I hope that all is well with you and yours.
As usual the newsletter is jam-packed with fabulous features and fantastic photos of France – there’s a link below to see this week’s update…
Last week was my birthday. I read somewhere that at my age, chocolate, cake and wine could speed up the ageing process.
There’s only one way to deal with that sort of thing. I stopped reading.
I spent the day in my garden with Mark, my other half, chopping down trees that have got out of control over the long hot summer, and moved five baby chickens into the chicken nursery pen. Amazingly their mum Barbra Streisand is still caring for them. Normally she gets bored with the whole looking after kids thing. She’s a bit of a diva. Then we have to take on the role of surrogate parents and have them in the house. They are like hungry little dinosaurs, constantly tweeting for food. It was the perfect way to spend a birthday surrounded by my animals, Churchill the now very old and incontinent dog, Bruno the greedy stray who came for a week and is still here 10 years later, Winston the biggest and most neurotic cat in the village, Mimi and Tigger the kittens (well they think they are), Loulou and Shadow, Fat Cat, Marie-Antoinette, Little Socks and Ugly Cat.
This week we are celebrating 13 years since we decided to give up our sensible jobs in London and take time out to make our French house habitable. I’d bought it several years before for less than the cost of a posh handbag. It was a wreck, dirt floors, rattling windows, holes in the roof, more of an abandoned barn than a house. At the time I wasn’t sure that moving here was the right thing to do. We planned that when our contingency money ran out, one of us would go back to work in London. We had virtually no heating, if you don’t count the body heat from rats and mice. We couldn’t afford builders so we learned how to do everything ourselves from building walls to plumbing. It’s been a rollercoaster ride from day one (thanks to an exploding septic tank in the garden). And I have no regrets – not one single bit – despite the blood, sweat and plenty of tears. It’s been life changing and led me to start my website, write books, create a magazine and travel all over my adopted country and meet and chat to many wonderful people through social media and this newsletter. We’ve made a home that we love, have way too many adored animals and wonderful neighbours.
Next week I’m off to the Loire Valley to go chateau hopping and visit castles that I’ve never got round to – Ussé, known as the Sleeping Beauty castle, Villandry, famous for its gorgeous gardens, Loches, the ‘royal city and Chinon which has a stunning fortress and a charming medieval village. I’d love you to come with me and you can – via Instagram!
Bisous from France,
Janine Marsh is Author of My Good Life in France: In Pursuit of the Rural Dream, My Four Seasons in France: A Year of the Good Life and Toujours la France: Living the Dream in Rural France (April 2022) all available as ebook, print & audio, on Amazon everywhere & all good bookshops online.
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