One grey dismal day, I took a day trip to northern France to buy some cheap wine with my dad and my husband Mark. My mum had died two years before and my dad, broken-hearted and bereft, turned to whisky to drown his sorrows. I thought getting him to drink wine would be better for him and make for a nice day out from London where we lived.
A few hours later we went home. But I didn’t just have wine in the boot of the car. I went home with a dream in my head. In fact, I’d bought a rundown old barn in the rural Seven Valleys area of Pas de Calais. It was something I had not planned for or expected…. It’s a long story.
I eventually gave up my job in London to attempt to live the good life in France. Or at least that was the plan. While getting to grips with the locals and la vie Française, and renovating the dilapidated house, a building lacking the comforts of mains drainage, heating or proper rooms, and with little money and being fairly clueless, I started to realize there was lot more to my new home than I could ever have imagined.
It led to a blog that’s read by millions.
And a book telling the story called, My Good Life in France: In Pursuit of the Rural Dream.
It led me to make more friends than I could ever have imagined on social media.
It led me to becoming maid to 72 animals.
And a book sequel called My Four Seasons in France: A Year of The Good Life published April 2020…
This is the blurb on Amazon for My Four Seasons in France:
“A little over ten years ago, Janine Marsh and her husband Mark gave up their city jobs in London to chase the good life in the countryside of northern France. Having overcome the obstacles of starting to renovate her dream home – an ancient, dilapidated barn – and fitting in with the peculiarities of her new neighbours, Janine is now the go-to expat in the area for those seeking to get to grips with a very different way of life.
In the Seven Valleys, each season brings new challenges as well as new delights. Freezing weather in February threaten the lives of some of the four-legged locals; snow in March results in a broken arm, which in turn leads to an etiquette lesson at the local hospital; and a dramatic hailstorm in July destroys cars and houses, ultimately bringing the villagers closer together.
With warmth and humour, Janine showcases a uniquely French outlook as two eternally ambitious expats drag a neglected farmhouse to life and stumble across the hidden gems of this very special part of the world.”
And some lovely reviews: ‘Warm, uplifting, and effervescent … Janine’s voice and humor bubble right off the page, making you want to pack your bags and visit her fixer-upper home in rural France’ – Samantha Verant, author of Seven Letters from Paris
‘If you’ve ever dreamed of discovering “the real France”, you won’t want to miss this delightful book’ – Keith Van Sickle, author of One Sip at a Time: Learning to Live in Provence
And if you’d like to read my new book, it’s in print, ebook and Kindle and comes out in the UK on April 16, 2020
My Four Seasons on Amazon UK
My Four Seasons (Kindle) on Amazon US in print, September 2020
In fact, its on Amazon everywhere, and all your usual online shopping outlets. Though not in shops right now with the terrible situation we all find ourselves in with the awful Coronavirus.