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Living in France and frozen pipes

Small port, little boats bobbing in the harbour, half timbered houses line the street


I hope that you and yours are well.

The weather is changeable here veering from feet-numbingly freezing to deliciously warm.

One day last week it was so cold that the pipes that carry water to the kitchen froze. There was just one tiny section of pipes which hadn’t been insulated as if we live in the frozen Arctic. It was in the loft, in a far corner we can’t reach because of the slope in the roof. There was only one way to deal with it. Up we went on the roof, took the tiles off, cut through the roof covering and lifted up the insulation to reach the frozen pipes. Then we plugged my hairdryer into a long extension lead and aimed it at the pipes. Quite what the neighbours must have made of a tall Englishman dressed like a Yeti blow drying the roof of an old farmhouse I don’t know.

Whilst we were in the midst of the rescue operation farmer Thierry went by in his tractor. He lifted a hand in greeting and furrowed his brow in confusion but didn’t stop. No doubt news has gone round the village grapevine that the only Brits in the village have gone a little crazy and are trying to heat their house with a hairdryer! Anyway the day was saved, we thawed out the pipes which didn’t burst and water flowed again. Phew.

Just a few days later it was like spring suddenly descended. The sun came out, the dogs bounced about all over the moss covered roads in the village, the local forests were carpeted with delicate snowdrops and the mistletoe balls are bigger than I’ve ever seen (you can see all this here on Instagram). Jean-Francois the village handyman was out trimming hedges and tidying the giant plant pots outside the town hall. “Going to be barbecue weather this weekend” he said. Well I’m not sure about that but it certainly feels like spring is waking up…

Wherever you are, I wish you well, bon weekend and bisous from the middle of nowhere, rural northern France

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Janine Marsh is Author of My Good Life in France: In Pursuit of the Rural Dream – ebook, print & audio, on Amazon everywhere & all good bookshops online, and My Four Seasons in France: A Year of the Good Life

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