6 February 2024


Winters in our part of France are slightly better than winters in our part of the UK, the weather frequently being drier, less cold and without the risk of snow.

It's a time for taking stock, doing a few repairs and a bit of gardening if weather permits.

There is stuff going on.  We had friends round for a Burns Night Supper at the end of January for example.  When two Australians, a bemused American lady, two English (us), a Dutch/American and the one Scots person get together for a bit of a do it's bound to be a good laugh!
There's a Mardi Gras evening at a friend's house coming up next week.
Curry night at the new bistrot in the village later this week.

In fact, realistically, there is more going on here than we would find in the UK.

A few months ago I was introduced to an elderly Englishman who has lived around here for decades.  I had never seen him before even though we have by now had a house in the area for seventeen years.

Seventeen years !!

The person who introduced us said the man was a bit of a hermit and didn't get out much.  The man himself said he didn't like that all the expats go round to each other's houses all the time.  He thought it too stereotypical expat behaviour and wondered why we do it.

I said it was just because we can!

We are slightly envious of friends who have decamped to warmer climes for the months of January and February.  Some to Portugal, some to Hawaii.  

But we do what we can.
We invite people round to our house and we get invited round to theirs!

The weather has been rather dull lately so I've resorted to posting more pictures of our trip to the beautiful city of Tours a few weeks ago.

We are so lucky to have such a place on our doorstep, only a shortish drive or bus ride away.

A day out in Tours, especially if it includes a bit of shopping and a good lunch, always cheers us up in winter.  Or any other time of year.
We go there every so often, whether we need to or not, just because we can.

It's nice to see a bit of colour, a bit of human activity.

A change of scenery.  Even if it's city life not actual scenery.

Tours has a tram system to carry people into the city centre.
In reality, the city centre is very easy to access by car, train or bus.
But one day we will take a ride on the tram, just because we can.

Yvonne continues to settle in, daring me to turf her off the bed so I can make it.

The other evening when it was very still, not a breath of wind, but cold, we fished the fire pit out of the barn, lit it and sat out for a while, in the dark.
Just because we can.
The French passers by in their cars must by now be thoroughly convinced that their English neighbours are, in fact, completely nuts !!


  1. Naturally we are nuts! Wonderfully nuts and eccentric.... and we visit other expat friends because we can.... but we all, also, have French friends... and as you write above, on Burn's Night "two Australians, a bemused American lady, two English (us), a Dutch/American and one Scots person" friends... a complete melting pot of cultures...
    and a wonderful musical collection of friends, too!!
    You would find it very difficult to get such a mix, regularly, in the UK... even in Leeds!! Possibly the nearest was up at the allotment!!

    1. I think the weather, especially for three quarters of the year, has a lot to do with it. We get out more so meet more people and there are more folk about!

  2. We are SO enjoying retirement, JUST BECAUSE WE CAN. After years of keeping to timetables, taking holidays outside of term time, fitting life round school/church/voluntary commitments, it is wonderful to have this precious time together. Sitting in bed reading and drinking coffee, not getting up&dressed till 10.30, ignoring the chores and driving to look at beautiful National Trust snowdrops, having a adorable granddaughter to stay for a week, combining appointments in town with a good coffee and mooch round charity shops... So many spontaneous, special activities... Just because we can. And yes, inviting a crazy mixture of friends and family to share food and fun with us. And I am so grateful for these opportunities. (ps why is it spelt both bistro and bistrot?)

    1. Bistro and bistrot are both the same, bistro being the more modern term I think. Small restaurants serving simple, modestly priced meals.

  3. I think you’ve given that big retirement secret away: there isn’t necessarily any meaning, it’s just because you can!

    1. Exactly! Plus an unnerving feeling that there is no certainty about how much longer we will be able to continue having so much fun so best make the most of it!

  4. Really enjoying your blog and especially the latest post. We are lucky enough to have a maison secondaire (that we don't get to anywhere near as often as we would like) about an hour from Tours. What a wonderful city it is. Carry on 'living the dream' because you can!

    1. Andy, the dream sometimes seems like a nightmare but on the whole......we love it!

  5. Good for you for the reciprocal invitations!