Thursday, 29 May 2014

Our life in France - Surviving in Rural France

Our life in France -  Surviving in Rural France

I used to think that living in France was the same as living in England but how wrong I was, 
In England whatever I wanted from the shops I could get at any time of the year but here in Rural France you have to learn to cook with the seasons which, when you think about it, it makes so much more sense, we also have grown a lot of our own veg since we have been here and let me tell you there is nothing better than picking potatoes and runner beans from your garden and cooking them, they taste so different,

that said the ones in the shops have probably been grown locally too so haven't travelled too far. 
If you are considering the move over it is a good idea to learn to cook like the French, which believe it or not is different to English, the French ladies are taught from a very early age at their Mothers side how to cook anything from scratch, all ingredients are always fresh and more often than not picked from their gardens, laced always with a perfusion of fresh herbs also from the garden or a pot sat by the back door, so get to know what the locals cook based on the seasons.
every garden here is planted just at the right time and they never seem to have failures, everything grows in abundance, I love to see all the veggies in their very straight rows although the tidiness is beyond me, there is never a weed in sight, The little lady next door who is in her late eighties always grew bigger and better veg and I would weed every day but you would never see a weed in hers or see her do any weeding, maybe she did it in the night. she has since given it up stating she has become tres fragile.

Happy cooking..if you have any french recipes please leave them in comments..

Friday, 23 May 2014

Our French life

Our French life - Bon Weekend a tous

The dreadful weather seems to be subsiding and it is Friday evening, I know I am retired and every day is like a weekend (NOT) even after over a year of being part of the relaxed set (retired) I still look forward to the weekends, it's like two totally different days where we do totally different things, I guess we work on weekdays as in we still have lots to do on the house, Fridays I do the housework so it is tidy and clean for the weekend, we do the shopping on a Saturday (unless it is double points at Super U on a Thursday) Sunday glorious Sunday we look for a Vide Grenier (Car boot sale) a feature of French life where we can stroll hopefully in the sunshine and find some real tresors (treasures)

Friends will be coming to stay at their holiday home in the village so I guess there will be some wine drinking and eating involved although they are bringing 3 grandchildren with them so they will be tied up I think.

So you guys, have a wonderful weekend and will speak again next week...

A bientot

Thursday, 22 May 2014

What to do on a Gloomy day

Our life in France - What to do on a Gloomy day.

Well after the storms of last night the gloomy weather has continued to ravage our little part of heaven, we have had some thunder, all be it in the distance, rain, and now it is getting windy, apparently there was a bit of a tornado ripping through most of France last night so I think we got off lightly..that said it did ruin my bearded iris's, throwing them down on the ground, such a shame as they were looking really lovely

So, what do you do on such a day?
Well I am not really a chocolate person, don't get me wrong I love chocolate just as much as the next person but it is not comfort food for me, so when the going gets tough in our house the tough make a curry, lovely hot beef curry and I am sure we have some bike saddle shaped naan breads, might even do some Bombay potatoes, and I just about have enough Coriander growing in the garden, now I can't wait for dinner tonight.
 But of course there is afternoon tea first so I have made scones...

They almost spread into one big scone, Yummy butter and strawberry jam, I will just have the one, but now you see I have forgotten the awful weather. the casserole at the back holds the curry.

One thing that hasn't been blown down so far are the lupins because I had tied them round with string.

This year they are all one colour as you can see but last year they were all different colours, if anyone knows why please let me know.

Bullet points are:- when the weather gets bad make a curry and bake cakes
                            Tie some string around your tall flowers so that the wind doesn't destroy them
                             Make sure you have real butter for the scones

So what have you done today?

Wednesday, 21 May 2014

Living your dream

Our life in France - living our dream

Well we have been here just over 5 years now and we were talking the other day about if we were faced with the same decisions that brought us here would we do it again, would we burn all our bridges pack up all our belongings shove it unceremoniously into a hire van ( God knows how we got it all in) 

travel with our two wonderful friends all the way here with all the things going wrong that could go wrong, well we can hand on heart say YES we would do it again because living here in France is fantastic, we find it really calm and relaxing. 
Life is not always Rosy and things do go wrong, there are times when I have sat and wept with frustration and vowed I was going back to England as soon as I could book a ferry and the biggest frustration is not being able to speak the language so I very highly recommend that if you are in any way thinking that you would like to make the move across the water and make a new life in France then the first thing you must do is learn the language, I have spent many hours/years learning the language and I can make myself understood but sadly I still struggle with understanding spoken French which I must say is very confusing for the French, just imagine speaking to someone in English and when they answer you say you don't understand them!..
Of course if you have children then you will soon pick it up as they will just want to speak their new found language skill.
We also took many holidays to our chosen area over many years, coming in the dead of winter to make sure we weren't just seeing it through those summer tinted glasses, we bought our house in 2001 it was a village terraced house and structurally it was sound but needed total updating (which we are still doing) it wasn't exactly what we were looking for (we were looking for a more rural spot and ideally a longere but it was such a good price we really couldn't not buy it, we thought we would do it up and sell it on for what we were really looking for but then the recession hit so we are still here.

It took months of working out if we could afford to live here, I was retired but had started a small business which could come with us as it was internet based and would support us until John received his pension, I think the worst thing we do is look at something which is 10€ and think it is £10 when in fact it is only approx £7, we do have to watch our pennies and manage quite well now.

One of the biggest mistakes is not to make sure you are entitled to health cover,.. as a pensioner I was allowed health cover and John was entitled to cover as a dependent until he got his pension, we still have to pay a top up insurance as without it a stay in hospital could be very expensive.

So lessons to be learnt 

You will have to be able to support yourself
Make sure you know what you are looking for housewise
If you can afford it come and rent so that you can look properly
If you purchase a project find out how much it will cost to do

A bientot - see you soon

Tuesday, 20 May 2014

Our Life In France - All or Nothing

Our Life in France - All or nothing:

Yes I know my ramblings have been very intermittent of late, and it is all due to the fact that just over a year ago I completely retired, after working all my life I suddenly had all this time on my hands and it has taken until now for me to realise that I am free, for example: I still do my shopping on a Saturday as that was always the only day I could do it when I had the business, not sure if that will ever change..also there has been some illness in the mix to deal with but onwards and upwards as they say, after all I am in beautiful rural France.

Last year we got rid of the raised beds and put it down to lawn...

Runner beans growing up the gazebo

In the piece furthest away from the house we are going to put one of those inflatable plunge pools, it gets very hot here in the height of the summer and we plan to do a little work either on the house or in the garden then after lunch just sit and chill (in more ways than one) in the cool pool. it will take up most of the space and we will also put a gazebo over it for some privacy until the shrubs grow tall enough.

I still try to grow some veggies in whatever space I have. after all that is part of living the good life in France isn't it? and there is nothing quite like the taste of veg that is picked and eaten within minutes.

My square foot garden with Pak Choi and all sorts of chard - also some sweetcorn which hasn't come up yet

this is an economical way to grow loads of veg in a small space
Well as it is raining here today we are doing our chilling indoors 
and looking forward to a yard arm (Gin and tonic ice n slice)
Watch this space for next posting, may even be the pool up!
We also have quite a few strawberry's, lettuce and cucumbers