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Bon weekend from a woodshed in France…

Pumpkins on a table with a bunch of flowers


Hope you had a great week.

Here it stopped raining for a few hours, long enough for us to get out the garden and stack the firewood – ten wet tons of it, from a sustainable forest nearby. The Wood Man, Monsieur L, likes to try to speak English to me and I like to practice my French so we have one of those odd conversations where we are speaking each other’s language and get ourselves tied in knots. We discussed the day’s newspaper weather headlines “The coldest winter on record” is coming.

“They say that every year” I said. “One of these year’s they’ll be right” he replied.

I don’t know about where you are but they really do say that every year here and it’s not happened yet. In fact last winter’s prediction for the snowy apocalypse couldn’t be more wrong, it was positively balmy in the north of France. Not remotely like our first winter in this old house when the temperatures plummeted to -20 C. The fire then wasn’t working properly and at night, huddled around the fire, wrapped up in duvets, we watched our breath make frost patterns in the cold air inside the house. It was a hard lesson – make sure the fire works properly and have enough wood to get through the cold months.

The cats and dogs watched us loading the logs the Wood Man had tipped onto the drive, a small mountain of them. The 17 delinquent chickens born this year, still just about able to squeeze through the fence of the pen, came to look at the mad humans working non-stop for hours.

Jean-Claude went past with his squeaky wheelbarrow filled with pumpkins, big orange ones, ornate green ones and long creamy coloured ones. His garden is full of them at this time of the year and he’s proud to hold the title for “Biggest Pumpkin of the Valleys”.

“Got to get these into storage” he said. “It’s going to be the coldest winter on record”.

Best wishes and bisous from France…

Author of My Good Life in France: In Pursuit of the Rural Dream

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