What is it about the french and their dogs?


Here, where we live in the depths of rural France, some dogs are tied up on three foot of chain and stay there like that for the whole of their lives, never taken out for a walk, nor taken in the house; one has one of those awful collars that deliver an electric shock each time she barks and so when we walk past she barks and then yelps – no that’s not the word – she screams in pain, oh and by the way it doesn’t work – when the battery goes flat she still barks…until they put a fresh battery in.

Another in our village is a boxer who has the run of a large courtyard – who is ok with people but attacks other dogs – he escaped this morning and would have killed our cairn terrier but I picked her up in time – just…

His owners think nothing of going away for a week and leaving him in the courtyard – presumably some other neighbours throw some food to him. Poor dog barks and barks for the first few days and then eventually gives up – feeling he’s been abandoned no doubt.

It’s a great hunting area here, and the hounds are kept for 6 months of the year in a small pen, no one takes any notice of them at all, and then on a weekend for the other 6 months they are bundled into a trailer and then can run around after the deer and wild boar.

The French government has now passed a law to say that animals are ‘sentient beings’ – guess what – before this they were considered as goods or chattels…


I wonder when we will become kinder, to each other, and to all the creatures of this earth? Somehow, I feel if some members of the human race can kill, maim and torture their fellow humans, what chance have the creatures got?



All my family and friends treat their animals and pets with the love and respect they deserve and happily the world is a better place for it.

a drop of the black stuff…


better late than never… ok so it was November when I was last near Galway having a drop of the oul porter.. so I am never going to make a regular blogger – nor any sort of real blogger, I suppose but Spring is springing in this lovely part of rural France and my hideous hangover has finally abated – no – not from November’s porter but from Saturday’s wine – lashings of it and far too much for someone the wrong side of sixty…or could it have been a dodgy mussel in the paella? Or a bit of both? Who knows… but I am grateful to be over it!

IMG_2515   IMG_0476


Not only was there pints of porter but also  in Ireland there were dogs, friends and family, beautiful views and lots of water.



And then its off to Spain we would jolly well go, stopping off to see Gibraltar on the way to the Algarve and meeting up with friends near Orba and escaping the worst of the french winter weather


IMG_2596 Escaping the winter…



I learnt that not knowing a word of spanish is a terrible handicap when himself spent a week in hospital in Antequera.

I also learnt that the kindness of strangers is a truly wonderful thing and there are people who were on the campsite at Humilladero who saved my sanity. I can’t thank them enough.

Then hallelujah and praise be – my sister arrived. Up all night – to travel by bus, by plane and travel sick to boot she arrived like a breath of fresh air and I was no longer alone!


All was well eventually, and a little over 4000 km on the clock of the camper van and we were back home. And wasn’t I glad?

And my quotation to end these ramblings on

If you want to turn your life around try thankfulness’   G.Good

November already



Three weeks holiday in the UK…



and this is what it does to us!

No, seriously we had a wonderful time. This is Lotherton Hall where we went with the daughter and grandchildren – the children don’t stand still enough for photos but these folks did!

We went to London to see the poppies – we couldn’t get this close as it was incredibly crowded – this photo was taken a few weeks earlier by our friends who sensibly got there a lot earlier – but what a fantastic sight.



And then we went to rock in the isles to some really good music! What a production!



We met with friends, had real English fish and chips, and drank good, PROPER beer…

IMG_2484We went to Scarborough, and even on a dull autumnal day, it is still a great place.

We had a wonderful evening, courtesy of our friends in Golcar, at the West Yorkshire Playhouse where we saw the brilliantly performed ‘Kite Runner’.

We went to the cinema to see Turner – Timothy Spall was his usual brilliant self!

It seems we have had all our years culturing in one visit – but that’s the way it is – we expats know what we miss!

So having caught up with our daughters and grandchildren and loved seeing them – its back now and its on with the writing course and making soups and preparing to return to Galway and visit my sister next week!

I know what you’re thinking – ‘Life is one long holiday for her now she’s retired’ – and do you know it feels like it is too – isn’t that great?

Work is great too, when you are younger and energetic – because how else could we afford this – and know to appreciate it?

IMG_0515This is sunset over Lough Corrib taken by my nephew – I’ll be there next week, all being well, as the mother would have said.

Todays quote has to be:

”Retirement is wonderful. It’s doing nothing without worrying about getting caught at it. ~Gene Perret – or maybe even:

Rest is not idleness, and to lie sometimes on the grass under the trees on a summer’s day, listening to the murmur of water, or watching the clouds float across the blue sky, is by no means waste of time.’ ~John Lubbock, “Recreation,” The Use of Life, 1894


rhyming poem….

My creative writing course has started – yippee.. now there’s a real focus for me to sit at the laptop.

Here’s a bit of rhyming nonsense I wrote nearly a decade ago! Now I am determined to take it more seriously – well a little – and be more disciplined.

This writing Lark

The fire is lit and the flames are roaring

near me on the sofa, Sammie cat is snoring

I sit with pen in hand on my 13th cup of tea

waiting for the muse to come, for a writer’s what I’ll be.

I’m on my second breakfast, or perhaps by now its lunch,

Oh what the hell, I like to eat, I’ll call it morning brunch.

The words are there within my head, perhaps that might be true

but there they stay, well hidden, apart from this stuff I write to you.

So I go and wash the kitchen floor and clean the bath out too

How come when I hate housework, I can find so much to do?

I have my health and loads of time, as I sit here by the fire

I thought I’d find it easier when I knew I would retire.

My pencil’s neatly sharpened; my pen is full of ink

and from this mighty task I know I shouldn’t shrink.

Is that the time already? Good grief it’s nearly dark,

Suppose I’ll go and make the tea, and give up this writing lark!


the greatest plans of mice and men…

well never mind the mice and men what about my plans? I have waited since summer for my writing course to begin – I have even tidied the loft in anticipation – no small feat when it contains everything from a sewing machine to forty thousand bits of paper needed for filling in tax forms, an old lap top still sort of working, a new laptop with no instructions that could possibly be hurled through the window at any moment…

and why? because I want to put a photo in here of the loft looking its best and do you think i can find it? No, I can’t – so much for iPhoto – this old granny is beaten by technology again. On the old one I would just have gone to photos 2014 – looked through and found it but on here there’s photos, events, last 12 months – which doesn’t mean they were taken then, oh no – but put on the computer then.

and as if to finish me off completely yesterday I came down with the mother and father of all colds and just want to be under the quilt with paracetamols and a hot water bottle – how are the mighty fallen. Two hours writing every morning – I was so looking forward to it – now two minutes and I feel dreadful…
IMG_0075this is the loft before I tidied it in preparation for the writing course – it looks much better now – well this table does…but the photo is lost in the bowels of somewhere or other – and the other table is a disaster area…

if the loft looks better than this – great for the loft – I feel a whole lot worse and this macbook is driving me nuts – its back to the old and very slow windows one from the year dot.

If anyone can tell me how I drag and drop a photo when I can’t see iPhoto and this page at the same time – I will be eternally grateful…and why don’t they tell you that the option key on a mac is called alt?


quotations and cliches…

It seems that’s all I can write!

today’s quote is from a song by Natasha Bedingfield

“no one else can speak the words on your lips, drench yourself in words unspoken, live your life with arms wide open, today is where your book begins, the rest is still unwritten”

I thought this was fitting because today my online writing course starts!

And as for cliches – well I just love Paris –


and have just spent a great weekend there for our 37th wedding anniversary. Himself and the GPS fought with the traffic on the peripherique and got us safely into the underground car park of the hotel near Bercy Village – its a good place to stay.

Now where is this? A good view from the top of the bus, anyway.


And now let the writing begin! First I have to master signing on and all the other technical details and then, well…who knows… I may still end up writing rubbish but it’s exciting having a purpose to switching on the laptop every day, and not just to do freebie jigsaws either (although I am just a teeny weeny bit addicted to them…just one more piece before I walk the dog, hoover the rug, make the tea….)

Whether or not anyone can help me not to write in cliches, only time will tell but in truth – at my age life is becoming more and more like one big cliche anyway!

If anyone can tell me how to put the accent on the word cliche – I shall be very grateful.


autumn ish


these are possibly called petit marrons or potimorons. They are like small pumpkins but, I believe, totally different in taste and texture. Don’t know what we’ll be doing with them tho’

So there you have it, I am back to the blog after a lovely summer – sometime in Provence, sometime near the Med at Valras Plage along with the mosquitoes that finally drove us back to Provence – a little too much eating and drinking, and lots of relaxing and sitting in the shade knitting! oh yes and some swimming in the campsite pool – not bad eh?IMG_0379

Now the grass is cut, the washing and ironing done and life will get back to its simple and usual rhythm. I will make lists of things to do and then feel cross when I don’t do anything on them – so I will add what I have done on to the bottom and then cross them off!

I will sit here in the loft and pretend I am a writer – writing long rambling emails to friends and I will potter about thinking about sewing something… or knitting cashmere dog coats for the french and their bijou dogs and selling them online…

I will waste time reading old poems I wrote way back when… and the time will pass pleasantly enough – oh yes – bring on the autumn and winter – but not too quickly!

And at the end of October we shall go back to the UK and re aquaint ourselves with our family – the daughters we abandoned to become expats.. and the gorgeous grandchildren.

And in between…well watch this space – who knows?

IMG_2424 IMG_0383

I just love eating outside…and well, there’s always the sea. This is the beach at Givrand near St Gilles Croix de Vie on the vendee. There’s miles and miles of it!