Stanley George, his wife, and two dogs Fritz and Truda took a leap into a new life in France thirteen years ago, after enjoying many holidays there. Both retired, house sold, with the world their oyster they hadn’t decided on the region they were going to live in, however they knew it would be a totally different lifestyle from the one they were used to in the UK. Stanley had enjoyed a 33 year successful career in telecommunications which ultimately led to him being Head of HR for British Telecom Networks, and was now looking for a new challenge!
Eventually they settled in a lovely village in the Tarn-et-Garonne, a region in the South of France, and this is their story. Warts and all, from the excitement of embracing a different culture, to the frustrations that can mount up when traditions rule, and no-one thinks outside the box. This is clearly illustrated in many ways, however, I just loved Stanley’s entertaining and hilarious retelling of a conversation which was brought about by the decision to revive the villages Comité des Fêtes. Innocently he asked how long the fete lasted, and was told that it lasts for two days. Why? Well the answer is obvious (if you are French) ‘because it always lasts for two days.’ Things are carried out today in France as they have always been, and this to a ‘foreigner’ can be frustrating, as they do not always embrace change readily.
Immersing himself in the day to day life in their local village (or commune,) enabled the author to get to know the local characters. These people are brought vividly to life throughout the story and enable him to impart to his reader many very important snippets of information on France and living there. These gems cover a diverse range of subjects, from who to employ when renovating, to the history and rules for playing the popular ball game pétanque.
However, perhaps my favourite part of the book is his accounts of becoming a part of the chasse. For me it was a very interesting insight into the lives of the hunters, and their dogs. Having lived and owned land over which the chasse (hunt) for 14 years it was nice to hear his observations and especially how he came to have Barney, his English Setter.
In summary: Whether you are visiting France on holiday or have decided to make a new life there yourself, this book will educate and amuse you. Highly Recommended!
Available from Amazon.
French bookworm is an expat, author and book reviewer who lives in the Pays de la Loire, France