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Weekly newsletter from The Good Life France


Hope you had a good week.

Here it’s been so sunny and warm I’ve hardly known which way to turn! To paint the shutters or paint the house? To weed the garden or to clear the paths? Painting the shutters is a marathon job, more than 30 of them to do, each has 4 coats of paint. As soon as I paint a pair, up they go on the windows, it’s taking heaps more time than I’d ever thought possible. I’m on a bit of a mission now though as the Sunday Times newspaper want to do an article on my renovation from dirt floors and rat nests in bedrooms to cosy cottage chic. Zut alors – I’ve still got so much to do!

My other half, Mark, says that he has gained the sympathy of every man in the village this summer. They’ve seen him render the walls of the house and the garden, paint the house, hang the shutters, build steps to the front gate and the door, put up the trellis for the roses to grow against the house, hang my vertical herb garden and spread 5 tons of gravel on the front path (half way there!).

When he walks the dogs in the morning, Jean-Claude shakes his hand and says “le chef (boss), she has you working today mon ami?” and he nods his head to his own house where Madame can be heard shrieking for her husband to tell him what needs to be done that day. Next door “the young man who built his own house” also comes out to commiserate. He’s known by that name by everyone in the village as we all watched in awe as he set about three years ago turning a simple wooden barn into a manoir for the love of his life. He worked day and night and thankfully, his true love married him at the end of the build. The “man with a white horse”, the “man in 100-year-old tractor” and “petit frère” (little brother, who is well into his seventies, but his older brothers and sisters are in their eighties and nineties) all nod, apparently with sympathy.

When I walk the dogs with Mark at night, they all smile and say hello, but no nod or handshakes. Clearly I am now accepted as a house-proud, bossy Madame in the village. Never mind that I get up before six in the morning to paint shutters, or that I put down my writing pen to help out with the rest of the jobs that need doing from mixing concrete to plastering walls. What we will do when it is all finished I have no idea…

Whatever you’re up to this weekend, I wish you a fun and chilled out time,

Bisous from France

Ps thanks to so many people who wrote to tell me that I hadn’t made The Good Life France Summer magazine PDF-able – it’s done now! So please take a look at this sunny issue and, feel free to share it with your friends (link below)

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