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Ducks, cats, fires and more newsletter from France



This week I’ve had to separate frisky ducks, tolerate sulky cats and put out a fire… life is never dull here in rural France that’s for sure.

The week started well, I visited my lovey neighbour M-T. She is in her 80’s and sprightly as the spring chickens she keeps in her garden. “How do you do it” I asked her, her skin is almost unlined and she has boundless energy. She told me she wasn’t sure so we talked about her lifestyle. She never shops at a supermarket but prefers to grow her own vegetables and fruit as much as she can. She has cooked a meal from scratch every single day for the last 60 years and never eaten processed food. She showed me her oven which she has used daily since 1955, it was a wedding present and is quite astonishingly pretty. She has never smoked, drinks a little red wine or cider now and again and doesn’t get sunburned. She did though say that she thinks that the fact that she eats pork belly every day might be a reason. Well I still don’t know how she does it but I suspect it’s a combination of everything (though I’m not sure about the pork).

Half way through the week it started to rain which meant 5 out of my 6 cats wanted to be in the house. Winston (the one that doesn’t want to be in) is far too neurotic to be near the others and sleeps with his friend, a sheep, across the road. This mean 5 cats all vying for attention… I escaped to the garden, in the rain. Where I discovered my two male ducks have fallen out. One of them, Lucky (on account of the fact I rescued him from a pond) was being bullied by Einstein (who is the most intelligent duck I have ever encountered).So I’ve had to put them in separate pens with a few girls each. Lucky is loving it, Einstein has lost a couple of girlfriends so he’s not impressed and stares balefully into the pen next door all day.

Back in the house I decided to clear up the front room and pushed the dogs’ beds up against the fire while I hovered. I have three dogs who sleep in front of the fire! Friends came round so I put the fire on, a lovely double sided wood fire. I thought the room was a bit smoky when my friend said “I don’t want to worry you but something is on fire in the other room”. I had forgotten the dogs beds were leaning against the fire and one of them was smoking away and had to be rushed into the garden where the rain promptly doused it.

Whoever said rural French life is quiet?!

Despite all the activity, this week there are some truly great features on our website for you to enjoy!

Next week I’m off to Paris, I’m so excited and of course I’ll be telling you all about it. Oh, and don’t forget the clocks go forward one hour on  Sunday (39 March)…

With best wishes,
Bises from France

This week’s top features

History of Mustard in France: Did you know there was once a mustard maker to a French Pope giving rise to the popular expression “Se croire le premier moutardier du pape”  which means “he thinks himself the Pope’s head mustard-maker” in other words, someone who thinks themselves above their station, a conceited fool! We look at the best mustard shop in Paris!

Hermione Sails Again! An autentic replica of the ship that carried General Lafayette from France to America to become a hero of the American Revolution will depart La Rochelle on 18th April, an oustanding project…

Picpus Cemetery in Paris: The last resting place of General Lafayette and also of hundreds of noblemen and women who were executed in the French Revolution…

Mont St Michel: Last week “super tides” caused a rise in the sea level in Europe and also created a unique photo opportunity at Mont St Michel off the coast of Normandy as it was cut off from land as the water rose…

Paris Beaux Arts Fair: A brand new antiques and arts fair will launch in April at the prestigious Louvre du Carousel with its inverted pyramid (that featured so prominently in the Da Vinci Code)…

Saint Quentin Picardy: A look at the town and its history…

Agincourt 2015: History buffs and culture vultures will love the programme of events at Agincourt this year, the 600th aniversary of the famous battle…

Egg-citing Easter breaks for families in Champagne-Ardenne: tree houses, art, sports, gorgeous little hotels in picturesque villages or a stay in Europe’s biggest castle – here’s our top picks!

Facebook photo of the week by David Stratton of Woolangong Australia. This gorgeous photo of Monet’s Garden in Giverny has been viewed more than 60,000 times this week after being shared on our Facebook page. Got a great photo of France? Share it with us and we’ll share it with our friends.

Thank you so much to everyone for sharing the articles on our website, it is hugely appreciated. Feel free to join us on FacebookTwitterGoogle+ and Pinterest.

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