The Good Life continues, but we are trying a different format

I know! You’re shocked another post in as many days!!

Remember the vegetable plot? How excited we were after spending six hours (over two days because it was bloody hard work because Rich had put his back out) digging up my lawn, and  how we used logs from our garden (very rustic) to boarder it, we were so excited.

Do you remember how I lovingly put in my chillies and my cucumbers, that turned out to be a triffid courgette, with courgettes as big as marrows but no bloody cucumbers? How I planted my spring onion seeds and sweetcorn seeds? And then we had one of the coldest starts to the summer on record, followed by a heatwave and it turned into this!!!!!!!!

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Then you will not be surprised when I tell you that the  vegetable plot is no more! I have given up on it! The logs have been moved, the grass is growing back!! I need to be realistic!

I think it is a common thing when you move, to France in particular, you have this idyllic picture in your head …….

You will get land, lots of land (don’t! An acre is enough if you don’t have livestock, or plan to set up a farm, remember you have to maintain your land and trust me it takes us over two hours to mow just under an acre!) anyway I digress…. there will be vegetables growing, chickens  clucking around your feet, a sun hat on your head, a basket in your hand as you waft between rows of potatoes, runner beans, tomatoes, sweetcorn, with your dress flowing out and gently blowing with the breeze. The reality last year was that the sweetcorn did not grow, or my spring onions, God knows what happened to them! Don’t get me started on the peppers, after hours of watering and feeding three plants I got three peppers! Whoop Whoop! No cucumbers, just monster courgettes, and about twenty tomatoes from six plants. It doesn’t help when your Welshie monsters keep jumping in the patch and peeing up your plants! So your idyll turns into something resembling Armageddon!

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Seriously I was crying with laughter when I reviewed this picture. I remembered all the scrabbling around on my hands and knees weeding, wondering why my cucumbers were growing so big, and only when they were the size of a marrow you would put into a show did I finally admit defeat and realise that my cucumbers were not to be. Apart from one, that grew like a fat round tennis ball, that was it!!

So we have given up, but not completely; my terrace reaches temperatures of over fifty degrees in the sunshine so the tomatoes, cucumbers and peppers are being put into big pots and put on the terrace, the peppers should even go red! Having said that I have already bought two of each plant and my two cucumber plants have died already and I haven’t even potted the bloody things up yet! But I will persevere because there is nothing like the taste of a home grown cucumber. Although I feel that I may be jinxed.

The chickens? Well we thought it would be impossible with two Welshies, one of whom likes to kill any small thing she can lay her teeth into, bless she was so proud when she killed a rat and brought it over to show me, add to her repertoire a pigeon, a rabbit and nearly two of the cats and you can see where I am going. But we are about to re-home six  chickens and hubby has been building them a big run, using the stumps of the trees we cut down for part of the perimeter. We have bought metal rods to hold the fencing down, and the large logs will also be used to stop the naughty, murderess from getting in to them. We hope!

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As you will see she is just casing the joint this afternoon, and you can also see that they have a log playground, until we find the time to chop them up for this winter!!

Also please note hubby dressed in his finest!!!

When we viewed the house there were goats in residence so we are going to use the existing goats shed as their coop, and, seriously, they will be the most spoilt chickens in the world.

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It is still a  work in progress folks, it will be higher on all sides and chicken wire is also being added, you will see it in it’s finest next week.

I had to re-home the chickens you see because I know them personally and have come to have a soft spot for them, so when I knew that they had to leave their current home I also knew that serendipity had stepped in again to say “you have them.”

As for eggs, well they lay well at the moment but I am not sure how well they will lay with two Welshies staring at them all day, with a look on their faces of “come and play with me little chicken, lets play kill the chicken, I will let you run away first!!” But we shall see, we hope that The Wiglet will get bored, we know Harley will.

I will name them, we won’t be able to eat them, as I said to my dear friend Jan “I cannot eat something I have named.” To which she replied “Then call one of them dinner, and one of them stuffing!!”

But it has always been our dream to own chickens, and whilst the idyll of the floaty dress, hat, and basket has been lost I do love to hear them clucking away.

Here is to next weekend, and a better harvest this year. You never know I may dress up after all!

Moisy

 

 

What do you want from an adventure?

Hi to all my readers, and firstly I would like to say thank you for the fantastic comments that I got from my last post.

Mental health is being promoted over the next few weeks in England, but I gather from the comments that it should also be put out there all over the world for discussion. It took a lot to post that blog, the narcolepsy kicked in before I wrote it! But mental health is NOT something to be ashamed of, in fact most people have a mental health issue of some kind, they just don’t realise it, and some have their heads stuck firmly in the sand so that they cannot see it. Why am I saying this? Because people are ashamed if they have had some sort of mental health illness in their lives so please share my post I am going to, I am putting it out to a writers forum because I am not ashamed about what happened to me. Let’s stop the stigma.

So…….. to the post for today, and to perhaps ponder over the weekend. If you could go on an adventure and change your life what would you hope to get from it?

To help here is what I expected….and what we got…….

I needed to not have any more money worries.

But as always life kicks in, work was hard to come by and we have struggled with money. We have a cesspit that does not work properly and listened to others recommendations when we should have done our own homework. Add to that the crappy insurance company Allianz who refused to  pay out when our roof blew off and you can see where I am going.

The difference our adventure has brought us is that we own our house outright, so nobody can take it from us; we had realised before we came here that material things are not important to make you happy, however we had not realised it quite as much as we thought, so we still bought mobile phones that were able to provide data, wasted food, and wood (we burnt most of the first batch of trees that we chopped down and put them on the bonfire!! Why?! When we have to heat our house with an open fire the first year, and now a wood burner. Doh! )

And we have learned, boy have learned?!  We have now bought cheap mobiles for 10 euro that are like retro phones (please don’t text me, I will take forever to respond scrolling through the keys as you had to on old phones abc….def…ghi…. and so on!) we don’t need data we need a phone in case we have to phone each other in an emergency. Add to them the pay as you go sims we have bought and we are away, using only what we can afford with no contract. (Unheard of in this modern world!)

We don’t waste wood and any that can be cut up has been, even last week when we were burning wood that could not be used I was breaking off the branches and twigs for kindling. Why pay for it when you have it for free?

We no longer waste food, and will waste even less soon (look out for the next blog), we have a compost heap, and cook less, and freeze more, we don’t put as much on our plates but always say we can come back for more if we want it. We rarely do!

I hoped for a more peaceful way of life, a simpler way of life.

We got that in spades. We sit in our garden with these views

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We are surrounded by nature, a resident woodpecker, the barn owl swooping over us at night, the swifts making their nests, life is good.

I no longer wanted to be caught up in politics.

But we did for a bit, took people on face value, did not see their agenda, followed certain Facebook group pages, but we decided this year to step away from them. Some people I look at when they post but I look at them rarely, apart from the odd few, you may have picked up that a lot of them with an agenda get on my tits!! (Sorry there is no other way to put it!)

The good thing is you can opt out easily, you are so far from other people that you do not need to be caught up in it if you don’t want to. I have made some wonderful friends and acquaintances out here and they know who they are. we are all like minded people.

I wanted more space, time to think mmmmmmmm…….

So I have set up a blog,  I am writing a book, I am preparing things to sell on the Etsy shop I am going to set up, including hand painted things and embroidery (all of which I have to prepare), I am helping Rich, I am learning French, and renovating my house and garden. So I am really busy, but…… I am doing things that I want to do. Yes when I help Rich it is hard work, when I paint peoples floors it is hard work, but creative work that I love, which then enables me to pursue my dream of becoming a writer and creator, or co-creator of interior designs for people with the things that I sell on my shop. (I can hear the keyboards over here clacking as we speak with people trying to look me up to see if I am registered. Get a life folks I haven’t sold anything yet!)

I love the fact that I am not in the rat race, I don’t feel the need to have a flash phone, or house, I love the fact that you think about everything you use and waste nothing. That has to be good doesn’t it?

This week we have worked hard in our garden every evening burning remnants of the trees we chopped down two years ago and just dumped at the edge of our chemin. We now want to sew a meadow garden (oh yes we are doing that too) so, because of the time of year, we were responsible and broke everything down into a fire bin. I loved just sitting in the garden in the sunset with a beer in the big boy chairs, as the temperature dropped (it has been warm out here.) watching the fire and the dogs and cats running around the garden (our animals love us.)

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I don’t care that most of the time I am in skanky track suit bottoms because of the work I have been doing, I am happy. I don’t need material things any more, just to be able to live.

And talking of re-using things you can see in the photo above that we have cut a hole in the hedge and Rich has built steps up the embankment using our old radiators, the boy did good, he wasted nothing! Just waiting for the grass to grow now.

I wanted our dog Harley to be able to run free in his garden and our cats (all four at the time and we have now gained our special needs cat as well) to be able to run around in open countryside without being terrorised by other cats because they were all living on top of each other. Well Harley got that, with nearly an acre of land including a chemin (a lane) and another field behind the barn. He also got the Wiglet, which we hadn’t planned for but who made our family complete (she makes her human brother in England smile with her antics.)

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I get to watch the dogs playing zoomies around our garden every night, digging bloody great holes hunting for moles (I wouldn’t have it any other way.) and our cats run free every day, they have so much land and so many trees to climb in our garden alone.

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I wanted my adventure to make me think, to see life differently, and so far it is doing that over and over again, I wanted to open my mind to how other people live, to other ways of life, to learn. More than anything I wanted to take a chance, see where life took me, let a greater being than me do the driving and trust in it. I wanted to live life as if someone left the gate open.

So this weekend I would ask, if you are going to have an adventure what do you want that adventure to give you, or where do you want it to take you?

Moisy

Please comment on my blog page if you can, this can open up the forum for discussion, it is always interesting to see what others think!

 

For some people I know… I little bit more about me

For those who have read ‘About Moisy Swindell’, or ‘Why I am not a Sheeple’ (both posts available to read) you will know some of the background as to why we decided to leave our life in the UK and go on this adventure. Sick of being on the hamster wheel of life, working really hard but always seemed to be struggling from one day to the next. I have also touched on the fact that my career eventually made me ill.

This post is for some people that I know out there who are looking at their lives at the moment and struggling, mentally, with the life that they have. So I thought that I would use my blog to, hopefully, help anyone out there who are feeling as if their brains will no longer do what they want them to do, and explain what happened to me, and how I have learned to cope with it (most of the time but not all of the time.)

Three years ago I had a high flying career, I had been head hunted to go to work for a failing organisation, my role in a large organisation at that time had been successful but, when I look back, I was getting more and more work thrown my way because (as I was later told by my counsellor) I was what is called a ‘doer’.

A doer is someone who will always “get the job done”, no matter what. These people normally do this because they feel the need to prove themselves, and want to please, and yes after a rapid rise up the ladder I do (looking back now) think that this clearly applied to me. But the problem is ‘doers’ are taken advantage of and given more and more and what happened to me is common because it happens to most people who try to please, who always get the job done, when they reach their late forties or fifties they are, quite simply, burnt out.

Looking back I can see it was not only my job, I had split with my first husband when my son was five, and had a high flying career then, in addition to make ends meet I taught aerobics and keep fit for six sessions a week to make ends meet. I was young, thought that I could keep going forever, and then my mum died. I no longer had my rock, the person who looked after my son in the evening whilst I took my lessons, read him stories, put him to bed, was always there for me.

The year after that I left my job, I could not cope with the fact that I never seemed to see my son, but was so conscious of the fact that I could die tomorrow. In addition I was also sick of being the person at work who always sorted all the crap jobs out. (See the ‘doer’ was evident then!)

I tried various careers, met Rich, got married and eventually found my niche in the NHS. I worked my way up quickly and after a major ‘War’ between Rich and I ten years ago, I threw myself back into it wholeheartedly and rose the ladder from a band 4 to a band 7 in two years. But I did not realise at the time that I was back in the position of chief ‘doer’ picking up all the crap all of the time. I learnt to bite my tongue, listen to people who were (and probably still are) arseholes and never said a word. Watched people (and I hasten to add that there were wonderful people who supported me) who earnt a fortune dip in and out of jobs cream the money off the top and then move on to the next one; and guess who always ended up sorting out the mess? Yep, you guessed it, me!

I was strong at home, always made sure the house ran right, was  the person ringing companies arguing about bills, or service we had received, worked out the accounts, in addition to running the house. I loved it, look at Moira she could cope; and then one day my brain said ‘NO! I am not doing this anymore!’

There were warning signs I had chosen to ignore, walking up to work from the train station when a voice in my head said “I can’t do this, I need to turn around an go home.” Did I listen? Of course I didn’t.

Or when I wrote in my journal that I felt as if I was standing on the brink of a black hole, did I listen? Of course I didn’t. I just kept going, because I could; because I felt that I had to hold it all together; because I saw it as a failing if I gave up.

I was not sleeping properly, would wake at two am in the morning and not be able go to back to sleep. In the March before the crap hit the fan the start of a sort of Narcolepsy kicked in; I had a week off work but was tired all the time, really tired could hardly keep my eyes open even though I had just got up. I would fall asleep sitting up, and be asleep for four hours on the sofa even though  I was on holiday from work and Rich was on holiday with me.  I was just miserable all the time. In fact when I fell asleep he could not wake me. I went to the doctor and they sent me for blood tests, but advised that if they came back clear I must take some time off work. Did I listen, of course I didn’t.

So one day I got sent home from work because I just kept crying. I thought I would be fine, would be back in work the following Monday. I told Rich not to worry because I had mechanisms in place, I kept a journal to reflect and unload, I would write that. But when I opened the page I could not write anything, there was nothing in my brain but a brick wall.

Then the anger kicked in, and that was when my ‘Incredible Hulk’ reared her head. I could feel the anger burning in me, even if I went for a walk, and I got banned from the local post office because I called the rude woman behind the counter a f*****g ****. But it was worse than that, I knew I could have hurt her, hurt anyone. Rich was seriously worried about me and he and my sister considered taking my car keys off me. They were right if anyone had pissed me off at that time I would have mounted the kerb and killed them.

My counsellor told me I would never be able to visit  three or four different shops when I did my shopping, in fact she warned that I would not be able to do a ‘big shop’ for quite some time. I did not believe her at the time but she was right, and if I went into any large supermarket I would find that my brain just shut down and put me to sleep and Rich would have to leave me on a piece of furniture whilst he went and got the things we needed.

I did not realise at the time how ill I was; things like this just did not happen to me. But my brain had taken over the asylum and was running the show and I know now that I had to listen to what it said, because it was much more powerful than me.

Where has that left me? I did manage to get the incredible hulk under control, but I am acutely aware that she is alive and well inside me and that she can come out if I am really pushed. So I don’t allow myself to be really pushed, I don’t put up with crap off of anyone, but my approach is different and I have learned to put a stop to things before my anger kicks in.

I have accepted that there are some people who I cannot be around, and I now have a mini bus analogy in my mind with only a limited number of seats for people who I want in my  life. I have learned that I should stop trying to keep everyone happy and only concentrate on the ones who matter.

I stopped watching the news! Bibble, babble, bibble, babble, all the time; bombarding you with negatives ALL the time. Take a step back from it, it is like a soap opera if you put it on a week later it will still be the same, and it is essential if you are struggling because it will bring you down.

I went and sat by the sea, looking out at infinity and realised that all the shit I was being told was important just wasn’t important at all!

I stopped competing with others, I don’t feel the need.

I have had to accept that I will never be the same person again. I have to remind myself constantly to stop being a ‘doer’ and look after me, because if I don’t then there won’t be a me here.

I have had to have more integrity for myself and, sometimes, less for others.

I listened to my counsellor when she said that I constantly set myself targets and that I needed to stop doing that. When I first visited her and she asked me what I was going to do to relax I said “Paint the outside of the house so we can put it up for sale.” She looked at me aghast and said “No you are not going to paint the house, you are going home to sleep.” So now I recognise when I am setting my targets too high and I lower my expectations of myself, which is a difficult thing to do if you are a ‘doer’.

I still have moments, when I have not given myself time to think (the doer is still alive she just has to be slapped down sometimes!) when my Narcolepsy kicks in and my brain just starts to shut down and now I listen and I go to sleep for an hour which allows my bring to reboot.

Sometimes I write a list of all of the things I have done for the day, because I never counted pegging the washing out, or emptying the dishwasher as jobs, and my counsellor made me write down everything I did to show myself what I achieved each day, and when I did it shocked me. So now i make myself acknowledge what I have done not what I have not done.

I correct myself when I hear myself say “I must” or “I have to”. Why do I? I stop Rich doing this as well because you could drive yourself nuts constantly telling yourself what you have to do, as I just said how often do you tell yourself what you have actually done?

When I was able to (and my brain could not cope with any reading other than easy read books, chit lit, that kind of thing.) I  finished reading ‘The Road Less Travelled.’ It is one of the books I refer to now in my life, and I have progressed to reading the Tao.

But I can only do these things because the main thing I had to recognise was that something had to give. I could not carry on with the life I had, even though I was earning good money, had a beautiful house they were not making me happy, they were making me ill.

I went back to writing my journal, and being honest with myself about my failings and how I interact with others, but importantly how others interact with me and whether I want to live with that.

When depression then hit after my bout of stress I knew that it was time to leave my job and change the way I lived my life.

So I moved to France, I have no mortgage but the bastards still get you with taxes and all the other shit! So we keep our life simple and are less stressed now than when we lived in the UK with good careers.

There is no more buying clothes on a whim (although I look back now and I can see that we only did that to make ourselves feel better about our lives; material things are just a quick fix.) I look at the costume jewelry that I would buy myself every week as a reward for working so hard, and what good is it to me now? I would look very strange in the garden with sparkly bracelets and long dangly earings! Even at the supermarche I would look a tad overdressed!

I no longer feel the need to compete with others, they are they are and I am who I am. If they don’t like me ce la vie!

What I realised was that I could not have it all, no more holidays, no money to replace our roof, but I know that even if we had wonderful jobs and we could do those things something else would be crap.

So I am saying to all of you respect your brain and listen to what it is telling you, do not listen to your conscious when it says “what about the bills? ……You have worked so hard in your career. …….People will think you are a failure……… Look at what others have why do you have so little, you have to keep doing what they are doing.” You don’t.

Look at all of the good things you have achieved, but it may be time for change, whether you think it is or not, the mind is a powerful thing and it will let you know if you are abusing it. So it may mean making hard decisions, giving things up, because it will probably mean having a simpler, more rewarding life.

You have to decide what life you want, and if you find you are where I was (or even near) then please, listen.

I hope that sharing with you has helped some of you. You have one life and if you are not there yet trust me it is really frightening when you go to a shop to buy something and find yourself talking to yourself like a mad woman (or man)  in the aisles, and yes that happened to me!

So here are a couple of thoughts for the weekend

“The master does nothing, 

yet he leaves nothing undone, 

The ordinary man is always doing things.

yet many more are left to be done.” 

Excerpt from the 38th Verse of the Tao

 

“We must come to terms with the reality of change, which requires continual adjustments in the way we think and behave – and particularly when we have become the most comfortable with where we are…..” 

The road Less Travelled and Beyond

M. Scott Peck

And just one more thing, these are the things that give me pleasure, you can see them anywhere if you look, always reminds me I am just a blip on this earth! The view from our window last night as the sunset across the valley….

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Have a good weekend, and give yourself time to think.

Have a good Easter, and don’t buy anything, just enjoy the simple things.

Moisy

 

 

Some blossom has been and gone, the heart in the garden, and new blossom on the trees. Time is going too too fast….

It has been thirteen days ago since I posted. At the time I was house sitting in France whilst my lovely husband was left with the Welshies, and desperately trying to get our garden under control.

When I returned he had given the lawn it’s first cut (and with one eighth of an acre that is no mean feat!), and in that cut he had left part of the lawn, that could be seen from our bedroom window uncut with all the meadow flowers in it, in the shape of a heart; so that I could see it from our bedroom window when I returned. Yes I am a lucky woman, I know that and count my blessing every day where he is concerned.

I returned on the 31st of March to our beautiful cherry trees in full bloom …….

 

image After my return we have been so busy, working, finding new clients, and catching up on things that need to be done in our house (we still haven’t even started the bedroom and my mirrors remain unvarnished!) that time has simply run away with me.

But during that time we did find time, on the Sunday after my return to visit a vide grenier and play petanque with our friends. It was our first time since we started to even visit France that we have played with a Frenchman! Sorry I should rephrase that, played petanque with a French man and played it properly. I had an asset as I was his partner so we won!! Much to Rich’s disgust. Boy is it taken seriously, tape measures an all and I really felt as if I now live in France, something that I still pinch myself about every now and again.

As always time has flown by, and our feet have not touched the ground; add to building the business and working our garden needed some love and attention that we simply could not find the time to give it;  and in this short space of time the grass was growing over our feet, I don’t know about under them! So on Thursday last (Jeudi denier ) I spent the day in the garden finally moving all of the debris that we had stacked up after the tornado last year (new readers look in the September folder you will be able to read all about it there.)

We have now succeeded in setting up another seating area to the side of the house that gives us a little more privacy from neighbours opposite (we only have two and they are both lovely!) Rich was at work so I tugged the pots with trees in around on my own, and arranged it as best as I could until Rich took down the ladder that was still up waiting for us to fix the roof that the tornado kindly removed when it visited (which we still have not done!!) I also fed my beautiful clematis with there cherished fish blood and bone feed, (for those that like climbers they love it, it is a steroid for climbers! Look at them now……

This one has over seventy two buds on it……..

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So time is moving fast, the Azalea is now in all her glory …..imageand my cherry tree by the door has now lost her bloom for this year , but my ornamental Japanese cherry has taken the baton and is on the way to the finish line for beauty…..

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So after a really busy couple of weeks, we allowed ourselves a day off on Sunday (Dimanche) We did not get up until after twelve in the afternoon and sat in bed with the Welshies and three of the cats (they are our family, and love us unconditionally, good job we have a big bed!) and I sat with a welcome cup of tea looking at my most favourite view through my bedroom window…

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This tree was here long before I was and will, God willing, will be here long after I have left, and that is what I love about living here, it grounds you.

We spent the afternoon retrieving the garden furniture from the goats shed, and then re-positioning according to the movement of the sun, and no! We were not chasing the sun but finding some dappled light because it can be over fifty degrees on our terrace in the height of summer and was thirty five degrees on Sunday.

Poor Rich every time he settled down I said “let’s go and sit on those chairs now.” But what is the point of having a huge garden and not enjoying it all? So we sat in the ‘Big Boy’ chairs ……

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Then we watched the sunset sitting under our leaning cherry tree, to which Rich added a lantern (he has obviously lived with me for far too long, and sooooo  in touch with his feminine side!)

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What better thing can you have in life than to sit in your garden, under a cherry tree, watching the sunset with these views in front of you and two welshies and a mad toothless cat at your feet?

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And just to finish the day we were showered with petals from the cherry blossom, like confetti at a wedding.

We are on our adventure, to some we have nothing, but to us we have everything, simple pleasures, that cost nothing, but cannot be bought.

Life is good.

Moisy

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Two years ago today……. time to take the chance

Hi to all

Two years ago today I was hammering down a French motorway with four distressed cats in my car! What a way to start you new life! Our train had been delayed by nearly four hours and at this point of the day my cats had been in the car nine hours. I did hand write a funny post about our move, how I was frantically spraying so much Feliway (a drug that works a bit like Valium for cats) that I am sure I was as high as a kite when we arrived at our new home in Sarthe at about 1.30am.

One of the cats had shit in it’s basket before we even got on the train and when I posted the fact on Facebook as I waited in the queue one witty friend said “Isn’t that meant to be lucky!” Thank you Tim!

But never to be deterred when we arrived we opened the wine at 2am to toast our new life and cooked lamb chops and chips!

But here we are two years on, we have learnt a lot and I cannot say that it is not a big adventure, but I do not regret it at all. I have learnt so much and moved forward so much.

But now it is time to face my fears. Everybody who knows me tells me that I should be decorating furniture and people’s houses for a living, painting beautiful floors and using the skills I have; in fact only this week a friend has emailed me to say that this is what I should be doing. I know she reads my blog a big thank you to her. I don’t think I will earn a fortune but I will be doing something that I love and I think that this will show in the work I do. So for the past few weeks I have been painting mirrors, hand painting them with different designs. They are not quite finished as this one needs to be varnished but I am really pleased with the result, and this gives you an idea of the design. Look our for the finished photos.

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I have also experimented with colour and this one is also going to be distressed now I have hand painted a design on it and then varnished

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I can shabby chic all day long if anyone wants a piece of furniture distressed email me for a quote, we can collect and deliver back to you.

Look out for the other items I will have and if anyone outside of France is looking for particular small things that are typically French that I can send to you then please let me know and I will source them for you. I am thinking lamp shades, milk churns, wall lights (you would have to have them converted to English electricity)

I have also started to embroider by hand 100% Egyptian cotton sheets with my own designs and here is my first one complete

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This is only one design, but there will be more and I can accommodate any colour scheme, if you are interested again please message me. I can say that they are hand embroidered in France. I have tried to keep them simple taking my inspiration from other simple designs that sell well.

It is fair to say that the last two years have been a roller coaster of extremely difficult times, to wonderful peaceful times.  In the time that has passed I have met a dog who I fell in love with who now lives with my dear friend Mary in England, a mad cat that now comes out to chat to me, and chickens who love me, (none of them at my house!). But at my home I have my beautiful girls who survived the journey, including my oldest cat Molly who will be seventeen in May.

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Of course the Harley boy came back to France with us after we had come over to France to collect him and give him a home. But we never envisaged that we would be blessed with a naughty cat poo eater, who smiles at us with a wonky smile, taps us on the head when she stands behind us on the sofa and greets us every morning with an “Oh!” as she yawns.  We could not imagine our life without her ,,, The Wiglet

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And last but never least the mad cat, who was found so nobody really knows what happened to her, but she is clearly away with the faeries in our garden some days (for those readers who don’t know that saying it means mad!) She has had a hard time to integrate into a house with four other cats and a Welshy, only to have another Welshy join the clan. She has no teeth, sits on Rich’s shoulder like a parrot and is also known as “Oh No!” because she is too mad to know any fear and just keeps going into situations she really shouldn’t go into. Ladies and gentleman I give you Sophie the sofa loaf.

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My friend Mary carried on her lap from one house to another when we moved to our house from our rented property; she was in a box and kindly shit in the box twice whilst Mary carried her on her lap. So I drove Mary on her first soiree through the French countryside in a car smelling of cat shit!! I know how to treat my friends!

There is a recurring theme here!

I cannot write this anniversary blog without mentioning the people who I know miss us, but have supported us, even though they have found it hard at times; because one of  them worries (my sister) and the other felt lost without his mum and dad close by (my son). Thank you to them both for  being there for us, we love you both (and my lovely Irish brother in law.)

There are others of course, Mary because she can no longer pop into see me, and she works so hard to ensure we see each other; and Jo and Mike, I know they still miss not having us next door; and my darling friend Nic, who although she has been out to visit has had a hard time over the last year and misses her bestie not coming over to give her a hug. She tells me that she misses me every day, and I miss her too.

But seriously I do believe that life shows you the way, and it is about meeting new people, and we have met some wonderful people. The Yorkshire-man  who is the founding member the grumpy gits club (but we love him and his wife dearly). Then there is  our other new adoptive parents who I cannot name, but they look after us and we love them. My sister commented how, given it will be twenty years since I lost my mum this year, we were destined to meet them for various reasons. (I value their privacy I will say no more.) All of the lovely people who have congregated towards the French class that I have in my home, the main stays all seem to be like minded people, and not least from them I have met my wonderful mad friend Jan. (More about her later!)

Our friends in England who have come to visit, sent us supplies (not least my wonderful mum in law) and medicines; so many people, too many. (People not medicines, I had us sounding like druggies there!)

 

I have made cyber friends through this blog, especially my fellow blogger Roz; and friends from years ago have returned into my life; they just had to get off my mini bus and go to another stop for another journey for a while. But they picked my bus back up and they are joining in the ride with me now.

But last but never least it has to be my loving husband Richard. Ten years ago I did not know if we would make it through, but that man’s love for me knew no bounds and he would not give up; he, quite simply, adores me; and I am blessed. I could not have had this adventure without him.

You have all shown me that there are good people in the world and my husband is right up there with the best.

I know that this blog has inspired people and that is just what I wanted to achieve, just to make people think what if…..?

I just want to say a big THANK YOU to you all.

But there is more to come, of that I have no doubt!

Moisy

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

My mothering Sunday in France

Happy Mother’s day to all of my English followers. Obviously it is not Mothering Sunday in France, but never the less we are celebrating it with a lamb roast (a real treat) and a film, some things never change no matter where you live!

This year is especially poignant for me, and my sister, as it has been twenty years since we last had our lovely mum with us to celebrate mothering Sunday with. Twenty years ago we knew that it would be the last time we would be able to celebrate with her, and perhaps, because it is a milestone, that suddenly bites you on the arse when you realise that you have not spoken to someone that you love for so long,it has made me think (no surprises there then I hear you say!) I still have the wooden figure that I bought her as a gift from my son and I in my kitchen, on that last celebration, it reminds me of her every day.

My mum never got to travel far, only to visit my Dad’s family in Ireland. She always wanted to travel, and I know that she would be so pleased that I have stepped outside of my comfort zone and gone on an adventure. Life really is too short.

I just wished that she had been able to see my home now, and I know that my darling dad would have been in love with our house and the views from it. Only now do I appreciate how hard it must have been for him living in England, in quite a built up area, now that I live in the middle of no-where, because where I live really does remind me of Ireland.

So as well as being a poignant Mother’s day for me, it is also a joyful one because I am now back in touch with my son, and we chat over Messenger quite a few times a week. I also have all the kittens and my beautiful babies Harley and Wiglet, who have had a spa day in time for the celebration…

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So this post is for everyone but especially those who, like me, no longer have their mums to share this day with; a few words to consider for the future, I read them today and they moved me, I hope that they do the same to you…..

“To mourn too long

for those we love

is self indulgent –

but to honour their memory

with a promise

to live a little better

for having known them,

gives purpose to their life –

and some reason

for their death………………”

Anon

“If, as I have said over and again, we are not here to necessarily be happy, fulfilled, or comfortable all the time, then what is the meaning of life?

I believe the reason we are here is to learn, to evolve, to progress. When people learn they are in a position to progress (move forward) as opposed to regress (move backwards). And I defy you in your imaginations to construct a more ideal environment for human learning that this life.”

M.Scott Peck ‘The Road less travelled and beyond.”

I hope that those who want tom take these words and work with them to progress in life, it is the best tribute we could give to our mothers.

Happy Mothering Sunday Joyce, still miss you everyday.

Moisy

x

 

 

 

Springing time

Before I begin this post I just want to say a big thank you for the response to my last post, about exploitation in the workplace over here. It obviously touched a nerve with a lot of people, and the support was overwhelming. I also want to say a big thank you to my Facebook mate Tim, who asked if I had written a book and if so how could he get a copy. What a compliment. No I have not finished my book yet, but this has inspired me to start book number two about my adventures over here (which will include many other bits I do not put in my blog!) and thank you for the encouragement from you all regarding everything. Also a big thanks to Linda who shared my post because it inspired her regarding exploitation of workers. Good!!!

On to this post………

 

So with some thinking yesterday was the first day of Spring, some thinking today is  the first day of Spring I thought it would be a good time to show you the pictures of my garden, where spring is bursting out all over.

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Until  the fourteenth century Spring was simply Lent, but the name Spring evolved when  people started to call this time of year Springing time,  referring to the plants springing from the ground, (I also like to think of the lambs springing about, and no! Stop thinking about mint sauce!!) and this phrase eventually evolved  into the name of this season as we know it, Spring.

Over the past few weeks, since my post on the 6th of March the garden is literally springing to life, the crocus have now gone and in their place I  have daffodils, narcissi, and grape hyacinth,  ( I had forgotten that I had planted the grape hyacinth the first autumn we were here!) not to mention the primrose that is prolific over here.

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These photos also show our stone troughs that have been in existence since the house was built in 1812. Some people say that they are old coffins that were used to bury children!

Our first Spring here I thought it would be a great idea to buy some meadow flowers and just sprinkle them under the tress where the grass does not grow so well, and also over by our hedge. Sadly I thought they did had not taken, mainly because I had one lone poppy and no sign of any others and also because I think Rich mowed over them (including the bloody lone poppy!)  and also  because I was a lazy cow and just threw them at the dirt and hoped that they took without putting any effort in.

Well obviously nature took her course, the birds ate them, and then pooped them back out all over our lawn!! We now we have a sea of yellow flowers to join the primrose and the other plants …..

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And also some really lovely little blue flowers….

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The only problem now is that they are all growing in the grass and the grass needs cutting!! So I think I will be helping Rich next week (we are busy this week) and will try and mow bits of the lawn and leave the flowers to have their day. If I don’t watch him he will just drive over them with the ride on and that will be that! The man’s a menace when he gets that mower between his legs (a feel a Frankie Howard moment coming on!)

The bush was on death row, as was her sister bush, we cut them back hard because they seemed to be boring and green (as plants tend to be) and were going to dig them up;  but as you can see from the previous picture they are actually Forsythia and have a profusion of pretty yellow flowers popping out. Looking it up it does say that it can be dull after flowering so were weren’t wrong really,  but I have decided they are too pretty to kill, and the remind me of my childhood home, because my mum had a hedge of them (weirdly i was only thinking of that hedge the other day and thinking we should get some because our garden needs to have different areas put into place to give it some structure only to get home and find that I already had it and was about to kill it!)  so we have decided we  will just keep them small.

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We also have some fairy Kingdoms popping up again, sorry folks but I do like to think of faeries in my garden as you know

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I love this time of year, it always reminds me that things will change, will get better, if you let them and trust that they will.

Here are to quotes to contemplate in this time of change and hope….

‘The Tao does nothing, but leaves nothing undone

If powerful men

could center themselves in it.

the whole world would be transformed

by itself, in it’s natural rhythms.

When life is simple.

pretenses fall away;

our essential natures shine through.

By not wanting there is calm,

and the world will straighten itself…….’

Edited from the 37th verse of the Tao Te Ching 

 

Isn’t that what spring shows us every year?  Bear in mind that nature never gets it wrong, even earthquakes, tornadoes and tsunamis have there place.

Or for those people who feel that they “have” to do something, “have” to look at something in a certain way, do something in a certain way, because other people make them feel as if they should; here is a quote you might like….

‘Let your ears hear whatever they want to hear, let your eyes see whatever they want so see; let your mind think whatever it wants to think…..’

Alan Watts ‘Tao: The Watercourse Way’

Let me tell you about the cherry tree that I have put at the beginning of this post. I have had that tree for seventeen years. It has always been in a pot and it was only about two years ago, just before we moved her out here, that I moved her to a bigger pot because she was struggling to flower. I had to tug and pull her, with Rich’s help because she was so pot bound, and she got really battered in the process.  I then cut her back hard for the move and just hoped she would survive. As you can see she has flourished and never gave up. Every morning I have at least five big fat furry bees buzzing around her, she is giving them life after the long winter. So she is happy because I helped her, she helps the bees and they all make me smile every time I see them. We are all happy, it cost nothing nature is just following her course.

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Happy spring folks let it be the start of something new for you.

More posts are on there way keep looking out for them.

Moisy

 

 

 

 

It’s time someone said it!!

Hello to all my readers

After all my promises I let life take me over again and have not blogged for two weeks.

I will have many posts coming out this week, but firstly I thought that I would offer some explanation re why I have not posted. For those of a nervous disposition look away now, especially those who exploit others; for those who don’t exploit others or those who have been, or still are being exploited I think that you will appreciate that someone has finally had the balls to write about one of the biggest warts that goes on over here; and probably in other countries that people move to, that is the exploitation of people who have to work to fund their dream.

There have been a few things that have spurred me on to write this blog, the fact that my dear friend told me I should write my second book about my experiences, as there is no-one that has given an honest account of the shittier side of moving out here, and what people who are simply trying to work to fund their life choice experience.

The second is that my dear friend in Majorca has told me that she loves the fact that I capture the “nitty gritty” of making the move, but also that my positivity shines through.

The third thing is that one of my readers (thank you Ellen in America) has told me that as the late great Nora Ephron said when quoting her dying mother “It’s all copy.”

And last, but never least  is what is the point of having a blog if I cannot write what I want?

So taking my friends leave I would like to start on a positive: We have  worked for some really lovely people over here, people who have become our friends despite that fact that we work for them. These people are, more often not, people who have also had to work for a living and recognise how hard it is and how difficult it can be finding work out here. They have probably, over their time, experienced what we have experienced, and through their own integrity (and intelligence because you have to be intelligent to have integrity!) they never exploit the people who provide them with a service.

These people  have experienced the other side of the coin, of people abusing their trust, of people simply not turning up, or saying that they have done things that they have not, but that has not meant that they judge all people the same. They know who they are, Rich and I still provide them with services and to them I am grateful.

We have provided services to people who are fair, and clear with what they want, and grateful for the service you have provided. This post does not reflect on all people we have worked for, but sadly we have worked for some ‘warts’!!

I would also like to say thank you for those who have said that they will wait until Rich is available because he “is worth waiting for.” My husband works hard, he always turns up, (which a lot of people don’t) he gives his best, as do I, and whilst I know that these people I have mentioned have always appreciated it,  it is a shame that some people do not!

I think that it is fair to say that people who know us know that we have a strong sense of doing the right thing. We have based any work we have provided on reliability and integrity (in fact I might have said before that I could be perceived as having too much integrity, because sometimes it is to the detriment of myself that I apply it .. more of that further on.)

So here have been my experiences,and I hasten to add here that I have provided no names, or locations with regard to my tale. If someone feels that I am talking about them then that is on their conscience and not mine, and any similarity to people or places (although I have been so vague I don’t know how you would see any similarity) is purely coincidental. France is a big place!

So here we go…..

There was a place of work where I was asked to clean 14 bedrooms, 9 bathrooms, 7 kitchens and 7 living areas, for 62 euro. The person who owned it thought that if the previous people who had been in the property had not paid for cleaning that they  were going to ‘clean’ it themselves meaning that the property would only need a ‘light clean’.

Now I would ask what is the definition of a ‘light clean’? Because to me you still needed to check and clean every microwave, still needed to check that all surfaces were clean (which more often than not because the property had been left for a week it still needed wiping down.), that all fridges were clean, the floors still had to be hoovered and mopped. So really there was no such thing as a ‘light clean’ and I found myself working for six hours or more for 62 euro. (Add to that I had to take my own hoover because of the 15 hoovers dumped in the hall not one of them worked properly, which probably explains why no-body did the bloody hoovering!!)

I cannot do a job badly, it is not in me to not give a good service; add to that I was conscientious because of the next group of people that would come to the property, and I could not leave it dirty for them. I think that it is fair to say that my conscientiousness and my integrity were taken advantage of.

Why did I do it? Because we needed the money. When I was there because I had agreed to do a good job.

I know a lady that took over when I left because she needed the money, for me this is taking advantage of people, or another way you could look at, is exploitation!

I also know that others had worked for these people before us, and they left for the same reasons and others, but those other reasons will have to be included in my book.

Then Rich worked for someone, and at the time we did wonder why nobody else had applied for the job when we met them; but not long afterwards we realised why. They were so rude! When we met them they could no understand why the previous person had just stopped going and not told them, they explained that good communication was essential, (they were not in the country). Now as you may have guessed  I am okay at communicating, but  I would send emails weekly with photos of what Rich had done,  before and after and they just wouldn’t reply. Or when they did reply the emails just became ruder and ruder, as if we were servants, and stupid. Now as you know I will work hard for anyone but I am not a servant, or a minion and I sure ain’t stupid!!

I let it go and let it go, rising above it, but it got to the point that their rudeness and negativity was affecting us in all aspects of our life, we started to dread their emails, and never knew how long we would have to wait until payment was received. We decided to walk away. Something that we did not want to do as Rich had worked hard on their garden, although they did not think so.

After that I was advised by someone that they have had lots of people who have stopped working for them because of their rudeness, and that the people have said that they speak to you as if you are a servant, and below them. Ain’t that the truth! I must admit I think that their heads may have exploded when they received my email saying that we were no longer going to work for them, it was professional but direct and mirrored their language; I always find it interesting when people take offence with the tone you use when you have simply mirrored their language back to them!

I knew then why the person before us had ‘just left’!!

But the crux of my story comes with my most recent experience. I found a job (I have to say here I want to work, but I want to ensure that I can get work in the field that I register in so I need to establish if this will be the case first, and my experience to date had not been great, but I lived in hope!)

The people seemed very posh and they owned a chateau quite a way from my house (lets just say the best part of a four hour return trip). They seemed very polite said that they had a manager and that I should meet the manager when I arrived.

I did! It was all I could do not to stand there most of the time with my mouth open when they were speaking to me. Whilst I was there (and this place was incredible) they had a row with the neighbour, and said manager was just so  confrontational I thought that they were going to spontaneously combust!

Now the mellow Mois in me, (as you know follow the Tao and all that, so I try not to let ego get the better of me) just took a step back and watched the day unfold. They had no idea that their actions and what they were telling me that they were insecure in their role, trying to hard to be hard (not sure if my readers in other countries will understand that but it means as if they would hit someone if they needed to, were not afraid) which told me that they were not ‘hard’ at all. Otherwise why do you feel the need to keep telling me that you were going to “rip someone’s throat out.”? Or “got right in their face”? Seriously I kid you not! At times I wanted to giggle. Here I was in this beautiful place surrounded by beautiful things and all this person wanted to do was have a row with everyone. Now the people who know me know that I don’t argue anymore, but in the same vein I am not afraid of anyone. The only difference? I didn’t feel the need to tell them that.

But the main thing here is that they had other young people working for them and this person came across like a lunatic. They “didn’t do lunch”, could do everything that was needed from electrics to building walls to doing the cleaning in such a short space of time that I can only assume that they were related to “The Flash!” Everything I was shown I was told “I can do this in an hour and a half.” Or “I can do this in half an hour.” I knew this was to intimidate me into thinking I was slow, and also so that they could then not pay me the agreed amount at the end of the day. They were setting me up to fail, and I would imagine setting everyone up to fail so that it looked as if they were indispensable. They were that insecure.

So here is what I was asked to do in seven hours:

Clean a grand hall that was bigger than my house, a living room that was also bigger than my house, the kitchen (including emptying and cleaning the fridge, loading and unloading the dishwasher twice, and putting the shopping away), two studies, a bedroom bigger than my living room, a bathroom bigger than my bedroom, a dressing room, the grand stairs and the servants stairs,wash the front door, and sweep the front steps, and clean the toilet. Phew that wore me out just typing it so after eight and a half hours of solid slog (remember I should only have been working seven) with no breaks, not even a drink of water I was f*****d, and I still had one room left to do that even ‘The Flash’ took an hour and a half to clean. We had to agree that I could not finish the job. It was obvious that I was never going to finish the job.

‘The Flash’ then advised me that I had to remember that I had only been given half of the list that they expected me to do, because in addition I would also be required to clean the library, including all of the books, the dining room, do the washing and the ironing and polish all of the wooden floors – all in seven hours!!

They were quite surprised when I then said “That is not doable!”. I think they were surprised that someone had actually stood up to them, but that  may be because this someone had just listened to them talking about themselves and had not told them anything about her. That something being that I will answer you back if I don’t agree. Their mouth fell open but funnily enough they did not get in my face, which was probably a good choice.

Despite the fact that I was obviously not up to ‘The Flash’s’ speed, they asked me to go back the following week. Rich was furious because they paid me ten euros less than the agreed amount, he had to drive over 244 miles that day to drop me off and collect me, and he said that they had obviously planned all along not to pay the agreed rate.

My friend implored me not to go back, I had hurt my back and nearly killed myself working so hard non stop because good old integrity had kicked in. In fact it remained in place and although I knew they were exploiting me I felt that if I had made a promise I should honour it. They did not however, and cancelled the following week. Praise the Lord!! My friends jumped up and down with joy, as did Rich because he did not want me to go.

Now here is the crux, they wanted to pay 10 euros an hour, and expected all of the jobs I have listed completed in eight hours, but when I found them on the internet they charge over £500 for cleaning if they rent the property out!!!!!

That is exploitation!!

It needs to stop!

Again as with the other people I have mentioned I have since found out that other people have gone to work for this place and left because and I quote “the manager was mad, and it was impossible to get all the work done in the time they expected it done.” !!!!!!!

There is a pattern here folks, no matter how much people want work you will not get anyone worth their salt to provide you with a service if you try to exploit them; so don’t then moan if you end up with people who don’t give a good service, or don’t turn up, or simply walk away and don’t tell you, if it keeps happening you need to ask yourself why?

So folks my apologies for being so knackered that I have not been able to write. I have decided that I am going to take advice from people who are dear to me and I am not doing cleaning for a living, so no all you little spies out there I will not be registering as a cleaner! But the monies earnt will be declared, have no fear (I know it worries you!) For those people who I help with their cleaning you know of course that I will always help you, because you have integrity.

There are many more stories I could tell but you will need to buy my book for that.

Someone has suggested that we set up a closed Facebook site where we can advise people who NOT to work for. That way they may have to stop exploiting people, start to pay the going wage, and treat the people who work for them with respect. It is not rocket science to know that if you treat people well they will give you over and above what you have asked for. I know we do.

More happier posts to come, but this had to be said.

Like I said, I am not a sheeple.

If you want to comment then please please provide some feedback.

Trust me there will be more posts to come……

 

Moisy

 

 

 

 

 

 

Back to the present day ….My ever evolving home, poor Rich!!

Back at the beginning of February I posted that we were going to move on to decorate our other bedroom. This room is not only our spare room when people come to stay, but also my writing room so we decided that we needed to prioritise what I needed  from the room over and above people who come to stay, because we have to make good use of the space all of the time so we dismantled the king size bed.

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Guess what? The bed is back up! Poor Rich, he only dismantled it five weeks ago, but off he went to the barn to find the screws and put it back together. As he cursed me he also said I “could bloody well put this in my blog!!”So here you go….

We have configured the room to how we will want it once we have decorated and the bed fits in the room, with the day bed, really lovely now. We have gained more room because Rich has taken the old radiator out, and we took the singer sewing machine out and put in on the landing, swapping it for a much more user friendly cupboard. I needed to know where everything is going to go because I have recently painted a friends floor to make it look like an old worn out painted wooden floor, that shows the grain where the paint has worn,  if I say so myself, it is stunning. To get a message from her to say that she keeps looking at it and smiling is a real complement. I will share pictures, but only if she is in agreement.

I am now going to do this to all of the floors upstairs starting with the spare bedroom which is why we needed to know where all the furniture would sit as  I will do the side of the floor where the desk sits first because once the desk is in situ I did not want to move it.

Look out for more posts about the changing room they will be coming over the next six weeks, as I have lots to do, painting the desk,

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and the bureau,

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and possibly the chest of drawers (again!!)

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I am also going to patchwork one of the old suitcases that I have and possible chalk paint the other. This is in addition to decorating and doing the floor.

Busy, busy, busy………..

Farewell clowns!!!image

And thank you Rich for being so patient. Love you x

Moisy

 

Reminisces – January 2015 – packing away

Packing away:

I realised as we packed away Thom’s room that we never did get around to changing his carpet!

 

A Sunday in January

Rich and I sat in the back room today, our snug, with the log fire burning, music playing. I got tearful about leaving our house. It will always be one of, probably the most beautiful houses I have ever had the privilege to live in. But…….We talked about the whole picture, how Herne Bay is a lovely place to live, but if you asked me if I want to live in this town in another ten years the answer would honestly be no.

I am bored with the walk along the beach path. I have done it nearly every day for the past ten years. Life is for embracing new things. There is a whole world out there to see and experience.

One of the deciding factors was the elderly lady who lives in a bungalow opposite. She had her blinds fitted the week we moved in here eleven years ago; and they have not moved in those eleven years. She never goes into those rooms; the lights are never on in them. I don’t want to live in house and that house become my life to such an extent that I rattle around in it and don’t really live. Sell your house, sell your bungalow, and see the world; keep young by experiencing new things.  Don’t wait for God!

January 2015

I still swing from not wanted to give up my house, to wanting the move. I was tearful today so called my friend in Cornwall.

She had  had a beautiful, huge, Victorian house in Herne Bay. Her life changed and she had to leave it behind, it broke her heart at the time. She moved to Cornwall to be near some of her family; she has never regretted that move.

Always a straight talker she pointed out that, although beautiful, my house is just a house. That I have been the main contributor to making it beautiful and that I will make my next house, in France, beautiful too.

She is right. I knew she would be, that is why I called her, I needed someone to tell it to me straight!

 

January 2015 packing away:

Tom’s room (he left four years ago but I still call it that!) seems really weird. As we are packing up we are stacking the boxes in his room.

There is a feeling of sadness, as if the house is sad, it knows we have loved it so much.