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

From cattle stall to Scottish snug

In a previous post I wrote about my journey to finding a home.  Buying property in France was the best decision I had ever made. Having now an open slate to work on I wanted the French dream.  I wanted to bring together everything I had learnt and wanted for so long – the comfy… Continue reading From cattle stall to Scottish snug

All Posts · Brocantes and reclaimation · French Life · Making and crafting · Mountain house · Renovation work · The Barn · The Factory · The farm

Property dreams

For as long as I can remember I wanted a home.  Not merely a house you decorate and live in between work and socializing outside, but a real home, full of homely noise like dogs barking, cockerels crowing, the sound of my husband chopping wood for the fire, the kettle whistling.  I suspect I have… Continue reading Property dreams

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Being a mug!

Not the best title for a post but had to put that pun in somewhere! Finally we hauled the extremely heavisome ceramic mug printing machine to the farmhouse. Our factory in nearby Gouzon was too cold and we still have a tonne of work to insulate the printing studio. Choosing what project to prioritize and… Continue reading Being a mug!

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Getting to grips with the goose

I started my new project last week, drawing a set of illustrations of my goose Bumble. About two years ago I started writing a book, a collection if stories with the hope that I would somehow illustrate it too. How I would do that was rather beyond me at the time. I hadn’t drawn much… Continue reading Getting to grips with the goose

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It’s an art start

A couple of weeks ago I posted about finding coloured pencils. A lightbulb moment after a very long time stressing about what medium and what subjects to paint, lit up. Paint. That was the problematic word. Actually the whole acrylic and watercolour thing had turned me off art and although I dabbled a little back… Continue reading It’s an art start

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Boys will be boys

Freezing today but luckily Penquin my Pekin duck had laid an egg. It was still warm and I held it in my pocket between feeding all the feathery family.  My girls are now three years old and egg laying is sporadic. With the winter chill all the hens have slowed and from twenty hens I… Continue reading Boys will be boys

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Button up

If I had to say my third obsessions after fabric and ceramic tiles, its buttons. I have many boxes from brocantes and what seems a jumbled lot of buttons that have little to love about now, once sorted a few gems appear. Some buttons are damned ugly and have to go, but others are a… Continue reading Button up

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Finding my pencils

Note these are not my drawings, but come from a great book called The Trouble with Chickens by Doreen Cronin and illustrated by Kevin Cornwell. For a long time I have struggled to find an art medium I love. Watercolour I find restricting with the layers and colour build up of washes and control. I… Continue reading Finding my pencils

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Mad about the birds

From previous posts you probably gather I am starting out on a new journey to get back into art that I abandoned as a teenager. Part of that journey over the past year has been sourcing inspirational art, studying art techniques and amassing what’s beginning to be quite an extensive library of books dedicated to… Continue reading Mad about the birds

All Posts · Floral Photography · French Life · Garden in the meadow · Making and crafting · The farm

Bucket list at lockdown

With the French lockdown coming into affect tomorrow and the generally pathetic display of judgement by the powers that be, re Covid-19, I am arming myself with an eclectic library of reading, from science fiction, fashion, tapestry renovations, to bohemian souls, poultry farming, no-dig gardening and French decorators. I wont get bored. My latest delivery… Continue reading Bucket list at lockdown

All Posts · Cheese tales · Travels in Europe

Sunday Cheese Tour

Sometimes I indulge in a piece of cheese mid afternoon. Sometimes brie, sometimes cheddar, sometimes whatever my tastebuds feel the need to be consoled with…salty, acidic or smokey. A few years back I did a quick European tour and explored cheeses. I used to work for HT Webb, a cheese importer back in UK, Kent… Continue reading Sunday Cheese Tour

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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Woodworm

Rain. Flooded field and the chicken coop projects on hold…again! So what do you do? Go to a Brocante armed with your measley €30.00, knowing that there will be an immense wealth of objects that would make even the Count Of Monte cristo blink twice! A short half hour drive across country to picturesque Chambon… Continue reading Woodworm

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The art of birds

On my 7th birthday I asked my parents for Charles Tunnicliffe’s book of bird illustrations. I had at the time a mild obsession with painting owls, especially barn owls, along with Dutch windmills for some obscure reason. Maybe it was a flight thing, the sails rising up into the sky, the connection with the wind,… Continue reading The art of birds

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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

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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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Putty in my hands

Autumn seems to have arrived with earnest. From a blistering sahara 42 degrees we are down to a fishfinger chilly 18 degrees in less than two weeks. This signals not only rummidging in cupboards to find lost winter jumpers, but realizing we must get to the Farmhouse to decorate our bedroom. We need it to… Continue reading Putty in my hands

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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

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Sew we are sewing.

Is it the height of vanity to take a selfie or is it because the rain clouds have gone at last and Mr Sunshine has crept into every nook and crany and made us sun drunk and wanting to share my sunny feeling? I packed up all the winter woolies into boxes and took them… Continue reading Sew we are sewing.

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

All Posts · Mountain house · Premo From London · Transylvanian travels

Mountain retreat for a Transylvanian

What a long day today. We finally completed our property purchases by signing for our rear barn and mountain house. I hadn’t slept well. Over did work at the farmhouse and my back was angry. On the second signing I was drifting off. I can understand French ok. Can’t speak it but it’s tiring when… Continue reading Mountain retreat for a Transylvanian

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Funky Chicken Rescue

Sometimes we do slightly zany things in life. Coming to France seemed a little zany at first, but now I am settling and the benefits of being in this wonderful countryside surrounded by cow’s and mountain pines and oaks, well it seems the most sensible of decisions in reality.I have always tried to support charities.… Continue reading Funky Chicken Rescue

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Mezzanines

This week the mezzanines arrived from Spain. The French delivery guys had no idea about health and safety and appeared to have no safety boots or understanding about using truck hi-abs without the risk of loosing their pallet truck in the process. I couldn’t watch. After a lot of groaning and levering, the three very… Continue reading Mezzanines

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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

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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 · 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

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Happy hedgehog

I am stuck in Barts hospital in London. Mum got dehydrated so drip in place..yes I have a 4 hour wait. I was due to meet a friend to celebrate diagnosis of her medical condition. A landmark after many years of frustration. I spotted hedggie on my arrival. Badly sewn eye. As soon as mum… Continue reading Happy hedgehog

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Whilst away

Technology has never been my bag. I lag behind generally, then burst into the latest product with a momentary glimmer of being informed. Then I lag again. So to the point. I do not have access yet to my blog email, so all your lovely posts that I follow may not get comments until: I… Continue reading Whilst away

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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

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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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Gruyere French

I evidentally have holes in my brain. Lots of them.  The French tester politely explained that I knew words that were advanced, but fundamental parts of the French language were missing.  God knows what I had been replying to his questions, but sometimes he looked confused and at other times plain shocked.  My neighbours back… Continue reading Gruyere French

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In the news – Tony Costin

With Brexit, President Macron and Trump all making the news so often, my other half was inspired to go political for a change.  Our French Euro having a spat with the English pound and Trump, well probably thinking about his next Tweet. Find many more characters at Chaps, Sods and Fellowettes.

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La Nourrice affinage

Our tiny little commune is known as La Nourrice, meaning wet-nurse. It is a strange name and I have yet to delve into its history, but in essence a wet-nurse breast feeds another woman’s baby. It was common practice in days gone by, but I am not so sure today, well not in this neck… Continue reading La Nourrice affinage

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Change and hope – past and present

This post. It is a little long, but the thoughts had to come out. I have been away for a month. Summer heat stroke and a visit to the hospital, along with some physically hard work pointing up the barns exterior walls had impinged on my health and being slightly presupposed to depressive moments, I… Continue reading Change and hope – past and present

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Paris – Material Girl

An abbreviated article appears in this seasons The Good Life Magazine. On a cold, crisp April morning, with numb fingers, two seemingly mad English, with an almost feverish determination, searched for buttons; muscling locals aside to pounce on another matching set, or to accumulate a whole euro bag worth of those lovely cute orange ones.… Continue reading Paris – Material Girl

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Pygmalion

Pygmalian fell in love with a sculpture and Aphrodite granted his wish of companionship and made this sculpture human. The famous Eliza Doolittle, of GB Shaws famous play, changed too, from Cockney street girl to refined Fair Lady. Changes manifest in many ways and forgive me for this strangulation of mythology to fit my prose,… Continue reading Pygmalion

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Cheese please

A while ago, longer than I dare to remember, I worked in a cheese factory. It was a yearlong contract to unfortunately close down a large specialized cheese importer – HT Webbs and transfer the most profitable cheese to the Danish dairy company Arla Foods. The job was fascinating mainly from the point that to… Continue reading Cheese please

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Paris – Good Life France

Spending a day in Paris: boats, books and baking Written by Judi Castille in Guest Blogs The anticipation of warm, thick, hot chocolate in little expresso sized cups was alluring. Indulgent pastries and a huge array of chocolate and candy to choose, persuaded me to rise from my slumberous bed and cross the river Seine… Continue reading Paris – Good Life France

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Which direction?

When I finally came here to France in March I came with a baggage of old business ventures, ideas, some creative like writing – eight stories in draft and a huge A4 file packed with notes and ideas to complete them – and illustrating the stories too – I hadn’t picked up a paint brush… Continue reading Which direction?

Writing and Illustrating

Chateau Du Rivau

  This articled appeared in The Good Life France website this Autumn. But here with photos I took on the day. Over twenty years ago I visited the Chateau du Rivau.  In its first stages of renovation by owner Patricia Laigneau, a Versailles trained garden designer with a passion to restore the chateau to its… Continue reading Chateau Du Rivau

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Picture papers

A few weeks ago I grabbed handfuls of saffron from very wet grass, took them home to dry, but ended with sogginess and to the compost they went. A lucky accident, the saffron dyed the papers they were draining on and after drying, they turned out to be great background papers for the herb photos.… Continue reading Picture papers

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Foraging Future

From 2013 to early this year I had invested a huge amount of time and finances on bringing to commerciality a conifer syrup that originated from a recipe my husband’s father made from the pine cones and fir tips he collected whilst walking the local mountains. He was a mountain man – both in his… Continue reading Foraging Future

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Saffron in the sun

From a wet start, and a trip into our almost local town of Boussac, north of us, the sun shone and lit up a gloriously Autumnal day.  The road back home has a sign right pointing to Toulx Sainte Croix, a high point, almost a mountain, where a few weeks ago we found a wonderful… Continue reading Saffron in the sun

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The Good Life France

I first came to France on my honeymoon – Paris, not very original, but it was the start of a life long love of the country.  I was 23 years old.  Over the years, I am now 50, I travelled to France many, many times and read her history and dreamed of settling down one… Continue reading The Good Life France

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Chaps, Sods and Fellowettes

My husband Tony carries a little black notebook wherever he goes, scribbling, jotting.  I think most of it is highly secret, but sometimes a character appears, there is a lot of paper flurries, ink pens on the move and a bit of cursing on photoshop. Dealing with all our company websites, logos and trade marks… Continue reading Chaps, Sods and Fellowettes

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Monochrome Madness

Leanne is a fine art photographer in Australia. Her niche is architecture, landscapes using long exposure, dramatic contrast and now infrared, a new exploration into the reverse world of light. Every month Leanne runs a post – Monochrome Madness – where we can post our photos based on the theme set. It’s nice to be… Continue reading Monochrome Madness

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My garden bench

After many months of cutting down an overgrown wilderness, a garden appeared.  The birch trees flourished with a bit of tlc, shading their roots, mulching and a lot of watering when the heat was extreme in August.  But something was missing.  A garden bench.  I wanted a quiet spot to sit, to write notes for… Continue reading My garden bench

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At the bottom of our garden

June and July have been solid work, pushing to get our home and gardens clear of overgrown woodland, brambles, piles of unwanted packaging from our moves and painting all our buildings and new fences from a huge array of pots left by my father from his garage.  We are now left with an off assortment… Continue reading At the bottom of our garden