Hellish hail stones and cats that love fish newsletter from France

Written by on August 29, 2020 in Newsletter from France

Cobbled street in Dinan, Brittany, lined with ancient houses with roses and vines growing over them

I hope that you and yours are well.

My big news this week is that my new book My Four Seasons in France: A Year of the Good Life, will be out in print in America on 1 September (you can find it on Amazon.com, Book Depository, Barnes & Noble and book shops everywhere). I’ve had some lovely reviews for it (it’s been out in Europe for 3 months) and if you enjoy it, I’d love to know – nice feedback for writers is like spinach for Popeye!

Here in my bit of France, we’ve started to build a garage. This week we laid a ton of concrete for the foundations to build a wall. It’s something we’ve been meaning to do ever since a freak hail storm hit our village a couple of years back. Giant hail stones the size of cricket balls rained down at 6 minutes to 6 on the 6 July – how’s that for coincidental numbers.

We were driving home from the shops when the localised storm hit at the top of the hill that leads to our village. We pulled over as little balls of ice came down thick and fast making visibility poor. The balls got bigger and bigger, pounding the car and leaving great dents. When the enormous lumps of ice smashed the car window and the glass went into my leg, I really thought we were in serious trouble. It’s a long story which involved cars being written off and the roofs of the houses in the village being destroyed (it’s in the book!) but ever since, when I see “hail” on the weather forecast, I get the heebie-jeebies. Even though it’s such a freak occurrence and unlikely to happen again in our village, we decided to sort out protection for our car and van just in case. At the moment, at a hint of hail, we rush them round to neighbour Jean-Claude’s big barn with everyone else in the village who doesn’t have a garage.

People here are fascinated by our seemingly endless renovation to convert what was a hovel into a home to be proud of. (I’m putting a few pics on Instagram if you want to see it)…

This week as we toiled in the garden, shovelling the ingredients for the concrete into our trusty old mixer, Fish Man stopped by. He calls by the village once a week, stops at the homes of his regular customers, toots the hooter, pulls out a traditional blue and white awning and opens a window at the side of the van to reveal an impressive display of fresh fish. My cats love Fish Man. The smell lures Winston the biggest cat in the village from his comfy bed on the terrace, Shadow, FatCat, Loulou, Marie-Antoinette, Little Socks, CrazyCat (he lies on your feet and won’t move) and Tony Manero (he struts like John Travolta in Saturday Night Fever!) all follow the scent.

“Bit of squid to keep your strength up? Fillet of salmon as a reward for your hard work? Treat yourself with a trout?” Fish Man said through his mask. He’s a born salesman.  Marie-Claude appeared from next door with her shopping bag and peered at the mixer which was noisily turning. Then Madame Bernadette puffed her way from the bottom of the hill, and farmer Thierry’s wife Mathilde came along.

At a time when we are all staying home so much, it seems that the only Brits in the village are once more a source of entertainment. Everyone had a look at the area where the garage will go and it was decided, by them, that it would be a perfect space for a party to celebrate post-Covid. I’ll certainly drink to that.

Next week I’ll be in Annecy in Haute Savoie, where I’ll be celebrating my birthday, so no newsletter then, but after that, I’ll be back every week!

Wishing you and yours well, bisous from my little pigsty office in rural northern France,
Janine
Editor

ps:  Top photo is Dinan in Brittany – most popular photo shared on Facebook in August! Join me on FacebookTwitter or Instagram for daily photos and fun from France…

Janine Marsh is Author of My Good Life in France: In Pursuit of the Rural Dream – ebook, print & audio, on Amazon everywhere & all good bookshops online, and My Four Seasons in France: A Year of the Good Life

Don’t miss the weekly newsletter which every week brings you inspiration from France

Read the whole newsletter here 

It’s easy to subscribe if you don’t want to miss my weekly newsletters of musings from France and a round-up of fab features, plus exclusive random newsletter giveaways. Just scroll to the bottom of this post if you’re on a mobile device, or look on the right on a laptop, type in your email address and click subscribe…

Related Articles

King of the croisssants – a tale from France

Bonjour, I hope that you and yours are well. It’s been a quiet week in my village with snow, storms, gale force winds and torrential rain all in the space of a few days. Definitely weather for baking! 30 January is National Croissant Day. Yes, really, I didn’t make it up I promise you. Croissants […]

Continue Reading

Bon weekend from my little French kitchen

Bonjour, I hope that you and yours are well. This week it’s been raining cats and dogs in my bit of France. Or as the French say il fait un temps de chien – weather suitable for dogs. Whoever thought up that phrase certainly doesn’t know my dogs. Ella Fitzgerald, Frank Bruno and Churchill (here […]

Continue Reading

Cakes, contests and calendars – bon weekend from France…

Bonjour, I hope that you and yours are well. Sometimes I sit down to write the newsletter and I think… hmm not much has happened this week in my tiny village of 142 people and 1000 cows. At least not anything of newspaper-worthy importance. I have no problem with this. I am happy that the […]

Continue Reading

Happy New Year from the middle of nowhere in France…

Bonjour, I hope that you and yours are well and that you had a good Christmas… In France we wish Happy New Year for a least six weeks after the new year starts – and I truly wish you a happy (happier) 2021. Usually New Year’s Eve in my village is marked by a party […]

Continue Reading

Merry Christmas from France newsletter…

Bonjour, I hope that you and yours are well. It’s beginning to feel a lot like Christmas where I am. The Mayor of our little village has turned the lights on outside the town hall and three little trees now twinkle at dusk. Madame Bernadette has put up a life size plastic inflatable Santa Claus […]

Continue Reading

Subscribe

If you enjoyed this article, subscribe now to receive more just like it.

Subscribe via RSS Feed

Comments are closed.

Top