A house is not a home….



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Sealsea- (2)


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



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

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

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


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


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


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


The late great Luther Vandross..


Have a good Sunday folks.












Keep her quiet they said…Yeah right!


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Keep her quiet they said…Yeah right!

Keep her quiet they said…Yeah right!
— Read on

Dylan the Welshie, in trouble again!




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Last night, in the warm 24 degrees of the evening we invited our friends and neighbours around for  l’aperitifs. We thought that it woukd be nice for them to see Karen again, after meeting her at Christmas, and also be the perfect way to start Rich’s birthday celebrations for his birthday on Sunday (or more aptly his birthday weekend because all he keeps saying is ‘it’s my birthday.’)



But Dylan the Welshie puppy, or Le Terroir, as we now call her, decided that things weren’t going to go to plan, and decided to get a grass seed in her ear and have an emergency visit to the vet (I have shared this adventure it is called ‘keep her quiet.’) so  our French friends arrived whilst I was still unshowered and in my shorts, and Rich was still in the shower. We did not have the aperitifs ready, and as is etiquette nobody would sit down until Rich arrived.

Karen rushed down in her new outfit she had bought that day, looking very French, and very chic, and proceeded to help me with the food. We had decided to go for a French English fusion, with sausage rolls, pork pies, cheddar cheese and some beautiful baby pickled onions in balsamic vinegar, they are so sweet you could eat them like sweets. In addition we had cornichon, cheese cubes, enrobed nuts, and salted almonds.


Eventually we all sat down to pink gin, whiskey, and pastis, with the obligatory red wine. We chatted……5DBB212B-1A75-4FFA-BF7C-80DB5EF68286 and laughed despite the language barrier, and found out that the end of the barn, that we thought belonged to Marc, actually belonged to us, we did not know and it now has trees growing through it!


We also discovered that the small barn at the end of ours had, in fact, been the home of marc’s parents. A pretty little house years ago so sad that it is now used as a garage and not much more.

Marc explained that six years ago he lived here alone in his beautiful house, and that slowly this little commune has grown with Luci and Manu renovating what would have been one of our barns years ago, and moving in only four years ago, we moved in three years ago and the rest they say is history. They also explained how our home has the most stunning view of them all, it is wonderful to see how Marc still loves his home.


I love the way we just laugh with our neighbours, they have been so kind. So tomorrow, on Richard’s birthday, they are now all coming to us to watch France in the world cup final.

Vive La France.






Hope and the young


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And that is what this post is about – the power of hope; and what the young players in the English team brought to so many over the last few weeks.

I am inspired to write about them not because of their feat – and it was in itself a fantastic feat- but the hope that they inspired in so many young people in England who, at this moment in time, feel so disenchanted and disenfranchised.

England is in disarray in a way that it has not been for hundreds of years: A botched referendum, division amongs many, and mainly the older English people, jobs disappearing at a fast rate of knots, the inability to buy their own homes (after all an Englishman’s home is his castle), high levels of debt, zero hour contracts; is it any wonder that our young people fear for their future?

But this year a young England team went to the World cup without much support from at home; after all England have been dismal for over ten years and I think a lot of people thought that would not change. But along came this young team, led by a measured and calm manager; who presented himself of the pitch immaculately irrespective of the heat and never seemed to lose his cool. He led by example. It is shame that others in England cannot do the same and are only out to make a name for themselves, a particular odious buffoon of a politician comes to mind!

This England team, the oldest only being thirty one and the youngest being nineteen, took the lead from their manager, not only did they play well – and the still have a game to play – but they did so with dignity, they did not respond to bad tackles and bad behavior on the pitch, they showed integrity and humility throughout. But, more importantly, they gave the young people in England hope. Big screens started to appear across England in a show of unity for all to support their home team, the young people started to believe that things could change, that they could improve, that England could get better; and that was the most important thing of all from this world cup.

My son messaged me to say he thought that this was a turning point for England, that if this young team could do so well, then things could get better, he had hope. Yes there were the few that behaved badly, terribly at times and it is a shame that some people focused on that negative and seemed to completely lose the positives that this World cup has given Englands young people; or see that; whilst the behaviour was appalling and it should never be condoned, it happens across the world and not just England.

So whilst these young men lost the semi-final I will reiterate that they still have another match to play and should be supported; and the hope that they have given to our young in England should be noted because at the moment I don’t think the older generations are leading by example. I would ask since when did third or even fourth place stop counting?

Keep the faith in all things, not just the football, don’t wait for the next match or tournament, but use the impetus to make improvements, and to always lead by example.

Good luck boys


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The Princess and the Pea! A fairytail of love, kindness and Welshies….

A lovely take on our princess’s story.

Dylan's Welshie World

Once upon a time there were two little Welshie girls.

The first known as Princess Wiglet did not have the best start in life.

She was bred to be a show dog, but unfortunately her curly piglet like tail was not considered to be correct for the show arena and so before she was a year old, her tail had been operated on twice to try and straighten it.

But that stubborn little tail kept on curling and so she was rehomed to a French count who lived part of the time in Paris where he let her off the lead – not always a wise idea with a Welshie – in the middle of the city, where the scared little puppy ran through the streets and into the traffic in this busy metropolis and was nearly killed.

So he took her back to his country estate and decided she…

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My husband and the French language

For all those who love hearing about my husband and the French language, my first blog about it from 2015. Trust me he has got better and even translated for some English school children in the shop yesterday! But reading this again it made me giggle.


So with the basic of French, for which I have to say a big thank you to Mr Kyndt my teacher at Grays Convent because seriously I have needed what he taught me for my O’ Level, we moved to France.

Rich has one key phrase that he has off pat:

“Pardon Monsieur Je ne parlez pas Francaise tres bein”

Excuse me sir, I do not speak French well.

He has progressed with some words, but at times has had me in tears (of laughter) as I try and teach him some understanding of the basics.

A good example of this was yesterday. I was trying to teach him his numbers, he can count to 10 well and then gets lost until he gets to 20! We had just been shopping and he gets totally lost when told how much he has spent, which is quite essential really. This is mainly around the numbers…

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La Coupe du monde


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When I started my blog I never thought I would be writing about the World cup, but that’s part of the adventure I suppose, we all change.

This is the first world cup since we came to France, and my husband lives it, all of it. This picture is the French flag fluttering in the wind in our garden.

Rich used to be an avid England fan, but, after some events in our life, he stopped being so obsessed and realised that he was being an arsehole about it when they lost, understanding it was only a game. So he then came to just watch the World cup with no pressure, and enjoyed all the games instead of focusing on the few, quite simply, he ‘got it’.

It was a good time to realise this really, because, despite all of the skilled and excellent players the English team had at their disposal, they were, quite simply, atrocious. They did not qualify for the World cup in 2014, there were too many egos in the team, too many people who thought that they were the most important. My friend used the old cliche yesterday ‘there is no I in team!’

So now we live in France and we support our home team, France, of course; but the English team are now a young team, skilled young men whose egos have not had time to become so inflated that it is all about them, and they are playing well; and you want their passion and lack of ego to be rewarded, and you want yhem to silence the doubters.

But how did I come to join in? Well since Karen arrived poor Rich has been watching the World cup with the female version of Saint and Greavsie sitting on the sofa beside him. (Sorry to all of my non English readers, they were football pundits from the eighties, and I am showing my age now?!)

We have giggled about this, Karen has conceded that she is Greavsie, because I have dark hair!!

So poor Rich has been sitting, beer in hand, on one sofa, whilst we sat on the other putting the world to right about whether it was a penalty, red card or yellow card. That is until something catches our eye like a nice looking bloke on the bench with a tight T. Shirt, or a particular haircut that we liked, when we would go ‘oooh he’s nice’, or ‘loving that haircut’, or ‘he’s good looking’. Then Rich’s eyes would glaze over, and he had a look on his face of ‘God help me!’

So we felt pity for Rich and decided that last Saturday we would go to a French bar to watch the French match, and give Rich some male company. But when we got there it was empty, apart from a man whose eyes looked to the right and to the left independently. Mmmmmmmmmm the French are clearly not big on watching the football in the pub!

But never deterred, my hubby in his French football shirt and Karen and I persevered, and got excited as some more people came in, four in fact!! They all sat there and as the game became exciting we ‘les Anglais’oooohed, and aaaahed, whilst the French looked at us as if we were mad! For such a passionate race they sure were not showing it when they watched the football.

As the game wore on we cheered when France scored, we roared when they scored again, and the French looked at us as if we were not only mad, but had all grown two heads. But we did not care, we like the passion of the game, and by the time goal three came the French had decided to join the ‘mad Anglais’ and began to cheer with us; they started to laugh with us (or it might have been at us) and the atmosphere changed and France won.

Despite igniting their enthusiasm we still came away feeling a bit flat. So last night we decided to go to an English bar (something we would never do) and watch the English game there, and even treat ourselves to burger and chips! Our old neighbours and friends had arrived on Monday and were excited to watch the match in a bar in France, so off we all went, into the humid and hot night, to a bar not far from us. It was full of English, mainly men, Rich loved it! Despite the adventure he still misses watching the football with other Men, particularly English men. Despite loving your new life there are times when you do still miss some cultures and comforts from your country (I won’t say home, this is my home now.)

The burger was good, the game was thrilling and England did not disappoint. Those young men worked their backsides off, the Captain steadied his ship, and they won the penalty shoot out for the first time in twenty two years!!

It was thrilling to watch, painful to watch, and, at times, I couldn’t watch! But they won, a testament to not letting ego get in the way.

Now we have a dilemma, because they could meet France in the final and what do we do then? We love them all so as always we will adopt our philosophy and let life show us the way; and continue to fly the French flag in our garden, our wonderful welcoming neighbours and friends in France love it.

Come on England……. Vive le France …….


France has been hit by storm Dylan!

Dylan’s adventures in France, she is now known as ‘oh no!’

Dylan's Welshie World

So it’s been nearly three weeks since I took Dylan out of school (aka puppy class) early and we headed to France for the summer.

And what a few weeks it’s been!

Thanks to her Welshie cousins, Harley and Wiglet, Dyls is getting quite an education – a bit like a French finishing school in naughtiness!

So far Dylan has taught her cousins it’s fun to steal things like glasses, tv remotes from a table or the cats bowl from the kitchen floor and run around the garden with it in your mouth – I swear she is saying “Chase me, chase me” as she does it.

In return, Wiglet whom we refer to as the serial killer, has taught Dylan that sticking your head through a gap in the chicken wire and pulling a few feathers from a chickens tail is great fun.

But even better fun is trying…

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In the summertime when the weather is hot……


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‘You can stretch right up and touch the sky…..’

Mungo Jerry – In the summertime

When the continous balmy days visit us in France it makes the harsh winters, which in themselves can be beautiful, pale into insignificance; after all you cannot have the good without the bad right?!

To be woken each morning to glorious sunshine over the fields of gold that surround our house, to listen to the trees in the breeze through the day and then  watch the moon rise each night over the forest below us, makes me realise over and over again that is the simple things in life that count.

Last night we sat, wine in hand, as a blood red moon rose about the trees in front of us – sadly my photo does not do it justice it was a crimson red which changed the colour of the wheat to a beautiful burnt orange. The bats were flying over our heads, the Welshie’s were at our feet and life was good – life is good. I am blessed.

Since my last blogs the pool has been put up courtesy of my darling husband,

and the puppies have been swimming… in fact we have bought them an inflatable aeroplane and they have had fun sitting on that with Rich pulling them around the pool

The pool has been a Godsend as the temperature has been steadily rising to over thirty degrees. It has a  cover that maintains the heat in the water and yesterday it was a balmy eighty two degrees, the temperature of bathwater; which in itself is lovely; but once you get out the breeze hits you and cools you down. I never thought that we would be sitting in our garden with a wine in hand, after getting out of the pool; and it just reminds me of how much my life has changed; yes there is more to do living in countryside, there are many downsides as well as good (I do find that if you stay away from them it helps!!)  but when I sit in my garden, especially in the evening I know that having the courage to make that move was the best thing we could have done – life is simpler but our life is full.

We have visited new places with Karen including some beautiful waterfalls in a town called Mortain, in La Manche. They cut through the hills surrounding the town in what is believed to be an enchanted forest that was visited by King Arthur and his knights, It was a beautiful tranquil place with the sound of the spring water gushing down.

Despite the heat we also visited the lake at Ferte Mace, a huge park that has been made for the people of the area to enjoy, with a large lake in the centre. We walked it’s three mile circumference with the puppies on Monday, finishing with a hot dog and drink at the little cafe at the side of the lake,  watching the sun sparkling on the water was a simple pleasure that I love to do.

The Friday before last we had a very scary incident when we were nearly stampeded by cows, after Princess Wiglet (trust me butter would melt!) decided that she would take exception to a cow that was staring at her and try and bite it’s nose of a cow whilst we were cooking a BBQ at Karen’s house! It really was frightening as the other cows came running over because they felt under threat from our three and started to push at the fence; and they were big cows! So we had to herd the dogs up and get them indoors quickly to try and make the cows disperse. You’ve gotta love a Welshie!!

We have had a busy few weeks since Karen arrived with the house hunting and pool buying, which has also included copious amounts of tea and coffee (and, of course, wine!). But it is now time to get down to business with regard to the future; and work. I have been busy with my Etsy shop, and also building my profile on Pininterest (175K unique views and counting!!) You may want to check me out I am under moisfrenchadventure (no surprises there then!) I have various boards from flowers to angels, and from hares to moons; but there are of course boards showing off my taste in furniture and all things rustic so if you fancy some inspiration then pay them a visit I have ready made mood boards set up for you. …..

Moongazing Hare by Lisa Parker

Parede verde com vasos pendurados

From bedrooms to kitchens, these simple and rustic rooms inspire.

In addition I must get on with another edit of my book!

But it has been a wondeful few weeks, what with the summer of sport that we are having and  our friend, and what we consider family member, here with us, we have had some fun and laughed lots, mainly at poor Rich with his malapropisms – for example he is on a Facebook site called Biteyface (it’s about dogs) which he informed me yesterday is called bit e face!!!! Poor Rich I think his life his harder now he is with two writers all the time, who just roar with laughter at what he comes out with!

Despite the things we have to do it will not be all work and the fun is just going to get better because we have our old friends and neighbours arriving on Monday. I cannot wait to see them, three years is a long time to not see someone who you saw on a daily basis for twelve years!!  I know that they will join the fun.

Have I made any more of you think about making that change and stepping into the unknown?

Look out there are new posts coming……



‘…….We’re always happy
Life’s for livin’ yeah, that’s our philosophy’
In the summertime. Mungo Jerry

Don’t cry because it’s over, smile because it happened – Dr Seuss


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I never planned to do another poignant blog today, but as always life showed me the way, and I do this post with love for others I know.

It is part of the adventure that you are away from family and friends and those you love, and this also means that you cannot be there to hug them when they need it. Today is a day when my sister and brother in law need a hug and here is a hug from me through cyber-space …..

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Last night I got back home from a lovely, but poignant (I will blog about it one day)  afternoon out only to find that I had four missed calls from my sister – and that she had also tried to contact me via Karen on her mobile. But sadly Karen had forgotten her mobile and we did not get back home until late, but I knew that something was wrong. When I called her back a very tearful sister answered the phone and told me that she had to have her beautiful German Shepherd dog Zeus put to sleep an hour before.

It came as a shock because I can remember when she brought him home nearly eleven years ago, this ball of fluff with huge paws and massive floppy ears. He was always soppy, never stopped acting like a puppy and although he was ten years old he still thought he was a puppy sitting in Rich’s lap whenever we had visited them even though he was actually the size of a Shetland pony!

It appears that it had come on suddenly and that  he had been off colour on the Sunday, but, because it had been very hot in England, my sister and brother in law put it down to the heat. When he asked for treats  yesterday they thought he was on the mend, but once he had them he laid down and became very lethargic. So they arranged a vet appointment but he collapsed before the alloted time and they rushed him in as an emergency; it was all very quick and sadly he went into shock and they had to make the decision to let him go.

It could have been one of two things, a possible mass on the spleen, a possible twisted gut that can happen so quickly they can die within twelve hours. Whatever it was they made the decision not to let him suffer.

Now they are berating themselves (as we all do) for not doing something sooner, questioning whether they made the right decision. Of course they did, he was nearly eleven years old and would have been lucky to have reached twelve. He had a wonderful life, and the ultimate gift that can be given is the one where we take away the suffering of those we love.

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Sadly my sister is so heartbroken that she is saying that she cannot go through this again, and will not have another dog. I can only say we shall see, because she loves dogs so much I cannot see her life being whole without one. As they say ‘dogs are not our whole life, but they make our life whole.’

In addition there are so many (too many) dogs out there looking for love, that I hope one day – not now – she will reconsider.

But for now, here is a post, forever in cyber space remembering Zeus, and all the love he gave and all the love he received. Run free on rainbow bridge baby, young again, soppy as ever, with those big paws and floppy ears ……….










La maison triste


‘But only a host of phantom listeners,

who dwelt in the lone house then

stood listening in the quiet of the moonlight

to that voice from the land of men…’

The Listeners.

Walter De La Mer

On our first day of house hunting we set off in a anticipation of seeing a three story house in the middle of the French countryside, near the beautiful town of Lassay Les Chateaux.

We met up with the French estate agent, and off we went following him through the countryside at breakneck speed and found ourselves going  out of Lassay back the way we came!?

Blimey! We thought, this is a way out!

As we pulled into a quintessential tiny French village, there was no sign of any three story houses. We followed the estate agent into what can only be described as an alleyway rather than a road that ran  behind other…

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