Tag Archives: rural life

Cattle Country

Considering we are surrounded by them, I’m surprised I haven’t written more about these mainstays of local agriculture. Perhaps it’s because I have a love-hate relationship with them, especially when marauding herds have trampled down our garden. What am I … Continue reading

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Forgotten Love Letter Saved for Posterity

Sometimes fate works in mysterious ways. In this case, it saved for posterity a wonderful letter that would otherwise have been consigned to the flames with a heap of junk.

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Posted in History, Places, World War I & II | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

2017 Preview and 2016 Weather Roundup

Bonne année, Meilleurs Vœux. Wishing you a happy and peaceful year and a better one for the world in general. Welcome to Life on La Lune 2017. This is a particularly special year for me and the SF (Statistics Freak … Continue reading

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10 French Christmas Traditions

Like every country in Christendom, France has a range of Christmas traditions, local and nationwide. I explore a few in this post. Christmas used to be lower key, less commercialised and of shorter duration than in the UK. During our … Continue reading

Posted in Customs, History | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 19 Comments

A Walk Around Castanet

Last week, the weather here was truly appalling, especially on Wednesday and Thursday, with high winds and torrential rain. And other parts of southern France suffered much more than we did. This November has been particularly wet, although not cold. … Continue reading

Posted in Places, Walking in France | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 12 Comments

Walnut Time

The walnuts start to fall here in SW France around the end of September. By mid-October, it’s positively raining nuts. This year, we were afraid that our crop would be minimal. Many walnuts fell early and were blackened and mummified, … Continue reading

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Drought in Southwest France

  We spent the first six months of this year complaining that we had too much rain. Now we’re complaining that we are having too little. It has barely rained for about six weeks and the weather has been dry, … Continue reading

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Ma Vie Française #2: An Interview with Stephanie Dagg

  I’ve known Steph since 2010 but we have never met! Author, editor, blogger, businesswoman, and smallholder– she wears so many hats it’s difficult to keep up. She’s written a popular book, Heads Above Water, about her family’s life in … Continue reading

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Opération Escargot

France’s cuisine was awarded UNESCO World Heritage Status in 2010, when it was included in the list of humanity’s intangible cultural heritage. Why “intangible”? Good food might be a consolation for the soul, but it’s also a feast for most … Continue reading

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Badgers in the Bush?

Like most people, we have a part of our garden of which we are less than proud. It’s where we dump grass cuttings, leaves and other garden rubbish that we don’t put in the compost bins. Fortunately, it’s shielded by … Continue reading

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Ma Vie Française #1: an Interview with Jacqui Brown

You’ve heard a lot from me over the past six years about life in rural France. So let’s hear from someone else for a change. This is the first in an occasional series, Ma Vie Française, in which people tell … Continue reading

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Monsieur C – One of a Dying Breed

Today, we visited an elderly farmer neighbour, whose wife is in hospital with respiratory problems. They were the first local French people we met in 1997. Monsieur F has always been difficult to understand because of his strong regional accent … Continue reading

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Is the Rural French Café Dying Out?

The village café-bar is a typically French institution, just as the pub is essentially British. Our nostalgic vision of French rural life places the café (often doubling as a restaurant) at the heart of the village, along with the church, … Continue reading

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All About Stone

This is a land of stone. Old houses are invariably built of la vieille pierre (old stone). When you walk along a footpath, it’s usually bordered by ancient stone walls. If you want to plant a tree or shrub, you … Continue reading

Posted in French life, History | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 18 Comments

Pastis: A Quercy Speciality

Hands up everyone who thought pastis was an aniseed-flavoured apéritif. It is; but it’s not a local speciality here. The pastis I’m talking about is an apple dessert made with very fine pastry, which is particular to the Lot and … Continue reading

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Autumn Colours

This autumn the colours are magnificent, made all the more vivid and luminous by the exceptionally warm weather for the end of October. A brisk, but warm, wind from the south has chased away the clouds and polished the sky … Continue reading

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End of an Era at the Hamlet of Flouquet

It was the end of an era in two senses, to which I’ll return below. Every year, as part of the summer walks laid on by the commune of Espinas, we visit a pretty hamlet called Flouquet. The houses are … Continue reading

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Drought and Southwest France Weather July 2015

I have been reminded yet again this summer of how tough life must have been for the people who lived in our house up until the 1960s, when mains water was installed. Our property has two citernes (water-collecting cisterns) and … Continue reading

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Another Seasonal Hazard in SW France: Mosquitoes

Here’s another seasonal hazard: mosquitoes. I am their favourite meal. There are several reasons for that (see below) and they are becoming more of a pest down here. Do you have blood group O? Do you have a high metabolic … Continue reading

Posted in Nature, Rants | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | 19 Comments

Noises Off on a Country Evening

The poor old blog has been sorely neglected of late. The trouble is that there’s this pesky thing called work, a necessary evil that keeps me away from what I really want to do. And it’s nearly always at its … Continue reading

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Hares

You don’t often see them, since they are shy creatures and hide in the long grass. But at this time of year, once the hay has been cut, you’re more likely to see a hare around here. I love our rare … Continue reading

Posted in Nature | Tagged , , , , , | 11 Comments

The Ups and Downs of Life in La France Profonde

  I spent much of last week in London, which led me to reflect on the differences between urban and rural life. As it turns out, this was quite timely, since the French government had been carrying out a charm … Continue reading

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Sunday Promenade Around Félines

  It was more like a forced march, actually. The SF did military service in the Swedish army and can still do a 20 km yomp bearing a 14 kilo pack with the best of them. Last Sunday morning, the … Continue reading

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A Typical Quercy Farmhouse (and an Anniversary)

  In a couple of months it will be 18 years since we first saw our house. A lot of wine has flowed under the bridge in that time. The photo above shows it in the early 1970s just before … Continue reading

Posted in French life, History | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 22 Comments

Counting Heads: the French Census

  We had a visit today from the local census taker, having been warned a couple of weeks ago that this was imminent. This happens every five years in a small commune like ours (more on this below). But did … Continue reading

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5 Reasons why Autumn is the Best Season

  Not least because of the luminous wall-to-wall blue skies we have enjoyed here for almost two months. Every season has its charms, even winter, although by the end of February they’re well hidden. But for me, autumn is a … Continue reading

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The Day the Village had NO BREAD

Our life here has its Clochemerle moments (explanation below). I experienced one of them yesterday when our local village had no bread. Bread is not just the staff of life to a French person; it’s an essential accompaniment to every … Continue reading

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17 Years in France: What’s Changed Since 1997?

Well, I’m 17 years older. And I don’t want to think about how old I will be in 17 years’ time. So let’s look back instead and think about what’s changed here since 1997. Yesterday was the anniversary of the … Continue reading

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Wildlife and Weather: June 2014 Update

Visitors who are used to the constant hum of city life sometimes ask us, “Don’t you find it a bit quiet here?” The answer is no. I’ve never been a city-dweller by temperament and much prefer la France profonde. I … Continue reading

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Trip Along the River Aveyron

I went to the hilltop village of Puycelsi in the Tarn département on Friday to interview some victims for one of my magazine articles. It’s about 50 minutes’ drive from here but the route is one of the most spectacular … Continue reading

Posted in History, Places, World War I & II | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | 10 Comments