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Poppies, gastronomy and more Newsletter from France


January was a cold month in France. We didn’t have much snow, a little, not enough to worry about; but a heavy freezing fog descended and decided it was going to stay.

For several days on the trot, everything felt frozen. The water in the dogs’ bowls iced over within an hour of being filled, the pond in the ducks pen was solid. Everything liquid turned to ice. This is the cue for the animals to hibernate in the house. Even Winston the biggest cat in the village came in to sleep at night and that’s a really rare thing these days. When I first got him, a tiny, bleeding (he’d been attacked) bundle of fur with bright blue eyes, I was totally smitten. I didn’t dare let him out of the house in case he got lost.  I nursed him back to health, feeding him kitten milk with a pipette until he was well enough to eat on his own.

He was always a bit mad right from the start. If the doorbell rang he hid. If someone came into the house that was not me or the other half he hid. When we had him neutered he hid for two days – I was distraught but found him under a cupboard eventually. Once I was in London for a few days and the other half rang me to say Winston had managed to run out of the front door and I threatened not to come back unless the cat was found.

Of course the time came when I had to let Winston go outside. I opened the back door and off he went, happy as anything to escape the over protective human. He ran towards the hedge that encircles the garden, slunk under it and disappeared. I called him back but he was gone – freedom beckoned. After two hours he returned.

Since then Winston has gradually become more and more of a loner, disappearing sometimes for days on end. When he comes back, I make a fuss of him, he tolerates it for a few minutes and then growls to be set free and off he goes. But this cold spell – even he didn’t like it and settled down in front of the fire at night, watching the flames dance while he stretched out on a cushion.

Loulou the tortoiseshell cat joined him and even Enry cooper AKA Boss Cat played nice. Shadow the black cat watched him from her cushion on thesofa. Hank Marvin He’s Always Starvin the one eyed cat was in his cage in another room – he has cat flu so he has to sleep in an enclosed space that can be cleaned (my least favourite job).  He casts broken-hearted looks at me when I carry him through the house and he sees the others living it up in the front room whilst he has to go in the utility room.

Cat With No Name prefers to be outside and sleeps in a nest she’s made in the hay bales under cover. From here she can survey her domaine and patrol the garden to keep intruders (the neighbours cats) out.

February has started and the weather has lifted – I’m hoping it stays that way, but this being northern France we’ll see!

Wishing you a very bon weekend and much enjoyment of this week’s posts.
Bisous from France,

On the website this week

Discover the picture perfect poppy fields of Provence: The sight of those stunning flower fields will lift your spirits, nature’s bounty in May is astonishing…

Sampling the regional food of France: Check out the interactive map for regional recipes and fab tips!

How to find the best rental properties in France: We review a company with thousands of gites (and a contest to give away Euros 2000 cash in February and March)…

Sensational Saint Emillion:  The tiny and perfectly formed winetastic town of Bordeaux.

How Jules Verne inspires the carousels of France: viewed as the father of science fiction in France his legacy goes round and round.

Property guides: The compromis de Vente and the Acte de Vente – then it’s the home run!

Domestic electricity in France: What you need to know if your fuse box keeps going off!

Caring for elderly relatives in France: What support is available for expats.

Congratulations to Shelley Hunter, winner of the 8 video French lessons.

Thank you so much for all your comments, likes and shares on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram it always amazes me that I’m sitting here in my renovated pig sty in rural France chatting to you!

Photo: Vitre, Brittany and dreams of Spring!

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