Lesley Tither is the author of “Sell the Pig” a hit on the Amazon France Travel book Lists with an average of Five Stars from the 71 reviews posted (when we looked) thanks to its wry humour and charm in the telling of Tottie Limejuice’s (Lesley’s nom de plume) journey to France.
It is both an ordinary and yet extraordinary journey as Tottie reveals what happens when “dementia, depressed dipsomania and downright dottiness decide to uproot from the UK and move to France together.”
Tottie takes her elderly mother who suffers from dementia and has an outspoken obsession with bums, and her depressive alcoholic brother to the Auvergne in France and the story of the move and their new life makes for riveting reading that will both move you and make you laugh out loud.
French Book Worm Caught up with Tottie at home in France….
What is it that drew you to France?
I’ve always loved France but the big draw for the move described in Sell the Pig was for a better life for my elderly mother. The healthcare system here is so marvellous and she was being badly let down by that in the UK.
Where do you live in France and what is your home like?
I live in the part of Auvergne called the Livradois Forez. It’s very quiet and rural, just what I like. My little house, affectionately known as Tottie’s Grottage as it was a very grotty cottage indeed when I bought it, has now been almost entirely restored and is very cosy, with stunning uninterrupted views to the West.
What do you do in your spare time?
Anything outdoors! I have two lively border collies, both rescue dogs, so we love walking and exploring. I also love camping, all year round, so the French think I am certifiable. I have created a garden, orchard and potager from scratch and that takes up a lot of time. I read at night, only in French, and enthusiastically raid my local library, usually for detective stories, thrillers and the like.
I started writing when / because ….
Probably as soon as I could hold a pen. Because I’ve always loved stories.
The hardest part of writing a book is ….
I think memoir writing is probably easier than fiction as, if you have a good memory or have noted things down, all the material is there. Then you just need to sit down and sort it into some sort of logical order.
If you could have dinner with someone famous and French/living or dead, who would it be?
I adore folk music and like Alan Stivell. I would love to meet him at dinner and ask him why he has betrayed his native Auvergne by becoming a Breton. Only kidding, but I do think it would be fascinating to know why he left this beautiful region.
If you were to cook for that person what would you cook?
Something very Celtic, obviously. As I lived in Wales for many years, maybe something Welsh. I’d invite him for tea and make Welsh cakes and bara brith.
Desert Island book – if you could only take three books to a deserted island what would they be?
Lord of the Rings, definitely, I love it. I would cheat and try to find a volume that has The Silmarilion in it as well as I’ve never succeeded in finishing it. My Collins-Robert French dictionary, then I could work on my French. The Weirdstone of Brisingamen, to remind me of my Cheshire roots and of happy childhood times, when I met the author Alan Garner many times.
I am kept awake at night by . . .
The hum of the air pump on my micro-station d’épuration! Sorry, but it’s true. Because of the configuration of my land I had to have a mini sewage treatment plant instead of an ordinary fosse septique and underestimated how noisy the motor is. But I’m looking into having it moved. Otherwise what keeps me awake the damage that is being done to the environment in the name of progress.
My guiltiest pleasure is . . .
I don’t really do guilt. But one of the things I like to do to spoil myself is have lovely freshly laundered and ironed pure cotton sheets. Some were made by my granny for her trousseau so are probably a hundred years old but still impeccable.
Red or white wine?
Sadly neither. Because of some health concerns, and a very debauched youth, I can no longer drink, so it has to be grape juice. Although I recently discovered a cheeky little peach sparkling pretend wine, which is rather good.
Read French Book Worm’s review of Sell the Pig by Tottie Limejuice