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.๐Ÿ˜€

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 ๐Ÿ˜,
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 Marchรฉ 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. ๐Ÿ˜†

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.