Thursday, 28 March 2013

Our French Life - Did we make the right decision?

Our French Life - Did we make the right decision?

We are often asked the same question by both English and French friends "Did we make the right decision moving to France"? only yesterday a French friend enquired "What is it you like about France"? and it is very hard to put it into words but the way we answered him was, it is like being transported back in time to when we were children (this is Rural France you understand) I am sure in the big cities it is just as chaotic here as in the UK...
        It had got to the point back in the UK where it wasn't a pleasure to go into our city centre in broad daylight let alone after dark, the streets had become a minefield of beggars and drunks with even the odd drug deal happening in broad daylight, people say you must move with the times but it wasn't something we wanted to become accustomed to.
We had been coming to Northern France for holidays for many years and had fallen in love with the whole way of life, so slow and relaxed, we bought our house here in Pays de la loire in 2001 and had spent every holiday coming over and slowly turning it into a comfortable home (with the help of good friends). when we look back we realise that during those times we didn't even see much of France as it was head down and get the job done, I am pretty sure we even worked on Sundays but when you have limited time to do something it is all hands to the pumps.
There have been many times since our total move over to France 4 years ago when we have asked ourselves the same question, usually when something has gone wrong and there have been many of those, although the life here is good you will still have life's rotten eggs thrown at you as you would anywhere else, even more so when you are in another country and don't have a good command of the language, we have had our fair share of problems but we are lucky enough to have built up a very good network of friends some of whom speak French fluently and are more than happy to help out..
Both John and I are on regular medication and need to visit our Doctor every 3 months, we don't need to make an appointment ever, we just turn up at his house/surgery, admittedly we have to take our turn in the queue unless we are lucky enough to get there first but sitting in the waiting room with the wallpaper hanging off the wall listening to his  piped classical music and trying to have a conversation with the others (usually french) is an adventure every time, plus we are extra lucky that Dr Fred as we call him - his name is Frederic Lerich - speaks perfect English as he lived in the UK for 7 years, this helps immensely when it comes to medical things...
When we first moved over we thought for a very long time, had we made the right decision, would we have enough money to survive but all in all we find the cost of living to be very reasonable considering our quality of life is 100% better and if we didn't have enough money to live here then we certainly wouldn't have enough back in the UK, we have integrated into our village very well and have always been made very welcome, we grow our own veg, sadly we don't have any animals as we don't have a lot of land but as we get older I wonder how we would look after animals so probably for the best. with the help of our French neighbours ( who don't speak any English) and some french lessons we are becoming more able to have a conversation and I would advise anyone thinking of moving here to try and learn the language.
It is not just one thing that brought us here but a whole load of small but equally as important things that make up our lives, I am pretty sure we have added 10 years onto our lives by doing it.

  • Did we make the right decision - most definitely 
  • Do we regret anything - Yes, that we didn't do it sooner.
  • We miss our family and friends back in the UK but we are not a million miles away.
  • We are retired so don't have to find an income but if you are thinking of coming to France to work I advise you to sort work out first as it is not easy to find here.
If anyone has any questions about moving here please don't hesitate to ask via comments or email me :

Wednesday, 27 March 2013

Our French life - Salade Francaise

Our French life - Salade Francaise

Today is a better day, no problems have yet arisen that's not to say they won't the day is young, Don't get me wrong it sounds like there is always something going wrong, John say's we don't have problems, we have challenges, I agree it does sound better, all in all our life here is very good and we would never contemplate returning to England at the moment.

I was reading a blog from a fellow blogger about diets of all things, perish the thought and thinking it will soon be summer and salad time, but it also made me realise that I only like salad if it includes fattening things like dressing, cheese, Potato salad etc:

The French eat salad with everything, I am pretty sure they have it for breakfast :)

Our neighbour says she eats salad three times a day and judging by the size of her that is all she eats, plain salad does nothing for me unless it is in a sandwich but I absolutely love vinaigrette the french way, we rarely buy dressing and always make our own and providing there is meat of some sort I can cope with the salad with just vinaigrette, here is how we make ours:- I never measure really.

In a jug put  

  • Black pepper and a little sea salt.
  • dollop of Dijon mustard
  • 1 glove of garlic crushed - optional
  • 3 Tbsp White or Red wine vinegar
  • 6 Tbsp Olive oil of your choice - I am into Greek at the moment, it is nice and mild
Mix it lightly and it is ready to serve,
if you want it to be thicker just whisk and it will thicken or add a little mayo if you like it creamy, any that is left can be put into a jam jar and will keep in the fridge for days.   
           It is also very nice on french beans just out of the garden Yum 

But doesn't this all taste much better when you are outside in the sun with a BBQ....
If you have a better or different vinaigrette let me know, I would love to try it and I will post it on here with your name..

  • The French seem to eat what they like and in large quantities but then walk it off afterwards
  • They eat late in the evening
  • And drink lots of wine
  • Have we been doing it wrong all this time?

Tuesday, 26 March 2013

Our French life - Trauma of the travel card

Our French life - Trauma of the travel card 

Our regular readers will know the trauma that I have had with the EHIC card and trying to telephone to get one for John and I for our upcoming visit to England, there is the long list of recorded messages then being transferred to another department or should I say the wrong department, constantly being told "we don't deal with that here" then being told they can't transfer back and having to redial only to go through it all again and eventually being cut off.

This is the said bad boy card:

Well today I had to call the International pensions people for John as he is now retired and previously was a dependent on my Carte Vitale, John retired at Christmas and we totally put to the back of our minds that we should sort it out until today when we had a rude awakening, John went to the chemist for his monthly medication to be told they had not been paid for a couple of months - shock Horror - even worse that if we didn't sort it out by next month he would have to pay for his medication, now every time he gets it they print out on his prescription how much it is and believe me you don't want to be paying full whack for it. 
(if they had done this on prescriptions in England I don't think anyone would ever moan about the price of a prescription again)
So that sorted - they were extremely helpful although you still got all the recorded rubbish at the beginning, the lovely chap said politely "is there anything else we can help you with today" I said yes can you sort out our EHIC card for us, to which he replied we don't deal with that here, I thought here we go again but no he said do you want it for the UK I replied yes, he said you don't need one for the UK, if you need medical treatment you just give the Doctor or hospital your National Insurance number and you will be covered. so after all that we didn't need one but this information might be helpful to anyone else who might be trying to get one - however you will need it if you are going to visit another EU country. Have you had a similar experience? let me know.

  • You don't need a EHIC card for UK but will need it for any other EU country
  • If you or your Husband is a dependent on a Carte Vitale you must change it the minute you become a pensioner yourself.
  • Remember how lucky we were to get subsidised prescriptions 

Monday, 25 March 2013

Our French Life - Chasing the Dragon

Our French Life - Chasing the Dragon

When out Saturday in Vitre we decided to look for an Asian shop we had been told about by a friend, John loves his curry's but curry paste as such can't be found here, I dare say you could find these things in the big cities but we are very rural and live among the farming community, we had an idea of where it might be but when we looked it wasn't there so we drove around for a little while, Then!! just when we had given up and had decided it was time to go home, there it was like a dragon out of the fire..

It was not as big as the shop we had found in St Gregoire, Rennes but very well stocked and they had some Pataks curry pastes.

 Sadly there were no poppadoms or Naan bread but I think if we go there often enough he will get them in...most of the produce was geared toward Chinese with fish the like of which I have never seen before and certainly haven't heard of.
The strangest thing is the owner was of course Chinese who spoke french but the image of a Chinese man with a french accent was hard to take in, the good thing was he spoke just enough English to be able to hold a small conversation with him, he was very helpful and kind.
Here is what I found on line at Ouest France newspaper in case any of our friends here in France fancy a touch of the exotic.

Display: The Dragon, Asian and exotic products - Vitre

Thom Thi Bach offers all sorts of Asian soups.

Where to find Asian groceries, glass and exotic? At Thi Thom Bach and her husband The Trung just opened their store Boulevard Laval.
On the shelves, many spices, noodles, sauces, soups, preserves, teas, fresh fruit and vegetables, frozen foods such as spring rolls, dumplings, samosa.
Their plan is to offer their dishes and why not learn about Asian food. "Many customers ask me," says Thi Thom. "It is possible to order items that are not in the store," adds Thi Thom. The Trung regularly travels to Paris to buy his goods.
The Dragon, 87, boulevard de Laval is open from 9 h 30 to 13 h and 14 h from 30 to 20 pm on Mondays, Wednesdays, Thursdays, Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays.
It Goes without saying we had a curry Saturday evening but with prawn crackers instead of poppadoms.


Our friends Neil & Carol who have 2 Maison Secondaires in our village ( in fact that is how we met them)
Arrived for a working holiday on Saturday, so Needless to say we had them over for Sunday lunch.

Sadly we had to sit through the boring motor racing and put up with the tantrums of overpaid racing drivers and their toys, there that's my moan over with but it was worth it to have their company.
Neil & Carol come from Rotherham and had a pretty naff journey due to the snow in England but got here eventually, they have one house in our Street which they stay in and when they are here and also rent it out for holidays, they also have a second house on the opposite side of the street which they are renovating, so most holidays are spent either plaster-boarding and joint skimming or water pipe fitting etc, all the lovely chores that go with renovation. they do seem to always find time to explore the area too and sually find more things and places than we do.

Friday, 22 March 2013

Our life in France - Guest Post from the Expat Hub

Our life in France - A big thank you to The Expat Hub for writing this Guest post.

Top tips for getting a Job in France
The job situation is pretty bad right across Europe with unemployment currently at a record high of 11.9%; unfortunately France is suffering pretty badly with the national unemployment rate being 10.5% and youth unemployment being 27%. This tough market is not likely to improve for some time yet as the EU continues to struggle with the Euro debt crisis. Despite all of the potential hurdles, there are some ways to improve your chances of landing a job in France. We list some of our top tips.
  1. If you want a job in France then learn French!!!
It may sound obvious but you would be surprised at how many expats move to France without knowing a word of French and still expect to walk into a job. The French are highly protective of their native language and will deliberately speak it at all opportunities. If a potential employer sees that you don’t know what they’re saying then you can kiss the prospect of landing a job good-bye.
Before you move to France, enrol on a night class for lessons, and make sure to learn French in your spare time. There are many websites that teach the language, and it wouldn’t hurt to invest in some software to aid with your learning.
  1. Use a recruitment agency
It will save you a lot of time by using a specialist jobs agency. They will know what jobs are most in demand and the ones available in a chosen region. Make sure you use the internet as it provides plenty of invaluable links to useful job finding resources.
  1. Get the length of your CV right and format it properly
The average length of a CV in France is two pages, regardless of what job you’re going for. Don’t try and get around this rule by using too big or too small font sizes as the employer will not be impressed. If you have limited work experience then one page should be fine. If the opposite is the case the employer won’t need to know every single detail of your past experience.
  1. Write your resume correctly
Most multinational companies will expect you to both speak and write the language of the country they are based in, and English, (which is the international language for business.) Make sure you write your resume in both English and French, and be prepared for an interview to be held in both languages.
Most companies will want to see proof of your language skills. When submitting your CV and Resume make sure you know which type of English your potential employer uses, i.e. American English or British English. French employers are renowned for being very picky when it comes to the written word.
  1. If you’re lucky enough to get to the interview stage then remember step one, after all if you want a job in France then learn French!!!
This is a guest post by Expat Hub, a website devoted to giving help, advice, and support to those in the process of expatriating–or even those just thinking about it.  You can check out their extensive list of helpful articles and forums at:

Thursday, 21 March 2013

Our French Life

Our French Life - La Voiture 

For those of you who have been following our blog for some while will know of the problems that have bestowed us via the car, well fingers crossed it seems to have now been fixed and she is running like a dream, purring in fact as John says, we have spent far more on getting this car right over the years than it was worth money wise in fact when it was first ours it had this problem of shuddering and doing all sorts of things, our local garage said it was the head gasket and after 4 days promptly charged us 2000€ I am still trying to get over that shock, needless to say we haven't been back to that said garage. it has since 2007 had the same ongoing problem but at last that has now been sorted for what I class as a very low cost, it being the fuel injection being partially blocked, so simple yet nobody could find the problem (needless to say it was something I had mentioned some while ago) but of course I couldn't possibly know what could be wrong with the car being a woman.
Then there was the exhaust, first it was the catalytic converter which a garage quoted us 1600€ plus fitting, we got it from Ebay for £230 including delivery and fitted for 40€, this part was almost half the length of the car, then there was the two front parts of the exhaust again massive pieces from Eurocarparts so now all but the little back box we have an almost complete new exhaust all shiny and bright, you can't hear us coming now in fact it sounds like the engine is switched off.
We are so pleased that after all this time it is finally the beautiful car it used to be, a very luxurious comfortable car, I am glad we stuck it out and didn't get rid of her. just in time for our English trip... sighs with relief.

  • Beware of French garages
  • Use Eurocarparts and Ebay, they are brilliant 
  • Listen to your wife when she tells you what is wrong with the car

Wednesday, 20 March 2013

Our French Life

Our French Life - It's Chilli !!!

Well I promised you I would tell you about the Chilli we had for dinner last night, I am they say a fairly good cook suffice to say I love to cook but believe it or not I don't remember ever making a Chili before which is quite strange considering John loves spicy food, so I thought I would try it and just hope I didn't make it too hot.

  • 1 tbsp oil
  • 1 large onion
  • 1 red pepper
  • 2 garlic cloves peeled
  • 1 heaped tsp hot chilli powder (or 1 level tbsp if mild)
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 500g lean minced beef
  • 1 beef stock cube (I used the little gravy boat thingy)
  • 400g can of chopped tomatoes
  • 1/2 tsp dry marjoram
  • 1 tsp of sugar - optional - see foot note
  • 2 tbsp tomato puree
  • 410g can red kidney beans
  • plain boiled long grain rice to serve
  • Soured cream or Creme Fraiche to serve
I prepare all the veg first chopping onion and red pepper into small dice and chop the garlic smallish. cook the onion for 5 minutes, then add the red pepper and garlic along with chilli powder cumin and paprika, give a good stir and leave to simmer for 5 minutes.

Brown the mince in a separate saucepan and drain off any fat, add the gravy pot or stock cube to 300ml of hot water and add to the meat, add the can of tomatoes, marjoram and sugar if using plus some salt and pepper, (I would leave out the salt if using a stock cube). and the tomato puree, put a lid on and simmer gently for 20 minutes.if the mixture dry's out add some water and stir occasionally to stop sticking.

Drain and rinse well the beans and add to mixture, gently simmer for 10 minutes, at this point taste and adjust seasoning, now put the lid back on, turn off the heat and leave to stand for 10 minutes before serving.



                                                                           Et Voila      
Sadly we were too eager to eat it because it tasted so good and rich but not too hot we forgot to take a photo of the finished article.


  • A Mexican Twist, rather than add the teaspoon of sugar, you can stir in a small piece of chocolate ( 1 square) when you add the beans, Any plain dark chocolate will do, be careful not to add too much - you don't want to be able to identify the flavour of the chocolate but it makes an immense difference.
Let me know if you try it please.





Tuesday, 19 March 2013

Our French Life

Our French Life - The End at last!

I can't remember the last time I finished the ironing and saw the bottom of the ironing basket but today I have achieved that illusive Goal, many times I have attempted it and many times I have failed, I think I have finally understood why people do things like climb impossible mountains or go potholing, in the past I have always been the one to say Why! what drives people to do such stupid things, Once when asked why did you do it, Sir Edmund Hilary (at least I think it was him) replied "because it was there" well the ironing was always there but it didn't seem to enthuse me to do it in fact it was always easier to say "I will tackle it tomorrow" - Procrastination is the thief of time as they say.

     Here is the evidence

I have even dried washing outside and ironed that too before it rained again, Mind you I now have to put it away, that is a different matter but the feeling I have knowing I have conquered it is immense and will surely do it again.

The weather here in St Aignan Sur Roe is very much like April in as much as one minute the sun is shining and the next it is raining or hailing, we are also expecting thunder at some point this afternoon, I am looking out at the rain and thinking when am I going to be able to start the big clean up and get some planting done so that we have veg for the summer months at least. but at the same time we are taking a trip to England so might be better to leave everything until we get back and hopefully it will be a bit warmer and hope and pray drier.

It is time to think about tonight's dinner and we have decided on a Chili con Carne, John is a hot and spicy sort of chap, we always say he was born in the wrong country. luckily there is always creme fraiche in the fridge to take the smouldering heat out for me..
I will let you know how it went tomorrow.

  • Climb small mountains
  • Never procrastinate
  • Always have Creme Fraiche in the fridge

Monday, 18 March 2013

Our French Life

Our French Life - It is very big and silver.

Eventually the other part of the exhaust has arrived after having been held up in Paris due to the snow delivered by a lovely woman from DHL, she left Nantes at 10.32 this morning and arrived at 11.39, you might as well say an hour, that is going some in anybody's book, she must have broken all the speed limits, and I cannot tell you how pleased we have been with Eurocarparts on the first occasion they sent the right side of the exhaust in 3 days and delivery for a very heavy part was £15.95 the second time it took a little longer due to the bad weather and again for a big part and a smaller one £17.95 delivery, my only bit of advice is don't telephone them but order on line as with the latter you get on line tracking but not with the telephone order, either way they are very good though.
Now we have the part the mechanic isn't available, you couldn't make it up really. we saw him Saturday and said it would be arriving Monday so assumed he was OK to do it but still we wait for the car to be fixed and our trip to England gets closer.

Today to take my mind off things I thought I would tackle the ironing.

I really do feel just like this now - very alien - and a very good likeness some would say.
But I can almost see the bottom of the ironing basket now and am feeling quite good, when I say this to John he says " there is still the pile upstairs" I must have looked like a startled rabbit 

Pile!! Upstairs!! I almost scream at him, "yes the basket was heavy so I took some off to bring it down"
And you didn't think to mention it I screech. I have given up for today having had the go knocked out of me. it will have to wait for another day, namely tomorrow.
today I am done. 

Friday, 15 March 2013

Our French Life

Our French Life - Fabulous Friday

Yes it is Fabulous Friday again, they seem to come around fairly quickly these days, not like when you were young and wished your life away wanting to be older, we now want to slow it down a little as the years are running away with us.

Anyway Friday is here, the housework is done for the weekend so that we don't have to think when the doorbell goes "is everywhere clean and tidy"

Today woke to a very hard frost and all the daffodils were heads down on the floor but amazingly once the frost cleared and the sun came out they stood up tall again, this weekend kick starts the Vide Grenier season - the french equivalent of a car boot sale, they are indoors this weekend though so won't be so cold, it is the start of me getting out and about, I love it rummaging through all the stuff, looking for things I can recycle and find a use for, I am into the shabby chic thing at the moment, when I say into I mean I am talking about doing it but haven't actually started as yet, maybe I will start soon and take some before and after pictures. that sounds like a plan, if any of our readers have ever done any shabby chic-ing please let us no via the comments.

We have waited all morning for our delivery of the other half of the exhaust coming from England from Eurocarparts click here for their site last time we ordered we did it on line and it was here in 3 days, this time for reasons known only to John he telephoned them and then used a naff card to order, it didn't go through and although they had our email and telephone number they didn't let us know, it was only by chance I was on line banking and noticed the money hadn't gone out, so it had to be ordered again and wait another 3 days, today is day 4 so felt sure it would turn up, just hope it doesn't turn up tomorrow when we are out.

Just had to chuckle at this verse, no wonder they say English is hard to learn, I bet it's the same in French. it was given to us by our French teacher when we said French is difficult -  
I might frame this..

Well the ironing won't wait any longer so had better get a wriggle on, if there are any good friends out there who want to do it for me just let me know, I hate ironing.


Thursday, 14 March 2013

Our French Life - La Langue

Our French Life - How I still struggle with the French language

Disclaimer: I mean all of the following in the most culturally sensitive way possible.

The French language eludes me to this day, oh don't misunderstand me I speak a lot of french and I have been told by many French people that my pronunciation is extremely good, my biggest problem is that I just cannot understand them when they answer me, now this causes some confusion for them, if you imagine I say something in French with perfect pronunciation then tell them in French I cannot understand them, they usually do a bit of lip pursing and eventually lose interest totally confused.
I found this video which I thought was very good in fact I might give this a try Click here at least it might give me a bit more time to try to understand them, up until now I haven't had much time to converse with the french so my intention is to put myself out into the community and get more practise, I thought I should volunteer for something in the village or for a charity maybe, a friend suggested that I go to the bar after church on a Sunday, this is where they all go after church for either a Kir (white wine and Cassis) beer or coffee. it sounds rather enjoyable actually popping over to the bar while the lunch is cooking getting back, eating lunch and having a nap, or do what the french do and go for a walk to work off what you have just eaten, maybe that is how they stay so slim.

I think I have figured out how the french women always look so good, it is all to do with the scarf and other accessories - I saw a french lady the other day and she had a dress on that I had seen her in before but somehow it looked very different then I realised why -  it was her scarf which matched her earrings and her glasses, Voila you have a new outfit, now I think we all know about this trick but no one does it quite like the french women, and when I say glasses, here you when you buy certain glasses you can choose different interchangeable fronts so that they match your attire - how fantastic is that.

Talking about the scarf - They are so important that there are two different words for scarf in the French language: une écharpe is a winter scarf, and un foulard is a lighter, decorative scarf. For women my age, they are indeed for sale in almost every shop and on average a french woman would own a multitude of them, they also spray perfume on them rather than on their skin. and then there is the choice of how to tie them, there must be a million ways.

A scarf can make a dummy look good

So say voila a lot, buy a scarf, eat and drink loads and walk it all off afterwards.

Wednesday, 13 March 2013

Our Life in France

Our French Life - Planning a trip.

I call this country home now but it took a few years to stop saying back home referring to England, now we are planning a trip to England not home if you get my meaning.

But best laid plans and all that - Yesterday I realised that we needed a EHIC card to cover us for health insurance while we were abroad (outside France) and was told I would have to apply to Newcastle so I promptly telephoned them, after listening to a recorded voice for the longest time I finally was answered, I gave all my details and the voice said you have come through to the wrong department, I said but it is the number on your site to call! she said sorry I will transfer you, I then had to listen again to an even longer message with god knows how many options, again when finally answered and after again giving our details she said " I only deal with health insurance cards for UK residents" I said can you transfer me, she said sorry no but gave me a number - strangely the same number I originally called..I then had to redial and go through it all again only to be told I was through to the wrong number and they would transfer me..after waiting to be transferred for approx 5 minutes the line suddenly went dead with a dial tone ... I had been cut off.
I had remembered that I had seen somewhere on our CPAM on line account, that's our French health service,  something about it so went to find out, sure enough I could order it on line but every time I tried to it said " service temporarily unavailable - please try later" so I did time and time again, I then thought I would call the CPAM English speaking line but it was also unavailable, by this time I was starting to think there were forces stronger than me out there trying to tell me something but it may well have been the bad snow experienced by Northern France, this was confirmed when I call it today and the message says we are closed exceptionally.
I thought I would throw the question out to the wonderful networking site that is Survive France If you live in France and you are not already registered on here do so now it will keep you sane, it's free to join and there are an abundance of helpful posts and groups to join. check it out on the above link.

I guess we will have to wait until the snow clears or go to an office which is miles away. watch this space

I am now off to the Boulangerie to get something naughty

Monday, 11 March 2013

Our Life in France

Our life in France - Partying with the French.

The weekend comes and goes so quickly especially when you are enjoying yourself.
Saturday was the usual shopping day for us but we had been invited to a birthday bash, Champagne and finger food, just the sort we like, it always seems so much more relaxed than sitting round a table eating a set meal when there are quite a few people you don't really know (friends of friends) and especially when you don't speak each others language.
It was the 40th Birthday of our friend Rick, this is him below with the silly Birthday cake hat...
The french love to talk and I would love to talk to them but my french lets me down all the time, every time it happens I promise to learn better French but it never happens, maybe when I have more time, I know I should, I shouldn't expect them to speak my language, after all we are in their country...anyone out there recommend any good, easy ways to learn french? all answers in comments please ..

I love the way the French enjoy their food no matter what it is and always happy to try new aperitif.

My contribution to the food were the little blinis with creme fraiche mixed with a little horseradish sauce topped with chopped smoked salmon, they went down a treat and a friend, Karen had done these gorgeous gallette spread with garlic cheese rolled up then sliced into little rounds, yummy,. there were lots of samosa things, garlic bread, sausage rolls french style, pasta in sauce and quiche...lots to drink although I was on water as it was my turn to drive. we had a thoroughly lovely time and it was lovely to see Neil and Hayley again from England.

There was a little 7 month old and an 9ish year old there and we never heard a peep from either, children here are so well behaved.

So for the next party I will be more fluent I promise. and it definitely won't be my turn to drive. 

Friday, 8 March 2013

Our life in France

Our life in France - beware all you expats - Telephone scams

The Indian call centres have finally found France - we have for the last few days been bombarded with calls from Indian call centres pretending to be calling from Microsoft, they are most definitely not calling from Microsoft - go here to read about it in this article in the Guardian, please be careful out there all of you expats and our French friends of course as they are clearly going through the telephone book.
we were getting at least 3 calls per day until I told them we didn't have a computer and they hung up, this must prompt them to take you off the list as they then have no use for you.

Let me know if you have had such calls please in the comments.

Wednesday, 6 March 2013

Spring has sprung !

It must be Spring (Il doit être le printemps)

They say you can tell the seasons and the weather by what the French do and this is definitely true with our neighbours, John has a bit of a game going on with our neighbour Jossette, she doesn't like to be beaten when it comes to mowing the lawn and if John happens to get ours done before her she is out straight away to do theirs, well I say theirs in fact next door is a holiday home but Jossette lives the other side of it and tends the garden as if it were her own, if she is out there tidying then we can be pretty sure the neighbours are coming for a visit, anyway the moral of this story is that yesterday Jossette cut the grass for the first time hence (It must be Spring) when asked was it too soon she said non! it is going to rain tomorrow so everything she has to do must be done before the proverbial rain falls from the sky, John has cut ours today, one up to Jossette.

I have been starting to clear the raised beds, sadly all the sprouts were no good as was everything from last year (a very bad year here and in England for veg) but I managed to save the sprout tops because we love them and don't waste anything plus out of the 150 leeks I planted we managed to save 12, 6 of which I gave to my 83 year old neighbour on the other side, Madame Touan as all of hers didn't make it, she loves her leeks and was so surprised that some of mine had made it.

They are going to taste so good with pork chops roasties and gravy.
I am so looking forward to being able to get the vertical garden going again and having a full year on it.

Tuesday, 5 March 2013

Big Booboo !!!

I have Erred!!!!

I have to publicly humiliate myself on here for all to see, I have been very remiss and forgotten a very Special Birthday. 
You see today is our friend Joy's birthday and somehow I forgot it until today (too late to send a card )
Joy, we are so very sorry but thought if we gave you a chocolate birthday cake it might go some way to making it up to you so here it is: it took me ages to make, ooops can't say that it's a fib. Sorry our very good friend. John & Pauline send birthday greetings too.



Bread & Butter in the gutter