It was toy week at Dylan’s puppy class. A night that was never going to end well! So what to say about toy week at Dylan’s puppy class! Dotty the cavapoo brought along her toy Foxy. Sadly Foxy will squeak no more! In fairness Dylan was quite happy for the others to play with her […]
As part of the work last week we had the the lovely Justin, who is also lovingly called that mad cutter Justin, who is South African, and wise in years, and his compadre Matt, who is French and young in years, with us for most of the week.
Now Matt is very young. even younger than my son, but his English would put us to shame it is, quite simply, excellent. He told Rich how he watches English TV all the time and in addition to working with Justin the Kid just gets it. But he always wants to learn more,.
For three days he was working with Rich; and, foolishly, I forgot what a sod my husband can be – he is so naughty! So when they all came in for a cup of tea (yes Matt is French and the kid likes tea!!) Matt explained to me that Rich had been teaching him some English.
Now my husband fancies himself as a bit of a Danny Dyer – for my international readers that is an actor in England who comes from the Eastend of London – as does my husband – and who is famous for many things not least his role in Eastenders, a soap opera set in (you guessed it) the East End of London. During which he speaks a lot of Cockney slang – you know apples and pears (stairs), ham and jelly (telly – or TV) etc.
So with that in mind you can imagine the words that Rich had been teaching Matt!
In they came for a cup of tea (or in Eastend or Essex speak cuppaty, (in Eastend slang cup of rosie lee) and Matt asked me if I had been “Mugging him off in front of his pals?” I looked at him with surprise and at my husband who was giggling like a naughty school boy!!!
So this means means have you been making a fool of me in front of my friends!!
Then he proceeded to ask me what does muggy **** mean!!! (Sorry you can add whatever word you like there I am not putting it in my blog!) I looked at Rich and said, in my best schoolmarm voice, “Richard !!!” This means foolish or stupid ****.
Rich looked at me like a naughty boy and proceeded to giggle and denied vehemently he had taught him it; which is so unlikely an alien was more likely to land in the garden because this is an East End of London and Essex term, so how would a 21 year old Frenchman in rural France have suddenly picked it up.
I passed Matt his tea and he said ‘Do one ya muggy ****’ and then they both giggled away like two ten year olds!! I just glared at Rich.
At this point Matt was also giggling because he knew that Rich was teaching him Eastend slang for everything rude. He followed on with thruppeny bits – remember it is rhyming slang! So this means tits! He also started to repeat in parrot fashion cuppity, en it, dyaknowwhatimean (this means do you understand but we tend to put all our words together if you come from Essex or the Eastend – but think Dick Van Dyke in Mary Poppins for the accent!) So you can imagine I had this twenty one year old French man in my kitchen talking like Danny Dyer and thinking it was hysterical.
Although I cannot blame everything on Rich. When we first moved over here and the French Estate Agent was trying to explain that a house was on mains drains, I explained to him that in English it was maynes draynees. He proceeded to repeat it parrot fashion and it was only when we came away that I realised what I had done; and Rich and I cried with laughter all the way back to our rental.
Or the time that a friend of ours was talking to an elderly lady who proceeded to point to a climber and tell them it was unneysuckool – also know as honeysuckle for those who do not come from Essex!!
So with Matt in mind we had this 21 year old who was so eager to learn and wanted to learn the slang for anything, and the rude words for everything. I then asked them both if they would like to come to dinner and asked Matt if he had ever had Yorkshire pudding. I knew I was on a hiding to nothing when he looked at me and said “Pudding! What is pudding?” How do you go on to explain that pudding is something sweet that we eat in England and then explain that I was going to give him Yorkshire pudding with his roast dinner?
No wonder the French think we are mad sometimes – don’t even get me on Toad in the hole!!)
They are coming to dinner on Sunday – there will be more stories to tell, of that I have no doubt!
So I am going to start this blog with an observation – not a negative, just a fact – I know that I get on some people’s tits because I am a person who tends to look at the positives in life – my glass is always half full, and if it isn’t I can always do something to fill it up again!
But do I care what they think? What do you think? However there comes a point when I get a little tired of people looking at me and how I look at life instead of looking to themselves.
I know which way I would rather look at life and it ain’t from the negative side.
So my blog about my husband and not so much the French language as teaching the French language! Is due out tomorrow – look out for it it’s a funny one (I hope!)
But today I let life show me which way to go and used some of the things from the last few days that have inspired me to write this blog.
The first thing was the stunning sunny day we had yesterday, with blue skies all the way, it was freezing cold but, as Lao Tzu says – where there is bad there is good, and where there is good there is bad – it all goes in a circle after all.Perhaps that is why I think of the positive in all situations – what is the point of focusing on the bad?!
We had woken up to a snow fall – making the garden look beautiful.
This meant that we had to re-think the journey that Rich was going to take and move it back ; that is the thing living in France, it is so vast that we could have a small snowfall here and travel the 45 minutes Rich had to travel and find a huge snowfall and that the van was stuck! Best not to take the chance. So Rich worked in the garden all day, trying to clear the forest of logs that we have to sort out for seasoning, to enable us to then get the forest of logs we have in the ditch outside our garden into our garden and start to make our commune look tidy again.
He made good inroads bless him and we now have a system in place..
I worked on our fledgling business, decorating by hand our new range of iridescent butterflies and my poor sister’s stars that she has been waiting for forever.
But I had also gone to bed the night before feeling a bit euughh. That is the only way I can explain it, I had nothing in particular on my mind but did not sleep well and I realised, when I woke early, that it was because I had spent so much time indoors over the past few days, writing and researching for my book, as well as working on the business that I needed a shot of nature; so in the late afternoon sun I went out with my husband and helped him for an hour. I felt so much better, back in tune with nature and now I feel good again. The difference it made, just for that hour.
The other thing that inspired this blog, and perhaps one of the things that was playing on my mind (like I said I am going to say what I think now if something is playing on my mind) was the differences I have had in communication with people over the past few days; some engaging and confidence building, especially with regard to my book and this blog; some very very positive, some affirming and supportive, some unknowingly negative. Let me explain…
As part of my editing my book I have started to research other’s stories; all heartbreaking in their own way, and some that have made me feel for the person writing it in such a way that my heart goes out to them.
I have actively engaged in some and commented on their posts; most of these people (in fact all so far) are following a road that we travelled 11 years ago; and it is a hard uphill road that takes you over mountains, through forests and at times across large oceans of despair – I know, I survived it (we survived it). The response has been uplifting in that these people have responded to my comments; and have listened. I have not told them what to do – you cannot, they have to find their own path, but I have told them what I did, because I knew that for some this would help them – I would have given anything 11 years ago to have that information imparted to me.
The down side has been that I have had to face emotions that I have not faced for some time, but they have thereby helped me edit my book in such a way that it will help others who read it – Like I said I wanted similar available to me when it happened and I could not find it.
The other thing is the communication from some of our friends who support us in all we do. although they might not like our style, or what we do they support us, and say that they like it. After all, why say that you don’t? They appreciate that others will like it even if they do not. It gives us encouragement and for that we are truly grateful,
Some give us advice and help me, especially to talk through a plan or idea, and then they give ideas to support it. Many have supported our new business and promoted it to others. One friend in particular (Karen) has supported me in my book and never told me that it is ‘pie in the sky’ or that I should ‘just get it done and put the subject to bed.’ I put the subject to bed a long time ago where I am concerned but she knows that my experiences and knowledge of that journey can and will help others; I have a good story to tell.
Many have told us that they ‘worry about us’ having no idea how negative this can be. Firstly it is as if we are children that they need to worry about, the second thing is to just say this and nothing constructive is, in itself, a form of negative feedback. I would ask what do you want me to do with that information?
As part of the comments they question whether we are listening to what life shows, or comment on how hard it is for us and then justify it by stating that they are only saying it because they worry about us (which is in itself affirmation that they may perhaps be saying something that they should not say uninvited). They comment on how hard we are having it or how they feel sorry for us, Jesus! If I was a negative person I would have cut my throat by now! I care for some of these people and I hope, when they read this, they will think about it because I would ask whether you think that this feedback is constructive, and what the objective of saying it is. It pretty much comes across as I am giving you this negative but only because I care!!
I never give anyone a negative unless invited to do so, and I never give it without giving something constructive to go with it. I am happy with my life and respect that although I may not want others life I don’t need to tell them I feel sorry for them.
Sorry but I am just not the kind of girl that wants people to pity me – so please don’t.
So the final thing is that yesterday my sister and I had a conversation and she said that she respects my views and agrees that life does show you the way; but the wise old bird (she will kill me!) then said ‘but doesn’t it depend on if you look at life in a positive way or a negative way which path you will take?’ Meaning because I always look at the positives I will not give up (add into the mix my extremely strong personality as well) and I will always find a way. Whereas someone who is negative will always look at the difficulties and not find the positives and thereby give up.
She was right.
I am sorry if I have upset others by saying how I feel in this post, it was not my intention and if I have upset you then I hope that you understand why it may have.
To reassure you here are my positives:
I have a husband who loves me more than I will ever really know – I know that from the way he looks at me.
I have a husband who makes me laugh, every day with his madness and eccentricity at times. He just does not take himself too seriously. (Money cannot buy that)
I have friends who I know will be with me for life, some have rejoined my mini bus after travelling different roads, but they sought out my bus stop to get back on the ride – and for that I am blessed. (Money cannot buy that)
I have a wonderful son, who has stood up to the plate and found his own way, and I am so proud of him I cannot find the words to describe it. (Money cannot buy that in fact it can hinder it)
I am surrounded by animals who love us – that tells you something about yourself (you cannot buy an animal’s love)
I have learnt to differentiate the good people from the bad – the hard way – and also what I want surrounding me. (Freedom)
The people we count as friends out here are ‘real’ people; and for that we are blessed because they have all helped us; but they have not judged us.
I don’t compete – if you don’t like me ce la vie! (Freedom)
I live in a place where I see this – every time I walk out of the door
I am at peace with myself, and I do not let others judgments affect my life – A lesson hard learnt. (Freedom)
I am, at last free, because the less I have the happier I will be.
I wish you well.. And a big thank you to all those who support out there, support others in so many ways – I am not just talking about us here.
Like I said change is coming….. If you just keep thinking positive.
Before we moved to France someone we knew, who already lived here, told us that wood would keep us warm in so many ways – they were not kidding!!
So last Sunday we got a delivery of wood, the weather has been freezing and is set to stay that way for another week. It was dropped off outside our barn and we spent an hour stacking it up and it will hopefully take us forward into next winter.
The lovely man who delivers it had a chat with Rich and we agreed that we would have our really large Oak tree and our Sycamore pollarded. This is where elderly trees are cut back.
They had been left way to long – I would say at least fifteen years – and the Sycamore was hanging over the road and blocking a lot of light from the garden. As you can see it was the huge tree that often features in my pictures of the valley…
And you can see her in her full glory in the background here…. if you can stop looking at the cute teddy Welshies and the naughty puppy Welsh with the Dumbo ears!! (Check out the new blog Dylan’s Welsh Adventure, available on WordPress – I blogged the first post earlier. A big welcome to Karen and the world of blogging.)
The same for the Oak, and last summer it was noticeable that the part of the garden we tend to lounge in (naked!!! – Only joking! We like or neighbours!!) was covered in shade from very early in the afternoon and we missed most of the lovely warm evening sun.
So we had no choice and we had to do it and the lovely man who provides our wood offered to cut them with Rich’s help.
I love my trees, especially the Oak and it broke my heart to do it, I could never be a farmer!!
In addition the fir trees that had always been a pain because they blocked our view of the valley from our terrace and also blocked light to a large part of our garden also had to go.
So now the Sycamore looks like this = only a bit tidier, and look at the view!!!
My beautiful Oak (I hated doing it) looks like this …
and the where the fir trees once were we now have this an absolutely stunning view.
Those who know me know I love nature, I follow the Tao, but four of the fir trees were dead and all of them were precariously close to the electrical cable that supplies the hamlet so they had to go. But I am not going to say that I did not share a tear for them, or that I will not be watching my Oak and Sycamore closely and praying that they have not gone into too much shock.
It looked like a tree massacre..
There is wood everywhere in my garden, and in two years time we will have more then enough wood to last us for at least two winters; the fences are dented and boy do we have some work to do moving everything and stacking so that they can season.
Needless to say it has been a busy week!!
More than anything though it is the light that has come into the garden and our house that has shocked me. It is so bright, the living room is full of light and the kitchen has so much more light coming into it. The house has been warmer because even the winter sun has managed to reach her for most of the day when she is out and our bedroom is full of sparkling light from the crystals we have on our bed and as knobs on our cupboards; which brings me to the next part of this blog.
As well as that I have started working on our new range of produce for out Etsy shop and possible other outlets and been busy embellishing our new iridescent range of butterflies, hearts, and stars; all cut by hand and embellished and decorated by me. They are stunning and we have some on our walls and watch them change colour and catch the light all day long.
I love everything that catches the light and sparkles so these are close to my heart. You can contact me direct via Messenger if you would like some or check out my Etsy shop petiteFrenchfancies.
More posts to come folks, including another from my husband and the French language – only this time he is teaching the lovely Matt English – You can only imagine, but let me confirm that some of what he taught him I won’t be able to tell you!!!
A new blog by a wonderful friend of mine, poignant and a must for all you dog lovers out there.
I am soaked – not just rained on – but thoroughly soaked. My kitchen floor is covered in mud, a leg of a dining room chair is ruined, once pristine carpets have frayed edges. My whirlpool bath will never whirl again.
The culprit of all this carnage, (and more) a seven month Welsh Terrier called Dylan, is hanging off my sleeve growling as she tugs at it, then she lets go and twists in the air as she leaps higher trying to grab the prize that is my sleeve.
I stupidly thought the walk in the woods, even in the rain, would wear her out. Errr! No! In fact she’s bouncing around like Tigger!
I look at her, she’s so excited with this new game – glad she is because my dwindling number of sweaters aren’t – and I laugh and think back a couple of years when this puppy…
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So the cold has us in its grip, my feet are like ice and I cannot warm them up, and I am currently sitting here writing this post with my feet on a hot water bottle. The room is warm but chilly old me, once my extremities get cold then they stay cold!!
The snow did come in a smattering and we have been wondering whether the pipe that is currently carrying water to our house, and above ground is going to freeze; but if we don’t keep thinking about it then we don’t give it credence and there bye it won’t.
The chickens are loving the sunshine that has arrived with the cold, but not so much the fact that their water had over an inch of ice on it and Rich had to break it up and give them some drinking water in their Chicken Hilton Hotel. (Where there is good there is bad, and where there is bad there is good.)
I have got loads of washing almost dry (although a tad frozen when I have brought it in) and we have embraced the cold and started to work on the garden; whilst wearing two fleeces and a woolly hat (I look so attractive sometimes, but then I look at Rich and so does he!!! Good jobs we loves each other!)
I have cut back my clematis that were starting to grow and were in a bad need of a hard cut; I also fed the hydrangeas that I bought last year, and went about the garden picking up the many many huge branches that have been blown out of our trees this winter during the wet and windy hooleys.
Add to that the precarious ones that were still blowing (unattached) in the wind…
It made me realise just how much you are provided for if you just decide to get off your arse and get it!! As many philosophies say, if you just let go and stop looking what you need will be provided for you.
So Rich and I are now ahead of the game where wood is concerned, and will actually have a stock of wood for the next winter, and some still to be seasoned for the winter after. We have a ton of pine that needs cutting and we can intersperse that with other wood and use it safely if we do so.
I never thought I would be walking around my big garden picking up twigs to use to light my fire- but one of the biggest lessons I have learnt out here is waste not, want not; and now we have more wood to add to our pile and enough kindling for the rest of this season.
As I was doing this I was thinking to myself and wondering if I had more money, would I still do this, would I still not waste things anymore? The answer was I would still do this; in my old life I would come home to my centrally heated home, it had real fires and we used the logs that could be bought already seasoned! Our’s are seasoned, the ones we picked up we had seasoned and, no, they are not pretty but they are real!
So yes, no matter how much money I have in the future I will still break up what my garden provides for us to survive the winter; it sure beats working in an office; and I know that I would rather work for nature than for my last employer!
It is a good feeling to be ahead of the game for once, and we do finally feel as if we are getting there.
When we eventually came in from the garden, hands and faces stinging, the house was warm and welcomed us. I believe it is warming up every year because it knows we love it, each other, and all our furries; along with the friends and family who have stuck with us and shown us so much support; it knows we love living here; and love all the lessons we have learnt
And we do.
I have always had a saying in life, never knew where I got it from, and never really fully understood it until now, and that is “It is what it is, and it ain’t what it ain’t!!”
This winter has been the wettest winter in France for over one hundred years!!
Most of the rivers have burst their banks, including the tributary that runs along the bottom of our valley to the Varenne River in Ambrieres Les Vallees; where the weir is now a raging waterfall..
The volume of rainfall has not helped our moldy walls and, up until this week, the ground is literally sodden. It has only been since the weekend that our terrace has actually been dry for the first time in three months!!
But due to this the good thing is that it has not been freezing cold, and in fact has only gone below zero degrees about three times all winter.
Two weeks ago we went for a coffee in Mayenne and parked by the river where the benches that I sat on in the summer were in the river, and half of the car parking facilities had disappeared; and, guess what? It was raining!
We met a friend and walked the dogs into the town, had a coffee, walked back to the car and the topic of conversation was the rain and how both Rich and the friend wished it would just stop raining, how the rain was making them feel down, just grey and wet all the time. I didn’t join in the conversation, it was raining nothing I could do nothing about it, so no point in harboring on it.
As we were driving home Rich asked me “Doesn’t the rain get to you? Isn’t it getting on your nerves?” To which I replied “No, it is what it is and it ain’t what it ain’t.”
“How can it not get to you?” Rich asked, and my reply was because I cannot change it; what is the point in stressing about something that I have no control over? I cannot change the weather, I like the colour grey, the weather is not hurting me, it is just wet, and I knew that when the sun shone again (which it has but more of that in a moment) it would just make me appreciate it more. I apply this way of thinking more and more in my life, if I cannot change it (like the cesspit) then why sit and worry about it? It won’t change it but it will stop me having an open mind and letting other things, good things come my way, it will make me miserable.
So this week, for the first time in a long time the sun shone, and it has got really cold; and guess what? I really appreciated it!!! I appreciated the stinging that I felt in my hands and on my face when I came in from the cold. I appreciated being able to peg my washing out (a favourite thing of mine all my life, you cannot beat the smell of line dried washing) I appreciated the warmth of my home when I came in – because it is warmer and gets warmer every day, because we go with the flow and and take life as it comes.
Snow is now predicted this week, and extremely low temperatures.
It is what it is, it ain’t what it ain’t!!!
The Mayenne River at twilight
So it is official I have now completed my 55th year on this earth; and because I know I am such a different person I thought that I would take some time to look back on the last year and share with you the things that have caused me to change, and make my life so much better in so many ways.
The first decision I made was way back in January, it was to stop looking at the group social media pages for this immediate surrounding area! I found them so negative, nasty, viscous and controlling and I just decided that I didn’t need that shit in my life anymore.
Now I was going to say more but have decided that this topic probably needs a post all on it’s own so look out for that one; all I will say is that my life was infinitely better after I stopped engaging or looking at them.
I really started to understand the Tao, and now follow my life pretty much in that way – although I do have to constantly remind myself every day to not get caught up in unnecessary crap. Due to this I have been accused of becoming a religious nut! Of having ‘found God’ when really, for me, the Tao is a philosophy not a religion: a theory or attitude that acts as a guiding principle for behaviour. That is what it has done for me it has helped me to follow principles for my behaviour and also where others are concerned it has enabled me to make choices about whether I want their behaviour in my life, or whether I am going to let it affect my life.
In fact folks if you read the Tao I would ask everyone what is God? For me it is just a label that can be used to define something, nothing more, nothing less.
Now, I don’t do negative in all aspects of my life – and when I find myself in the company of negative people I feel like I am in the company Dementors (to borrow from the wonderful J.K Rowling) sucking the life out of me.
You must have been there, with someone who just moans and moans and everything that comes out of their mouth is negative; and eventually it is like having your soul sucked out of you, you come away feeling so down and questioning everything you do and everything in life. This lesson really came to the fore for me in the summer when my darling husband really let a negative person get to him, he was in their company for some time and eventually he really did feel like hanging himself from a tree!! (I kid you not read my post a birthday wobble.)
So after this I started to notice the negative people who were around us, people who only wanted to criticise, and when you actually listened to them not a good thing came out of their mouth – or sometimes it would when they realised that they had overstepped the mark. Too late for me I’m afraid. I step away now.
I mean lets us not forget, as I blogged earlier in the year, I was actually told I was too positive!!! WTF!!!
So I distanced myself from the negative people and boy am I happier and in a better place now – good things are coming my way.
As some of you may know (from my post a little bit more about me) I don’t do confrontation either. Now don’t get me wrong, I don’t give people crap and I don’t put up with crap from them; the difference now is that I don’t get angry, I stay cool, calm and collected but I still say ‘no’ if I need to.
It has been interesting for me this year where this is concerned, because I have encountered people who knew what had happened to me, knew that I have the Incredible Hulk inside me, and it was as if they wanted to press my buttons to bring it out. They seemed to assume that because I did not lose my temper I was weak and a pushover.
Those who know me well, and probably some of you that read this blog, will giggle at that thought because it is so untrue. In addition they would not want the Incredible Hulk inside me to come out because then they would be hurt, and I would be tired for weeks, feel awful and may possibly have been arrested!
Luckily I am now able to step away, or calmly ask questions for clarification -which they don’t want to give because they would have to acknowledge they were arseholes – and that tends to sort the situation out.
I have learnt over the year not to ask others for explanations and not to offer explanations to others. I don’t expect explanations and when people expect them of me I now ask them why? Ego perhaps!!
The reason for this is because when people expect and explanation from you is this because they seem to think that you should care what they think?
There are some people that I know and love and I do care what they think. But those people never seem to ask me for explanations. By giving explanations you are allowing others to live your life for you, and that is, quite simply, not my thing honey! If you are not on my mini-bus of life then I offer no explanations. (For those new to my blog you may want to read the post – so who is on your mini-bus of life.)
So I don’t care what most people think and that has worked out brilliantly for me as a writer because if I did I would write absolutely nothing!! As one of my beloved readers from this blog told me ‘It’s all copy!!’
That brings me to one of the other big things I learnt and that is to write what I want. My book – people will be shocked I have shared!! My blog who wants to read about where I went in France all the time! It seems to have worked my followers are now near 300 and rising every day with well over fifty hits a day. Thank you and welcome keep the ball rolling.
I have learnt who the important people are in my life, and what is important to me where people are concerned. I have also learnt to look at myself and how I react to others, and to let the past go and deal with the relationship now. Everyone is different and I just go with the flow – unless you are insecure or negative, sorry but they are a no no for me I find that insecure people tend to bring others down and I don’t need that. I wish them well, hope that they find their way and if they do and they want to reconnect always happy to.
And one of the most important things: My mini bus has driven along the road and picked back up some good friends that I had lost contact with along the way in life- We have all learnt things during the time we have been absent from each others lives and we have come to realise that there are some people who you cannot let go of , because when they come back into your life they are on the same page as you – they just took a different route to get there; and I have found we are all infinitely wiser for the journeys we have had.
Not least in that is my son, who has found his way in life and is flying high because by taking this adventure we pushed him off the cliff and trusted that he would be caught; just like we have. You have to believe, trust me.
So here is to the next year of my life, I feel already that it is going to be a good one – ever positive me!!!
If you like my blog please share folks I am loving the new people joining from all over the world.
Visit my Etsy shop: petiteFrenchfancies
I have been attempting to write a post since Wednesday, but other things got in the way and suddenly my birthday was upon me and then gone and I had still not written a post. This was not the post that I meant to write, that is being saved for another day now because my birthday yesterday has inspired me to write this one.
I guess you could say that small and meaningful things have given me inspiration.
As most of you know I believe that life shows you the way, I go with the flow, and I never plan too far ahead, because then I would be stopping things coming my way that I had not realised were even available to me. My birthday was not exception!!
Rich has been away with a friend and I have been here on my own since Monday. As usual I made myself a big long list of what I wanted to get done ( I don’t say have to, or must any more because then it just pisses you off and you don’t want to do it!) As normal my list was ambitious and I have come to accept that I never get my lists done because I just set my aims too high!!
But I did want to clean my house, we had found a fantastic mold spray and I cleaned all the mold from our bedroom, downstairs and also cleaned upstairs and downstairs (literally moved the furniture everything.)
The big plan was that I could then sit down on my birthday (yesterday) and just sew, knit, watch and old film, make my new range of hearts and stars – iridescent and sparkly I love them! To just do what I wanted without feeling guilty that I should be doing something else.
Yesterday came and I made my cup of tea (typically English folks I have to have at least two cups of tea in the morning!) in bed and my friend Jan rang me on Messenger to wish me happy birthday. Then I happily spent time on Facebook looking at the messages from people wishing me happy birthday – little did I realise that was only the start.
Off I popped downstairs for another cup of tea and to open my only card from my sister, I was not sad it was my only card, normally I am not worried about cards, but when two more arrived later I was excited (it’s the small things.) When she rang as I was opening it and now I know why because she had thoughtfully put fifteen euro in the card because, as she explained, I had said how much I fancied scampi and chips and this would enable me to buy some! That small simple thought, not just giving someone money but noting that I really fancied something that is expensive to buy over here so giving me the money to allow me the money to buy it without feeling guilty. A small and meaningful thing. I was then on the phone chatting to her for two hours.
I went back to bed and had another cup of tea (I know folks! I am English) and snuggled with the Welshies; how can you resist a snuggle with two teddies? I am blessed – small things but so precious.
At lunchtime I got up, did a small tidy up and then took the dogs for a quick walk down the lane, looking in amazement at the now swollen river that flows at the bottom of the valley, (it is not normally visible but we have had so much rain here this winter all of the rivers have burst their banks!! ) and still marveled at the fact that I live here. Small things, but something that money cannot buy!
After my walk I sat down (with a cup of tea! Yes there is a recurring theme!) and started my sewing. But after only fifteen mins my mad friend Jan arrived clutching a card, bottle of wine, packet of crisps, biscuits and a gift for me – a beautiful mouse mat (perfect for a writer!) with moons and fairies on, she knows me so well; and that was the afternoon gone as we sat and put the world to rights with a glass of wine and some aperitifs (crisps or chips for my American readers.)
Now Jan does not have a lot, but she still wanted to give to me and that meant a lot, that small thing.
After she left I checked face book only to find fourty eight messages from people wishing me a happy birthday; all of them meant so much because people had simply taken the time. But for me it was the ones from people who I have never met but have made friends with via face book since moving here; these people are lovely supportive people who just want the best for others in the same way I do; and one particular message from an old school friend, whose husband died suddenly at the end of last year, the fact that she had taken time to wish be happy birthday really touched me – small small things for which I am truly grateful.
On messenger had messaged from people from all over, not least one from my beloved husband singing me happy birthday – when my book comes out you will realise why Rich and I cherish the small things because we know what a huuuuuuge difference they can make to your life
And I will add here that this particular part of my blog is for a group of people who have recently joined it because some of them have said that we give them hope. This is one of the lessons you have to look at the small things, trust me I hope that when you read this my small action now will help you on your journey (sometimes over really rough oceans!)
I rang an elderly aunt who shares a birthday with me, my best friend Karen rang me to wish me happy birthday, as did my lovely husband and so before I knew it it was early evening already, I had not done any more sewing, not watched a film, not worked on any more of my hearts of stars, not done any knitting. Life had taken me on a completely different path to the one I planned to take, and I loved it and felt so loved by everyone’s small actions, and I had celebrated a wonderful, simple birthday, full of small things.
Then last night as I went to bed my son rang me via messenger to wish me happy birthday, and call me old!! Small things!
So I have decided that as my birthday is so close to the weekend I will make it a birthday weekend, we will have lamb chops instead of scampi (thanks Sis!). I will drink the bottle of Kiri Royale my dear friends have sent me and yey!!! Hubby’s home, the best gift of all.
Thank you everyone you are stars
My Etsy shop – PetiteFrenchfancies
Blessed, Catkins, Cottages, Fireside, Foggy days, French Stone houses, Hope, L'hiver, Shades of grey, The Hooley, The Mayenne, The Varenne, Welsh Terrier, Welshies, Winter, Winter in France, Winters walk
As I have encouraged others over the past few days to get out there and enjoy each season last weekend we decided to do the same, and take the Welshie’s for a walk around our town and get some photographs to share with you all.
As it turned out we picked the best day because it was extremely cold but dry. Yesterday Ambrieres, and especially us high on the hill, was shrouded in thick freezing fog all day which can add to the bleakness when you live in such a remote country setting;
and today we have a hooley blowing! So I am busy writing and Rich is busy sorting out little inside jobs, and as I look out of the window and contemplate winding the blinds down early I notice that even the chickens have took themselves to bed!!
This winter here has been very very wet, not as cold as previous winters but, as I may have said before, so wet we have mold everywhere!! The river Mayenne has burst its banks in the town of Mayenne and the river that runs through Ambrieres ‘The Varenne’ has also overflowed onto the grassy banks.
The pretty little weir is now a raging torrent
And if you look closely you can see the remnants of a tree trunk that has been stuck on it since the ferocious winds just before Christmas.
As always here, nature looks so beautiful whilst reminding us that she can also be so deadly and that, although man generally does not think it, we are really nothing at all!!
I love the river. When we first found Ambrieres, on a rainy day one August whilst we were on holiday, I fell in love with its beauty despite the rain; from the weir and river
to the pretty little stone cottages that cascade down the hill towards the weir with their lovely tiered gardens ………
You never know I may live in one of these in the future when I get old and downsize!!! What a view, you would never tire of it!
So on Saturday we found a little road that led down to some stone houses and cottages right by the rivers edge, a small hamlet where the houses had had pretty walled gardens with the river running up to their edge ..
But for me, it is the colours in France, with the old stone buildings and slate roofs; so many different shades of grey; and our stunning Marie building (The mayor’s) cut into the slate rock imposing looking over the beautiful Varenne is no exception..
As we made our way back to our car and the darkness was drawing in we saw a sign of hope for things to come, the pretty little catkins blowing in the cold wind never giving up
It was good to come home after that and snuggle in front of the fire for the evening, small things are the most important of all.
I am blessed.