Wednesday 16 September 2020

Snoozing, and a trip.....

My OH and Maz, having a quiet afternoon snooze....


And the cottage, basking in the late summer sun,
and Bluebell, our Berlingo, doing the same. 

And the front of the cottage......

So I am having a try at getting some photos posted up on the blog, experimenting with different sizes of frame which have all turned out the same size, or so it would seem. Oh well, trial and error.
Meanwhile, I am keeping company with my OH as he goes through the paperwork necessary for his trip tomorrow. Off to France he is going, down to the farm to retrieve our personal possessions, before second spikes, more lock downs, and anything else the French and UK governments want to throw at the people, plus Brexit is simmering away, which could upset the borders. 
Fortunately, France is allowing the UK to cross into their country at the moment, but there are forms for coming back into the UK which have to be filled in. When we came up from France in May, it was the French who required papers to be carried by people travelling. 

It was a sudden decision to do this trip. We seem to have a window of opportunity, so my OH thought he would take it. I shall not be going with him. I have Maz to look after.
My OH has rented a walloping big van, and bought a Sat Nav. 
He is off in the morning.
I am packing him up some cheese sandwiches.

Bye for now, 

Friday 11 September 2020

Sale crashed, and French kissing.

 And so the news came through from the estate agent handling the sale of our farm in France, that the people hoping to buy it had received news that the people who were buying their house had pulled out of their sale. 

Oh well, it is as it is. 

Lester hoped to get down to France to collect some of  our possessions, like: winter clothing, musical instruments, sewing machine and craft equipment, writing notebooks, etc.......all our personal possessions,  but no furniture, which we have written off, and left in the house. but the French government is introducing stricter Covid rules today which means that it is unlikely that he will be able to go. It is all very unsettling. 


Meanwhile, the Village Hall in Stanton might be opening for a monthly ladies 'cup of tea, chat, and craft' morning next month, but with masks on. Not sure I want to sit for an hour or so breathing in my own carbon dioxide, although I did think of making a crochet mask which will get the oxygen into my lungs because of the open weave of the fabric.  I got the idea of a crochet mask when I saw someone wearing one when I was having a coffee in the Town Hall in Wem, and thought 'Now that is a good idea', but I am thinking that a woollen mask might be alright for keeping the face warm in the coldest of winter days, but it might be too hot other times, as in centrally heated shops. I think I might have to rethink that idea.


France is a very kissy-kissy nation, with everyone kissing everyone on both cheeks, even partial strangers. Having a tall, swarthy, black curly haired, Spanish/French builder man leaning towards me to give me a kissy-type of greeting was quite acceptable,  but there were occasions when it felt too invasive of my personal space. And female to female kissy greetings never felt quite right. Then there was the problem of which side of the cheek to plant the kissy salutation. Often there would be a mild bumping of noses when both of you misjudged the direction of the other. 

Then there were the times when you didn't feel like kissy-kissying a particular person, and the last thing you wanted to do was get close to them, and most times they felt the same.  So then there would be a stretching of the necks towards each other, but a holding back of the bodies so a respectable distance was kept between you  while the kissy-kissy salutation was done, which was a most ungainly stance for both participants. 

But it is the French culture, so it is as it is, but I am wondering how the people of France are managing in this time of the Covid face masks, which must be hurting the psychology of the population. As lock down began there was a cessation of this habit of kissing others, which for me was a relief. While it was a novelty in the beginning of our time in France, I did start regarding it as a bit of a faff, and eventually I started holding myself back and began extending my hand to give a handshake instead, which is a much more British way of doing things!

Have got some photos to show you but they are still in my new camera phone and I have yet to learn how to download them. Technology! It just seems to get more and more advanced as time goes by,  and has me chasing after it like I am chasing a runaway horse! 

Bye for now


Tuesday 8 September 2020

63, .....then 73

For thirteen years we lived on a smallholding in France and then circumstances overtook us and we find ourselves back in England, but not in the South East as before, but in Shropshire, which is in the Midlands. At the moment we are in the middle of making this transition between the two countries, are living in rented accommodation with all our belongings still in the South West of France because of the Covid restrictions of the two countries.....meanwhile we are looking for a place of our own, but are in no hurry because our rented cottage is a lovely place to spend our transition time in...........

Notes taken on August 26th 2010 63 years old

These notes were taken from the blog, when we were in full flow with living the life of smallholders.

 "I don't want to seem maudling, or difficult, or silly, but having been conditioned to buying meat from a supermarket shelf for years, to recycle our animals after tending to their welfare and getting to know them, does take an adjustment to our thinking, which we are doing, step by step. 

Smallholding, or small farm living, is the best of lives to live but one has to learn new ways, create new habits of thought, grapple with many new activities, not mind that one's hands and fingernails no longer look pristine, or that one's clothes do not seem to stay clean for very long because there is always something or someone wanting to leave their mark on you. And the tiredness which accompanies this steep new learning curve. That, too, can be draining. 

But it is all worth it. I only have to take my mind back to the lifestyle I had in the UK, before we began our French smallholding life. It was a very comfortable and safe life, but it was making us too complacent, and to be quite honest, a dullness was creeping in because of the habits we were living under. Fortunately all that changed when we left the shore of the UK, and embraced this challenge. Facing challenges wakes you up. We might be tired sometimes, but we have life energy, and at 63 years of  age, that is the best blessing I could be given. 

So if you are thinking of heading off into other directions in your life: do it! You might not be watching your recycled bit of sheep bubble away in a pot on your cooker, but your new direction might require of you some steep learning curves as well. This is good because it takes you away from the emotional mud which bogs others down, who are too afraid to break the day to day cycle of their lives and who therefore become old before their time.

I'm going to be old someday. When I am 104. Meanwhile, I have to go put that piece of lamb in the oven to give it a bit of a roasting. "


Ten years on...... September 2020....... 73 years old now

Wow, what a great ten years to put into memory, and how glad I am that we took up the challenge to go to France, even if most people who knew us thought we were just plain stupid. 

During the last year or so of living in France we became jaded about smallholding life, that it was too strenuous a life style, that it was difficult to earn a living from a smallholding especially because of the French tax system,  and then Brexit appeared, and so on......... And it was our intent to never run a smallholding again, which we followed through with when we arrived in Shropshire and started looking at small houses with tiny gardens. 

But as the weeks have passed, we  find ourselves looking at houses online which have bigger gardens, and the other day my OH mentioned that he would like to have a large greenhouse so he could investigate the aquaponic system of growing things, while I would still like to investigate the growing of micro greens. It would seem that we are not quite done with being smallholders, even if it is on a smaller, more manageable, scale!

Bye for now


Saturday 5 September 2020

 Just to let you know that we are in transition between our farm in the Haute Pyrenees in France, and our rented cottage in a village in Shropshire, England, meanwhile waiting for the Universe to find us our own home. It may take a while......

I have been swinging along through my life with a certain degree of success, although I must admit that sometimes I have fallen flat on my face but somehow I have got myself back up and continued onwards. It's all about learning the lessons of life, that by struggling to get back up again by learning to cope with the difficulties that are being presented to you by the conditions that are surrounding you, that you will grow stronger and more able to cope with life, and therefore will attain a modicum of peace as you advance in age. Well that's the theory anyway, because I am waiting for peacefulness to come to me as my age steadily advances towards the mid seventies. 

However, it would appear that while I might have a day or two, even perhaps a week sometimes, of peacefulness, my life seems to require of me more lessons in life to learn in order to acquire a greater quantity of peacefulness.

What am I having to learn at the moment? To stay calm and patient, and not to get in a fret, or be argumentative with my OH because we are both stressed, not to mind that all of our things are still in France, not to mind that we have had an offer on the farm in France which has provoked a huge pot of stresses in our minds, not to mind that we think we have signed all the necessary paperwork for the sale to go through, not to mind that it has been a week of silence coming from our French solicitor, not to worry that the  purchasers of the farm might have pulled out of the sale, not to worry about everything related to selling houses. 

'But hang on a minute', you might be saying, ' Have you just said that you have had an offer on your farm?'

'Yes we have'. But oh the need for patience, which seems to have flown out of the window earlier on in the year with the demands that 2020 has been loading on us. 

But I did do a two mile walk round a lake in Ellesmere with my OH and the dog, and bits of me hardly complained at all. 

And I did stand firm against a herd of cows who had absented themselves from their field, and had decided to wander through the village causing much manure and mayhem across the villagers' pristine lawns.  Maz, our rottweiller, was seriously earnest about herding them all up, which my OH thought was not a good idea, even though she was of the opinion that she ought to help. 

To keep busy, that is what I have to do. The rented cottage is lovely, and will do for the moment, and keeping busy will keep my mind occupied and stop it from worrying. I think that 'calm and patient' is probably beyond me at the moment, so 'keeping busy' is the next best thing, hence the new graphic on the header. 

 And to remind myself that I am familiar with the way life works, and that my life's pathway will get better even if for the moment it seems to be hitting a pot hole. 

Bye for now,