Friday, 9 December 2011

On Saturday 26th November the purchaser of our house came for a visit to look it over, we had no problem with that at all; then came the bombshell – she wanted to move in on Friday 2nd December. My husbands face was a picture! It was an ‘Oh Shit!’ moment! he then realised that he had to pull his finger out (fully!) and start to clear his ‘stuff’.

OK, we had been to the UK to help our eldest daughter celebrate her 40th birthday (what a lovely time we had too!) and had lost a few days of packing/sorting etc. He had hoped that Mme A. would want to wait a couple of weeks before moving – no way, she wanted to be in ASAP.

And so we signed the Acte de Vente on the morning of Wednesday 30th November 2011. (for a few hours we were homeless!)

Daughter came out with her partner and little Georges (the bouncy one) for the signing. A very quick turn around for them – one night in France and back home! I wanted them involved and insisted that they came out to sign; after all we had been inconvenienced enough over the last couple of years – time for them to make changes to their plans.

On the Wednesday afternoon we signed for the purchase of this property. Our Notaire is an absolute gem, we have used him over the last 10 years and he knows us well; our last property involved many purchases and a couple of sales. Amazingly enough one of the two agence immobiliers that we used did not realise that Maitre C. was fluent in English until we told him. It was a very interesting learning curve for us although Himself seemed to switch off during the process and automatically signed/initialled all the papers involved.

We moved the furniture and electrical goods over the Thursday and Friday morning with the help of some super friends, only downside, it rained non stop!! Since then we have been bringing boxes etc that had been stored in the barn (note: big shed!).

We are now installed in a very nice 3 bedroom house with a sous sol/garage. The house has not been truly lived in and loved. Only one room has been decorated and that is the main bedroom. There is a fitted kitchen and yesterday we went and bought a new fitted oven and ordered the hob to match. We have basically been camping since last Thursday using kettle, microwave and steamer but am now able to use an oven as well! We only had 4 functioning electric sockets until our lovely new neighbour, Mr M., who is an electrician, came and sorted out the fuses for us. He is in partnership with another guy Mr P. who is central heating engineer. Both of these men are friends of an English guy we know who has been here for 17 years as a builder…. Everything fits into place eventually!! I consider that we have been very fortunate with where we have moved and who we know.

I have sorted out the basics for living, beds set up, dining, lounging, bathroom etc. I still have loads of things to sort for our use and also for selling on. It isn’t until you go through such an exercise that you realise how much is accumulated over the years. The sous sol is full of boxes and duplicate things. After Christmas I will be advertising these things for sale and hopefully make a little extra spending money for our hols.

I like it here. I do hope that Himself settles as well, he seems quite comfortable at the moment. He has been through the mill over the past couple of years and maybe now a new beginning is right for him. Fingers crossed!

Dog and cats are fine. I bought some Feliway to help the cats settle. It seems to have worked as they are not scrapping as much as they were. They have had a couple of visitors, one ginger and the other a Felix type, it seems that they know the house!

The boy also is absolutely fine.

There are other dogs in the neighbourhood, one of which is next door. It is a little white ‘yappy’ thing – possibly Shih Tzu or similar. The little yappy thing was ‘yapping’ (as they do) and our boy heard it and decided “Oh goody goody, (pant pant) a playmate, lets go play!” Mme, owner of yappy thing, was horrified to see our boy heading in her direction and leaping over their fence in order to introduce himself and play. She scooped her precious up in her arms and shot indoors! We apologised to Mr. explaining that our boy only wanted to play - he was OK but I am still not sure about Mme… I think that they (dog and little yappy thing) need a proper introduction!

More to follow!

Saturday, 3 December 2011

New chapter

We have moved!

We have intermittent internet connection.

Will post a proper 'blog' once we are sorted out.

Friday, 25 November 2011

Since my last posting various things have happened.

My internet connection went up the spout, again!! We had the most horrendous storm. I was shaken out of the bed by thunder (not the God Thor unfortunately!) and I rushed downstairs to turn off the modem… too late, it was done in. When I phoned our internet provider the next morning I eventually got through to a very ‘exhausted’ sounding young man who said “just post it to us we and will send a replacement today, let me know the cost of sending.” Methinks there were a lot of modems blown up overnight!

We also went back to the UK to help our eldest daughter and her husband celebrate their 40th birthdays..

What joy! Not only seeing our lovely daughters but also seeing our lovely grandchildren, who are so affectionate and polite.

The youngest, Georges, bounces!! We saw him on the Friday night and he ‘bounced’ into the room and ‘bounced’ around it. He ‘bounced’ into my arms for a kiss and cuddle, he also did the same for his granddad. He was ‘bouncing’ back and forth in all directions. He is the only grandchild of ours that has done this, absolutely full of joy and ‘bounce’. I would dearly love some of what he is having!! (isn’t bounce a funny word?)

We also went to see my dear Mum, she is coping very well, albeit with the assistance of my older sister. Mum is determined not to leave her 3 bed house ‘it is the only home I've had you know!’ she says. I appreciate her feelings and thoughts, she never had a home with family in her infancy and youth. She has lived there since 1947 – may she never be taken away from the place that she has loved and in which she has brought up her children. She is an amazing woman my mother, almost 91 years on this earth….

So we took a trip to the UK… what fun. The car kept slipping out of gear, and we had it serviced a week before!!! Got to the ferry port early and were allowed on without any problems so we got to our daughters before the grandchildren went to bed… They were so pleased!!

The weekend progressed well. We caught up with friends and family, just love it! Did some shopping and lunches and dinners… Much too busy for Himself though!

The return journey was as traumatic as the leaving.. I think that once this house is sold a new car is on the cards! I know we bought this car as a stop gap, but at the moment a new one would be a good idea, I would just love comfort and reliability. When we got home we were both so tense we could break in half.

A very tense journey and we had other 'stressfull' things to contend with once we got home.

Dog was ensconced with a friend and was so 'waggy' to see us home, the cats did not give us 'cold' shoulders at all, but the house was absolutely freezing!!

I will arrange for some Feliway for when we move - apparently it helps cats settle when their are 'things' going on. Maybe there is a human equivalent?

Our ‘buying’ agent had arranged for the electricity and plumbing to be checked for us, good girl! Electric meter read and switched on. Plumber in to check central heating, Ooops we need to put some oil in the tank! We arrange for oil company to fill said tank, done this morning at a ‘silly o’clock’, at least we will have heating.

We went to the telecom shop to arrange new phone and internet. What a lovely young guy! He was so helpful, so we now know that the engineer will be there on 1st December to connect the line and also sort out the internet for us (I have the modem in my hot sticky hands waiting!!).

All is going to plan at the moment.

Youngest daughter is coming out with her partner and the bouncy child for the signing next week. Yes she was worried about the loss of pay etc… but she was reminded that she will be quids in afterwards….

Will update after 1st December… I am still thinking POSITIVE!

Thursday, 10 November 2011


Not long now, at the end of the month we sign the acte de vente. One problem though is that our dear daughter and her other half will not be able to come and sign for their property, (too expensive to travel, got to bring kids, losing money at work etc.). So now stops need to be pulled out to get a power of attorney for their signature. I am getting really fed up with the child’s attitude to it all, she has been given plenty of notice. I am quite tempted to sign for ours and let her sort her ‘bit’ without my help.

I have been bending over backwards to accommodate her and she has yet to say ‘sorry mum for putting you through all of this and thank you for doing it all.’ even himself is in the shadows and doing very little to help matters.

Stress is rearing its ugly head again. I thought that I had it beaten – no!

I think I will take a holiday when this is over and done with.

And, I still have to see another orthopaedic surgeon for my elbow. Saw the original guy and he has referred me to his colleague who is fluent in English and is good at the ‘minor’ stuff. So I get to see him in another couple of weeks, just before the ‘signing’.

Life is not good at the moment.

It will get better though.

Just got to be positive.

Tuesday, 1 November 2011

Not sure where to start, just type and see where it takes me I suppose. Thank heavens for spell check, it tells me where I have gone wrong!

Have had a few ‘bad’ days, not sleeping, feeling fed up, wanting to have a change from this life of sorting, cleaning and packing boxes, I suppose I am getting a tad impatient.

‘Tad’, now that is a word that I never knew existed in general conversation (Tad Williams the author yes!) until around 8 years ago. Never encountered it before but my husband started using it and I exclaimed ‘what??’, he said that he used the word all the time – ‘not in my presence’ I said ‘maybe at work, not in front of me!’. ‘Hmmm’ was the reply.

It seems also that at least one of our daughters used the same word.

Now this set me to wondering, was I living in a different time, were they living in a different time?

A parallel universe that met only occasionally.

One wonders, well at least I do!

So the sorting, cleaning and packing continues.

I think I am getting it all under control but I must admit that today I did give himself a bit of a ‘talking to’ to put it mildly. I think I used the words ‘lazy’ ‘indulgent’ etc. Anyway I told him that I was fed up with doing all the necessary on my own without any input or help from him. Now I was talking everything from sorting laundry, doing laundry, sweeping floors, mopping said floors, preparing meals, cooking meals and all the other ancillary things that go on in daily life without him lifting a finger to help. And this is not including packing boxes prior to our moving.

I think he is living in a parallel universe and just visiting me occasionally!

Tomorrow he will be getting reminders.

Yes I have had a few bad days…

Feel better now.

Wednesday, 26 October 2011

Moving & Stress

We have a date for signing the acte de vente.

At last, we are no longer in limbo, we know when things are happening.

I have found though that I am waking at silly o'clock in the morning and mulling over all that needs to be done. My mind goes into overdrive.

Will the furniture go through the doors? Will it even negotiate the stairs? Will the house be warm? Will the house be quiet? Will it be noisy? Will the pets settle? Do I get some Feliway for the cats? Do they do a version for dogs? If not why not? What colour should the walls be? Will my man be happy there? Will I be happy there? and so it goes on, and on.

I try to put it all out of my mind, shelve it, file it, and all those thoughts creep into my conscience again. How long before we have telephone connection? Will the central heating work? How long before I get an oven and hob? How long to walk to the Spar? What do they sell? Then I doze and wake again, eventually dropping off around 7am and sleep through till around 9.30 am - and then wake from weird and wonderful dreams!!


Apparently moving house is one of the most stressful experiences one can have.

Yes, I agree.

Death, I believe, comes at the top of the list for stress and divorce is quite high up in the list (I have never been divorced).

I have not experienced a lot of death (sounds strange I know). I never knew my grandparents, they passed away before my parents married. I realised that I was missing something in my childhood as all of my contemparies had either a gran and granddad or both and I didn't. When my father-in-law passed away I felt a deep pain - he was a lovely guy and I adored him. When mum-in-law went we were here so the pain, in a way, was not so intense. She had lost her 'spark' many years before when dementia arrived. But, when my dear Dad died I was absolutely devastated, it hurt. Even now, 5 years on, I still find it hard to believe he is not here. That was stressful and even typing this brings back the sadness and pain.

I diverge, I was talking about the stress of moving....

At least, thrashing it out on here relieves some of the tension.

It seems that not only will we have the problem of moving house but I will also need surgery on my left elbow.

Some years ago I tripped on a kerb and, as one does, put my hands out to stop falling on my face and damaging the pleasant 'visage'. The ulna and radius in my left arm 'slipped' either side of the humerus and then replaced themselves. A lovely dislocation (and oh so painful)! I went to the doctor then hospital and they confirmed what had happened. My arm and hand swelled to twice its normal size - my fingers were like sausages (thank heavens I had the foresight to remove my wedding ring).. I was monitored and also had physiotherapy to help the recovery and got on with living.

Since then I have had intermittent problems with the elbow and just ignored it, put up with the inconvenience, and carried on working and living as one does.

Until now.

My little and ring finger go dead and are painful most of the time.

So off to see my GP who refers me to a neurologist. He checks and confirms that there is a nerve trapped in the elbow joint. He sends his findings to my GP. I go for a visit and she writes a prescription for me to see an orthopaedic surgeon. He needs an x-ray which I had today.

I seems that my elbow is 'deforme' and riddled with arthrose.... No wonder I have so much pain.

Rendezvous beginning November - will be interesting to see what the Ortho guy has to say!

Better get the packing done before then!!!!

Also, I remember one of my doctors in the UK telling me that I thrive on stress, I think he was right!!

Monday, 17 October 2011

Little boxes, seduction & change of role

Surrounded by boxes, some empty, some full and some half full.

Pictures, plates and photos are off the walls. Boy does it look bare now, just as well we didn't put wallpaper up - there would have been lots of original colour patches!

Curtains are down, washed and ready to pack.

Cupboards are emptying.

Bed linen and towels are in vacuum bags, now that's a laugh, I extract the air in the morning and by nightfall they have expanded... Will get it right eventually.

Found things I forgot I had, bonus! Although there is every likelihood that they will be stowed away again for another few years. c'est pas grave!

Hopefully, we will be out of here in one month - then unpacking.... Oh joy!!

Our dear boy, Jensen, has been seduced by the bitch next door. The brazen hussy has been shoving her rear end under his nose for the last few days and he eventually got the message... Thank heavens we had him castrated! The thought of the gene combination does not bear thinking about.. At least we will be removing him from this canine hothouse of passion.

When we first arrived here in La Belle France we had two dogs. A male and a female, both very calm gentle creatures we 'rescued' from Battersea Dogs Home. Max was an Alsatian/Collie cross, a lovely chap. Guess what? One of the bitches next door seduced him!! Now this particular bitch was a tiny terrier type, (she is now in canine heaven) poor Max could not resist her charms. What is it with these Chiennes Francaise and les Chiens Anglais? Are les Anglais irresistable?

As some of you already know I belong to a group that brings ladies of all nationalities together for social occasions, notably lunches, once a month. It started out as a small group of around 20 and has now reached well over 200. It is also spilling into the adjoining departments.

The originators of this group, due to unfortunate circumstances, are now no longer in France.

As it has grown so it has changed, and not necessarily for the better. It seems that it needs to be re-developed. There are lots of ladies advertising their services, asking advice on various things (medical, educational etc.) so the group is now totally different. No longer just a 'place' for meeting new people over lunch.

Change of role?

There was a thread within this group regarding the need for a dentist.

Now things were said in the 'public domain' about this dentist and his wife.

These were opinions that should have been said privately not on an open forum.

Another member and I both said that the things that were said should not have been aired publicly.

For that we were both labelled as 'PC' and 'liberal tree huggers'...

Enough said!

Friday, 30 September 2011

Moving house

Still no date, so we are people in waiting.

Am slowly going through all the bits that need packing and leaving behind.

Had a look down our capacious barns and what did I find; loads of cardboard boxes slowly falling apart and wrapped contents spilling out.

These boxes contained some of the unwanted possessions, given to our daughter, of a lovely English lady who returned to the UK after re-marrying. Our daughter used to 'do' for her, gardening, cleaning and, most importantly, taking time to listen.

I was horrified to see all these items there, it is, in a way, soul destroying knowing that these were just left.

I have checked through all the boxes and cleaned up the contents, re-wrapped and will take them to our local Emmaus for sale.

Not only do I have these items to check and pack but also the items that our daughter left in her house including baby 'stuff'. Daughter came out for a few days last month and didn't even look in her half finished house.

I am so disappointed in her.

So, as you can imagine I am not happy with the situation and himself just sits there and says 'take it a day at a time, you will get it done'. Harrumph!!

At the moment I am constructing boxes (brought out by son-in-law) and filling and labelling them, one by one.

In about six weeks we should be moved into our new home. I am beginning to feel a little bit stressed and am waking in the early hours with all sorts of things going through my mind.

I know I can get the packing done, after all, this time I am not in full time employment and arranging a move, I have all the time in the world!! Ha!

This 'Old Biddie' is looking forward to this next 'change of life'.

Tuesday, 20 September 2011


Recently had my hair done by a very nice English hairdresser, have known her for quite a few years now. She knows my very fine straight hair and the shape of my head so she does a good job of it. God bless her, she is rare!

Our conversation centered around the number of British people that have arrived out here that are offering various services.

Now we are talking various Alternative Therapies and Exercise, ie yoga, tai chi, Zumba classes (the latest craze), stepping etc.

How do we know that these people are fully qualified to instruct others? It is so easy to download a certificate/diploma claiming all sorts of qualifications.

When you go to various classes operated by a French instructor, you have to have a medical certificate and the instructor has to have recognised French qualifications and insurance.

It seems that some of these people (British) do not!

Now this frightens me, not that I am interested in yoga or Zumba, Reiki healing or hot stones down my back etc. But I do worry for those who fork out quite a few euros for something that could do them damage.

We have got used to the dodgy plumbers, builders, electricians, car mechanics, etc. but this is a new ball game.

Now their ladies are re-inventing themselves.

My dear English hairdresser agreed, she is concerned too, not for herself as she knows she has a good established client base but for those that are newbies out here and get sucked into this 'I am British therefore I am good for you' lark.

We also shared our thoughts about the menopause, there seems to be a lot of that going around in our area at the moment!!

Wednesday, 14 September 2011

End of a chapter?

Today, we signed the compromis de vente to buy another house!

This is happening very fast, our feet have hardly touched the ground and our heads are spinning from all the paperwork.

We had forgotten how many pages are involved!

The house we have found is in our preferred town. There was a choice of three towns, all of them within 10 minutes of our current house and all of them with all the facilities that we need. We are retaining some leisure land here which is why we did not want to move too far away. And, anyway, himself will still want to continue his Sunday morning French lessons with his amis!

Fortunately for us it is less than a kilometre from the centre of the town, it is set down a little lane between two other houses, the first house fronting the road proper. It has 1000 sq metres of land which has wall, hedge and fence. No gates, will have to buy them or the dog will be disturbing the peace! The terrain is flat and is totally untouched except for the grass and one very tall Christmas Tree.

It is described as a pavilion, built in 1987, with a sous-sol. It has a good sized lounge and good sized fitted kitchen, three bedrooms, bathroom and toilet.There is a nice little terrace off the living room. Not one of the rooms has been decorated. The sous-sol is untouched so we can create living space to our own specifications.

We will have to get out the paint rollers and brushes and maybe paste brushes as well, as the house seems to have been totally ignored. It needs decoration and TLC. The garden is also a blank canvas and I am already taking cuttings and splitting and lifting various plants to put there.

It seems strange that we are on the move again, we are not really inclined to being nomads. I know some people never seem to settle and continually up sticks and find somewhere else to live. We like to have a home, not a house!

Thursday, 8 September 2011

Many things have been happening over the last couple of weeks.

We have eventually signed the compromis de vente and now have until the end of October to find a new home…. Quelle horreur!

We do have a ‘safe house’ we can decamp to if necessary but hope that we will not have to inconvenience our friends that have offered us the opportunity.

We have seen many houses of all shapes and sizes. One that really stands out is a house that has not changed since it was first constructed for a young newlywed couple. The owner of the house, a widow, is now in a ‘maison de retraite’ and her property is for sale.

The décor is amazing, out of the 60’s. The kitchen is ‘fitted’ but all is Formica and the worktops, sink and cooker are all very low, would give himself and me chronic backache! Apparently Mme is tiny in stature. The lounge walls are covered in a beautiful patterned red fabric, which also matches the curtains and three piece suite. None of it has faded, that is the blessing of shutters on the windows! The ceilings as well as walls in the hallway and bedrooms are all papered, amazing (as they say out here, very French)! Even the bathroom has striped ‘flock’ wallpaper on the walls. The house is a perfect time capsule for the 1960’s.

Anyway, in spite of the house being in the absolute perfect location, himself is not happy with it.

So we continued to look.

I forget how many now, seems like too many, but there is a possible this week. Price is right, village is right, size is right, garden in right. And, as a bonus, it is empty so any purchasing will be quick!!!

I think that we may go for this one!

On the home front all is well.

Children are fine and grandchildren have started their new academic year. Grandson no. 2 has just gone up to grammar school. Had a lovely chat with him yesterday evening and I asked his opinion of his teachers. The reply was: ‘moderate’.

Now that is food for thought! Maybe children should give reports on their teachers, not the other way round.

Thursday, 18 August 2011

Houses and Grumbles

Am still looking.

Have seen a very nice house, very nice indeed. In walking distance of supermarket, just on edge of town.


Half the garden is given over to tarmac.

Veg plot is not included.

Owner wants to take more of garden for access to veg plot!!

So for us it is no go!!!!

In the meantime:

We have been to the UK for the wedding of a young lady we know. It is her second marriage. It is also her groom’s second marriage. We did attend her first trip up the aisle but did not foresee the problems that arose. Never mind, she has since matured and her new guy is so really nice and suitable for her… may they have many happy years together.

It was a lovely wedding, celebrated in a beautiful, historical, place that has been sanctioned for weddings. The service was very modern and very happy. The registrar was an absolute love! Our dear, youngest, grandson (3 yrs 4 months) was ring-bearer. He was ‘suited (3 piece) and booted’ and looked so absolutely gorgeous he brought smiles to the face and tears to the eyes.

Yes…. I was a proud granny and I think my man was a proud granddad.

We also visited my dear Mum, twice, caught up with my sisters news… did not see my brother (now there is a problem – will talk about it later). Did a little bit of shopping. Himself wanted to buy lots of things but I did have to remind him that we will be moving house so I did not want to have too much on the shelves or in the freezer, and…., we will be in the UK again in November for daughter no 1’s 40th birthday. He sighed a lot and gave me black looks!

Tough, but at the moment I call the shots!!!!

We had a passenger on our way to the UK. A young man, same age as our youngest daughter, in fact he was at school with her. He has his qualifications as a landscape gardner etc. he was charming and also drove part of the way to the ferry.

Now this young man came out a few years ago with his parents in law. The parents in law set up a B&B. Mum in law did not like strangers in her house. B&B is now closed.
Son in law does not speak a lot of French, he has two children that go to schools out here and they obviously are learning the language.

I did suggest that he enquires about the free French courses out here, it should help him with his gardening business.

It also turns out that this particular family also use the services of one of these companies that will buy all the English groceries etc. that you need… I was absolutely gobsmacked!

They move out here, work out here, do not speak the language and get English groceries.


I know it is not up to me to judge but I could not understand the thinking behind all of this.

I know that they live in an area, around 2 hrs from me, that is saturated with English people. Why come here, why not stay in the UK if it is the English thing that you want!

It really makes me wonder.

Anyway, next week we are back on the house trail…..

Friday, 22 July 2011

More houses!

Had a look at five houses today.

Very interesting I must say.

One house, on the very edge of a town, so too far for me, was quite a substantial residence that had been converted to downstairs living and and upstairs apartment. The tenants would move if anyone bought. There was a garden - not special at all. It would make a beautiful family house but a lot of work would be needed.

Another one was nice. Two large rooms downstairs, a kitchen, bathroom, another small room and 3 beds upstairs with small room with basin and possibility of creating another bathroom. Owned by an English person who has had some personal difficulties and needs to sell. The grounds (huge) were amazing with the most beautiful specimen trees, a small ornamental fish pond, little lake and stream. A nice property that is in walking distance of the shops.

We then went to another town to look at a 'maison de ville' that needed total renovation. Again a lovely house with ceiling mouldings, arches, typical French kitchen (just a sink!)a basic shower and loo under the stairs... Garden nice but not enough!

We also looked at a house (sous sol) that was large, nice sized rooms, large sous sol but garden, smallish, would need completely fencing, also too far from the town.

The last house we looked at is a little treasure.

An amazing property and himself likes it.

It is just across the road from the bar! The high street, which has everything we need, is just 5 mins walk away. Also the geometre were there today and remeasured everything and it seems that there is more land than first thought.

The house was owned by Madame's grandparents. Grandpere was a clog maker and there are still some of his unfinished clogs, and maybe some tools also, in the wood store! There is also the little area, untouched, where Grandmere did her laundry, including a wood fired boiler! Absolutely amazing.

As I said a little treasure which has been looked after very well by the granddaughter.

Watch this space!

Thursday, 21 July 2011

Rain, Wedding, Houses

Did the wedding, it was a very wet affair I must say.

Friday was fine(ish) – Saturday the heavens opened but there was a dry window in which the ceremony took place in the garden.

The newlyweds had already ‘tied the knot’ in a register office ceremony in the UK so the French ‘affair’ was mainly for the pleasure of their family and friends. It seems that they were quoted mega-euros for the translation of the necessary certificates – hence the two ceremonies.

We arrived for the evening ‘do’. It was wet, the rain continued intermittently throughout the celebrations… but the bride and groom looked very good and really happy. They are a nice couple and I hope that all works well for them.

It was also nice to catch up with the ‘usual suspects’ and to meet new members of the ‘set’.

Have been to look at a couple of houses today, in the rain, which has been very persistent.

I don’t know if they have the same thoughts and feelings about St. Swithin out here as they do in England, it seems he has expanded into France for the time being for the comfort of all the English ex-pat population.

Anyway, these houses, one went on the agents books this morning so we thought it would be nice to have a look and see.

Yes, very nice for a small French couple. Their kitchen would fit into mine 5 times and their lounge/diner is absolutely miniscule. A very nice house, but not for us.

The second one we looked at is a nice house, well at least I think so (himself got bad vibes,) but it is right on the edge of the town and needed a lot of work. A new roof and definitely a new kitchen are needed, I thought the heart of the home was in the kitchen – not necessarily out here, God knows how these French wives cope with rustling up all their culinary delights!

Both kitchens were absolutely abysmal especially as I have got used to an airy and spacious one where I have room to prepare almost anything (even cutting up pigs!).

Back to the drawing board tomorrow when we have four to look at, two with two different agents and as far as I am concerned, two of them look fairly good!

Wednesday, 13 July 2011

A House Sold and Three Weddings

We have sold our house! Now there is a turn up for the books.

The purchaser is French!

Got to find a new house in the next few weeks!

Oh my – haven’t done this in a while, scary. A new chapter in our lives

We are not going back to Blighty, but are hoping to move to a town or village with essentials close by so that my man can still have his Sunday French lessons with his copains a la petit maison avec ancien four.

We have had a look around and nothing at the moment takes our fancy within our price range.

I have loads of stuff to pack away but nothing to pack it in! Thank heavens the kids are out in a couple of weeks, they will be bringing strong packing boxes and bubble wrap.

Have contacted agencies – will keep you all posted on what we find!

If we don’t find anything in the next 3 months then we have a bolthole to go to courtesy of a dear friend.

In the meantime we are sorting ourselves out for the French wedding of an English couple. The grooms parents live out here and they (the family) thought it would be nice to marry in France!

Now this is the second (English) wedding out here this year that we will be attending, the first was in April.

Have found a lovely gift for this couple and also for the next couple whose nuptials we will be off to the UK for in August.

At one time, when one was contemplating a gift for newlyweds, one looked at a wedding list and bought things like, crockery (Wedgewood), cutlery (Sheffield silver), linen (Irish), towels (Turkish) etc. you know, the essentials as they were ‘setting up home together’. Gifting was easy!

Nowadays it seems that couples have all the essentials (from either divorce or Ikea) so it is a case of getting something that will either be on display or consigned to the back of a cupboard to be re-packed and given as a gift to someone else.

The three weddings that we either have and are attending this year are all couples that have been married before, they are in either their 30’s, 40’s or 50’s, have children by their previous spouses and have been living together as man and wife before tying the knot.

Is this a trend?

I know that they have all the essentials for living but I don’t know their tastes in décor etc. so my solution is a very easy one…..

I buy clear, modern, contempary glassware for displaying flowers that will suit any décor, I hope! And I know of a fantastic place where you can find such glassware at a very reasonable price!! Hopefully it will be on display and not consigned to the back of any cupboards.

Saturday, 9 July 2011


Just an observation.

Oh my God I am on my soap box again!!

We have been here 10 years now, when we arrived there were very few British people around our department.

Nowadays our ‘neck of the woods’ seem to be teeming with them.

Through a local (although expanding) organisation I see that there are well meaning ladies who are organizing charity events throughout the year. There are ‘tea party’ this, ‘auction’ that, coffee mornings, book sales etc. etc… All these events seem to be targeted for the British population. Flyers are mainly printed only in English whether they be given out by hand or posted online or in supermarkets etc. Yes, I do know of a couple of worthwhile causes that do their flyers in French first and English second but they are a rarity.

Well done I say, but I have to ask the question: why are so many of them fundraising for British charities?

Surely charity should begin at home, i.e., in the country in which you are living (and yes I do have my ‘pet’ charities in the UK.)

I came out here with my husband to live in France and to ‘live’ France. We are not here to exist within an English community. We are not anti English; after all we are English, but want to enjoy our life in the French community. If we get to meet English people that we can get on with then all well and good but when we encounter English that are really ‘in your face’ we can do without them, a case of would I want to be friends with them in the UK? If no then forget it!

I am probably repeating myself but I find on our local Anglo-info website there are many newcomers asking where they can find English speaking this and that (doctors, dentists, vets, notaries, accountants etc.) wondering where they can find English builders, carpenters, plumbers, where are the schools that take English pupils etc will my 5 or 10 or 15 yr old settle in as they don’t want to move out here etc… don’t these people do their homework? From my experience, children adjust far quicker than their parents.

These are the people who seem to create the English cliques that exist out here. Also word has filtered through that many do not bother learn the ‘polite’ basics of the language and are rude to shop assistants, never greeting with a “bonjour” or finishing with a “merci”, “bon journee”, “après midi” etc. always expecting at least one of the staff to speak English. Oh we remember some of the dreadful 'gaffes'that we made when we first arrived. At least it gave us all a laugh and we were given encouragement, help and a boost to our linguistic confidence.

It is not what I came here for. And I suspect that many of these go back after two or three years because they could not cope with the change.

And it seems that a lot of the ‘newbie’ English are not too happy with being either ‘shunned’ by their French neighbours or they find them too nosy; you know, asking about their former lives, their families, their health, their income – whether they are working and what at, why they are here etc. etc.. Of course they are going to be curious about these strangers who come to live in their country. If the ‘newbies’ don’t like it then they should give as little information as they want and continue to be regarded with ‘Gallic suspicion’.

Personally I love it, I love to chat and find about people that you are in close proximity to. I don’t have the English ‘reserve’ and I find that it is a good way to bond.

Ah well, that is the nature of the human race…

Thursday, 23 June 2011

Now this is really strange.

No soon do I post that it would be nice to be in a town and have neighbours to natter to than a lady I know who works out here in one of our Pays has posted that a new network is underway – a nattering network. This is where people volunteer to visit lonely people for a ‘natter’. No work, cooking, cleaning etc., is involved. Just to sit and have a chat and a cuppa with a lonely person.


I recently saw on TV under the series ‘Secret Millionaire’ a lady, Susan Stone, who is a life coach, she was very enthusiastic, so much so that I thought it would be good to get to know more about her.

Good old Google.

I found her and read about her.

Amazing how she changed her life around so I bought her book and started to read.

It is how to change your life for the better, and I had read the part of positive thinking and hey presto, there I am thinking I could do with someone to come and look at the house and some company apart from himself.

We then got a call from a Dear Friend that we haven’t seen for many months. She needed a place to stay for a few days.

Oh, someone to have a good natter with.

I could not believe it.


We caught up with all our news… you know, husbands, recipes, husbands, pets, husbands, politics, husbands catching up on gossip, husbands, other peoples husbands, our husbands etc… Good fun, lots of laughs – some tears, but soft shoulders to cry on.

We also had a viewing for the house, at least one agent is working for us.


I will go back to Sue Stones book and re-read and put more positive vibes out there into the ether.

I would like my man to do the same….

Now, talking about my man. Hmmm.

I gave him a bit of a talking to last week, the morning of the day that our D F arrived. I looked at the bank balance and flipped (again). I was angry about our situation. For heavens sake we should be enjoying our retirement and not counting the pennies. Or at least I should.

When my man reached 65 he stated ‘I have worked all my life for this, why should I do any more, it is time for me to rest!’ That was 3 years ago.

Well last week I spelled it out and I just hate to get angry. (OK he is recovering from surgery and just loves to relate to all and sundry a blow by blow account of what went on. But, life still goes on, he is part of it not just sitting on the edge watching it go by whilst everyone says ‘poor thing’.)

He has had more than three years sitting on his laurels being retired whilst I slogged my guts out running the B&B and the house, my God I am retired too and longer than him! It is time he got off his butt and did a bit of maintenance around the house etc. etc. I also said that he should have been harder on our daughter and her partner as they just walked away from a situation which has created a problem for us, and I also reminded him that his mother and father were always too lenient on him and his brother as they would shove money in their hands instead of guiding them in the way of finances which is what he (my man) would do behind my back with at least one of our daughters. He sat with his head in his hands and I just said it is pointless burying the truth and just face up to what is happening.

We either sink or swim and I would like his support in sorting it all out.

We have to confront what is happening, especially with our daughter. I am fed up with being ‘bad cop’ and him being mute.

He will have to back me up and do the ‘bad cop’ role for a change.

I will think positively and smile.

Dear God, I pray that it works. Amen

Well that's got it off my chest!!

Tuesday, 14 June 2011

I read other peoples blogs and I find them interesting and inspiring.

My blog is about me and my little life in my little part of France.

Not a lot happens here apart from my husband and his health, the children, the grandchildren, the dog, the cats, the garden and the local wildlife. I have a couple of neighbours. A really nice divorced French guy and English couple who keep themselves to themselves. I am also a member of an association for ladies who meet up maybe once a month or whenever for lunch and a chat. I may make some comments about some of them but not many…

We do not live in the village or on the edge of the village. We are out in the countryside and it is too far for us to walk into the village, which is very, very quiet except when the children go to and return from school.

There is the Mairie of course. We have two doctors and a nurse. There is a Pharmacy and a Boulangerie. The Boucherie has shut and he now just does the local markets. There is the Coiffeuse and a Garage, a nice little 4 roomed hotel with restaurant and also a restaurant under new ownership that now has 3 B&B rooms.

And we must not forget the Bar which also doubles as newsagent and post office. The Tabac/Presse closed their doors around 4 years ago and La Poste 3 years ago.

Our village is one of 4 that make up a commune of 4 villages that ‘fused’ in 1973 – there are a total of around 2500 inhabitants in the 4 villages. The mayor of our village is the ‘head honcho’ of the 4 villages, the others having their own ‘minor’ mayors who ‘bow’ to ‘M. le Maire’. M. le Maire was elected 3 years ago, he was a reluctant candidate who came into play at the very last minute and was voted in. The alternatives, well – best not said.

Since 2008, there have been subtle changes in the commune. It seems that M. le Maire is being progressive and is working well for the commune. There seems to be more happening, not a lot, but more. The staff in the Mairie’s office seem to be happier; there is an ‘air’ about them. Hard to put a finger on it but something is changing.

Shame that I want to move, will probably hear about changes second hand.

I want to be in a town, not on the edge of a village that is trying to grow up. I want to be in a town where I can take my shopping trolley (heaven forbid but it is looming in my mind), walk into a mini-market and buy some potatoes, carrots and a newspaper, get to know the Boulanger, the Boucher and the Poissonier instead of asking my husband to drive me into town. I want to be in a town where I know I have some English friends and where I can also make some new French friends. I want to be in a town that I know has a doctor, nurse and good social centre and also where they have events throughout the year. I know which town it is. It is not too far from here and everything a woman needs, well maybe, is all in one street.

Hopefully I will have a couple of nice neighbours to chat over coffee with. I have been told that in this particular town that the locals are nosy. It seems that they like to know who they are dealing with. Information about family, health etc seem to be required by them. I don’t mind as I could always conceal or bend the truth.

I must admit that I do miss having a good natter be it either in English or French. If I am not sure of many French expressions I am sure I can learn whilst having a good natter.

And I am talking about a good ‘natter’ not ‘gossip’.

I think that when we came here and opened up our Chambres d’hote we forgot about truly integrating with our French neighbours. We got on with opening up and taking in business, looking after the garden, growing and preserving fruit/veg etc. etc. Yes, we had a couple of neighbours but then when one died and his wife sold up to English then things changed, the French (language) came second. I did get a lot of input from our French guests and it was absolute fun but now that we have retired and closed the Chambres d’hote things have changed. I need to communicate more and being in the middle of, almost, nowhere then that proves difficult.

I don’t want a lot do I?

I think it is going to be a long haul to sell this property.

Now that the French government are in the process of introducing a new tax on non-resident home owners it seems that maybe a lot of properties will be coming on the market. Maybe people will ‘panic’ sell – if they do then there just won’t be the buyers. It is all still in the pipeline and if and when it is all decided and the law is passed then it won’t come into force for another year or so. From what I have read it will be a minimum amount of tax anyway.

It will be interesting as I am sure that there are those in the U.K. that have their nice little holiday homes out here who pay their fonciere etc. declare the minimum but don’t declare on the private lettings that they make to their friends, friends of friends etc. it is not only the French taxman that is being diddled but the English taxman as well.

We will wait and see.

Wednesday, 8 June 2011

Again, I feel like writing things.

I must be feeling better, I have all sorts of things going through my mind which need to be put down, not in the veterinary sense I might add!

Weather has changed. The heat of the last few weeks has gone - along with the lethargy. Maybe the heat was the cause, I don’t know, but I do feel better.

Himself is on the mend. Yes, he does huff and puff and give a groan when he rises from his favourite place on the settee. He is eating a little more, but also he is drinking more!

Now, my man has a blood sugar problem. Our lovely Dr. D. told him he must take care of his sugar intake. She also told him, a few months ago, that ‘un verre de vin’ each evening should be enough, Hah!

He needed to see the doc this week for a prescription renewal. She asked if he was on a regime for his blood sugar. Now, my man, being who he is avoided the question. Maybe he should have been a politician. He told her that he had been in hospital and had been on a limited diet….. It seems that she did not press the case! Another blood test in August – we will see.

As you can imagine when he told me I just flipped… I am sure you now know what I am like! My response was, ‘so why didn’t you tell her that I am trying to feed you the right stuff and that you undo all I am doing!!!’ No reply. (he is now helping himself to some ice cream)

We have a friend who lives locally. He is in his 50’s, a very nice guy. A little overweight but also has a blood sugar problem – hmm, should I be saying type 2 diabetes? Talking with him recently he admitted that he will not do a sensible diet, he would rather take the tablets prescribed.

He was brought up on an unhealthy diet as his mother would not, or even could not, cook. Pie, chips and baked beans was his basic diet when young and then he went into the army and had their culinary delights. He has eaten at ours, a good, tasty, nutritious menu and he said ‘yes, it was very enjoyable but given a choice I would eat pie, chips and beans. He admitted that he knew what he was doing to his body was wrong but - he knows his preferences…. His wife just raised her eyebrows!

So I wonder if my husband is following that course….. He has had more years of my cooking than his mothers yet he still resists the healthy stuff.. I know he likes the tastes and textures of healthy foods – but he still wants to indulge in the wrong stuff….

My thoughts now are, if you want to shorten your life get on with it…. You are an adult and responsible for your own health, it is not my responsibility.

Am I being an uncaring wife or a sensible woman?

Monday, 6 June 2011

So Mr. Ryan Giggs has had an alleged affair with his brother’s wife.

So Mr. Wayne Rooney has had an alleged hair transplant.

So a British celebrity has had his name exposed allegedly in the Irish press.

So I have been down to the vegetable patch and really dug some potatoes.

So I have really swept, vacuumed and mopped.

Oh what a world we live in.

There are adulterers throughout the world, there are vain young men with more money than sense that would like to have a full head of hair and there are those who would like to keep their lives secret.

Makes one wonder.

Footballer loves his ladies, whether they are married or not and whether he is married or not - at least he allegedly is keeping it in the family.

Man loses hair – male pattern baldness – genetic problem – let’s rectify by transplanting – live with what you have got or not!

Play away from home and be found out – if you don’t want to embarrass your children then don’t do it!

We all need vegetables and to live in clean surroundings. Would rather live my life than theirs - at least it is real.

Saturday, 4 June 2011

Curry and Friends

Curry went down a treat tonight!

Drool away if you dare!

Starters: Vegetarian Samosas and Spicy Prawns, with a yoghurt mint dip….

Main course: Pork Dopiaza, Sag Aloo, Rajma Dal and Basmati Rice… with Cucumber Raita and Tomato/Onion/Coriander chutney

Dessert: Spiced Peaches with vanilla ice cream

All accompanied with wine (Lidl !), intelligent conversation, silly conversation and lots of laughter, especially as we were watching the finals of Britain’s Got Talent (Hah!).

This evening I cooked for two couples who have been constant in our lives for the past 8 years. We do not see them often as they do not live too close but, as I have said, they are constant. This is what I call friendship. We can count our total friends out here on maybe, two or three hands, we have many acquaintances and people that we know but our friends are select and small in number – reliable and caring and constant.

These friends are in our age group and, like us, have seen those that come to La Belle France and then go elsewhere because they could not cope.

We can talk about old films, television programmes, rock stars, politicians etc. without getting blank looks.

We can laugh about the past, present and future.

We can discuss our pets, children, aching bones, prospective by-passes, types of coffins (just in case!) current medication etc..

We can compare our grandchildren and their schooling, their teachers and teaching methods, how our elderly parents are coping and whether one should bend over when you have a little wind!

We can laugh about the E-mail jokes that pass between us that are now related to either the past, elderly health or even our demise.

What joy!

Thank you J & D, L & C you brought some sunshine into our lives this evening.

Thursday, 2 June 2011

Yes, I did feel lousy yesterday.

I feel better today, woke early, 7.30 (far too early for me), if it had been 8.30 then yes, no problems so I shut my eyes and buried myself under the duvet and woke around 9.00.

I have a couple of ‘new age’ books and had a look in them last night. I saw that if you wear a blue stone around your neck/throat, at the 5th chakra then it will help with emotions, sleep, and a myriad of other things, I can’t remember which. I knew that I had bought a heart shaped blue gemstone pendant many years ago. Oh what the hell, find a chain, root around and find the pendant and put it on and see what happens.

I found the stone, found a chain and put them around my neck.

I slept well.

Today I had a close look at the gemstone, it is Lapis Lazuli, which I had totally forgotten about. Now this is a special stone and it, as they say, ‘did what it says on the tin!’

I do feel better today, had a moment this afternoon when I began to ‘wobble’ but on the whole I seem happier in myself.

I will persist, maybe crystals are the answer, I don’t know. There is something in it I am sure, along with various therapies including acupuncture, acupressure, reflexology, reiki, angels (?), meridians, etc. all of which are abounding in this particular department at the moment (especially as practiced by non-French residents!).

There is a ‘pamper’ day being organized locally. I saw the ‘ad’ and it says “Fred Smith Renovations” “Pamper and Rejuvenation Day” – (I have changed the names of course) but what I want to know – will the said “Fred Smith’s Renovations” be in charge of the pampering and rejuvenation? My mind boggles.

Cooking more tomorrow for Saturday’s curry.

Wednesday, 1 June 2011

Am going through a bad patch again. I think that I have a darkness that creeps up and embraces me. How on earth do I explain.

I was fine when I woke up this morning. Prepared my shopping list, we have friends for dinner Saturday night and I am making a curry, so off we went to the supermarche to get some bits and start preparing today. They did not have all the necessary that I needed, sometimes they have them on the shelves and sometimes they don’t and this was one of the don’t times.

Bugger, will have to go to bigger town instead of small town. Bugger, am trying to economise but will still have to use more diesel….

Anyway, himself was pushing the trolley, slowly, I just parked him in an aisle and said ‘Wait there, I will shoot off and get what I need’. He did just that. It was much quicker for me than having him trundling behind me and complaining. I did suggest that he wait in the car – I got a black look! Also seems that he was a little bit deaf, turns out he had water in his ear from his shower earlier so I was getting a lot of ‘what?’


We eventually arrived home and found members of the ‘God Squad’ at the door, well at least two of them, and hey, not American! They come later on in the year…

‘Hello’ said the taller guy (English), ‘we came last year, do you remember?’

I wanted to say ‘Hell yes, and I told you I wasn’t interested so kindly F*** O** and don’t bother me again!!”

But, I said, with my best Christian attitude, ‘Oh yes, I remember, thank you for coming to visit again but I am really not interested, I do have my Catholic God and my husband is still an atheist, we do wish you well with you ministry, good bye and have a good day!’

I couldn’t believe that I could get such a sentence out in one hit!

(I have been reading Susan Howatch lately, lots of religion!)

He smiled (the English one) and said ‘thank you, have a good day’ and, with his little French companion, left the premises.

My dear husband didn’t get a word in and just looked, well, amazed.

I went indoors and gave the dog a ‘telling off’ – “why didn’t you growl and show them that you are a proper guard dog?” He just smiled and wagged his tail. Continuity from the hound at least.

I unpacked the shopping, don’t want himself doing weights yet, sorted it all into its relevant places, freezer, fridge, pantry shelves etc. and then, well, I just wanted to go and hide away, in a corner, and not come out until I felt better. This feeling suddenly descended on me, I don’t know why, it just happened, so on and off all day, since shopping, I have felt like crap.

I had lunch (pigged out on a pizza) had half an hour catching up with emails etc. then scrubbed our bathroom and then came down to make some Samosas for the weekend (first time making these). Throughout this process from catching up on emails, cleaning bathroom and preparing recipe I was streaming tears… I kept it hidden from himself as he cannot fathom a woman’s emotions, never has, never will. He had his feet up and was taking his afternoon siesta.

Thought I would give it a go and try to make the planned curry as authentic as possible. I have a stock of whole spices and now grind my own as I need them, garlic and ginger is readily available but have a problem finding green chillis and mango chutney at the moment.

I will be making milder curries for the weekend as I do not want to upset a delicate alimentary canal!

Was originally going to make a Pork Vindaloo but have toned it down to a Pork Dopiaza. Either way it will be tasty!!

I seem to be going from me, to curry, to emotions….

There is a lot of negativity in this house. I do my best to be positive but it is always negated by ‘shhhh, you know who’.

The animals are positive. Jensen, is happy, bouncy (a bit of a Tigger really) and gives off such positive emotions.

Bisto is a truly erotic cat, if that is the right word, he is sensual especially when he winds himself around my legs, like a pole dancer, in the morning, during mid-day, the afternoon and evening etc. purring and gazing up at me with his lovely green eyes.

Bisto oozes love! (Hmmm, I wonder who he used to be?)

I am sure that the negativity is bringing me down. I try my best and I have explained to himself that he needs to be more positive in his thinking.

‘Yes’ he says.

End of conversation.

Monday, 30 May 2011

It is three days since he has seen M. le Chirurgien, (I just cannot get my English tongue around that word!) at our local wonderful hospital. M. le Chirurgien said that my man is OK, he is healing well and if there is any problem to come back and see him. Yes, fine, the nurse also said the same, ‘call me if there is a problem.’

So after the consultation we went to Lidl for a cheap shop (at the mo the bank balance is low and we have to budget again (Grrrrr)). Anyway, we bought stuff at discount (?) price and came home. I said I would bring the shopping in….. so what does he do? The manly stuff and brings in two heavy bags. I am not a weak female, I am capable of carrying a few kilos of shopping into the house…. Grrrr. He will not listen to me.

How on earth did he think I managed before. I am not weak. I am able to lift weights and carry them distances (albeit short), so I have had to shout at him a lot. “Noooo, put that down!!!” “I can do it” he said. “Don’t you dare try to lift that!” I say, “don’t worry, I can cope with it.” But he still insisted on bringing the two bags into the house.

He then sat down and said “I shouldn’t have done that!”

I growled!

Then I say “Maybe one day you will have to look after me and write the shopping list, sort, wash, dry and iron the laundry, change the bed linen, plan and cook the meals, sweep, vacuum and mop the floors, polish and dust the furniture, wash the windows, weed the garden (by the house), change the beds, clean the bathrooms, sort the finances, fill out the tax returns etc…..” He sat and looked at me and said nothing!!! I am able to cope with many things… Sod the vegetable patch, take me to the supermarket! Give me someone to cut the grass…. I can cope with growing flowers and also herbs for culinary uses.

He is healing. Slowly.

He and I have been married since St Valentines Day 1970… Long time!!

We had known each other for three years before getting married….. Long time!!!

Now, since 1967 my dear husband has, to my recollection, had a few surgical interventions. He had an operation on his wrist, he had surgery on his parotid gland which was furred up like a kettle, then he had another 4 operations relating to the same thing. His Piles needed sorting as well! Then he had problems with his neck (could have been paralyzed from neck down!). Prior to me knowing him he also had surgery on his knee/leg… and so it goes on. He enjoys ill health!

Me? I do not do ill people!!!!

I do not have empathy or sympathy… so when he coughs or sneezes I turn away. I know he can be a bit of a drama queen and will exaggerate his illnesses but I do not have time or patience for it.

Am I a bad person?

On a lighter note, our eldest daughter did the three peaks challenge in 23 hours 35 minutes this weekend, including injury time for one of the climbers. Bless her and her husband. Didn’t they do well??

What will they want to conquer next?

Friday, 27 May 2011

It is now quinze jours since my man’s surgical intervention, not a ‘fortnight’ in France but quinze jours. He has been home for huit jours not a week. Oh what fun playing with the oral differences between the two languages.

Anyway, he has been home since Thursday 19th May. He is fine. He is sore. He has had the attention of our local infirmieres who arrived every other day to check his wounds and change his dressings. God Bless those two lovely ladies who ministered to his needs.

I know this sounds a little ‘off the wall’ but that is me. He was happy for the attention and I was happy for them to minister to him. I could not do it; I am not in their league and really appreciate the nursing profession. All nurses deserve recognition; I know what they go through when they train for their craft and what they are faced with when they qualify.

My older sister achieved her State Registered Nurse qualification in 1966. I went through the trauma with her, reading her text books (some of which were a bit yeuk) helping her with her revision, listening to her hates and loves in training, giving a shoulder for the tears and joining the celebration when she passed… She made the grade with a lot of hard work, passed her SRN exam first go and is now still working, on a part time basis, in the nursing profession. Our youngest daughter is working to the same goal, albeit at an older age and with other qualifications. It seemed to be simpler 40+ years ago but nowadays it seems to be the ‘degrees’ not the instinct and empathy that counts.

He had a visit to the surgeon this morning who checked his wounds and pronounced him fit and well. It appears that his appendix was 'plus grand' and the abscess 'grand'. With my man it is never simple. Stitches were removed and he was discharged from the hospital and advised to return only if there was a problem. Hooray!!!

Anyway, the upshot of this is that I have told himself tonight that he will get fit and will listen to me and eat what I feed him because I want him fit. I explained that although we have been married for 40+ years and that we have our differences I still love him and that I want him to be fit and well (he did smile at that!). And also, for the extended holiday that I am planning for next year he will need to be fit. He sat and nodded and agreed. He does not need to lift a finger (ha! par for the course, comme d’habitude) I will sort it all out.

Whether I have the stamina or not to keep this up I don’t know, we will see.

The dog is happy that his master is home. The cats are happy that he is home. Our neighbour is glad to see him home as well as our assorted French and English friends.

I am cooking bland food for us both. He did say ‘you don’t need to eat the same as me’. Ha, why cook two separate meals… So I am on a bland diet as well. (Bah!) Never mind it won’t be long before he can take a little bit of spice! I have arranged a curry night for friends in huit jours, he had better be able to cope with it!

At the moment, weather-wise, it is hot, sometimes too hot, and sunny although the wind has been a bit on the chilly side. There are already water restrictions for the farmers. It won’t be long before the restrictions affect the general members of the public. It has been a very dry winter and there has been next to no rain falling. The river has been low all winter and I think it is now about three years since it has ‘broken’ its banks. We have a flood meadow that hasn’t been under water for a long time. The lack of rain has been quite frightening, the grass is brown already. It does not bode well, three years of drought is not good.

Saturday, 14 May 2011

Bites and Appendices

It all started Wednesday morning, no I tell a lie, before then.

We went away to a lovely little fishing port on the Vendee coast for a weeks break in a friends apartment. With permission we took the dog as the apartment was ground floor and had a lovely little fenced garden.

The apartment overlooked the port which had grown over the past 20+ years into a fantastic harbour with moorings for millions of Euros of yachts of all sizes. Oh yes it had changed somewhat since our last visit there.

We had a nice restful time, the dog enjoyed his first visit to the seaside and was absolutely joyous running free on the sand and ploughing into the waves and over and over again. Totally in his element!

On our last day/night, something bit my ankle - twice. It wasn't too bad, didn't itch or anything. We came home Saturday and ankle was OK but I took the precaution of slathering it with hydrocortisone. Ankle fine Sunday. Sunday night and Monday during the day my foot became more and more swollen. Off to docs on Tuesday and she said just keep it clean and carry on with what you are doing (antiseptic spray and hydrocortisone). Well, Wednesday morning, after a very painful night, I hobbled down to the kitchen and found the cast of Antz 2 on the kitchen floor. I couldn't believe the amount of the little blighters swarming all over the place.

Then himself came through:

"I've been sick" "Oh God I've got such a pain in my belly".

I felt his head, no temperature.

"Are you OK, how's your ankle?" he said.

"Yes I am fine, I had a xxxx night, it itches like xxxxxxx and these bloody ants are everywhere!"

"I think it was that spinach and cream thing you did last night"

"No, that was OK, maybe you just have trapped wind, If you were younger and female I would say it is ovaries". (boy was I in a mood!)

Black look!

Have a little toast" I said, he did and it promptly came back.

Our doctor does not work on Wednesday as she has a young son and children only go to school here half day on Wednesday. A bit like shops and banks were in the UK many, many moons ago.

So himself goes back to bed for the day and I proceeded committing fourmicide and dealt with all those delightful and industrious insects.

I kept a check on him during the day. Still no temperature but a lot of pain.

Thursday am he went to doc and she said "appendicite" gave him a letter with instructions to go to Urgences (Casualty/ER.)

I do not drive!

I packed a bag for him and called some friends who quickly came over and took us to our local Hopital.

The Triage nurse took all our details and then the put my man on a bed in a room then wired him up for for ECG (beaucoup de poil!), tried to get a line in for blood test and drip and then waited for our local Hopital's version of Dr Ross. He was absolutely charming but did not speak a word of English. c'est pas grave! We understood when he said 'gaz'.

But 'gaz' it was not.

When the surgeon went into his gut on Thursday morning he found a large abscess on his appendix. Poor guy, no wonder he was in such pain. His gall bladder is OK though!

It is now Saturday evening. I have been in to see him, courtesy of another friend, and have also spoken with him. I should be able to get to see him again tomorrow and with a bit of luck will find out when he is coming home.

My bites have cleared up but still have some bruising on my foot and two nasty scabs!!

The ants have been totally exterminated in spite of Disney thinking they are cute!

I am now looking forward to the post-operative care I will have to give. I am not cut out for nursing, never have been and never will be. And he knows....

Monday, 18 April 2011

Wheat and Chaff

Daughter no.1 has come to stay for a week with her two delightful children.

I just said that I needed to sort the Wheat from the Chaff, and she decided to come out and help me sort! In the house it isn't too bad as I have periodically gone through from room to room.

So, starting with minor things like kitchen drawers and pantry and working her way up to the big barn she has worked like a Trojan, ploughing through all the accumulated things that had been put aside, especially in the 'Barn'!

The 'Barn' is our French version of the 'Garden Shed', completely out of my jurisdiction and whenever I have taken a glimpse inside it seemed to have less space. Is it a case of for every cubic inch there is a cubic foot to fill it, like a sort of TARDIS? When Daughter no.1 headed in that direction, with her father in tow he began to get an anxiety attack. Himself has been beside himself, 'What is happening? Why is it happening? Where is all my stuff going?' etc. etc.

Daughter no.1 observed 'He is a bit of a drama queen nowadays!'

He does not argue with Daughter no.1 as she is one of lifes efficient organisers and will tell him to sit and say yea or nay to whatever she wishes to throw out. If he says no she checks with me and I say yes. He has had to concede and attached the trailer to the car and took two trips of the 'stuff' to the local dechetterie for proper disposal... we now have heaps of space in the barn and we can actually see the walls! hmmm I wonder how long it will take to fill up again....

Our dear Jensen has been in the wars, in a manner of speaking. At the end of March he had what seemed to be an abcess burst on his chest. Took him to our lovely vet and she cleaned it out, prescribed a course of antibiotics and an antiseptic spray. It was healing nicely and then opened up again.. Back to the vets, in for surgery and they opened him up and found a large cyst. Poor boy, 3" scar, 7 stitches, and another long course of antibiotics plus painkiller. Talk about placid at the moment, he just wants to sleep all day! Anyway, on day 2 after coming home he ripped the dressing off and took out the top two stitches, so back to the vet for staples and a 'lampshade' collar. He has another checkup at end of this week and we are hoping it will be the end of it. From what I can see the scar is healing nicely. Am so glad that this has happened out here, dread to think of the costs in the UK!!

We are going away beginning of May for a week at the Vendee coast, then we are off to the UK in August for a wedding as well as the trip for Daughter no.1's birthday.

This is all therapy for Himself, just trying to bring him out of the dark place he has been all winter... hope it works.

Wednesday, 9 March 2011

Time for a little update, it might be a little or a lot, we will see how it pans out.

Being English I like some English products… for example, PG Tips, Branston Pickle, Bisto (Aaaah!) gravy powder (forget the granules, they are a waste of space!) and also OXO cubes, there are many French products that I absolutely adore but there are the essentials that my man and I were brought up on and we (read He) cannot do without.

The other night I used an OXO cube in my gravy and I noticed that it is slightly smaller, not a lot just a little bit, about 10/15% methinks…. They have made the cube into the shape of an X. I cannot comment on the price of the said item as I did not take notice when I bought them, but I am sure, am absolutely convinced, that the price went up as the size went down.

The quality of the product has not changed at all and I am glad to say it still gives the same satisfactory flavour to my culinary experiments.

Oh yes, it is gripe time…

The hound, our dear boy, has just been to the ‘poodle’ parlour for a haircut. He was in an absolutely abysmal state. His hair was around 6” long and was in need of a good ‘wash, trim and brush up’. He was picking up all sorts of mud and grass and had God knows what was living or growing in his coat, he definitely picks up more in the winter than summer! I would comb and brush him daily but as soon as he went out he came back looking worse than ever… So off to Toutou Bain Douche, of which there are many in La Belle France, (Poodle country you know!).

Big mistake… I will not go back and complain, she will only flap her hands and say ‘desolee’…He will never darken her doors again and she will never take her tondeuse or perfumes to his coat again. She has made the most abysmal job of clipping and trimming and he came back to us smelling of the most disgusting antiseptic/perfume… I just won’t recommend her to my canine owning friends. I have had to tidy up the work she has done. Maybe I will invest in some canine clippers and do him myself… or take him back to the delightful Beatrice in a few weeks. She was absolutely brilliant with him when he had his first trim.

Spring is in the air:

Primroses and Snowdrops are up, daffodils are just opening, loads of white and purple violets are showing their faces to the sun, buds are popping and my Sweet Almond tree is in flower…Everything is looking good!

I am doing my best to update our living accommodation by filling holes, painting, tiling, prettying things up. I sometimes think I am flogging a dead horse as I am not getting a lot of input or help from Himself. He will not do any DIY. At the moment it is all up to me and I am pissed off with it. Yes he has done a little in the kitchen, heights that I cannot reach as I get wobbly when I am too high up a ladder, I have a balance problem with my ears which puts me at a disadvantage. I am also trying, when the weather is dry, to make the garden look more inviting. First impressions count and I just have to convince Himself that we need to keep it tidy. His answer is ‘weedkiller’. Mine is, ‘weeds die and leave a mess and they still need to be taken out.’ He then sulks! So I have been over-stretching my spine by bending and raking out the weeds in the patio and path (both look good now) and tidying up the edges of the path as well as planting and transplanting various plants/bulbs to make it look all the more inviting.

We have some hens and they are a bit like the late, great, Houdini, they are all ‘Hendinis’ and can escape through any gap or get over the wall that runs round ½ of their pen, via a very handy roof, and then they vandalise my borders. Oh yes, I know they are looking for something to supplement their diet but, my poor daffodils, they have been ‘chickenated’ and any other perennial plants that are coming up are now raked up on the surface and dying.

Eventually, after I had ‘really’ lost my rag and used a lot of swear words ( the ‘eff’ word came into the equation more than once along with ‘you don’t give a toss’ etc…and I hate to shout!) Himself has eventually found another secure place for the hens so that they do not destroy all the work I have been putting in. At last, I can improve without it being wrecked!

We have had a couple look at the property with regard to running a B&B. The whole property was too big for them! The wife kept asking me ‘how do people find you?’ After the first time I was lost for an answer… We are just off a trunk road, clients find us with no problem at all and most have G.P.S. anyway. Our Immobilier just kept smiling in his Gallic way, and saying ‘you could put a pool and terrace there’ ’you do not need to buy all of it’ etc… I haven’t had any feedback from him as yet. I have decided that I will keep each Immo informed about the others without mentioning any names… just to keep them on the ball. I am restless and need to move!!

My dear Mum has reached 90 yrs old and is still as happy as can be, and no she is not senile, just a happy soul! I am a little bit peeved that I was not able to celebrate with her. When I mention travel to the UK Himself gets a look of panic his face. I do explain that my family and our friends would love to see him. Unfortunately, the majority of his family are no longer with us. There are some cousins that he has never been in touch with and he is not too bothered about contacting them. He would be amazed to see how his grandchildren have grown and they would dearly love to see him. Our no.1 daughter will be 40 at the end of the year and I have told him that he will be going to the UK to help her celebrate along with her husband and friends who have all reached the same age… He is still trying to get his head around it! And, not only that, he has to get his head around a trip to Central America the beginning of next year!! Ha ha, plans are underway!


Thursday, 10 February 2011

The ex-pat-re-invented Brits are having a field-day in my neck of the woods at the moment.

There is so much going on it is a job to know where to start.

A female friend of mine, not close, has been ripped off by one our mutual ‘friends’.

The event evolved thus:

My friend works as an agent for an Immobilier.

She posted on that 'wonderful social networking' site that she had found a fantastic property with loads of potential for cost of ‘next to nothing’.

Hmmmm… Bad move, silly girl.

Our ‘mutual friend’ made enquiries as she had sold her house and was living in rental accommodation.

The ‘mutual friend’ then went to another Immobilier who knew of the property and made an offer and is now in the process of purchasing the house.

The friend of mine is now well out of pocket on commission on the sale and she is not happy!

There is now very bad feeling between the two.

Not only that, but the husband of the ‘mutual friend’ helped the husband of the friend in his capacity as a builder/renovator (yes, another Brit in France doing properties up etc…) and took advantage of the husbands good nature and borrowed equipment and promptly broke/ruined/stole the aforesaid equipment. The husband of the ‘mutual friend’ is the sort of person who argues with his fists not his tongue so is best avoided!

Now it was not my friend that told me this but her husband, oh does he love a gossip. Gladdens my heart that a man can confide!!

And now, me in my capacity of being an older woman: you know, a bit of a granny, sympathetic, gives a bit of advice, easy listener, don’t gossip with everyone etc. gets to hear of this.

I do sometimes get people confide in me, I don’t ask them to, but they do and I cannot believe, in my Christian mind that people will do what they do. It absolutely amazes me. Where are their morals or are they born without them?

There are obviously things that I would not dream of repeating to a soul but sometimes there are things that need to be said…namely, why do so many English/British people prey on their own kind????

Just an aside, why on earth do some parents put their children on ‘The Worlds Strictest Parents’ programme. From what I have seen it is the parents that need to be educated not their children!!!

Monday, 7 February 2011

Blues part 2

Further to January Blues

Interesting day today…

My dear, tame, English hairdresser called to attend to my ‘barnet’ and a damned good job she did too. Bless her, she knows my hair, how it curls on the right and how it curls on the left in spite of it being dead straight, how fine it is and what suits the shape of my head. I did discuss with my man, this morning, the possibility of colour but though – oh no not a good idea! I have a good sprinkling of silver now and in some lights it looks bloody lovely, natural highlights. The thought of losing that to an artificial ‘chestnut’ (best on a nut), ‘burgandy’ (best in a glass) or whatever, I decided against. At the rate my hair grows I would need to ‘touch up’ the roots every 2 weeks which is way out of my remit.

So my hair is now manageable again and with a sprinkling of silver. It was getting a bit wayward as it had not been cut since mid-November last year. I feel so much better, a little glamorous, just need a bit of ‘slap’, to complete the picture.

Not too bad for 64 years old me-thinks…

I was also complimented on how good my ‘body’ looks…… Well!! What does one say??

After my coiffeuse parted, we had a man we had been expecting since, hmmmm who know when – see January Blues, ‘favours’.

He arrived unexpectedly with an explanation as to why he had not been able to come to us to do the work that he had promised early last year and why we were ‘out of the loop’.

He explained how he had been ‘ripped off’ by an English couple out here, as well as the problems he has had with his in-laws and in-laws partners after a death in the family. Oh my God, aren’t some peoples lives complicated??

I am so glad that I have had only one husband and that he has had only one wife (me) and that our parents stuck with each other through ‘sickness and health, richer and poorer, forsaking all others until death do us part, etc’….

Some people out here have such complex relationships in their lives I find it quite unbelievable! I would love to do a ‘straw’ poll with all the people I know in France and see how many of them have families such as ours…. It would be so interesting.

Anyway, we will be getting the work we want doing within the next 2 months – although watch this space….

Am still gathering information on the ex-pat populaton………….there might be a novel in it yet!!

Friday, 4 February 2011


This is from someone who needs to get it out.....

Eventually we got our new(ish) car. a 1998 Renault Megane Scenic. It is a very nice car too and it gets us from A to B.

In the meantime I have had another birthday. Another one where we were unable to go out and celebrate with a meal. Another promise....

I have decided henceforth that my birthday will be the end of May each year. The end of January does not bode well with me. We always have very cold weather and extra expenses (mainly car) and it is too soon after Christmas. So now it will be the end of May, a better time for a party, maybe a barbeque with friends.

I am still feeling rather fragile. I do not sleep well, waking at all hours of the night, I am tense during the day and prone to tears... Oh my God this sounds awful. I know I am not depressed. I did the depression thing after having our daughters and was absolutely 'out-of-it'.

This is different.

Now, when I was very young, around 2 years old, I was hospitalised for life-saving surgery. My earliest memories are hospital beds, disinfectant (I still hate the smell of Dettol), large green and cream hospital wards and nurses in their high hats (then) blue uniforms and starched aprons. I also had a long spell in 'convalescence'. I remember lots of visits to hospitals and to our G.P. Dr. MacArthur (a lovely guy who passed away when I was around 25). My Mum and Dad always said that I was a 'sensitive' child and I think that it stems from my early years and still applies today. My Mum still worries herself silly about my health! I know that if I can turn off outside influences and try to 'meditate' then I will feel better, but it is difficult.

I need to get away from my life and do something different. Do I go to a Catholic retreat in the UK and rediscover the Church or should I go on an alternative retreat and learn to switch off and meditate. I am curious about the oriental option. I have practised Qi Gong and found it very useful but would like to delve deeper. I am sure a residential course would benefit me enormously, but where to go?? Now this is only short term, just to get myself sorted out before I am committed!

Anyway, enough about me..

The car.

He has been driving for almost 50 years now and is used to the internal combustion engine but not to the modern computer driven version.

Oh joy, 1st day with the car and he could not get it to start in the morning....

He thought the worst, I said 'have a look in the manual.' He tried to find the battery to check it was OK. He 'farted' around for about 45 mins before picking up the manual and checking what was wrong...something to do with it being a 'computer' controlled vehicle with electronic locking system. By then I had had a coffee, swept the floors, loaded the washing machine, got really steamed up etc. etc....

He also needed to change the ownership of the car. Slightly different out here to the UK.

We collected the forms and he asked that I fill them.


Why not..

Suppose I wasn't here?

But you are.

I have dropped dead what would you do?

Get on with it I suppose.

OK, get on with it and stop relying on me....

I'll take it to the Mairie.

C'est tout...

I do love him though!!!

Friday, 28 January 2011

Our motor car packed up on Boxing Day 2010.

Himself was going to the dechetterie to dispose of a few bottles, cans and plastic and also pick up a couple of baguettes in the village for lunch. We were expecting some good friends to arrive in an hour or so.

Himself had driven around 300 metres and ‘crunch’ the car stopped! The cam belt had broken…..

In the process of the cam belt breaking the pistons continued their journey and totalled the engine…….

Himself stormed back into the house, steam pouring from his ears and his face purple. He was not happy.

I stood and looked at the purple rage and said ‘calm down, I will phone our friends and ask them to pop into the boulangerie on their way. We will think about the car later!.’

And so from then until now we have had no car. We have a tame mechanic (English I hasten to add) who was in the UK at the time so we had to wait for him to come back to his home and job. He came to look at the motor car. Not good!!! I ordered new cam belts and when he arrived to check the engine etc. it was found that the engine was beyond economical repair!!!

Now this cost us 300 euro! New cam belts and consultation……

And after paying out over 650 euro for our ‘total’ diagnostic on the house, I, as the banker was not very happy!!

So there we are 1,000 euro down! And I thought that I was on top of financial things….

I left a financial headache (in my working life) in the UK and thought that things would be better out here. Noooooo.

In the UK, prior to relocating to France, I was checked for irritable bowel syndrome and ulcers as I was being so very ill all the time (Jeez was that job stressful!). I am having the same symptoms now… For heavens sake, I shouldn’t have this, I should be enjoying retirement and living a relaxed, organic life, but no!

Fortunately, we have some very good friends that have come to our aid… God bless them!

Today we have found a car, via le Bon Coin, we had a look at a couple of cars but one really took our fancy, we also had to deal with a new guy in the bank as our lovely Mme Sourire has since left but jeune Mr Huile is not too bad… shame he doesn’t speak English!

So, in a couple of days we will have a motor car that can get us from A to B… what a joy, and, it is a French car (Renault Megane Scenic) and Himself, as the chauffeur, quite likes it!!

Monday, 24 January 2011

January blues....

Just something to say,

Am fed up with the ex-pat community here, except for a couple of couples…. I sometimes feel as though I am out of the loop although I am here.

Is suppose it is because I am not a motorist who does coffee mornings or gossip……

I hear a little here and hear a little there…. But am still out of the loop.

I suppose I would like to be included but I do not want to be ‘central’ to all, like some and I hate to appear to be 'nosy'.

I am happy that I have some really wonderful reliable friends (both English as well as French).

I find that our French friends have no axe to grind, they accept us as we are and, it seems, that our very reliable English friends out here are the ones that have only had one marriage partner (usually of many, many years). Now I am not being ‘marriage-ist’ but it seems that those who have had multiple marriages/partners seem to be the ones that are ‘not on the level’, are up for gossip, and putting down and ‘gossiping’ about their ‘friends’. My experience shows that those who have just have had one marriage are the truest friends (there are, though, exceptions to the rule as in most things – and you know who you are!).

I have done favours for people and a good friend has said that she has done the same but then there are those that who do not reciprocate – funnily enough it is in within the same group..

Incidentally I hate American spell check – favour or favor? – I will go for the English and re-educate my computer.. even down to the number of full stops I put!!! Or even exclamation marks, yeah!!!!!

After nearly 10 years here in the country I love, I am inclined to drop acquaintances and just let them get on with their own devices and live my life without them. When I come to think of it, there were very few people in the UK that I would count as ‘good’ reliable friends, I should follow my instincts as I did then.

Although, coming to think of it, what I hear (discreetly) could make a good book!!

Something to think about……

Friday, 21 January 2011


I mentioned in my last post that I am on the trail of my mothers ancestry.

Now this is proving difficult.

I have been in contact with Barnardo's and also a genealogist in Ireland. I have been given the necessary contact name. I have written to the contact name, twice, and have been waiting for a reply... Oh this is so difficult. It seems that the people who have the information that I need are reluctant to give me the necessary.

My dear sweet Mother gave me an address that was given to her some time ago. It was an address in the county that we lived all our lives. In fact we probably passed the address when we went to the coast for our annual bank holiday trips.

I researched on-line and found the name of the family that lived at the address. Mr Xxxxxxxx was married to Miss Xxxxx - the same maiden name as my mothers....

I researched a bit more and found out that they had 5 children, three sons and two daughters. All of the sons have since passed away and also one of the daughters (aged around 16 yrs) but one sister was still living, unmarried and around my mothers age, some 10 years ago..

I have written to the address (to whom it may concern) asking if they know of any family members of the original family at that address in relation to my mother... I am waiting for a reply.

Bless my Mum, she did say, 'Why didn't I give this address to you years ago?' It seems that my Dad didn't think it would be a good idea to follow up the address when it was first given to Mum.

Had she been able to go to this address 30 years ago, it would have answered a lot of questions that she had.. She is now nearly 90 years old and would still like to know why she was given up to the Nuns..

I am hopeful...

Apart from all of that, things are fine... Need to find a new motor car... ours is dead and only fit to be buried.

Another year another vehicular problem!! (third year methinks!)


Well what a mess! Johnson's wife having an affair...hmmm.

Andy Coulson resigning... hmmm.

Tony Blair and his excuses.... hmmm.

'nuff said - it is the UK after all!!!

Tuesday, 18 January 2011

I have been reading the English press of late, yes, the gutter press.

I read of Elton John and his partner having a child.

I read of Nicole Kidman and her husband and ‘gestational carrier’

What is wrong with the world and its babies??

Elton John and David Furnish both ‘contributed’ to their son…. Oh my Goodness, it makes me feel so, well, nauseous…. The pair of them put their ‘contribution’ (one can only guess the procedure!!) into a pot and it was mixed with some-ones ova to create a foetus then put into another female and then allowed to gestate to full term before being ‘born’. And they want to do it again……

I feel for the child and subsequent children. Will he/they ever know his mother or father??

Nicole Kidman and her husband Keith Urban already have a daughter but they have decided this time to use a ‘gestational carrier’ for their second child. What on earth is that????? Do they mean a surrogate mother, do they mean that they combined his sperm with her ova and then implanted into another person??? Confusion reigns…..

I read of Patsy Palmer and her new son….

Patsy Palmer though (Bianca Jackson in Eastenders) has recently had her fourth child. The little boy was born prematurely and is now home with his mum and dad and brothers and sisters. No surrogacy, Patsy bore the child and gave birth naturally and the pictures I have seen make me smile. She looks wonderful, baby is beautiful and there is no hype….

Dear Lord, thank you for some normality.

Now this is dear to me. I am into genealogy in a big way. I have traced my father’s family back to the 16th century, my husbands’ family, paternal and maternal, back to the 18th century but am stuck with my mother’s family. My Mum was taken into care by some Nuns in Ireland when she was around 6 years old. She would love to know the whys and wherefores of this and I am now on the trail. Mum would love to know her history (she is almost 90 yrs old now), and so would I for my children.

This is why I find it so abhorrent that rich celebrities can ‘buy’ infants, through ‘rent-an-ova’, ‘rent-some-sperm’, rent-a-womb or from a third world country.

I have also read of a devoutly Christian couple who run a B&B in Cornwall who only take married couples in double rooms.

A homosexual couple booked to stay at the said B&B, when they arrived the owners refused their booking and turned them away because they were not a married couple.

The ‘visitors’ took the case to court and have now won their case for sexual discrimination.

Now this is a dodgy arena.

I have run a B&B, albeit in France.

Sometime ago I had an enquiry for two couples for two nights. I took the booking, it was for a local wedding. The guests arrived on the day and they were four men!

I was not aware at the time of the booking that it was anything out of the ordinary, they asked for two double rooms, my natural assumption being two heterosexual couples…

Hmmm, I was a little surprised. I could not, though, refuse to accommodate them.

They took their rooms, had their breakfasts, paid their dues and enjoyed their stay.

At no time during their stay was there any problem. They were really nice guys and I would happily accommodate them again.

Now if I had been a ‘devout’ Catholic instead of ‘selective’ Catholic it might have been a different kettle of fish. It would have been a dilemma for me.

I also remember a young woman booking a room and say that her 'companion' would be joining her later. Yes he did. Twice she booked and twice he arrived later. Some time afterwards I found out that her 'companion' had a wife and many children….

You takes your money and makes your choice!!

Oh thank you Pope John XXIII for giving me the options of a diverse religious life.

But, I do have a problem with people who are ‘in your face’ and push their views. I accept all people and their lives but I don’t want, or will not, be browbeaten into accepting the rude and aggressive, be they black or white, straight or gay. They can go jump!!


Got that out of my system….