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Three dogs running down a hill in the countryside in France on an autumn day


Hope you had a great week, it’s been an exciting week for me I can tell you.

First of all I went to Paris, and it doesn’t matter how many times I go, I always, always love it and find new things to adore – this time it was taking a boat ride on the Seine, strolling in the Marais district on a Sunday afternoon and exploring the Bastille area.

Then I got asked to do a talk about why I love France and about my book at The France Show in London next year (26-28 January 2018, I’ll post more details and some ticket give-aways soon).

And – there was a traffic jam in the village! Thanks to a freak hailstone storm a while back which caused roof damage to a lot of the older houses, there’s been a lot of repair work going on.

At my neighbour Paul’s house, the roofers arrived early on Thursday morning and drove their big van down the little alleyway that runs through the fields alongside his house. My neighbour Jean-Paul who lives about 100 yards down the road had already wandered down the alley to his barn a little further on, where he keeps straw to feed his horses who live in the fields. Oblivious to the arrival of the van and the builders, he emerged from the barn to find they had erected a ladder across the alley, wedged for safety against the van. The only way back out of the alley was under the ladder.

We arrived with the dogs to walk them down the alley and up the hills of the Seven Valleys that surround the village. Normally it is peaceful and quiet apart from the sound of birds, chickens, cows, horses and various other animals. But that morning we could hear Jean-Paul arguing with the builders that he could not possibly walk under the ladder as he would most certainly suffer a bout of bad luck, so they must take it down so that he could pass. My three dogs decided to support his argument by barking their heads off. The village dogs of the farmer at the top of the hill arrived to back them up.

The old lady who lives in the house on the corner and who never speaks came out in her housecoat and wellies and stood watching. The man who keeps a white horse in the fields arrived in a tractor and of course he could not get past. The mayor came out from his office to see what all the furore was about.

The ladder came down, the tractor was reversed, the van was moved and Jean-Paul walked out of the alley looking pleased with himself. “C’est la vie” he said, nodding to the woman who never speaks and went off up the road happy.

Never a dull moment here in the middle of nowhere I can tell you.

Wishing you a very bon weekend
Bisous from France

ps photo is my 3 dogs, running down a little lane in the village…

From the newsletter of 27 October 2017 – read the whole thing here with great tips, places to visit, things to see: newsletter

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