It's 45 years this month since I moved to France; I don't remember the actual date.
September 1972 was cold, and the vendor's wife (who just happened to be at the house the day we arrived with goods and chattels) kindly welcomed us by lighting a fire in the main sitting room fireplace.
She took a bale of straw from the barn, stuffed it into the huge open fireplace, and to our horror, LIT IT.
It was at this moment that I realised that the French did things slightly differently to us Brits.
We've had some wonderful adventures along the way, made some wonderful friends, and, as far as I'm concerned, there's still a lot more fun to come.
I was 25 when I bought our first big old farmhouse (we've moved a couple of times since), and on reflection it was a pretty wild gesture. My French was rudimentary schoolboy, my knowledge of French ways almost non-existent, but my enthusiasm was boundless; it was the perfect combination. The property contained wonderful old stone barns, studio space, land, and a small chestnut wood; I had bought myself a home which seemed to contain everything I needed. The house itself had not been lived in for a year or so, but was in good shape; other than having no bathroom.
For the first time in my life I felt totally liberated. My two children (a third arrived later) also revelled in that freedom, and along with our scruffy mutt 'Hamlet', they took complete advantage of what our new bucolic life offered.
Of course a few 'minor blips' have occurred en route, they always do; but it's a sign of having such wonderfully friendly neighbours that we've only had to cope with a couple who aren't.
As it happens, we are now facing another 'minor blip'; a relative newcomer is trying to turn our tiny peaceful hamlet into a holiday park, with a number of semi-buried shipping containers for accommodation, playgrounds, pool, restaurant, etc. We are not amused.
Sadly this is our second unexpected case of unpleasantness in just over a year. One really wonders how certain people can live with themselves. Last year it was classic hypocrisy, this year plain greed; two of my absolute least favourite human traits.
So cheers! I still adore my little world (even though I may occasionally want to stop it and get off), and I hope that you are all able to say likewise about wherever you have chosen to settle.
(Above photo) Cro's usual sartorial elegance; in ratting clothes (at the new home 1973).
Everyone wants a bit of the tourist money pot these days. Does your neighbour not need planning permission for such a venture? I do hope it doesn't happen, there's always someone who thinks it's perfectly ok to destroy everyone else's peace and quiet for their own gain.ReplyDelete
Yes, he's had permission, but it was all done behind our backs. The first we knew about it was when he started digging huge holes in his field!Delete
Fabulous stone steps. Don't like the sound of that holiday park, perhaps you should go and fill in the holes after dark.ReplyDelete
For the moment we're relying on some letters to the Mayor, but we'll have to wait and see. Once planning permission is granted, it's not easy to have it reversed.Delete
Plant chestnuts in them...!Delete
Greetings Maria x
8 C HERE THIS MORNING. WHAT HAPPENED?ReplyDelete
you're getting our weather!!Delete
Optimism, enthusiasm and some money in the bank....what a great way to start an adventure.ReplyDelete
That's how it seemed at the time, but with no opt-out clause.Delete
8c? very strange.27c here now.ReplyDelete
It was really COLD this morning; quite a shock.Delete
Congratulations and chapeau; a very brave thing to do at only 25 with a family. Well done Cro and Lady M!ReplyDelete
I think 'foolish' rather than 'brave'. But it all worked out fine!Delete
And they call it progress?ReplyDelete
I think a lot of people are seeing € signs.Delete
we've found somewhere we can settle for a bit too..not idyllic,but good neighbours...worth their weight..ReplyDelete
You seem permanently on the move. Don't you long to get your kiln permanently anchored?Delete
You ratting outfit was about 40 years ahead of its time. All the youth dress like that here now.ReplyDelete
I still dress like a tramp; unless I'm going out, then I dress like a well dressed tramp.Delete
What an interesting personal history and I suppose congratulations are due, so I do. I'm sure you've improved your standard of dress since back 45 years ago, haven't you?ReplyDelete
No Andrew, I haven't. Clothes have never been a priority; I wear them to the final thread.Delete
I used to holiday a lot down there 45 years ago with friends buying delapidated shacks for second homes. No toilets and no bathrooms. The Brits had just started to discover the Dordogne region. Many happy memories.ReplyDelete
We may have bumped into each other.Delete
I am at an age similar to yours when you moved to France, and I can't imagine taking half the risks you took. You go, Cro and Lady M!ReplyDelete
Also, great picture!!
You never know what life has in store for you KK. Nice to hear from you again!Delete
I love the photograph Cro - a picture is worth a thousand words!ReplyDelete
I find it quite funny; I can't think what was going through my mind.Delete
A thoughtful post Cro. Like the parson's egg... good in parts. Love to see more early photos of family Magnon at the start of this most fulfilling life. A real cool dude, if I may say!ReplyDelete
Mostly good, thank goodness! Unfortunately (fortunately) most of my old photos are in a loft back in England, but Lady Magnon brought a small box-full back recently. You are saved from the rest.Delete
You seem more reflective than usualReplyDelete
It must be my age John.Delete
I'm never sure whether you are like a few other bloggers I follow who take the view that they don't read comments made after a few days have lapsed. Anyway I read this with sympathy and understanding.ReplyDelete
No, I do Graham, and thanks for your comment.Delete