Windy washing days


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I may have said before, but we live right on the pinnacle of a hill.

Hence the wonderful views down the valley, the tornado that ripped through our garden, and the exceptionally high winds we have at times. Yesterday was no exception!

Now I am the type of girl that loves to peg my washing out on the line. I take great joy out of putting the washing in the washing machine dirty, and then taking it out smelling so fresh and pegging it on the line, looking so clean, there is nothing like the smell of line dried washing, it cannot be replicated. I find it relaxing watching it blow in the wind and yesterday was , I thought, the ideal day for this small pleasure.

So off I went with my bedding past the chook chooks, clucking away

Off to my lines, tied between the silver birch and the goats shed (now the Hilton Hotel for chickens!). Boy! Was it windy! I wrestled the super-king quilts onto the line and pulled them out tight. Whilst the wind blew them here there and everywhere, and me with it. The chickens were now looking at me as if to say ” WTF! She has lost it” as they clucked their disapproval at me, and the Welshie’s, running around me, barked and chased the wind, in between barking at the chooks . Chaos in the garden was underway.

But I won! The bedding was flapping away furiously with about ten pegs on each piece, making a wonderful sound, snapping in the wind.

So empowered was I off I went to put some more washing on, and start some more work on our handmade products for our Etsy shop.

But there was a problem that I had not considered, which was that my lines are held up by line props; so as I worked away, engrossed with my orange stick and sparkly treasures, the wind blew the props away from the lines and the lines dropped down, resulting in my massive quilt cover dragging in the grass.

When I looked out of the window I realised the problem, and off I went up the hill to my lines, the cover was muddy so I brought it back in for a quick wash.

Despite the setback I was undeterred, I pegged the just washed set of bedding out, making sure that each item was pegged with enough pegs that if the props dropped they would not go in the dirt again.

The wind was blowing furiously and it made me think of the story where the wind and the sun did battle, I’d swear that bloody wind was doing battle with me! But I was confident I had got it right.

But this is how my day went:

Half an hour later I look out of window, the props have blown off, additional pegs have blown off, and the washing has dropped down. I run out check it is not dirty and re-peg it, and put the props back out.

15 mins later props have blown off and sheets have dropped down so I go back out take in the sheets, that are nearly dry and peg out the newly washed load that I have got out of the machine. I know, I said to myself, I will put all the small items on this line so I don’t need to use the prop. Yey, I think, I will beat the wind. I am determined.

Now you have to remember that all this time the neighbor can see me out of her window and must be thinking ‘les Anglais!! Elle et Fouelle!” Meaning the English! She is mad!!

But I am undeterred half an hour later I take re-washed quilt cover out of machine, go back up the hill to line, buffeted by the wind, I’d swear the bastard was trying to blow me over!! The Welshie’s were barking at my feet, and doing zoomies around the garden, the chickens were clucking at me as if to say ” you are fucking mad!” I repositioned one of the quilt covers, re-pegged it, with it blowing over my head and trying to smother me, this was no an easy thing! Then I peg the re-washed quilt out on a high part of line that does not need a prop. ‘Aha! You bastard!’ I said to the wind, ‘you won’t beat me this part of the line does not need a prop.’ So I struggled, all five foot four of me, heaved this massive quilt cover over the line as the wind buffeted me everywhere and the Welshie’s barked at the now empty chicken enclosure because it was so windy they had gone in. (I could still hear them clucking their disapproval at me from in the goat’s shed.)

That’s it I had it sorted, and I was confident that there would be no more problems. Off I went back indoors, made myself a celebratory cup of tea (I know how to live!) and got on with my crafting. In fact I was so confident I put another load of washing in the machine!

The wind was getting stronger and stronger and was now hitting the house with huge buffeting gusts. An hour later, armed with the fresh washing I call the Welshie’s, who look at me as if to say “are you mad woman?! We are not coming out, it is blowing a hooley, out there!!” “We are staying in the warm.”

As I open the door the wind gives me a push and when I look at my line it is broken and my freshly washed ( for the second time) quilt cover is laying in the dirt, along with my pillow cases!!

I picked them up, and pegged my next lot of washing out on the other line, whilst the chickens looked at me in disbelief, and I’d swear I saw my neighbor laughing at the window!!!

I am not a girl who gives in easily!!

Moral of this story: Don’t ever give up, but remember you cannot beat nature!!

And , yes, my washing dried, and I only have a small amount of dirt on the quilt cover so I am going to make sure that goes on hubby’s side of the bed!


My mornings go like this – life in the French countryside……


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…..With five cats, two without teeth!! And two mad Welshies…….

Monday: Get woken up by Wiglet the Welshie barking at the neighbours car that she hears every morning, but, for some reason thinks that they are going to kill us so she has to warn us all and wake us up!!


With no central heating it is essential I pull on socks and slippers, put on fleecy dressing gown and put the heater on in the bedroom. Off I go to make our first cup of tea in the morning. As I enter the living room I ensure that I put the light on, we have shutters so our room is pitch black, and our cats seem to take great delight in murdering as many mice as they can in one night; and there is normally a disemboweled mouse on the floor. I make my way around the dead bodies and into the kitchen to a choir of meowing cats all wanting breakfast – sod the poor mice they are dead after all!!

I put the kettle on first!! Feed the caterwauling cats and then go back in to the late departed mice with my grabber to throw them in the ditch – I am sure something will want to eat them.

I go back into the kitchen to a cacophony of cats calling out for milk and cream. I let the dogs in and feed four of the cats milk and cream (imagine an Iles Flottant) and then have to give it to the Welshies as well.

Peace – all is well with the world, lots of lapping, silence, and I get to have my tea.

Tuesday: Wiglet the alarm clock goes off and I get up – see above for slippers, and attire; I make my way down the stairs, cannot get to the door at the bottom because I have two Welshies, and a black and white fluffy cat standing in the way. I give up and go to the loo instead, where the cat proceeds to scratch at the door and shout at me to get out – sometimes I feel like Gerald Durrel, and his mad family in Corfu!

I come out of the loo open the door, put the light on and think eureka no mice!!! Then I tread on something hard that turns out to be a mouses nose!!! Seriously are they not a delicacy?

Said routine in kitchen goes ahead only this time it is joined by Harley deciding that he wants to eat the cat food, and Wiglet deciding that she wants to growl at him!!

I calm everyone down with the Iles Flottant of milk and cream – aaaaaa peace. I light the gas fire, call the snoring husband and have my first cup of tea. I have been up over half an hour now!!

Wednesday: Wiglet is snoring and does not hear the neighbour – hooray!! But she does hear the cats banging about downstairs about five minutes later than normal and proceeds to hare down the stairs with Harley in hot pursuit. I know that the cats just do it to wind her up for all the times she tries to eat them because they know she will get shouted at!!

Harley then realises that the door is shut as always and comes back to bed. That dog is Bag Puss!!


I get up, put on said attire, lift the blind and say Oh! It is raining how surprising!! Then off I go down the stairs to be greeted by two Welshie arses (and trust me there is nothing better than a Welshie Arse)

Image result for Welsh terrier tails

And yes! She is on the table, the dog thinks she is a mountain goat!!

I open the door and follow the normal routine of putting the light on and searching the floor. There are no mice, no noses, no entrails, no tails. Eureka!! I go into kitchen put the kettle on feed the caterwalers

It is like a military operation, the one we adopted with no teeth fights with the others (go figure she has no teeth, but she wants to take tham all on!) so I have to  pick her up, another wants to eats everyone’s treats that are on top so I run round the kitchen moving the dishes, another is so old, bless her, that she is starting to get dementia and shouts at  me even though her food is in front of her, one runs out of the front door with the Welshies, and one is on top of the fridge because one of the Welshies wants  to eat her (guess which Welshie!!!)

I go into the living room light the fire, call husband and notice that one of the cats is now prowling around the sofa. ‘Oh no’ I think, please don’t tell me we have a live mouse. I let the Welshie’s in, sit down with my tea and mayhem ensues. There is a live mouse under the sofa, and now two cats and both of the Weshies are going mad trying to get it. Harley is crying, Wiglet is trying to rip open the back of the sofa, both nearly get electrocuted because they keep knocking a three way extension we have in our plug (French electrics! Don’t get me started!!) The lamp gets knocked off the table, the cat scratches the Welshie who then tries to eat the cat, the chair gets knocked over – another peaceful morning! The cats think fuck it! I am bored now! But,no, not the murderer known as Wiglet the piglet she will not leave it.

So I get dispatched upstairs with a second cup of tea and the two hounds whilst poor husband chases the mouse around the living room, catches it and the mouse lives to see another day. Hooray!!! Trust me we do this  often!!

Thursday: I decide to go back to bed to have my tea, with the Welshies in tow. All is well until I get the chews out, then they begin arguing and barking. After calming them down Sophie the Sofa Loaf (the mad one with no teeth- see the cast- ) who is totally away with the fairies comes up the stairs meowing. God knows why, she knows we have two Welshies, she knows that Harley wants to kill her, but no, up she comes meowing to let them know she is on her way. Off the bed they jump in hot pursuit of the cat, my tea gets spilt, and husband goes back downstairs to make another.

Friday: Dog barks – check – socks on – check – Welshie arses at the bottom of the stairs – check – dead mouse in the living room – check – mouses nose in living room – check. All is well with the world!!

Dogs chase mad cat with no teeth – check – mad cat with no teeth still insists on sitting in front of the fire with the Welshies!! Why?!

Saturday: Check, check check, check!! Oh hold on, we appear to have something under the log burner because diddymandod the cat (don’t ask she is female!!) is peering underneath it as if to say come out little thing I won’t hurt you. She then gets bored and the murderess starts. We are in bed having tea but can hear her banging and crashing around, knocking over the coal bucket, all of the fireside tools, and barking as if that will make it come out!! Harley is bored he has come back to bed with us.

Then we hear the snarl and all is quiet. Rich turns to me ‘She got it then!’ Up she comes and goes to sleep in her bed. When Rich goes down for the second cup of tea there is the poor thing, soaking wet from her spit and dead with a broken neck. At least it didn’t suffer!

Sunday: Lets have tea in bed again, and lets shut the door so that the mad cat cannot get in! Let’s just relax. Bang!!! The guns from the hunters go off and the Wiglet is off barking……….

Seriously though do the mice not realise that we have five cats and two Welshies?!!!

Who doesn’t know that when we go to bed the cats get the cards, brandy and cigars out and play poker; and the silly mice are the aperitif!!

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And, yes, we are mad, we love animals so much we try to save the mice as well!!! Imagine… I have only told you about the mornings!!!


Secret Diary of Dylan, aged seven and a half months!

For thise who love dogs, you can’t get better than a Welshie.

Dylan's Welshie World

Hi everyone, its me, its Dylan! Mum turned her back for a minute – not a smart move with a Welshie around, but bless her she’s not fully trained yet – so I have made off with her I pad!

I’ve heard what mum has been saying about me, especially at puppy class, (mmm not happy about her making out I’m a drama Queen) and I think its time you got my point of view. After all there’s two sides to every story right?

I don’t want to be to mean to my mum, cos I love her – and besides if I am she might not cook me chicken and rice tonight and I gotta keep my little belly full, I’m a growing girl – but the fact is, she’s not a puppy. And more to the point, she’s not a Welshie puppy, so there’s things that go on…

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Treat ‘em mean, keep ‘em keen!

Another funny stury of puppy class with Dylan the Welshie pup. A must if you want a giggle.

Dylan's Welshie World

Aha! The mystery of missing in action Martha the Schnauzer and Eddie the cockerpoo was solved tonight. Much to Dylan’s disgust – and yes it was written all over her face – it was revealed that both her former partners in crime have been moved to the super advanced puppy class. A class that Dyls and I are never likely to see. But it’s Ok as Dylan has her new sidekicks, Molly the cavapoo and Dotty the Spaniel, who are coming along very nicely thanks to Dylan’s alternative training class in terrierism! Think of them as the girls who rule the school, or even the Bitches of Eastwick. And their Jack Nicholson arrived in the shape of Teddy, a rather frisky Spaniel who started class tonight and who seems to have raging teenage hormones! Now Dyls has form with Spaniels – funnily enough it’s only Spaniels, she’s like cat nip…

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Reminisces – January 2015 – packing away

Found this as a memory today. A retrospective blog about packing up our house in England for our adventures, showing how hard making this type of decision can be. But now I sit in my home in France and look around the room, and my friend was right: people make a home.


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…

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8 things I didn’t know before getting a puppy

Another wonderful post about dog ownership, particularly Welshies!!! Love the way my friends life has changed forever.

Dylan's Welshie World

CCA668CD-C6DA-407A-811C-5C6BA3332C7C1. A relaxing bath would be a thing of the past

The other night I found some lovely expensive bath oil – leftover from my old life – and decided to have a bit of me time. Sink into the warm, fragrant water – and relax. Errr no! This did not suit Dylan at all as she barged her way into the bathroom, put two paws on the edge of the bath, started barking and did not stop until I got out. Which was in less than 7 minutes!

2. Getting ready to go out takes soooooo much longer 

Seems Dylan fancies herself as chief hair stylist/ make up artist. Well she must, as she grabs the hairbrushes and runs off. Ever tried blow drying your hair with a Welshie on your lap who refuses to move? And as for putting on make up – let’s put it this way…

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iPad and other inconveniences – and then the good part came


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Over the past few weeks I have been without my iPad. I had dropped it many moons ago and, despite it being in a case, it had a wobble for a couple of days and then righted itself. But it is old and two weeks ago it was ooompah loompah’rd by the Barnes Wallace of the house also known as Wiglet (She has so much coat, and such a fat arse that she looks like a bouncing bomb!!)


She jumped onto my poor pad and that was it, the screen would no longer respond.

I was lost, more than I thought I would be; because I do all our admin, emails, my Etsy shop, this blog, Instagram to promote our shop, Facebook on the iPad.  I don’t have a smartphone and, to be honest, i don’t need one and don’t miss being bombarded by social media all through the day. Just using my iPad kept me measured. But now I was lost.

As you know then ‘The Beast from the East’ arrived and our water froze so things were tres difficile.

But now I am back, a lovley man in Mayenne replaced the screen sensor, the BFTE has departed, our water came back on Thursday and I gave thanks for a lovely hot shower. Since our well ran dry in the summer I have truly respected water!!

A lovely friend of ours called us up and took us for a meal (simple but wholesome) and our logs are slowly being split and stacked. Overnight Spring has sprung, and we are embraced in a balmy twelve degrees!!

More than anything I have finally sent my re_edited book to another publisher, and received an acknowledgement to say that they are considering it! I have already been asked where it can be purchased! All good, all good.

Positive thoughts, always believe.

Have a good Sunday folks.


Brrrrrrrr – guess what? Gas freezes!! But we are still okay… it’s all about how you look at things!


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As I explained in my last post we had a wonderful Sunday that has just passed. Since then’Beast from the East’ has bitten here hard and the temperature hit an all time low of minus ten on Monday night!! So needless to say our water pipe has not thawed out and we are getting a bit smelly!!

No seriously we are not! Because it just made us go back to the way we used to wash when we were kids (sorry to say many moons ago!) when I would put the cooker gases on in my dear mum and dad’s kitchen  to keep warm, and have what was called a ‘strip wash’ at the kitchen sink. You washed the essentials that were likely to get smelly, or show dirt! And you left the rest – am I bringing back memories to some? When did it change and we all had to shower everyday – what a luxury that we wall take for granted.

But tonight we might go for it and have a watering can shower, reminiscent of those we had in the summer, only this time we will be washing ourselves bloody fast because it is so cold! We have had ice on our window on the landing – but please folks we don’t have central heating and we are not freezing to death, it is only in the morning; and we have a fan heater that warms our bathroom up toasty.

(A big thank you to all for your suggestions but our temporary water supply is above ground and over 40 meters long so we cannot insulate – we just thought we might have got away with it!)

In fact it has been so cold here that the gas bottles that we purchased yesterday were frozen – I know mad! But as is often the case in France they store their bottles outside whatever the weather, and then still sell them to you even though  they won’t work for at least 24 hours!! When you know it will freeze you would think that you would bring them in!

But never ones to give up we looked up on the t’internet (that was a reference for all our readers from t’North in England, who are saying “Cold! What bloody cold. In my days you wore clogs down t’mine!!) Anyway I digress….. after looking up does Butane gas freeze? And finding that yes, it does! We then looked up how to defrost it and today I sat it in a bowl of boiling water (from our precious water out of bottles that I then re-used to wash our hands) and hey presto, I finally defrosted it!! Good job because we have used up our gas bottle for the cooker hob boiling our  water.

Lesson learned we are going over to Propane!!

The log burner is working overtime and my lovely hubby is working overtime cutting logs for it, and the cats are snuggled in the bedrooms and the blinds are just about to come down early.

But do you know what? We are lucky. As I said to my sister the other night I look at images of children as young as 2 with nobody, living on the streets, or those who have to go down the bin for scraps to eat, or people who have lost the loves of their lives to illness and then I look at my situation with the log burner blazing, food in my oven in my kitchen, warm and snuggled under a throw with my beautiful boy Harley snuggled up to me (for that alone I am blessed) with people who care for me; and my darling husband who loves me, in the kitchen pouring me a glass of wine.What the fuck do I have to complain about?!!!!  The water will thaw, the weather will turn (it is going up to ten degrees by the weekend) and as the world always does it will all turn around again. I no longer have to get up and worry about travelling to a job I hate in the snow, no I don’t have everything but you cannot have it all, and boy do I have a lot. Yes we have work to do but it can be arranged – and has to be sometimes- around the weather. As I said in a previous post I know good things are coming my way, this is the year of change for us.

My sister agreed with me, at most what we don’t have is an inconvenience; and I know (yes know) that when you have bad you have good because everything goes in a circle – if you believe and allow it to.

People say to me how positive I am, because I get it now. In the words of great Lao Tzu

“Bad fortune is what good fortune leans on;

Good fortune is what band fortune hides in,

who knows the ultimate end of the process? ”

And just to make you smile here is a photo of me cuddling a teddy!!

Stay warm everyone. I have to go now my hands are freezing!!!



A wonderful Winter’s Sunday


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I have a few posts for you all this week – behind because I didn’t post last week and you will understand why soon.

But I feel compelled to write this one first. The ‘Beast from the East’ is upon us, and over the past five days the temperatures have been in the minus and on one morning we had a very slow supply of water (remember we have the water pipe above ground still so if it freezes!!!!!!!) So every morning we have got up and the first job is to check if we have running water, the second is to be thankful when we have; and be thankful for the lovely warm sunshine that we have also had that has clearly defrosted out pipe.

So after some busy days last week we decided that we would follow the French lead and have a Sunday of rest. The day started well with my husband waking me with a lovely cup of tea that we had in bed; he had lit the log burner to warm the house and raised all of the blinds to let the suns warmth in. I chatted to some friends whilst in bed and after another two cups of tea we got up, cleaned the kitchen (de rigueur when you live in the country) got dressed and out we went. I was determined to enjoy the beautiful cold day that had been given to us.

Hubby had had a ‘reccy’ recently and found a barrage – which is an electric damm, about a five minute drive from where we live and I wanted to go there for a walk. So we put the Welshie’s bra’s on (harnesses) and off we went. The skies were stunningly blue and clear, the wind was cold and crisp, and the sun was warm on your back –  giving you the distinct feeling of the battle that was taking place with Spring and Winter.

When w arrived at the barrage we were not disappointed …..

barrage cold sunday in Feb

There is a walkway across the barrage and as we walked across to the other side you could feel the power of the water thundering under your feet.

We then walked along the side of the river, where you could see across the river to  the the next town from us. view across the river in feb

The Welshie’s were in their element, there were so many smells to investigate that they even got there feet wet in the water looking for water voles, and chasing the ducks out of their hidey holes.

wiglet hunting by the river winters day feb

harley barley by barrage in feb

harely in the river winters day feb

To see our beautiful boy braving the freezing water, enjoying himself despite the cold was a blessing after nearly losing him last year. Like I always say, dogs teach us so much. He was having such a wonderful time that we through some rocks into the river and in he went!!!

harley in the river feb winters day

harely in the river winters day in feb

I just stood and looked around me and thought how blessed I was. I needed no money to experience the jewels that life can offer me, every day. The sun on the water literally took my breath away ..

sun on the river winters day in feb

We decided that we would come back to picnic on the side of the river, whatever the weather, and that we would bring our friends, who are visiting in April, to this place of beauty and tranquility. What a place to sit and be at peace with the world

seating area by river winters day in feb

As we wandered over to a little picnic area that was available we made a mental note that next time we would bring a flask of coffee and watch the world go by.

I just sat there and felt blessed

mois winters day in feb

Not least because I am married to him, and he makes me laugh, every day…

nutty husband on a cold feb day

So after a long walk we came home to our warm house (we had left the log burner topped up) got the flames going again and finished a perfect day with some wine and Toad in the Hole (perfect food for a winter’s day.)

When we got up this morning we had no water – after a temperature of -7 last night it was hardly surprising, and whilst I am ever hopeful the sun will defrost our pipe I know we will survive, we prepared for this eventuality. As I always say nothing apart from death or illness is insurmountable, it will all come right in the end.


Always believe…..