Sunday 2 April 2017

Our French Life - Sunday Roast

Hello Dear Reader,

Today is Sunday, our day of rest, I so look forward to my Sunday roast whatever meat it is, today we are having beef roast with Yorkshire puddings, this is not something we have very often as the beef here is very expensive if you want a nice tender joint but this time of year you will find some fairly cheap pieces as they are using the milk cows (they do this in UK too but don't always tell you and let me tell you there is nothing wrong with it in fact I find it a bit more tender than the usual Charolais beef.

Also the smell of Sunday dinner transports me back in time to when I was a young girl living in the rural English countryside, We always had to go to Sunday school, something I think is missing these days, my Granny was a staunch Christian (her words) but she never went to church in fact we used to go to a Methodist Chapel for our religious education, we had little envelopes that just fitted the few pennies that were destined for the collection box, I always used to think what I could buy with the money that was in there, something pretty for my Mum, ah well I would pick her some bluebells this time of year to sit in a jar on the table when we sat down for our lunch,   as we were walking home we used to play a game of who could smell the dinner first, of course it would depend on where Sunday lunch was being cooked (our house or Granny's which was about 10 houses further up the lane) but I swear we could smell it a good half a mile away, There was always plenty as we had an uncle with a farm and Dad and Grampy always grew their own veg in vast amounts, the garden was very large both front and back, proper family homes not like the little boxes that people call home these days,   when I was very young about 3 I would say I would help myself to peas straight from the pod and strawberry's etc, my Granny once put my reins on me and attached it to the washing line, I could walk the length of the garden but couldn't go either side to eat the produce.
Sorry as usual I was so eager to eat my sunday lunch I forgot to take a picture except for the after effect of an empty plate.

Over to you, what are your sundays like? I wonder what the french have for sunday lunch.

Friday 31 March 2017

Our French Life - I am back

Hello Dear Reader,

It is some time since I blogged and there have been many reasons why which I won't bore you with, the most important thing is I am back.

The kitchen beckoned this morning as a hearty home made soup was the order of the day, I must always make the soup as I am diabetic and can't have the over processed bought ones, for one reason or another my blood glucose has spiralled out of control, I don't normally talk about this but I have to lose a great amount of weight and it is only going to help me to do so if I own it and put it out there so,.. here it is, I chopped and boiled and stirred the cauldron (John's name for it) and I have to say it was delicious and very filling and satisfying,.. I also made some hummus to have as a snack and popped a chicken in the slow cooker for dinner.

once the soup had been slurped  I sat in the garden for the first time this year drinking a cup of coffee and listening to the beautiful song of the birds, busying about their business, scratching about for the opportunity of a little bug or at best a worm, I espied a garden warbler and probably the very one that had been serenading me a few moments earlier, an energy came upon me that made me realise that the veil of winter had lifted to reveal new life all round me, I could almost feel and yes hear the buds bursting into flower on my Lilac tree, I absolutely love the heady smell of the lilac tree, It was at this moment that I knew it was time to shake off the cobwebs and get down to some serious gardening,    there were the geraniums in the storeroom that I had so very carefully wrapped in newspaper in late autumn and popped into a cosy box in the hope that they would survive, although they look dead as long as when you cut them you can see green they should burst into life once they receive soil and water, bit like us really...... Our Olive trees (plants in tubs really) need re potting, we have got the new pots and new compost for this job, it is amazing how better you feel for the drenching of sun on your person, I feel so energised and inspired.

It is all a clear sign that Summer is well and truly just around the corner and I for one will embrace it full on.

What are you guys doing in the garden?

Monday 6 March 2017

How time flies

Hello Dear Readers,
This is a re post of a blog I did in January 2013 and is a follow on from my last post requested by Paulita from
It was like a comedy of errors believe me

Yes time really does fly when you are enjoying yourself.

This week marks the 4th year of us leaving our life in the UK and getting on that ferry to France with everything but the kitchen sink, we gave so much to charity when we were trying to decide what to bring and what to leave behind and to this day I will search high and low to find something I know I have somewhere only to realise that I probably didn't even bring it with me, I find myself saying "what possessed me to get rid of that" but we have this saying, "if we haven't used it in the last year we most likely don't need it".
We set sail with our good friends Fernando,Joy and (Gemma who was returning to France) who helped us load up and came over to unload for us and take back the hire truck, it was an overnight crossing to le Havre and we didn't have a cabin trying to save money but Fernando bless him treated us to a cabin as a going away gift, oh how grateful we were, when we reached Le Havre we said to Fernando wait for us before you leave the port so that we stay together and also as he was driving the van not to go into the tunnel as it is for cars only (they have this system whereby cars go through the tunnel and Lorry's above to keep them separate,) well firstly vans came of the ferry at a different gate so we had to leave the port and try and find them, which we did re-iterating to Fernando not to enter the tunnel as the flappy bits overhead detect you are a van and go rigid, so off we set, I kept looking in the mirror to check they were still behind us, we went through the tunnel and came out the other side waiting very  for Fernando, Joy and Gemma to catch up, they never appeared, so I telephoned Joy on her mobile who said, "we went into the tunnel and now can't get out", so we said we would try and come back to them, we quickly realised that it was rush hour and the van was by now holding up all the traffic causing a very long traffic jam which we were at the back end of, Joy saved the day leaping out of the van and putting on the required yellow jacket, she started backing all the traffic up so that Fernando could reverse enough to get on the correct path, Joy doesn't speak french but it is surprising how much you can communicate by body language, luckily Fernando had stopped the van before it got stuck in the flappy things, they were now able to travel on the right bit of road, sadly we were now stuck in the long tailback caused by them, we eventually found each other.
It hadn't finished there though, you may have realised by now that Fernando is an accident waiting to happen (he won't mind me saying that) and we missed the services on the motorway to fuel up, we got a text message from Joy saying we have very little diesel, ok I say we will look for a garage (not so easy here) plus we didn't have a can to put it in..we  then get the awful text ""we have run out"" I say put your triangle out with your yellow jacket on and we will leave the motorway to get some diesel, within approximately 10 minutes we luckily came across a carrefour with service station so we had to firstly buy a can then get diesel and get back to the van which involved a bit of criss crossing on motorways, by now we were starting to feel that someone was trying to tell us something, we got to the house eventually which although it was very cold we felt safe at last.
The journey back for Fernando and Joy was almost just as eventful, firstly after some considerable time they realised the sat nav was taking them in completely the wrong direction then they stopped at a pull in with toilets and Joy got stuck in the toilet, Fernando to the rescue.. there is more but I won't bore you with it now, thats for another time.

Just as a little footnote - we would like to thank all of them for their wonderful friendship and help on that very special Journey also a very big thank you to our son Andrew whose experience at packing a removal van was second to none.

If you have made the move to France let us know how yours went. we have been here 8 years now and still know it was the right decision.😀

Thursday 2 March 2017

Requested post

Hello dear Readers,

Today I am writing a requested post for Paulita from  she is planning to move to France this year and wanted to know how we chose our house and why we came here.

After being here for a bit over 8 years it is not easy to recall why, the when is easy, we came in January 2009 after having made a visit at Christmas and making a very quick decision to do so, we went back and from then we had about 19 days to pack our house and belongings up and get over here.
The why is not so easy as it is a very long story, we came here 25 years ago on a holiday with friends and fell in love with the country, from that day on we were hell bent on coming here to live, you know if you want something enough you can get it.

We had one failed attempt to come over as we had a promise of work which turned out to be a figment of a friends imagination, it was destroying to find that we had sold our home and came over with a promise that was in the head of someone who had mental issues, but we are survivors and went back to UK to re group, it was to be 14 years later that we came over on a visit to view some properties when we found this one, it was nothing like we wanted but it was so cheap that we thought we couldn't miss it and at least we could renovate it and then sell it on, needless to say we are still here and now wonder if we have left it too late to move now.

Our love of France as I have previously touched on was the instant love of the country, it somehow felt like I had come home and I have always felt at home here, also the peace and tranquillity that is rural France is so relaxing for us when we returned to UK it always felt like a rat race, there are places in UK that you can find this same peace and tranquillity but we would never be able to afford such a place, here we have a property which is well over 200 years old but we bought it for pennies back in the day when the French didn't know the value of properties, they have since realised and put the prices up but they are still not what you would pay back in the UK, I can't call it home as home is now here for us for as long as we are able to stay here.
There have been many stories along the way which you can read through old posts on this blog.
One thing that we noticed as soon as we got here were the seasons, we really hadn't noticed them so much in UK (too busy running the rat race) but now we embrace them one and all.
Life in rural France is just as it was in UK 50 years ago when we were children, everyone speaks to you in the street, children are polite and family is so important, it is safe to let your children out to play, safe to walk the street at night, so as you can imagine it is very difficult to pinpoint a reason for coming here because it is lots of little ones that when put together become the reason.

My advice to anyone thinking of coming here to live,  live in an area to see if you like it before you buy and really look at a house for a long time to make sure it is what you want. and learn the language it is so important to your complete happiness.

If you are making the move to France please tell us your reasons

Wednesday 1 March 2017

Our French Life - John's got a scooby doo

Hello Dear Readers,

It isn't very often dear John buys anything, he is one of those chaps who doesn't need an awful lot, this is good as it means there is more for me because I need lots 😁,
So Monday when the publicity came through the door and I heard him say, "I could use one of those" I thought I must take a look at what had taken his fancy, but before I reveal it let me take you back to last year in the Spring when John decided he was going to give the decking a good clean and he used the spray jet on his Karcher, now this cleaned the decking beautifully but our cream coloured wall now looked like it had been sprayed by a muck spreader and John has to then clean that but the spray just took the paint off, the only thing for it was to re paint the wall.
John said he would have to get a proper attachment for cleaning the decking, (it does need doing after the winter as it gets slippery) these attachments are nearly as expensive as the Karcher so we have put it off,.... well you guessed it this is what he had seen in the Aldi Marché leaflet.

This is John hiding behind a box

This is the beast that will clean the decking without spraying the wall

We are not skinflints but we hate paying over the odds for stuff and at 21€99 this was a bargain, it isn't a Karcher but it has lots of adaptors so it will fit on lots of different models,....result.

I love it when we find a bargain, John can't wait to use it, sadly it is raining and he doesn't do rain. 😆

Over to you, have you found a bargain, if you did please share with us and tell us all which country.

Look forward to your comments below.

Tuesday 28 February 2017

Our French Life - Flip it and flop it

Hello dear Readers,

Pancake day is the day before lent in France it is called Mardi Gras  ( Fat Tuesday) I believe it was celebrated on 2nd February
I guess it was the last chance to eat fatty/sweet things before the fast, historically a fattened ox was paraded through the streets of Paris to give a reminder not to eat meat for 5/6 weeks or until Easter.
In England we call it Shrove Tuesday,  Shrove comes from the word Shrive, meaning to absolve, are you with me so far?
Well you might have guessed what we are having for dessert this evening, YEP, lovely scrummy pancakes, You might also have guessed that today (28th Feb) is pancake day in UK, I always make mine in advance ( if it's good enough for the french it is good enough for me) I then pop them in foil and re-heat in the oven, not the microwave as this will make them chewy.

The batter is made.

Here is my recipe which was my Dad's handed down from his French ancestry, and he made them so thin and delicate.

8 ozs plain flour
pinch of salt
1 pint of milk
2 eggs
butter to grease pan
Whisk all together and let stand for 30 minutes
This is how I butter the pan, picked up from a french friend

It is half a small potato with a fork stuck in it then dunked in the butter and butter gives you the little brown specks which gives the pancake the correct look.

Here it is in action
I use two pans. to do them quicker

The first two are in

8 lovely moist soft and fluffy delights

I like mine with Lemon juice and sugar and John likes his with maple syrup,

Over to you, how do you like yours.

Please leave a comment below and I will always answer you.

Monday 27 February 2017

Windy or What

Hello dear Readers,

I woke in the middle of the night with a start, what was that I thought, you know how you suddenly wake up and wonder whether you actually heard a noise or if you had been dreaming  (I do a lot of that) so I lay there waiting for it to happen again and hoping it wasn't going to, bang, there it was again, John was well into a very deep sleep so I thought I had better get up and investigate, as I got downstairs I realised the wind was blowing a gale and the rain was coming down in buckets, this is not good news as our little house has a very shaky roof and when the wind is in a certain direction accompanied with very heavy rain then it can only mean one thing, we have leaks and sure enough there were leaks, we need a new roof but it isn't an option as it is too expensive,  but we live in hope and do the Euromillions every week, well someone has to win and why shouldn't it be us.

A Horseshoe for good luck

We have two rooves and the one that is leaking is just over the kitchen and dining room and the lovely new bedroom John created, I do hope it won't be ruined...

Until next time dear friends

Tuesday 21 February 2017

Our French Life - Brighter days to come

Hello dear Readers,

It really feels as if spring is starting, everything is bursting out all over and it is so refreshing to see things coming to life, there are also new baby lambs dotted about in the fields, sadly I was driving and couldn't stop to take a photo of them, I am sure this time last year it was really cold, I would say even frosty so I hope this isn't going to be a faux ami.

Around the garden there are so many signs of new life, but due to being tied up with other things over the last few weeks and the fact that it is happening so early this year we haven't begun the great garden clean up to sweep the winter away, are we being a bit premature, I hope not.

The Daffodils are waiting to burst into a lovely display of much needed colour

Camellia also with their delicate pinkness are fit to burst

These beautiful crocus, my favourites, so tiny

Hundreds of buds on the lilac tree, my favourite perfume of the garden

I love this little border, it flowers despite being in the shade

It is so nice to see and it really lifts our very low spirits at the moment, I always think the garden looks so sad during the winter months but I guess it is a bit like me and hibernates, I noticed that a field not so far away has the dreaded mole hills, I do hope they march on by and leave my little green spot alone which is looking as if it is ready to be cut but is it too early yet, it is certainly growing at a rapid rate

This post is linked to my friends blog

Until next time dear friends

Saturday 18 February 2017

Our Life in France, your help is needed

Hello dear Readers,

This blog is a cry for help as I am experiencing real problems with my blog, I really am a bit of a technophobe, my blog has been running perfectly ok since 2009 and now I am having problems with comments, it seems that only people who comment via Google + can be seen on my posts, therefore I am not getting comments from some of you and cant answer, I hate the fact that some of you dear people are commenting and thinking I am not answering, I have tried everything I can and it is not working, I am tempted to open up another blog with a different provider but hate the thought that I would lose everything from the original as it is like a diary to me, if any of you dear readers are able to offer any help please feel free to do so, it will be very much appreciated, please could I ask you to send any help to my email at
I await any help I can get as the alternative would be to shut this blog down

Tuesday 14 February 2017

Our French Life - Sad times

Hello dear Readers,

Our life in France has been an adventure and along the way we have met lots of people some have come and gone, my Mother would have called them fair weather friends, the sort that are always around while the going is good but as soon as it gets difficult they are nowhere to be found, and some stick around and become best friends forever, for the last eight weeks John and I have been supporting one of those forever friends, he was told a week before last Christmas that he had cancer, previous to this he had no symptoms, he felt unsteady on his feet and went to see his GP who thought he had experienced a stroke and sent him via taxi to hospital 45 minutes away to get a brain scan, he was diagnosed and offered treatment but it started spreading too quickly and and at 3am Monday morning he lost his fight, 8 weeks from diagnosis. R.I.P. John Fitter, a Father figure, good friend, great comedian, great company and such a great soul, we are devastated .

See Big John you made it to my blog, take care on your new adventure x