Reminisces – December 2014 into 2015

As promised another excerpt from my handwritten blog from back in 2014 and 2015, as we were packing up our old house up to come on this adventure. This one is significantly poignant for me, Christmas was always such a big thing in our house, our son’s birthday was Christmas Eve (never have unprotected sex in March!!!) ……………

December 2014

It seems weird to be decorating my house for the last time. I didn’t get all of my decorations out, instead I decorated my tree entirely in crystals and lights. It was probably the best tree I have decorated since living here!

All the boys came round at Christmas, Tom’s friends, carrying on with the tradition of coming to our house at Christmas time. It made me realise how lucky we have been and how much Tom’s friends have enjoyed coming to our home.

I tend to swing between excitement (and apprehension) about our new life, and sadness about leaving our beautiful house.


24th December – Christmas Eve

We went to Canterbury today for a meal to celebrate Tom’s birthday. We went to the City Arms as it has always been our favourite little pub to have lunch whenever we have had a shopping spree.

The food and the atmosphere were brilliant and, weirdly we found ourselves sitting beside an English family who live in Paris. They were on their way to London. I do believe in signs, that life will point things out to you. What were the chances that they decided to stop in Canterbury on their way to London to visit a tiny little pub down a narrow side street to have lunch, and then end up sitting next to us!? It has to be a sign.

We walked around Canterbury with Tom and his girlfriend, took pictures of the Cathedral grounds, of them standing by the Christmas tree, and listened to the carol singers. It just all felt so strange, as if I was detached from it all, in a dream really. This was going to be our last Christmas in Canterbury, a city that I love.

25th December – Christmas Day

The last Christmas dinner in this house, the last time the boys will come around to play Monopoly on Christmas night, the last round of turkey sandwiches! I have found it hard to write these entries because every time I do, my eyes fill up with tears.



Packing away our Christmas decorations for the last time in this house, I am not going to lie; I am struggling with giving it up. I have so many memories, some good, some heart-breaking: Tom running up the stairs after his first day at his new school, we had been so worried about him, moving to a new school at thirteen; but Tom, ever gregarious and outgoing, just took it in his stride, came home so excited because he was going out to meet his new mates

Rich, standing in the middle of the kitchen on the day we moved in, after the final box had been left by the removal company, opening a beer, and bursting into tears because we had achieved the dream of living by the sea

Snowy the Dude, Milly Kitten (she was thirteen but we always called her kitten!) who we will have to leave behind.

And now we are leaving.




Reminisces – November 2014

An excerpt from the beginning of my handwritten blog – I have not changed it, here it is, emotion and all………………….

November 2014

‘So! We have sold our house! It came as quite a shock when it happened; and despite having it on the market for three months, talking about our adventure – moving lock and stock and barrel to France – it still came as a shock. Because we love our house and realised that we had to let it go to realise our dream, and here it was the offer!! Meaning it was real now, we had to make that life changing decision and that was scary, really scary.

But at 51 we have to take that opportunity when it is offered, take that risk. We decided to sell and accepted the offer.

November 2015-  What if it doesn’t work out?

I love my house; I might have said that before! But I do. If I didn’t have to sell I wouldn’t, but I do!

My neighbour wants me to stay. We are good friends, ten years is a long time to live next door to someone. We have watched our kids grow up; one of theirs and my only one have left home. I will be sorry to leave them.

My neighbour wants us to rent. She is worried that we will break all of our ties and not be able to come back. At times that thought has crossed my mind. What if it doesn’t work out?

But….. If we don’t take chances in life then things will stay the same. I am a firm believer in the saying “if you keep doing what you’re doing, you’re always going to get what you’ve got.”

I am sick of being on the hamster wheel. Rich is sick of being on the hamster wheel. Get up, go to work, work hard but never seem to be able to get ahead of the game. It’s time to make change. You have to “make” it sometimes.

November 14 – Memories

I have found my eyes filling with tears at the thought of leaving here. So many memories.

We brought our son here when he was thirteen. So worried that he would not like the move from Essex to Herne Bay. He loved the house from the minute he got here. He left home from this house.

I think fo many parties in this house, including the surprise eighteenth we held for Tom.

Of sitting on the balcony with a glass of wine; of times of heartbreak; and I do feel sad to let it all go. But memories are of the past and will come with you wherever you go. You cannot continue to live a life because of the past.

This is a family house; and a family should live here and enjoy it.


November 2014 – The buyer

The person who has bought my house has  young children and they will fill the house with life.

Tonight they all came round so the kids could see the house and the little boy’s face when he walked in the door. He just looked around and went “Wow!” It made my eyes fill up with tears.

Tonight they ran around the house as if they already lived here. Picked their bedrooms and adopted our cats (although I had to explain that they were not included in the sale!). It was a joy to see and helped me in my knowledge that I am doing the right thing.’


Look out for more over the weekend – I would value your comments.


Requested post – ponderings and reminiscence

For the people who have followed my blog for some time, or even for a short time, you may have picked up that one of my favourite words, and things, is serendipity. Today she intervened again.

I opened a post from my dear fellow blogger Roz Russel (Ourlifeinfrance – can be found on in which she was asking us to post for another fellow blogger who had requested us to say how we chose our house and why we came here.

I had already been thinking about posting some of my hand written blog, that I had kept way back in 2015 as we were boxing up our house to make the move out here. My reason for this was to show those who are afraid, but thinking about jumping off that cliff, that no, it is not easy, and can be heartbreaking. This request has made me decide that I am going to do this over the next few days, some of the posts will be very emotional, because that is how felt at that time, some are raw, because I loved this house, as did our son, who did not want us to go.

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So how did we choose our house in France?

We first came to the Pays de Loire in 2013 on holiday. We had fallen in love with France since 2007 when we first came over and drove past Calais and Cite Europe, following the coast road, with no hotel booking nothing. We only had a map and even then we decided to just see where life would take us. (You will need to see my first book when it is printed to understand why.) But France had become our spiritual home, it felt like home.

In 2013 we stayed at a beautiful Gite in a tiny little village called Larchamp, and just loved the tranquility. There were some cities to visit, it did not have the many chateau’s of the Loire, it did not have the breathtaking villages and towns cut into the rock, as in the Dordogne, but we had the most relaxing holiday ever. We did not feel as if we had to dress up, which although I loved it (still do) it had become a chore. We just felt so relaxed.

As I have said before my job was an unbelievably full on job in the NHS and I had just been asked if I would join another Trust that was in trouble (literally as I was sitting in the port.) Add that to the wonderful tranquility that we found here and we took them as a sign to finally make the move to France, which we had been talking about since 2009.

In 2014 we came back, this time our house was on the market and I had been very ill, brought on by stress and the lack of understanding from the areseholes that I had to work with (not the public!) The weather was not good that year but in the pouring rain we set out to see if we could find a house in Ambrieres les Vallees that we had seen on the internet. We couldn’t but what we did find were the beautiful undulating hills of where we live now, in a natural protected park, and even the weather could not damp their beauty. I was hooked.

When we returned to England we continued to house hunt on the internet, and although the house we now own came up over and over again it was out of our price range. However just after we moved into our rental property over here the price was dropped by over thirty thousand euros. Despite living in a different department (Sarthe) we still wanted to live in this region we are in because of the tranquility.

On the first day we house hunted in this area we viewed this house, in Ambrieres Les Vallees. It was a sunny spring day, the neighbours chickens were clucking around in the garden of this house and there were three goats chewing the lawn!

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We were hooked. Add to that the criteria was met: Enough land for Harley (yes he came house hunting with us, it was going to be his home after all! We did not have Wiglet then) an outbuilding for Rich, a house that did not need major renovation (it had electricity and well water, although it transpired that the heating did not work, or the cesspit!) We could move in and renovate as we went along. There was oak parquet flooring in the living room and oak stairs. Upstairs were floorboards in good condition (although look out for another post because they are going to be transformed!) It was down a mile long lane that came to a dead end, and this house was at that dead end, meaning no traffic going past other than to the two other houses in the hamlet of three. (Another criteria because we have five cats!)

But more than anything it was this….


Why did we come here?

As most people will tell you, the relaxed way of life. France has roughly the same population as England but is five times bigger! You can drive for miles and see one car normally the one that is driving up your arse! But seriously the French view life as something to be lived, especially here. You don’t need to dress up, in fact sometimes i  want to dress up, but feel that I may look a tad out of place and tone it down.

We love the attitude of the French, if they don’t like something they protest, good on them, because I was starting to find England a place where the telly is king; a telly that criticised the bloody French because they were striking again! Always keep the people in their place don’t you think!

We were at a stage where were sick of the competitiveness, and the anger that seemed to be manifesting everywhere in England. We moved from Essex to a seaside town in Kent but the train became faster and more people moved into the area and it changed. Having said that the insular attitude of those who had originated from the area was starting to drive us mad, life will change, and if you stick your head in the sand and refuse to acknowledge it this may mean it will change for the worse. However if you accept it and try to mold it (even protest!) it may change for the better! Look at poor Mary Portas when she tried to save Margate, Oh my God the attitude of some of the people!

We have a house in rolling hills, as you have seen, with just under an acre of land. We would never have been able to live in an area like this in England. In fact if this house, even in it’s current condition, was in an area even remotely equivalent in England it would always have been something we dreamed of, but would never, ever, have been able to afford unless we won the lottery. I believe that England is now a country of have and have not’s and that is becoming more and more apparent each day. Whilst I loved my house it was becoming impossible to afford to live, and we thought, there must be more to life than this!

But more than anything for me it was the anger. I remember going back to England and sitting waiting for my train people watching. I saw people I used to work with, running for for the trains, jostling for seats, and they looked so angry, so angry. I had had enough. We had had enough. We both worked long hours (me sometimes from 8am until 7.30pm and I still got emails sent to me at home at 10pm!) and this was what was classed as acceptable. If you went home earlier then it was considered that you were not “committed” to your job. I have written before how the earlier you came in the earlier others came in, until people were coming into work at 6.30am, when in fact they were not expected to start working until 8.30 or 9!!! It was madness. It was as if a hysteria took over, because everyone was so afraid of losing their jobs because we all had mortgages to pay.

French people have it right. They always have lunch,no not always two hours, but they have lunch, away from their desk. The shops are not open twenty four hours, and those that are open Sundays are only open until twelve. Family is important, and they spend quality time with them. I am not saying that there are no anomalies here, but that is for another blog. I have been asked why I moved.

This is why.

We just knew that if I did not do it when we did we never would, and felt as if we would be trapped forever.

Having read what I have just written in this post I hope that you will read the upcoming posts this weekend from my handwritten blog. It is not an easy decision they will show you how hard it is. Some  will make you laugh, some will make you cry. I am seriously thinking about putting some of them in my second book, after I have finished the first!!

So please look out for them, I will send a series of them over the weekend.



As always please share, get my blog out there, it may be just the thing that someone is looking for.

Persephone is on her way…….

I started this post in February, but as you know, from my previous post, life took over and I was not able to post it, so here is my new beginning…..

It is March the 1st  and officially spring; but nature has seemed to be waking up early this year, Persephone must be on her way back from the Underworld.

Spring has been coming for some time, the last few weeks when we were working in the garden  I went out with my two obligatory sweatshirts on, only to find I had to take one off and would have taken them both off if I had not carrying logs and dragging branches.

We have been busy in our garden and all of the log piles that I posted about in the autumn have now been put away in the goats shed. So all little insects will now need to find another home.

Some it appears we can use this month as they only need a year to season (yep another fallacy logs do not take years it depends on the wood), which comes in handy because the wood we bought has now run out and we have had to buy some more, but the silver birch, sadly blown down in the tornado, is already starting to rot, to time to burn it, a brilliant wood especially to get the fire going.

Rich has also cut back the large Cob Nut trees that we have all the way down the chemin and is busy cutting them into logs. According to Alan Titchmarsh they make good logs for burning, after leaving two years to season. There are still many more to chop and we have to get what we can done in the next few weeks before it is too late.

Sadly I thought that I would be good last year and put all of my geraniums away in the goat shed, they all died! So this  year I am going back to my tried and tested method and putting them under the hedge this autumn. ! I did manage to save a pot of Pinks and a Verbena and have now brought them out of shelter to brave the elements.

In the same vein it is touch and go with some of my plants that have been planted out and I think that I only need to look at the hoare frost (thank to my dear fellow blogger Roz for informing me of the name of this phenomenon that we experienced at the end of December, and the beginning of the year.) to know what may have happened to them.

For those of you who have not read my blog from January about living in Narnia here are a selection of pictures, it was truly beautiful, please see my previous blog from January for more.


But then again it may not have just been the frost as  I think that  my peonie has gone, in fact completely disappeared due to this little rascal, who has cocked his leg up it once too often!

Butter wouldn’t melt, and I could not imagine my life without him, or his sister.


The compost has been tidied because certain naughty Welshies decided it would be good to get in it,  they have had to be washed because they, quite simply,  stank! So in the last month we have had a dog grooming day, with all the knots of fur being cut out and poor Rich on his hands and knees scrubbing them in the shower. (I get the nice job of being on arse patrol – don’t ask!) However now that my compost has been turned by the Welshies is is s beautifully rich, it must be all the tea bags, and I cannot wait to try again with my potager. Tom and Barbara will return again this year!!

But for me over the past month it is the narcissi, daffodils and crocus, who bring a smile to my face, because they always give hope for the year ahead.


They are on their way again.

Every day I go out more and more crocus appear. In an earlier blog I told you how the first autumn we moved in I planted about 100 crocus bulbs, well this spring we have over 300 and counting. Every day I come out there is another tiny little crocus that has popped up, sometimes all alone, sometimes with friends. You will need to look carefully but they are there!




Sometimes standing alone as this one is front of the pot….

And sometimes in their hundreds…


Their perseverance is inspiring. No matter what the weather, harsh winds and torrential rain like the rain that we had on Monday, they still come up, never give up. In the picture below you can see the daffodils and crocus in my seventeenth century stone pot, the milk urn was on top of them but when I took it off the crocus were still growing, just sideways! Look at them now, to the left of the pot as you look at it….


The pussy willows have sprouted their furry little mittens, ready to release their little tails in April; and you can see one of my clematis is on it’s way.


But “March wind doth blow”, and as I am typing this there is a hooley that has come from nowhere blowing outside. with sleeting rain and what biting cold temperatures.

So I suppose that the point of this post, especially with regard to  our adventure, is to say that when you choose to live in the middle of the country it can be hard, very hard, which you are reminded of every winter. No-one said it was all going to be easy, but if you don’t know the hard how will you know the easy?

But it is also stunningly beautiful and Spring is nature’s reminder to never give up, to embrace all that life has to offer every day, because you never know what will happen the next to remind you of how lucky you were the day before.  Treasure the morning skies.

The beautiful cloud watching days like these yesterday, because you may have a hooley like we have now the following day!


I Suppose that Spring for me is a reminder that as well as bad times   to see that there is also good sometimes all in the same day!  Spring comes in with the beautiful flowers, the clouds, the warm sunshine, and then bang she blows you a hooley, throws torrential rain at you, and piercing cold winds, with some snow flurries for good measure, and  the very next day comes back with a warm day and beautiful sunsets again. Today my poor little crocus are lying flattened, especially the ones that have been brave enough to go it alone, but I know that when the sun comes out they will bounce back up to enjoy her warmth.

Life has it’s ups and downs but if you go with the flow the downs will be fewer because you can remind yourself that beautiful things are around the corner.

As my dear fellow blogger Roz highlighted when she wrote only this week, that she and her husband have holes in their roof, and cannot afford to fix it, but they are happy. They do not regret their adventure. What is the point of worrying about something, in what may be the last moments of your life, when you cannot change it? So this week she has cooked pancakes, to hell with the roof!!

Let’s follow the crocus lead, enjoy the ride, good and bad, let the bad show you just how excellent the good is, no matter how simple; and most importantly don’t let anything keep you down for long, always get back up!

Someone close to my heart died twenty years ago this year, my darling mum. My dad had a stroke in the September and at Christmas my mum toasted in the new year and said “here’s to the new year, it cannot get any worse than the last one.” She died in the April. Sometimes I admit I forget the harsh lesson that I was taught all those years ago; but more often than not I remind myself of it because it highlights that you never know what is around the corner.

So here is to all my friends in France who have taken the plunge and gone for an adventure, who have struggled through the winter, and been cold at times, but who have still never given up. Here is to Spring lets love every minute of it, including tonight’s hooley! And tomorrow we will wake up to the sun.

Keep smiling


Please share my blog and please read my dear friend Roz’s blog it can be found on blogspot under ourlifeinfrance. Enjoy




The girl in the Exorcist has nothing on me!!!

Before I start this post I will say that my dear cousin, Patrick,  in Ireland will be reading this and thinking “ain’t that the truth!”

But seriously Rich and I have been really ill with the dreaded Winter vomiting bug, also know as Norovirus. I came down with it fully early hours of Monday morning, when I found that I could not make it to the loo in time and had to use the bathroom sink! Rich came down with it on Monday morning and is still poorly as I am typing this, and still contagious.

My ribs ache three days later from the ferocity of throwing up and when I stood in the dark in my toilet I seriously thought “Jesus!! I am like the girl from the exorcist!!”

I could not go and paint my dear friends floor, which I am doing as part of the portfolio I am going to put together because I am considering registering as a decorative painter, I love it, I am really good at it, and, as my friend said, the fact that I love it shines through. (I hear a flurry of keyboard activity with people looking me up now to see if I am registered, but, still, it if gives them something to do!)

I have not been able to go to my friends for a few days one because I have been so ill, but also because it is so contagious and it is so dangerous for older people. So this blog is also about this, I don’t think that much of the NHS at times but one thing I do know and respect is that I learnt is that you should not put yourself in contact with people for at least 48 hours after your last episode or you will continue to spread it. It is in France at the moment and spreading fast so please people if you have neck ache, stomach ache in your upper stomach between your ribs watch out, and don’t put yourself in contact with others.

This is the second time I have been ill in 2 months and I am someone who “doesn’t do ill” and won’t give in to it. Rich and I were talking about it in our sick bed, which we were in all day on Monday, and half a day on Tuesday; and we think that because we live in such a fresh environment, and do not really come into contact with large groups of people in confined areas (even when we go for a coffee we have the dogs with us and sit outside.) when we do then enter these environments perhaps our immune system is not able to cope with it. Add to that the copious amounts of wine we drink!!

But on a serious level this meant also that I could not have the French lesson at my house because Rich is still contagious and will be until tomorrow evening; I will miss my friends. There is no lesson next week so I will be getting withdrawal symptoms!

Anyway look on the bright side we have not had a drink since Sunday, and there is not a sight of one on the horizon, oh no!! We feel as if we have been kicked by horses, so we have a very healthy week ahead.

Keep smiling




Our adventure by the sea cont……


Oh my! I have never seen so much seafood in my life!

We had a fantastic afternoon with fantastic people. We chatted to the waiter (who asked if we were French!) but he could speak fluent English and a little Spanish as well.

We set off just after 11am for a drive that was just over an hour. Bless our friends they took us the scenic route so we could see all of the little French villages, the marshes as we approached the sea, and Mont St Michel in the distance. The sun came out and it was truly beautiful.

We arrived in the pretty little fishing town of Cancale in the  early afternoon and it was bustling. The sun was out and although breezy (coming from a seaside town before moving here you come to expect that!) it was not cold. (People watching though you would have thought you were in the Arctic, after living in Herne Bay you do recognise he people who do not live by the sea! They are wrapped up to the max, scarves, hoods up, gloves. Rich did not even put his jacket on!)

The town is everything you expect from a quintessential tiny French harbour town, with the oyster beds (the town’s specialty) lots of restaurants, some basic with the offer of six oysters and a glass of wine, or bottle of cider for 10 euro. They give it to you with lemon and a serviette and away you go, simple good food.


The restaurant was very upmarket and in some ways Parisienne. A table had been booked right by the window where we could look out to see and watch as the tide came in, with the sun sparkling off the water and mud flats, with tractors driving down the busy tiny street loaded with oysters, lobsters and crab.  If you look very closely at the picture you will see the building to the left of the picture with the blue windows, that was our restaurant, and the third window on the right was exactly where we were sitting. The sun was so bright at times poor old glaucoma girl (me!) had to put her sunglasses on.

Aperitifs were served, Kir with white wine,  bruschetta and a fresh fish paste with curry. Our dear friends did all of the ordering and wow! Out come the biggest fish dish to share I have ever seen. Sorry I did not take photos but this image is exactly what it was like only we had another tier with four crab on it!


There were langoustines,(my personal favourite) about four different types of oysters, which I have tried but would not necessarily order before, but having tried them here I would now, they were sweeter and smaller than the ones I had eaten in Whitstable. There were clams which I had never tried, very fishy but nice (I know they are fish of course they are fishy!), shrimp, snails, and small sea snails which I really liked. There were four different types of prawns, sorry don’t know all their names, various sauces including a vinegar and shallot mix for the oysters, and a delicious home made mayonnaise. Oh and let’s not forget the crab, one of which was knocked off and landed on Rich’s head! French people are very polite and our poor friend was mortified that he had nearly knocked Rich out!   The bread rolls kept coming and we sat for over four hours, in the sunshine, putting the world to rights, as we drank a lovely bottle of rose and a bottle of white. All washed down with a Creme Brulee (it has to be done we are in France!)

After lunch we took a leisurely stroll along the seafront and our dear friend proceeded to buy himself some more oysters from the stall holders along the seafront. It was like being on holiday, and I will confess made me feel a little yearning for living near the sea,  (in France, of course!)

After we go back we had a further aperitif and then had to leave to get back to our puppies. We snuggled down in front of the fire, in our jim jams with a few glasses of red. I don’t know whether it was the sea air, but I was worn out and was snoring before Rich came to bed. Life does not get better than that.

A big thank you to our friends, I have said many time before it is the kindness of others that makes the world go round, and I have a strong feeling that “times they are a changin” in the words of the great Bob Dylan, and I have a feeling that they are a changin for the better because of the good people we have in our lives.

It is the small things.

Promise I will post some more this week.

Please share my blog, I want to get it out there, in addition to all those people who are already reading it all over the world. Thank you all.





A quick post because we are off for lunch by the sea

Hi to all

A very quick post for all those who have asked for some more from me. I always seem to be apologising for the delay in posting and must get my act together and draft some posts in advance. (Although that did not seem to work because I have a half saved post from last week that I have still not got around to completing!)

On to our adventure today.We have been acquainted with a couple over the past year who have now become our firm friends. We love spending time with them because one is French the other is English. Rich has known them longer than me and has always said that I would get on with the lady in question so well. He is not wrong.

Two weeks ago they came to Sunday lunch, which is different to Sunday lunch in England, not the traditional roast, and we had an English, French Mexican combo. They bought over their dried ham which we had with cornichons (small gerkins) tiny silverskin onions, crackers, and cheddar cheese. We then had chilli made with bourginon beef, roast potatoes so that I could introduce something English, which they loved, and some of the sausages that I had in the freezer that I had purchased from the wonderful English butcher in Gorron. As always they loved them, if you remember from my post about our BBQ last summer introduce an English sausage to the French and they love them. (OOh Matron!) I followed this all with homemade mince pies (no I did not make my pastry!) and they loved them also.

The Welshies, as always, were on their best behaviour and they left wanting to take them home as most people do. We really had a wonderful time and it was very French in the way we talked and ate for hours, not wolfing it down in a quick sitting as we tend to do in England.

They have now invited us to  lunch in a pretty little seaside town, near Mont St Michelle. I am so excited, the sun is shining, we are going to eat seafood (and yes I have tried snails since eating lunch at their house) and the restaurant is posh! (Oh the Essex girl in me, she is still there!) So I had better get going because most of the time I tend to dress down and this time I need to dress up, and put some decent make up on.

I promise I will update you about it all tomorrow.

Have a lovely Saturday.


It got us thinking

Rich and I have just had a conversation about living here. About how hard it is, considered why we wanted to make the move. This led to  how people (sorry but English people) in this country,  just seem to want to stab each other in the back, front and anywhere they can get the knife, and how easy it is to be sucked into that awful kind of behaviour. Let me give you an example.

You have to register in France to work, I am not going to go into the boring nitty gritty  but, obviously, you do have to be registered; and France being France it can be quite nit picky.

So if you are employed as a handyman but want to do gardening as well you have to add that on your registration. The thing is work is so difficult to come by you do not know if you are going to get work in that particular field so you may want to suck it and see fist because adding to your registration costs money.

Here is the rub. There is a local FaceBook site that people can advertise their services on, or people can visit to look for someone if they need a job completing. It has come to our attention that there are some really sad people (yep English again!) who should actually be pitied for how empty their lives must be, who are actually looking up what people are registered as on a website, and if they say they are available for a job that they are not registered as they are reporting them. Now I am not talking about a gardener saying he can build a house, or a baker saying he can put a fuse box in for the electrics, I am talking about a handyman saying he can clear rubbish from a garden for example. Why people cannot leave people alone and allow them to do what they need to do to survive is beyond me.

So I am going to ask this question how sad are you? And yes, I am asking this question! That you actually sit looking at FaceBook and then look people up and then do that? Can you not see what that says about you? A rhetorical question,because obviously not!! But please feel free to comment, then everyone who reads my blog around the world can pity you as well!

So what happens is everyone gets on the wheel, becomes distrustful of everyone else, does the same back to them, a never ending circle of hate! They moan about the English butcher, lie about his produce, tell everyone he is expensive. They bitch about people that open restaurants, a local fish and chip shop that has opened near us for example. If you don’t like it just don’t fucking go there! They lie to people about what they need to do, and it goes on and on.

In addition to that a poor lady put out an alert because she had sadly lost her dog, she had just re-homed him from Yugoslavia (or whatever it is called now!) and he had health conditions. She was beside herself. She had let him out to go to the toilet and he had gone. So many people offered support, including me, and offered to help, but two women were vile, they berated her for letting dog out without going out with him!? It was so unnecessary and I am sure that they will say that they were dog lovers, but they clearly could not see what dogs offer, because if there is one thing about a dog, it does not judge!

Why am I telling you this? Because trust me, this culture is a serious, ugly wart over here, and I said that I would say it warts and all.

But Rich and I have decided that we are not joining in. We are focusing on the lovely people we have met over here. My eccentric friend Jan, she just makes me smile. The French class that is held at my house, which like minded kind and helpful people seem to have radiated towards, we have such a laugh with no judging. Friends who have helped us, new friends who are helping us and our dear friend who has just come over from England and loaded us up with all his spare slate that he had from when he had his roof replaced. Add to that his friend who came with him who called us on her way home today because she had been looking at the roofs and decided Rich needed to do our a certain way. (Seriously this lady is in her seventies and goes up a ladder like a jack rabbit). My wonderful cyber friend and fellow blogger Roz, I have never met her but she gives me and my blog so much support. All of these people are English, and lovely. So we have decided we will limit our times on these sites, only view them when we have to.

So what led us to this discussion, a lady was advertising that her chickens were for sale, because she was moving back to England after three years. This got us talking about what did we expect from our new life. Yes, I expected it to be frugal, that does not worry me because I had too much excess in England. A simpler way of life, looking at the small things that we take for granted for which we are truly blessed. Not least waking up each morning with the person you love beside you (snoring!) Would we move back to England? No. If I could get a part time job here that paid me five hundred pounds a month I could afford to live. I could not afford to live on that in England. We are realistic, and let us not forget the tranquility, and peacefulness.

Oh and the Welshies!

So to all my readers out there, don’t get caught up in the crap, step away from the nastiness, lord knows there is enough of it out there right now. But do say, like I have, about the rudeness, challenge it please don’t accept it. It needs to stop.


Let the music play, let it play just a little while longer……


My title today is from one of my most favourite songs ever, ‘Inherit the Wind’ written by Perral Ray, and Wilton Felder. Performed by the Crusaders, and the late great Donny Hathaway. I urge you to listen to it, it is on You Tube.

It is a song that has always, always inspired me, and I had forgotten it! A song that could bring tears to my eyes, always, and it still does.

My blog today is about how the small things can make all the difference to someone, especially in difficult times, about always believing, about never giving up.

What made me choose this?

A dear, dear friend, one of the kindest I have ever had, sent me a batch of records this week. They included David Gray, White ladder (that I had mentioned I had lost) and many others; but there was one disc where he had selected various different songs that I had obviously danced to, and sung in his presence over the years.(  I need to stress here that we had been out of touch for over eighteen years up until last year!) He had still remembered all the songs I have loved, and do love, old soul classics. But more than anything he started them with this song, probably because he could remember me singing the words with such passion when I was much, much younger….

“Time keeps coming, and dreams just fade away                                                                                     But the wind still remaining, brings us to a better day                                                                         You can feel it growing, the storm inside of you                                                                                      Inherit the wind, you gotta try my friend, my friend, my friend……

The gesture of sending the recordings to me made me cry, but when I listened to this (as I am now,as I write this post) it brings tears to my eyes.

I took this as a sign. I have let some of my dreams fade, and I need to get them back.

So far this has been a difficult year. I started work as a freelancer and worked over fifteen hours, writing stupid articles with SEO words (Search Engine Optimization) in them and earnt three hundred euros. Except I was scammed, so they took the work but did not pay me!

Add to this that at this time of year it is tough in France, where work is concerned, with little money coming in but large bills landing on the mat: It is a constant trying to heat the house without using too much fuel, (I know people who live here will relate), and on grey days there is a bleakness at times, and it is difficult not to worry, even though you know that worrying is a futile exercise that will get you nothing bur further negative things. (The Tao). I notice that even French people tend to go on holiday. (I did say I would say it warts and all!)

So I was finding it difficult to tap into my subconscious and not allow my mind to wander into the ‘what if’ territory, even though I know that this is crap because everything can change in an instant, and you could spend your last moments worrying about something that is never going to happen! But I could not shift it.

Then my parcel arrived (thank you Tao for showing me what I needed to look at) and I took this as a sign, when this song was the first song that played;  that I should try and follow my dreams, write the bloody book that I have left for months because I have allowed things to get in the way.

It too is a book about my experiences, but experiences that happened some time ago, when I kept a “mad journal” about what was happening to me; it helped me survive and be the person that I am today, stronger.  I know that other people still go through every day, what I went through, and I would have given anything to read about someone else’s madness when it happened to me; to know that I would survive and things would get better.  I hope it will be a book of hope for others in their darkest times.

We have recently featured in a publication in England and our story is now going to appear in another, it is a positive story, a story of hope for others; I need to write my book now, and build on that experience.

So I am writing this post for others who may be feeling the ‘February Blues’ and I hope that it helps and inspires them.

Here is what I think, and some things to consider………

As I have said before I am not one to let things get me down. I am lucky I am able to write. I will look at my scamming experience as an opportunity to learn about SEO’s , and not least to do my homework and look up scams! I have had the opportunity to write about anything that is thrown at me, albeit a hn  of lies in some cases, but it has been an experience.

As I encouraged others to do in my previous post on Autumn I have made myself go out in all weathers with my Welshies, because if you asked someone whose time on earth was limited if they hated the Winter they would say “No!” Because they know that there will be a time when they never smell the rain  again, or feel the cold, or see the fog, or hear the wind, or touch a snowflake, or see the wonderful frosts.

Every day I wake up I say thank you that I have another day, because some people may not have woken up!

Thank you that my seventeen year old cat has another day.

Thank you for my darling husband (no he doesn’t come behind the cat!), thank you for my beautiful dogs, my gorgeous cats.

Thank you for all the people who care about me. Not least the wonderful friends like Russell.

We take too much for granted, and remember, when you are looking forward to the spring weather who is to say you will see it?  So don’t forget about the hear and now.The saying is so true, live each day as if it were your last.

But spring is coming, you can smell it in the air, you can see it in the blue of the sky, and the snowdrops are out, they never give up, they always have hope.

So I am going to pick myself up, and this afternoon Rich and I are going to have a couple of glasses of wine, and dance to the songs that Russell sent me. After I have reviewed my book and written some pages on it of course!

“Don’t you know life if for living                                                                                                                   Your destiny is sure                                                                                                                                           like the colours of the rainbow                                                                                                                      that over time and time endures……………..

Thank you the Crusaders, and the late great Donny Hathaway, and  Wilton Felder, and Perral Wilton. They do say that music is food for the soul.

Be inspired, start make your dreams come true next week

‘If you can keep your head when all above you are losing theirs, you shall  inherit the wind…’