Peter Mayle

His memoirs took me on hour after hour of pleasure reading about his experiences in Provence, he will be greatly missed.

We have recently learned about the death of one of our favourite authors who died last month after a short illness. He was such a talented person who brought to life the “happenings” in Provence through his book “A Year in Provence”. His depiction of the various characters he came across was masterful and of course his renovation work on his 200 year old property was fascinating. By writing this book I am sure it inspired thousands of people to visit France and perhaps to move there permanently.

Peter Mayle, Image Mayle – Image

Sir Ridley Scott paid tribute to his friend saying,”he brilliantly captured the humorous competitiveness between the English and the French. Peter was a very kind and successful man”.

Sir Ridley Scott turned one of Peter Mayle’s books “A Good Year” into a movie starring Russell Crowe, which Paul and I still watch at least once a year.

Originally from Brighton, he moved to Menerbes in the Luberon hills in 1987 with his wife Jennie to escape the rat race in London. He met such characters while renovating the property that it inspired him to start to write a book in 1989, which has sold more than six million copies.

A thought from Peter Mayle, “Good manners make any man a pleasure to be with. Ask any women”.


French Property News magazine.

Black Diamond.

Towards the end of last year I was asked by the editor of French Property News Magazine to write an article for them about how we found our home, the buying process, the renovation work, Daglan village and the surrounding area. At first nerves took hold and I thought no, then on reading past blogs and our experiences, who could forget the arsenic paint on our toilet door, or the shower that kept me practising Yoga every time that I used it!, I thought yes I can write the article.

The editor loved the article and our pictures and it was published in the March issue of French Property News magazine and now the April issue has been published I can show my article in our blog for you to read. I hope that you like it.

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Heart of gold – Our first year in Daglan

I was reminded by our son that it was one year ago today my husband, son and cats began the long drive to Daglan. I followed by plane a few days later and the year has just flown by so quickly with some ups and downs along the way, we made it here and eventually so did our furniture!

When we look back over the year and through our extensive photograph collection, the pictures that mean the most to us are our pictures of the people here in Daglan, they are truly “the heart of gold.” We have meet so many new and interesting people that it is those people that stand out the most in our lives. From the very start of our new life here a warm “Bonjour” made us welcome by the doctor, dentist, government officials, the plumber and chimney sweep, our new friends who gave us lavender plants and friends that we have known for a few years thank you so much, it has been a good year.

Before I start to shed a few tears here are some of our most memorable pictures from the past year.

Le La VertDaglan fête was a time of celebration at Le Thé Vert.


Daglan fêteThe parade with our Maire in the middle of the picture, wonderful.


Sunday market at DaglanThe view from our balcony over looking the Sunday market.


Train A Vapeur De MartelI so loved this steam train ride, fabulous.


SunflowersPeople here have asked me what the weather was like in Blackpool during the Summer. These are a few words that I jotted down before we left England.

July in England. Billowing wind that has whipped up the many seagulls from the coast and has now drifted inland across the house tops and buildings of Blackpool. Then the sharp, stinging drizzle fell growing in strength until the grey clouds were turned into black sheets of unforgiving rain.

In contrast.

July in Daglan. Summer gasped upon the village like the mouth of a great oven. Even in the shade of the canopy in our courtyard it was too hot for me to sit outside for long periods. This was the time of flowers, butterfly’s and moths which would glide and dance around our growing vine. We took our walk down the lane beside the river Céou to see the horses, dragon flies and lizards much earlier in the day than during the Spring time. The cries of the cicadas seemed to become more insistent with each hot day until they hit a crescendo. This was the time for barbecues, for visiting friends old and new and to sit back and enjoy our first year.

WelcomeWelcome to the village party, it does not get any better than this.

Our first year in DaglanWe have completed a lot of decorating, DIY and renovation work this year, from the completely new bathroom, to the corridor floor, to painting the window frames, shutters, balcony, and veranda and much more too tedious to tell. Our next project is to focus on the rear of the property, however, a rest is in order as our son is arriving from the UK this afternoon. On second thoughts a rest might not be the right word, for I am sure a Cro-Magnon cave or two will be visited, canoeing on the Dordogne and we will visit our favourite medieval town of Sarlat.

A final word, if your dream is to move to France but you are feeling a little trepidation, a new country, different culture and way of life. Do not let apprehension stop you, go for it, you will never look back. The French love life and so will you, Bon Courage.



The One Of A Kind!

To be really honest, like many people who was scared while watching the Alfred Hitchcock movie “Psycho” in their early teenage years, I had developed a phobia to showers, in particular showers with curtains! So it was a little upsetting to have a one of a kind shower in our small bathroom in France.

To be fair it did not have a shower curtain but it was a strange cylinder shape that made you feel totally enclosed once inside, I should mention that I am also claustrophobic!


Our old cylinder shower


However, I am not one to shrink from a challenge and into the shower I went, panic at first but then I was so busy trying to keep the non closing door closed to prevent the water going all over the bathroom floor, and at the same time trying to regulate the temperature of the water from freezing to boiling point that my fear dissipated long enough for me to have a shower.


Not a lot of room as you can see, it had to go.


After planning the layout of the bathroom and looking at and testing out showers! I must explain that in order to have a new shower in the bathroom I had to step inside each shower on display in the various stores we visited to test out my phobia, panic or no panic! The result is below, a new shower which is perfect, no panic at all.


In with the new


Now all we need to do is to find an antique wash stand with a marble top and a hand basin to compliment it, remove the tiles from the walls and floor and replace them with something more to our liking, paint the woodwork. The to do list seems to be getting longer!


French News:-

Single-use plastic bags are set to be banned from French shops by this month, April 2016. A second law is planned for January 2017, which will ban all other kinds of disposable plastic bags including those provided for packing fruit, vegetables and cheese!

Also, a ‘doggy bag’ law has come into force in France in an attempt to cut down on food wastage in restaurants across the country, brilliant, although I do not remember leaving enough food to take home when I have eaten in a French restaurant!

Woe is me, a thousand times woe!

I hope that this blog will be of help to anyone moving to France. We had planned, researched and made a two page list of who to contact and which removal firm we would employ to take our furniture to France. Most of our furniture was being transported to Daglan due to the fact that the pieces held sentimental value for us; we needed to trust the firm we were going to hire.

My husband wanted to hire a man with a van and travel with him but my son and I wanted to be reassured that the many items would get to Daglan in one piece. So we did spend quite a lot of money for a specialist international removal firm to pack, collect and deliver our new home. The pleasant representative who visited us for the quotation said delivery would be within a month. Signed and sealed, dates set and the move begins.

First my husband and son drove to Daglan with the cats; it was a thirty hour drive with breaks every two hours to attend to cat needs. I flew over a few days later to stay in France while my husband and son flew back to England to oversee the packing and collection.

The removal firm arrived late due to traffic problems but once they arrived they were quick and efficient, they did pack everything for us, collected it and stored everything away until a delivery slot was available.

IMG_20151008_095206The removal lorry in England.

The first delivery date they gave us was the 19th October, great I thought it will be delivered before winter. That date the company cancelled due to unforeseen events, which were not explained to us. 28th October was our next date, again cancelled due to unforeseen events; we emailed and phone everyday. I wanted to know what the “unforeseen events” were. Has the lorry broken down? Have they sent our home to Mexico by mistake? Have they lost everything? Or will our home be on ebay at any moment? Each day no answer was given.

By early November it was starting to get very cold here with some frosty mornings or cold damp fog. Taking the word that our goods would be with us within a month we had no winter clothes with us in France and I was also in need of my orthopaedic mattress due to back problems, so I was in a lot of pain without it. Paul and I bought thermal vests, winter sweaters and trousers.

On Friday 13th November almost a month after the first projected delivery date our goods arrived. We were expecting a lorry that was similar to the one in the first picture, as described in their catalogue, as promised by their representative and as discussed with their packing team.

We spoke to the neighbours explaining that a large lorry would be blocking the square for a couple of hours and what we got was:-

IMG_20151113_130735A man in a van with a trailer, spot the difference!

I honestly did not know if I should laugh or cry. The latter seemed to be the most appropriate. To be fair they did get most of our home items to us, we are still waiting for a rather valuable wardrobe. Friday 13th November, the date itself should have given us a warning.

It stands to reason that one hundred and twenty one cartons measuring over 900 cubic feet being crammed into the above will not go without damage or breakage. However, after I had got over the shock I became hopeful our home was here at last.

Then my husband and I started to unpack, the dinning room chairs had been taped into sacks with no protection for the legs at all, it is no surprise that they were gouged and badly scratched.

The nest of tables had a broken leg and the phone table went the same way as the chairs, glass in pictures frames was smashed… the list goes on.

1/ So in short we did our research, and still wound up with a terrible experience.

2/ Watch how they pack all of your items, or pack yourself.

3/ Make sure that you get a delivery date in writing; a phone call does not count, apparently.

4/ Make sure, it must be written down, that they will deliver your items in a lorry that is mentioned on their website and brochure.

5/ Insure all of your items just in case they get lost or damaged. We insured through their company, so we will wait and see what happens with that.

6/ Make sure that you really need everything from your home or could you buy new furniture in the country to which you are moving to, this will save money and worry. Our items were of sentimental value collected over almost forty five years of marriage, we wanted them safe and they were not safe at all.

O.K that is my very large moan over with, it is very upsetting but we are here in Daglan with fabulous new and old friends that have been wonderful to us and welcomed us into their village. The markets are great; fresh food, wine etc we have a Christmas market to go to next Saturday. So it is not all bad news.

Update :-The wardrobe arrived this morning, 28th November, over seven weeks after collection, completely unwrapped and minus any protection other than a few blankets thrown over it. It was explained that customs asked for it be unpacked. As expected the damage was obvious, scratched in three places, a chunk of wood gouged out in another and there was a door handle missing.