Tuesday, 8 November 2011

An Easy Life

Many people come to France because they think life here is easier: less frantic, more rural, better health care, less bureaucracy... more land for your money, less bills, etc...  I'm not saying they're wrong (except, perhaps for that bit about bureaucracy) and I'm not saying they're right. I came here because my husband died suddenly and unexpectedly and I didn't know how to cope and I needed to get away.  And it's been good for me.

Over the years since he died I have realised that my husband was not the only person who loved me and, recently, with the breast cancer diagnosis and treatment, I realised that my children care a lot about me - (yes, I know I should have known that before...) and that I have a lot of friends in France who care and are willing to help me out.  I have one or two in England too, but they're a long way away and don't come out here nearly often enough!  In Blogland I have made friends too and I value them highly.

It's amazing how much all these people have contributed to my well-being and I would like to thank you all (you know who you are).

But my recent 'brush with death' has taught me that I carried all the bad stuff and sorrow with me and that now I need to put it all behind me and just be grateful for what I've got and get on with my life. So that's what I'm doing.

You may remember that last year I opened a little shop in Le Dorat and sold some of my 'excess baggage' and craft work.  I loved doing it.  So I've decided to do it again!  I've re-registered in the French system as an 'Autoentrepreneur' - a new business type introduced by Sarkozy (bless his little cotton socks) and I will be re-stocking the shop and opening up next week.  If you live near enough, pop over and see me (I promise I'll make you a cup of coffee) and, if you don't, why not spend a holiday here (it's lovely, I promise you).

So - apart from bringing down the bazillion boxes of stuff I have stored in the attic of the shop, I've also been making some new stock.

With Christmas in mind I've made some tree ornaments...


...and the garland you saw in my last post.  Today, also, I cut some ivy to make wreaths...


...which I plan to do tomorrow morning, while the stems are still pliable.

Of course, it hasn't all been unicorns and fairy dust!  The first day I was back I noticed that my butter dish had some 3 month-old butter streaks in it, and dropped it on the way to the sink...

...and, likewise, I picked up a water glass that I had left un-emptied in my bedroom, and dropped it straight on the floor!

And, in case you are wondering, I hadn't even got a bottle of wine in the house at this stage!

I had another butter dish in my cupboard, so I am using that although obviously the size of a half-pound of butter has changed somewhat, as I have to cut one end off to make it fit in this dish!

I tend to think that recent stress has affected my mind as I put a bread mix on in my breadmaker, and didn't notice that it was a mix designed to make two loaves...  consequently it was a complete disaster.  I noticed my mistake when the mix was not mixing properly - added extra water, thinking I would let the breadmaker do it's thing until the baking stage, then turn out the dough, knock it back by hand and make two loaves myself and put them in the oven to bake.  However, when it got to that stage, I had a couple of friends round for coffee and forgot all about it.  So it rose to completely fill the breadmaker and the strain of it all nearly melted the plug!

Anyway, I managed to clean up the machine eventually and today is the first time I have used it again.  It was successful - ish.  I say 'ish' because I forgot to put the little mixing paddle in place originally and ended up with my hands covered in wet floury paste, trying to locate it in the mess of water and flour in the bottom of the machine!  You may wonder if the cancer has not already spread to my brain...

Anyway, it DID work and here is the loaf I made earlier...

...and I've already had the crust with some Petit Billy cheese and it was delicious!

Tomorrow afternoon I am taking a French lady to see the La Tache house, which she just might be interested in renting - or even buying.  Keep your fingers crossed for me!

10 comments:

Floss said...

Fingers very crossed...

Thanks for that very honest summing up of your situation - I can't tell you how much blogging has helped me to understand and appreciate my own situation, and it's posts like yours that make this possible.

So glad to hear that things are moving on for you on a number of fronts. What a shame I'm in the wrong part of France to visit your shop!

And good luck on the crockery front - I have 'smashing' days too.

Elizabethd said...

Wish I was close enough to pop in too, but I think both Floss and I are at opposite ends of the country.
Many of the English who came to France for some of the reasons you mention have now returned to UK. There are problems here as there are anywhere...especially with the bureaucrcay!
Good luck with the shop and the possible acheteur.

Annie said...

What a lovely post Penny. I wish you lots of luck with all your new ventures and with La Tache house too.
Hugs,
A x

Evelyn said...

Thanks for this beautiful post. Yes, we should all remember to take stock and recognize all the good that surrounds us and try out best to find a place for our sorrow that allows us to acknowledge it but not let it overtake us. I shall put Le Dorat on my list of places to visit soon. xo

Claire said...

"If you live near enough' oh my, I wish, but then again maybe it's better that I don't.
Any excuse for a coffee and look at all your wonderful bits and pieces and gorgeous makes.............

It sounds like a bit of soul searching has bought you to a good place in your life and I wish you all the very best with your shop and the sale of your La Tache house.

Love the 'cottage' butter dish and that loaf of bread looks delish......

Claire :}

Debra in France said...

Penny, I am really glad that you have decided to stay here in France. I think that you were incredibly brave moving here after your husband died, and you have worked so hard to make a good life for yourself.
Luckily I only live 25 mins from you and your shop, so will call in for a coffee and bring some cakes with me.

Fingers crossed for La Tache, and see you soon xxxx

crafts@home said...

Good luck with your new venture, it's good you've worked out what you want from life, and who you want to be surrounded by, I only wish I lived closer so I could visit :)
Sue Xxx

Ronda Volker said...

Hi Penny

Oh how I GIGGLED..... last week my lovely sister gave me her bread maker and 1st attempt at the madiera cake was perfect (at that stage the bread slipped off the little paddle) the second night I put the pan in back to front and the banana bread never mixed.... i couldnt understand what I had done wrong - second attempt at the banana bread I realised the mistake about the pan which is CLEARLY marked FRONT - then when the paddle came off in the banana bread i thought no ways I've used it 3 times and broken the thing...... then I decided BEST I read the INSTRUCTIONS.... hee hee.... I LOVE your shop idea and I am so so so so happy for you - your 'makes' are so beautiful - do you read 'me-me rose' blog? - I loved the idea of the jars of bath crystals with the old teaspoons.... have a look - have an awesome day Penny - loads of love Ronda

Lorena (sonido retro UK) said...

Lovely bread you have there. Can I have a little piece? :P

Joy said...

Penny, that was so thoughtful of you to share your story--I had figured that there was not a husband in your life, but I did not know why nor what had happened. So sorry for your loss, but happy that you are growing and getting through it all quite well. I was divorced years ago, all quite suddenly, but yet not. Even at that, it seems as if when we have a loss we need time to figure things out and find out what we are made of.