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Simple

Yesterday we had our first meal at the farmhouse with friends who have lived in France for almost twenty years. They made the escape and have had a wonderful life here. We are novices compared but it’s wonderful being able to ditch debt and own your dreams. Simplicity is a word I love. That word… Continue reading Simple

All Posts · Animal tales · Chickens · French Life

There’s a Cou-nou in the compost

A year ago we acquired a lonely Cou-nou cockerel. One of three wandering henless around our barn, bachelor cool and social, Mr Chicken made a beeline for our coop every day to trill at the girls and strut his stuff. The other two loitered by our garden waiting for treats or casually entering our kitchen… Continue reading There’s a Cou-nou in the compost

All Posts · French Life · Garden in the meadow · Landscapes and trees

Views to wake up to

I still feel exhilarated every time I wake here in France. In fact I have to pinch myself sometimes. The morning light is amazing and filters softly through our trees creating long shadows across the lawns. The air is slightly damp as we live on top of a plateau that drops away South to the… Continue reading Views to wake up to

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New career move

When I came to France I had visions of relaxing on a terrace, Pimms in hand and a good book to loose myself in for a few hours. Ok there would be renovations to do and a new business to set up after my retirement from tax this year. But somehow life presents unusual twists… Continue reading New career move

All Posts · Animal tales · Cats and dogs · French Life

Bella

Just over six months ago we finally got two Jack Russell’s, my favorite dogs. Since the day I visited a friend, whose mother was asigned to baby sit me at 18 years old, after a jaw reconstruction operation, to make sure I didn’t joke on my liquid lunch….I fell in love with these naughty, feisty… Continue reading Bella

All Posts · Brocantes and reclaimation · French Life · Renovation work

Brocantes and vases

Vases. In my case as seductive as shoes, as mint chocolate thins, as the very mention of “fancy going to Chambon resourcerie”? https://m.facebook.com/Ressourcerie.La.Dynamo/ I inherited a lot of hand painted vases from my mother who collected them in abundance. By the time she passed on, her house was a crowded display of nick-nacks and charity… Continue reading Brocantes and vases

All Posts · Cats and dogs · French Life · Renovation work · The farm

We have a cellar

After a very heady youth in the 1980’s spent in the City of London between working as a banker and sliding at most lunchtimes into the local pub, by the time I was in my late twenties I had somehow obtained a complete necessity to avoid alcohol in any form. Had I pickled my liver?… Continue reading We have a cellar

All Posts · Citroen 2CV · French Life

Thoughts in a 2CV

New mats in Amelie. Made in Italy. Thats good. I am avoiding ‘Made in China’. Have been trying to avoid that for years, as I feel its tiresome that Europe has sucumbed after being pioneers of the Indiustrial Age, to have got so embedded in that country, its a disgrace. Now people, supposedly in the… Continue reading Thoughts in a 2CV

All Posts · Brocantes and reclaimation · French Life · Links I Love · The Factory

Eau de Nil

I love to have Brocante finds and personal objects I love on my desk. I worked from home since 2001 and making a home office that felt comfortable and workable was important. We recently completed my accounts office and a studio above at the factory. Both have desks. One is a nod at my love… Continue reading Eau de Nil

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Marriage in the time of isolation

Facebook prompted a celebration of marriage this week and I wanted to share. * In this honestly shameful and tragic time of Coronavirus, you really feel how precious your life and relationships are. We are honestly scared about this virus and angry about the loss of many innocent and hardworking people. The daily news of… Continue reading Marriage in the time of isolation

All Posts · Animal tales · Cats and dogs · Chickens · Ducks · French Life · Geese · The farm

Little daily musings

A misty morning should mean a mellow day ahead? Hardly. Our mellow is unloading two new cast iron stoves, bagging up our flurry of leaves for composting and making a new chicken ladder. The silly cou nous cant jump. These podgy naked neck chickens have no sense of balance and at bedtime literally wail because… Continue reading Little daily musings

All Posts · Brocantes and reclaimation · French Life · Renovation work · The farm

Sofa sogood

I didn’t really want to mention the Coronavirus but this lock- in period hasn’t really caused us any inconvenience apart from having to slightly rearrange projects to deal with a few material shortages. The French brico stores are open but we are limiting our visits and the small local ones are closed. Generally the French… Continue reading Sofa sogood

All Posts · French Life · Renovation work

Tap

A design original! After buying the farmhouse the kitchen tap lasted a month. It broke in two! This amazing replacement design of ours featured a simple rocking motion to turn on water. Couldn’t adjust temperature but when in France and renovating you get used to temporary things. Sadly last night it fell off. Replaced with… Continue reading Tap

All Posts · French Life · Renovation work · The farm

Bottles and steel balls

Our Notaire is a very jolly guy and I think with a bit of wicked sense of humour. Unfortunately I have yet to master French and with our rather ambitious renovation projects of doing up four properties, my head is more full of the finer points of a 1-3 lime mix than whether I can… Continue reading Bottles and steel balls

All Posts · Animal tales · Chickens · Ducks · French Life · Geese

It’s a poultry thing

Because I finally found my vocation…. Every day this chicken slave trudges through mud to do her egg collecting and cleaning duty. My bleary eyed morning routine at the farmhouse starts with a hot cup of English breakfast tea. Can’t abide that thin whispy Smokey Earl Grey stuff. No has to be robust enough to… Continue reading It’s a poultry thing

All Posts · Animal tales · Cats and dogs · Chickens · Ducks · French Life · Links I Love · Travels in Europe

Inspired by comments

I am so behind with blogging I should pay a fine! I have also to catch up on everyone else’s wonderful blog posts and apologise for being so sloth in adding my comments. But tonight I managed to read a few and this prompted me to manage an update. The Anxious Gardener is busy. I… Continue reading Inspired by comments

All Posts · Animal tales · Cheese tales · French Life · Garden in the meadow · Recipes and allotment

Fridge

I opened my fridge today and realized it represented all my plans and resolutions for 2020. There is fresh cooked chicken joints with a rich jelly for our cats. Tired of uneaten tins of cat food and mountains of rubbish created from pouched food, we decided from now on we are making our own cat… Continue reading Fridge

All Posts · French Life · Garden in the meadow · Making and crafting · Renovation work · The farm

The mundane and the magnificent

A homestead is a isolated dwelling, especially a farmhouse, and adjacent outbuildings, typically on a large agricultural holding such as a ranch or station.  A homesteader is a lifestyle of self sufficiency. A year ago we would not have called ourselves homesteaders, but by the close of this year, we actually feel we are heading in… Continue reading The mundane and the magnificent

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Vantastic!

After nineteen years of sterling service getting me through London rush hours and traffic jams on the M25, the Ford Focus very unceremoniously ended it’s days in a French scrap yard. 149k miles and right hand drive was not going to cut the mustard on any French sales forum and to be honest we worried… Continue reading Vantastic!

All Posts · Brocantes and reclaimation · French Life · The Factory

Contrasts

Today was a day of contrasts. First thing this morning we headed off to Boussac, a lovely French provincial town just north of us with a chateau high up on a stony outcrop, to collect a painting by a local artist Pascale Lauwers. She hails from Belgium and had an exhibition of Chinoiserie inspired paintings… Continue reading Contrasts

All Posts · French Life · Renovation work

Behind the wall.

Well you buy a place, you plan your renovation, you argue, you draw it out merticulously on graph paper with little paper shapes denoting cupboards and chairs and even rope your electrician friend in, to stop you getting electrocuted by the decidedly dodgy French electrics. You then realize the dresser will not fit unless you… Continue reading Behind the wall.

All Posts · Animal tales · Cats and dogs · French Life

Little ones

Last week excitement peaked when two little goslings hatched. As of today these guys are growing both in size and in their demands for lettuce. Spoilt to be honest with mum, dad and auntie Bumble trailing around them continuously. But they are sweet and we do believe some little tufts are starting to show on… Continue reading Little ones

All Posts · French Life · Garden in the meadow · Renovation work

Mad Englishwoman goes out in the midday sun

I looked it up. Is was important. That confusion between Celsius and Fahrenheit. Today it’s an oven hot 102 Fahrenheit. It’s a larger number written that way. It represents the searing heat today and we are not even in July.What do I do in this canicule? I don wierd garb reminiscent of an 18th century… Continue reading Mad Englishwoman goes out in the midday sun

All Posts · Brocantes and reclaimation · French Life · Links I Love · Making and crafting

The foraged home

I have always loved exploring second-hand shops and the old warehouse salvage yards of Bermondsey, London, now sadly on the decline (better converted by a greedy landlord than promoting entrepreneurial enterprise..don’t get me started!) and if I get the chance, beachcombing, or collecting “finds” from the countryside, like curiously shaped sticks, old glass bottles to… Continue reading The foraged home

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We are confused

Blogging has stopped for a few weeks. It’s been a crazy busy time for us. Completing final paperwork for properties which have to follow French strict timetables and rubber stamping. It takes forever but when you finally get that little bunch of keys, well you don’t care. In a flash of a paintchart, the waiting… Continue reading We are confused

All Posts · French Life · Travels on my bike

Lazy Days and lazy bikes

Today was wet, windy and after a week of working hard on the septic tank and moving earth and stones, we crashed for a cosy afternoon in bed. Music, magazines, YouTube and a cup of tea for good measure, we love these times to catch up on social media, research or read about things we… Continue reading Lazy Days and lazy bikes

All Posts · Brocantes and reclaimation · French Life

Watercolours and Pasqueflowers

We took a day off from working on renovations. Both tired and a little wrung out from clearing out the houses and the back and forth journey to the local tip. It’s Pasque in France, otherwise known as Easter. Pasque is derived from the Latin word for Passover and the little purple flower bursts into… Continue reading Watercolours and Pasqueflowers

All Posts · French Life · Renovation work · The Barn

Fosse septic at the barn

Big day today. Septic tank going in. All hands on deck. Except me. I was foreman and well, drank tea! Someone has to keep an eye on health and safety from a safe distance! Ah that was a lovely cuppa! My friends sent messages of congratulations as we had to use a bucket for our… Continue reading Fosse septic at the barn

All Posts · Chickens · French Life · The Barn

Poop and Feathers: Chicken Coop Tour

I have always found my London slash Essex accent somewhat annoying, but there are times that trying to put into words what pictures do better, means I will have to subject you all to my first video. It’s not perfect but I hope you enjoy my little guided tour of the coop and an intro… Continue reading Poop and Feathers: Chicken Coop Tour

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Citroen 2CV

When I find some time on my hands to renovate the car of my dreams, it will be this little French bon bon. A silly passion I have had ever since seeing one careering down the Kings Road in Chelsea, London with no roof. The driver, having negotiated the sharp corner of the Art Deco… Continue reading Citroen 2CV

All Posts · French Life · The Barn

Wash Day the old fashioned way

A quick pre-new year post. As we transition from our few years of basic living to a bright new future of domestic bliss of owning the modern appliances known as a washing machine and a water boiler; what better way to spend the last day of 2018 washing in the old fashioned way. Not that… Continue reading Wash Day the old fashioned way

All Posts · French Life · The Barn · Writing and Illustrating

Christmas Jumpers and Children’s books

La Grange has it’s tree and its Christmas jumper time for us. It seems Hippo and me shopped the same design! Our collection of stuffed friends in the background…Lob-i-ster, Alfred the pig, Chicken and La Loup. Don’t worry, forever a child at heart and writing stories. You should see the other shelves! In Paris I… Continue reading Christmas Jumpers and Children’s books

All Posts · Animal tales · French Life · Writing and Illustrating

Bon Noel from France

My first Christmas in France and we finally got our tiny little tree up. Having only just finished the bedroom in the barn, the tree is perched on top of my yellow chest of drawers as the floor is still full of boxes to be unpacked. But it’s full of Christmas bling, bells and flashing… Continue reading Bon Noel from France

All Posts · Animal tales · Cheese tales · French Life · The Barn

House Mouse

There is a little mouse in the house.  He lives near our log burner – sensible guy – and although we shouldn’t, we leave him French bread and sometimes cheese.  Once the barn is finished, he will have to move his little home to the hay barn at the back, but for now we indulge… Continue reading House Mouse

All Posts · French Life · Renovation work · The Barn

Big House – Little House: Water

Starting as I mean to go on – a promise to start a regular update on our renovation projects in Limousine, France; we finally had a water supply installed at the barn. Our properties seem to have an habit of providing us not with just one building, for example our barn, but two.  The new… Continue reading Big House – Little House: Water

All Posts · Animal tales · Chickens · French Life · Garden in the meadow · Renovation work

All change – French property plans

I have been a little too quiet on this blog.  Life’s ups and downs as they are.  But today in December was wonderfully windy, autumnal and the bright golden leaves looked like the sun had been scattered to the ground ready to swept up for a winter slumber. The chickens were out – the coop can get… Continue reading All change – French property plans

All Posts · French Life · Garden in the meadow · Renovation work · The Barn

Decorating girl

I was always daddy’s girl and from as long as I can remember I helped my dad with everything – gardening, decorating and building work.  Neighbours still on my mum’s estate from the 60’s, remember the little girl with the pony tail, sitting high up in the skip with her dad, eating sandwiches.  I loved… Continue reading Decorating girl

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French in the fast lane

A quick observation triggered by the very helpful post from The French Village Diaries, regarding death by speed on French roads. Apparently France has a 31% level of fatal accidents due to speed. No really? Am I standing with my mouth open in amazed disbelieve? No. I am probably opening my mouth and shouting wildly… Continue reading French in the fast lane

All Posts · Animal tales · Chickens · French Life · Geese

Rubber shoes

Arriving back has been a roller coaster of catch-up. Mowing waist high grass, bonding with three young geese and spending time with the chickens. On top of this our barn is screaming to be worked on..we are very behind since time spent away but Tony has pulled out the stops and bedroom is livable. It… Continue reading Rubber shoes

All Posts · Animal tales · Chickens · French Life · Garden in the meadow · Renovation work · Tony Costin

Team soul mate – notes and plans

I often refer to Tony in my posts. He is my rock, soul mate, breakfast and tea maker, solid sharer of life’s stresses and calming problem solver in a crisis. I haven’t met anyone who works as hard as he does nor with such enthusiasm. I am more tetchy and vulnerable to doubt. Hard labour… Continue reading Team soul mate – notes and plans

Animal tales · French Life · Geese

All feathered up

Well one week and counting. I can’t wait. My girls are all growed up and shortly to have swimming lessons. As you can hear Tony hasn’t got the names yet…goosies will do for a while but if one needs to go to the naughty corner…I need to wag my finger at the right goose! Typically… Continue reading All feathered up

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Angst, rethinking and making a home

Angst Its been a bad morning. I shouted at my mum, her illness has stressed me. Somehow in the UK dealing with cancer is a hit and miss affair and much of it just people spouting words. They don’t really talk with you, but at you. Cliche but true. But my point is, my mums… Continue reading Angst, rethinking and making a home

All Posts · French Life · Links I Love

French soap from the south

Soap of the south – Marseille Soap There is soap, day to day oval bars slightly perfumed. There are French soaps, angular with the words Savon de Marseille struck on them. But there is also a very special group of soap makers who can genuinely call themselves Marseille soap makers, who have the provenance, passion… Continue reading French soap from the south

All Posts · Animal tales · Chickens · French Life · Garden in the meadow

The feathered dozen

Our garden had been planned to some extent…an outdoor kitchen, a herb garden, a pergola, a grassy space to lie down upon and watch the clouds scud by. The old over grown bramble patch been reclaimed by pasture and with mowing and tree pruning, the structure of the garden was on its way. But. You… Continue reading The feathered dozen

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Book for a chook

I am reading chicken books. Tonnes of them. I am a new mother of 12 and like every new mother I panic about everything…feeding, behaviour, friendships, squabbles, toes and in my case feathers and beaks! I am back and forth to London hospitals this week, so a short post. Tony is being mother hen while… Continue reading Book for a chook

All Posts · Animal tales · French Life · Links I Love · My Company Projects · Recipes and allotment · The farm · Writing and Illustrating

One acre and a dream

I am following Leigh Tate’ s great blog and just purchased her self published book “5 Acres and a dream- The book” as I am starting a new journey in France when I return. Homestead has a wide conitation of ideals and already we have our list that is priority to us: Simplification of life… Continue reading One acre and a dream

All Posts · French Life · Links I Love · Travels in Europe

Paris Hotel

Quick post as on my way to London. Tired of dodgy French hotels..say good bed but the bathroom looks liked they knocked a hole in the wall to access the dirty hotels one next door! Or visa versa. Tiled bathrooms but probably hiding critters behind the grout, but suspect bed. Or view of the air… Continue reading Paris Hotel

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Taming the wilderness

Arriving back from England was another shock to the system. Leaving your home for a month seems to throw your well being out of kilter for quite a few days. Maybe exhaustion from the the two day journey including a cancelled train and a detour to another French town didn’t help, but London is as… Continue reading Taming the wilderness