• Daily life,  Our journey

    A quiet and predictable life

    This morning I go through my Facebook feed and read a post about a friend who lived close to where we used to live in London (Streatham) listing all the lovely things she will miss about her house, as she prepares to move to a new home, and all the things she wouldn’t miss. ‘Pollution and grime. Not feeling safe enough to walk to or from the station after dark. No sense of community.’ To which somebody posts a comment saying ‘There isn’t much sense of community anywhere.’ It makes me think of the conversation I’ve had with Alistair a few days ago when, reminiscing about our former life, we…

  • Daily life,  Our journey

    The Trickster in our midst

    It’s been a little over six months since we moved to France. The actual anniversary day of us moving into our new home went by without us noticing. We were probably absorbed by the multitude of things we need to do on a daily basis. The pleasant winter activities of feeding the chickens and letting them out for the day and feeding the five goats have been taken over by worries about cutting the grass that is not far from being knee-high, getting rid of the brambles, clearing the path towards the river, finishing the renovations at the gite, decking the concrete base that we inherited from the previous owners…

  • Daily life,  Salies de Bearn,  Things to do

    Market day in Salies the Bearn

    Probably one of my favourite markets so far is the Thursday morning market in Salies de Bearn. If it’s a day with sunshine, I can’t think of a better place to spend a couple of leisurely hours. I love it because it has an Indian food stall, lots of delicious cheese and pates and vegetables, but also an overpriced antique seller and various other goodies. We usually end up buying some fruit and the odd piece of cheese, but I find it a nice place to hang around for coffee at one of the restaurants / coffee shops and mingle with the locals.              …

  • Daily life,  Our journey,  Work in progress

    The joys of pollarding trees

    When we moved to Maison Barbe in November 2017, we found the driveway covered in leaves from the four huge plane trees on both sides of the entry gate. Walking around the grounds, we’ve identified another four, even taller, plane trees, three of them sustaining the goats’ hut. We didn’t think much about it, but have subsequently found out that the said trees need to be pollarded yearly so they stay under control. If you don’t know what pollarding is (and neither did I until now), it is a method of pruning that entails cutting the higher branches of trees to restrict their growth in height. I didn’t know what…

  • Daily life,  Our journey

    A tale of two goats

    As you probably know if you’ve been following our French countryside antics, the purchase of Maison Barbe came with thirteen chickens and three goats. About a month ago, we lost one of them, Mika, to a ghost pregnancy that turned toxic. Her departure left the remaining two goats, Tilly and Poppy, genuinely bereft and not even breakfast gave them any more pleasure. It was during their grieving period when Buddy came into their lives. Buddy is a on-year old boy goat that belongs to our friends Echo and Darren from Chambres-du-Pont-de-la-Legende.  Despite being a beloved member of their family, they asked us if we could take him in, as he lived…

  • Daily life,  Our journey

    It never snows in this part of France!

    We were told it never snows in this part of France, and yet this morning we wake up to a thick blanket of snow. We make our way as usual towards the chicken coops to get the hay and the feed for the goats (we figured out that we need to feed the goats first, otherwise they don’t get a single bite to eat because the chickens, lead by the new rooster who appears to have no shame, have worked out that they can get a second breakfast chez the goats). It is still snowing heavily when we get to the goats huts. Obviously, they are going to get breakfast…