Monday, 19 September 2016

Guest Post: My Life in France by Colette Kebell

Today it's my pleasure to welcome Colette Kebell, author of The Retail Therapist and Blue and Green should Never be Seen! (Or so Mother Says) with a guest post about her life in France.

Hello Sharon, firstly I would like to thank you for allowing me to guest on your blog today, it is greatly appreciated.

Secondly, although I am currently in France and have been for the past five months, I do not currently live here.  I was “exiled” if you will, when we sold our home in the UK and so I have spent this time separated from my husband, whom I have only seen for a couple of weeks or so, in the past five months.  I won’t go into all the ins and outs but we hadn’t found a property to buy at the time of our sale, nor had we found somewhere we could rent, which allowed us to keep our two little doggies with us, so I left the UK to spend some time in our property in Lower Normandy, France.   

I have and do love being in France, as unlike the UK it is peaceful (plenty of time to write) and without the hustle and bustle of the UK, particularly in the village where our property is.  We were lucky on that front as we bought it some 11 or 12 years ago and despite still renovating it, we have some wonderful neighbours and have made plenty of friends both French and English.  We are also lucky that the village has a cinema and once a month they put a film on in English.  I was fortunate enough, having missed it doing the rounds in the UK, to have been able to see “Me Before You” last month and coupled that with a book signing.  I also, by way of  introducing  myself to the English cinema goers, handed out personalised packets of pocket tissues, as having read the book last year, I knew they’d be needed by all the but heartless.

I’ve also had visitors whilst I’ve been here, firstly my parents who just wanted a long weekend away and secondly, almost at the drop of a hat, a long-time friend of mine decided it was about time we spent some time together and so she booked her flight from Reno (USA) to Paris and then took the train down.  That was a whirlwind week as we visited quite a few places at a time when there were both train strikes and petrol shortages here in France and so it made each day quite the challenge.  We visited Mont St Michel, Granville, Bayeux (together with one of the Normandy landing beaches), Bagnoles de L’Orne (Spa Day) and Caen, as well as my having taken her out on the Friday evening to enjoy some music and a meal.  

Mont St Michel
Granville, The Casino at Bagnoles de L’Orne, Music night at the local restaurant

Festival day in the village with floats and marching bands…
My days are, mostly, relatively busy though and other than walking my dogs around a lake, which is about five minutes from the house, I’ve been gardening, chasing solicitors, writing, decorating, cooking, oh and of course shopping…that latter bit though has been somewhat subdued as, although I would love to be thinking of and researching for things to buy to furnish our new home, I haven’t actually seen it yet, all I’ve seen are photos at this particular time, although I know that I shall be returning to the UK next month, I don’t know when.   There are things that need dealing with in the garden to make it pet safe and so until that’s been dealt with, I cannot return.  I’m rather excited about seeing the new place though and my husband loves it. So much so that he is even undertaking the unpacking himself, whilst awaiting my return.  The problem, which is a big one, is that we downsized from a four bed to a two bed and so we are going to have to plan incredibly carefully in respect of storage and may even have to sell some of our existing furniture.  

The lake where I walk my two fur babies.
Having said all that though, I love my time in France, as does hubby when he is here, and so we shall return as and when we have time to take a break away and can afford to. Hubby works fulltime and so we are tied to when he can book some annual leave.  

France to me at least is almost like an oasis, as we have wonderful neighbours, our immediate ones being in their 90s, and despite the far slower pace of life, it is a welcome change to the rat race that is the UK.

The Retail Therapist

Blue and Green Should Never be Seen! (Ot so Mother Says)

Connect with Colette via her website, Facebook or on Twitter.

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