Browsing Posts published in January, 2011

The Plot Thickens

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Can you hear that? That wild cackling from the great beyond. From where I sit it’s deafening. Ah yes, god and her amusement at my plans.

Change is afoot here at Big French Adventure Headquarters. It’s a really long story but comes down to this. Brace yourselves. After much reflection and discussion we’ve decided that our property business plans are a no go. Neil’s work in Canada will be keeping him too busy and it’s too big a project for me on my own.

Alors I am now adrift, a broad abroad with no Plan B. Well you’re never safe from surprise ’til you’re dead. So now you might be asking (as I certainly am) what’s next? I simply have no answer. Continue reading “The Plot Thickens” »


History Lesson

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Living in a medieval town like Semur I’m surrounded by history. The other night after an evening of Beethoven and Brahms we walked through the ancient wooden door of a 16th century tower once part of a massive fortification for the town. Inside what was probably an ancient torture chamber, we had a few after show refreshments.  I kept expecting to see armored knights and monks in brown robes serving canapés.

That period is so long ago it seems more like a fairy tale and I can’t always relate to it. But recently I have become quite interested in one piece of history, the second world war. Before moving here I read Suite Francaise, Sarah’s Key, Charlotte Gray and did a bit of research. I’m just beginning to understand just the complicated role France played in that whole mess. Continue reading “History Lesson” »


Speaking In Tongues

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Language update: I suck. If I knew any French swear words I’d say them, multiple times. Every time I think I’m making progress I get smacked in the forehead, hard and fast.

Pharmacy woman is killing me. It’s enough torture to see her even once after the whole vaginale debacle but now every single time I go in she happens to serve me. I ask for basic stuff in perfect French and, as usual, she rapid fires 10 questions just above a whisper. Then she gets all impatient with me. I suspect she’s actually from Manchester deliberately trying to drive me to the brink. Continue reading “Speaking In Tongues” »


The Company Of Strangers

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Here in Semur, under the fifteenth century Porte Guillier there is an inscription:

Translated it means that the people of Semur take pleasure in meeting strangers. Since 1552. Now that’s what I call a long standing tradition. So far I can tell that they take it very seriously and they’re quite good at it. I guess after 400 years of practice this shouldn’t come as a surprise.

Before moving here I was concerned about how we would be received and perceived here. Would the Semurois see us as boorish North American invaders? Rolling into town with a big wad of cash and big plans for buying up their land to erect a super-size Wal-Mart. Continue reading “The Company Of Strangers” »


Dollars And Sense

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I get emails all the time asking advice on how to set fire to the cubicle and walk away from a fully formed life. Truth is I never know how to answer. This ain’t no how-to manual, simply the tale of one woman’s wacky attempt to live a different life with no promise of a happy ending.

My situation is unique. No kids, check. EU passport, check. Ready and willing Neil, check. But the key to creating chaos like this is all about the money baby. Continue reading “Dollars And Sense” »



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Wreck-O-Drama is more like it. Monsieur La Banque spoke and said Non. The bank refused to finance our project as we requested because they thought it was too much of a risk. They sent out an independent evaluator from Dijon to look at the Wreck who promptly replied ‘zey are crazy zee Canadians, tell zem to kiss my derrière’.

Now, the realtor, the management company and my neighbour (who’s been in Semur for over 30 years) all said they had never seen this kind of evaluation done in France. Of course not, this is the Bobbi effect. I move to France and all kinds of magnifique comes out of the woodwork, the coldest December for France in 40 years, the least amount of sunshine in 20 odd years and now novel methods of real estate obstruction. Merde. Continue reading “Wreck-O-Rama” »

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