The Reluctant Model – Portraits in Black & White

Since we arrived in France almost exactly thirteen years ago there have been many magical moments here on our beautiful hillside.  One of the most life changing for me in many ways was the suggestion four years ago that we should play host to the local theatre company for their summer outdoor ‘spectacle’ – a…

French Essence #2 – Wine

A few years ago  we worked for a while with a French estate agent helping to select properties we thought might appeal to potential English buyers.  Given most people’s romantic notion of the perfect French dreamhouse, it was not difficult to dismiss the ranks of ugly concrete shoe boxes and Spanish style haciendas which sadly…

French Essence #1 – Garlic

If asked to sum up the essence of French culture the average Francophile would probably come up with an impressive list, amongst which would undoubtably feature haute couture, Hermès, Coco Chanel, Dior, an array of philosophers, playwrights Voltaire, Molière, great novelists Victor Hugo,  cinema,  Brigitte Bardot, Gerard Dépardieu, Bordeaux wines, cognac, champagne, Paris, Versailles, Marie…

A Classic Chassis and the Mad Inventor

Once upon a time there lived a mad inventor who had the particular peculiarity of retiring to his bed at the end of the cricket season, refusing to get up again until the sound of leather on willow announced that another new season had begun. The inventor had 14 children – no doubt something to…

Oh No! It’s Holiday time on the Hillside

In which we consider the impending onslaught of summer visitors and wonder whether a person could have opening and closing times like a boutique. Well it’s that time of year again here on the hillside, the friends and family start their mass migration to foreign climes passing where possible by our front door for a…

Homely Things #2 – A Cup of Coffee

IMAGES OF THINGS THAT SPEAK OF HOME………. Black, white, fat, skinny, frothy, latte, Turkish, French, Italian, Patagonian, Arabica, Robusta, long, short,double, single, married, divorced  – whatever your style of coffee, whether you drink it to stay awake, to round off a great meal or to revive your flagging spirits, that powerful aroma brings with it…

Four-legged Neighbours in the poplar wood

In which we delight in our four-legged neighbours and worry about the constant threat of mint sauce………. Living as we do on top of a hill amongst the vineyards, we are blissfully untroubled by the proximity of neighbours, the nearest other house being a good kilometer or so away on the hill opposite. Whilst we…

Doors – Part 1

“When one door closes, another opens; but we often look so long and so regretfully upon the closed door that we do not see the one which has opened for us.’ Alexander Graham Bell   ALL PHOTOS © JANE MORLEY

Oh No! Here Comes Summer!…….

In which we consider the excesses of French summer weather and wish we had a decent deckchair…… Well finally, here in South West France, the sun has put in a long awaited appearance and the Summer has arrived, at least for the next few days.   This is, of course, great news for those of us who…

Recipe : Asparagus, prosciutto and baked goat cheese………

A simple supper of delicious ingredients, perfect for two. Ingredients :  A bunch of asparagus, washed, trimmed and peeled.  10 slices of Italian Prosciutto ham or similar.  Clove of garlic sliced into matchsticks.  A sprig of thyme.  160 grams of Saint Marcellin soft goat cheese or similar.  Crusty bread to accompany.          Blanch…

And a fine time was had by almost all….

In which we praise the optimist, denounce the pessimist and wonder just who is Maureen? And so after weeks of planning and a good deal of hard work, our first independant arts and crafts fair is finally over.  The gazebos and backdrops have been taken down, the debris tidied away and the hillside is back…

“Raindrops on roses and whiskers on kittens….”

In which we consider life as an eternal optimist and how this combines  with perpetual worrying… As the sky remains cloudy and the rain continues to fall here in sunny France at the end of May I thank my lucky stars and my mother that I was born an eternal optimist. It is not always…