is so pleased she has asked him to extend his time with her.

It is a joy to see him enjoying his work (we had some awful people recently) and being appreciated for the dedication that he puts into it.

The business also keeps me busy updating the website, and Facebook page and promoting it. Sadly it is a fact of life that we have learnt to accept that you will always get someone with a snide remark, but it does not deter me now; like I said I am back, and I simply answer them. People don’t understand that in the world today social media is here and now, there is no going back, just going forward. Pretty much like life really!

So going forward we are now in the process of changing our house. When we first moved here we bought with us such beautiful things from our old home. But I have come to realise that I was trying to make this house into our old house; when in fact we should make it something new. As a result we have moved the furniture in our living room so that the sofa’s are against one wall, making a ‘snug’ area in which to watch the TV. If you look at the first photo the top picture is before and the second one after.

The top photo is before, the bottom after

We have blocked off the door that originally led to the stairs and re-opened the old one; we will leave the closed door or we won’t be able to get furniture in & out from upstairs! But that won’t be a problem because I have a huge mirror that will cover it – another thing on the list to paint!

Doing this has given us an enormous amount of space, and given me the opportunity to have my wingback chairs in our large window.

I have always wanted this layout, to be able to sit here in the morning and look out across the garden, and valley.

In fact we sit here in the evening now when Danny (aka Rich) gets home from work. It is proving popular with all the animals, we sit in the chairs and Diddies goes to sleep in the window box.

Our living room was originally two rooms, and where before we had the wingback chairs over the other side we now have enough room to bring in a very large French Antique Buffet, and a round table.

If you look at the photo above you can see the top of the buffet, which is currently on the floor because the bottom is in my kitchen. But not after tomorrow it won’t be, because I am emptying it to move it, and tomorrow it will have it’s first coat of white paint.

As you can tell we are busy, and we are also selling some of our beautiful stuff. To move forward you have to let go: the Grandmother clock you can see in the pictures is being collected tomorrow by its new owner. My pretty antique Singer sewing machine is up for sale, along with many other pieces.

Both our kitchen and living room are going to be painted white, including all of the beams. Furniture we are keeping is in line for painting white and blue and I don’t have enough hours in the day.

I also want to develop my role now with regard to the book. Does anyone know an agent?!

I have to go now folks, but before I do, although I still don’t know where life will take me, I appreciate what I have. Who couldn’t when I wake up to this view in the morning?

I promise I will blog again at the weekend, I have so much to tell you .

Rosie

We are melting

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Europe is in the middle of a heatwave, with France, Italy, and Germany in the thick of it.

I am currently sitting in my bedroom with the blind down, both fans whirring away, and Harley pup desperately trying to get some respite.

I can do all I can for the dogs (Wiglet is currently laying in the tiled bathroom floor) and we can dunk them in the pool later, but I am worried for my cats, especially Molly Kitten who is over 19 years old.

In my bedroom it is this temperature, in the kitchen it is three degrees higher and in the garden the thermometer is reading forty – two degrees. As they say in the song it’s too darned hot!

Smaller Shops have shut, hubby has cancelled work for today and even the farmers are not out working!

After a quick trip to the supermarket and the air conditioned bank ( where we may linger) it is in the pool for us.

The temperature is due to drop to twenty-one degrees tomorrow, positively freezing!

Stay cool folks, and here is a cool tune …

Rosie

As I sit here

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It is just after nine on a Monday morning. Rich aka Danny (I will need to unlink this blog!) has gone off to work, and I am left contemplating.

I just had one of those moments that you get in life, where the sunlight coming through the window, and the silence, and the clocks ticking, the birds singing, and my beautiful Welshie boy asleep on the chair, made me stop and commit this moment to memory.

It is one of those moments where you are reminded that the simple things are the most precious.

Rich and I are back to ‘do we stay, or do we go’. We sat yesterday evening in the garden and we talked about what we want, or that we don’t know what we want, but we do know some of the things we don’t want, and it got me thinking:

I have said many times that we need to write down some of the things we discuss, because being a journal keeper I know that writing something down gives you clarity; and also reminds you how quickly what you thought you wanted can change.

I have been absent quite awhile because I have been concentrating on my book (under the pseudonym of Rosie Joseph) and the blog linked to it has just hit over 72,100 views with over 11,000 visitors. Every day I wake up a voice in my head says ‘you need to get that book out there before you can make any decisions.’ Every day when someone messages me to say how my blog helps them: the lady yesterday who told me she was going to buy a journal, because my blog inspired her; the lady who told me that after reading one of my posts she knew that going back in time was not going to help her; the people who say you have put into words how I feel, at a time I cannot understand, they all inspire me to get that book out there; because I know it will change lives, including ours.

So is now a time to be making decisions? Not yet. I finally got there, the book is going to the publishers today.

Lets see what life shows us.

Rosie (aka Moisy)

Au revoir

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This is Sophie the Sofa Loaf asleep on my shoulder last winter.

When we got up this morning it was a beautiful summers day, our routine was the same: I fed the cats, and prepared Sophie’s dish, but sadly it is still on the counter untouched, because Sophie died in the night last night.

Because it is summer I did not worry when she didn’t come for breakfast; we had our tea in bed and started to get ready to take the Welshies for their haircut. As Rich looked out of the window he saw Sophie lying in the road, just outside our house. He called her, and she didn’t move, and we knew, we knew that our little Nitty Nutty Nora had left us.

I ran out and there she was, with a little bright red blood coming from her nose onto the road. Her tongue was hanging out of the side of her mouth, as it often did when she was happy, but her eyes were open, and sightless. Rich came out and lifted her up so gently, my big gentle husband had tears in his eyes, he loved the pretty little cat who had such a difficult life.

I wrote about Sophie last year when she nearly got run over, and then lost in a derelict house in her panic, you can read about it Here

As I have written before Sophie was a French feral cat, and someone before us had adopted her, prevented kittens and loved her. But somehow Sophie ended up alone, someone found her, and they handed her over to Rich when we moved here.

We believe that she may have been loved by an elderly French person and when they died she was just put out into the wilds to fend for herself.

At first she was a difficult cat, but over the years she knew we would not hurt her, she loved being warm, and she loved us.

One of my favourite things to say to her was ‘are you happy Loaf?’ When she stretched out like this, without a care in the world.

More than anyone she loved her Dad, she would ride around the garden on his shoulders, she would run to greet his van when he come home, and she would hug him, tightly.

Sophie had always had a cough, we asked the vet when she first came to live with us and they did not know what was causing it. We knew it could be anything so we decided to make her comfortable and give her a good life and love. We didn’t know what had happened to her in her life, and we didn’t know how long she would live so we gave her lots of love; and what a difference that love made: She went from a cat who would claw you, to a cat that would let you stroke her and rub her belly; I said to her only the other day ‘what a difference love makes Sophie, look at you now’. And now she has gone, and we are heartbroken.

No more Sophie climbing into bed with us at every opportunity in the winter, no more Sophie meowing as she runs down the kitchen, and tonight she won’t be lying on the garden table with us trying to knock our wine over.

No more Sophie eating my chicken sandwiches, as she did last Thursday! Or taking on the Welshies (she was fearless).

No more shoulder cuddles.

This little cat, who serendipity sent our way, made a bigger impact on our lives than we ever thought, Rich is bereft. I have cried all morning, even in the shops! Being me I have looked up the circumstances of her death (there were no signs of trauma and it happened in the night, we live in a dead end road and no cars have been here in that time), and taking into account her cough, the small amount of blood and that she didn’t eat last night (not like Loafy) I believe she died from a heart attack.

We have buried her in the garden, near to where we sit, and planted a rambling rose on top of her. It seemed fitting that Sophie will make the flowers grow, and they will ramble freely just as she has.

I have found myself singing this to her, because she is no longer in pain, and she will make the flowers grow.

Don’t you fret, M’sieur Marius
I don’t feel any pain
A little fall of rain
Can hardly hurt me now
You’re here, that’s all I need to know
And you will keep me safe
And you will keep me close
And rain will make the flowers grow.

‘A little drop of rain’. From Les Mis

I like to think that the person who had before, was waiting to greet her and take her home. We were just her guardians for a short time.

There will be more tears, for the little French rescue cat; poor Rich, it’s his birthday on Monday.

Farewell my nutty little cat, I am glad you had four years of happiness and love. We will miss you so. But I know if you could you would tell us this.

We will miss you just the same.

❤️

Mummy and daddy.