Our French Life

And Then There Were Four…

Wow, what an absence from writing but I do have some very good excuses for you all so bear with! As ever, you will all need to do a spell check for me as you all know how I like to hit publish before I re-check anything.

So my last post was about the problems you may encounter with regard to the language barrier. It came from a place, whereby, in actual fact it was my French (level B1/B2) that was bringing up the rear in the family. I subsequently went on a four month intensive language course from March to June last year which including a three week work placement at a local company. I enjoyed this course immensely and I have no hesitation whatsoever in recommending it. I will, of course, write a separate post about what it entails etc and how you can go about finding something similar.

So whilst doing this course, I carried on with my usual social media work which left me little room to do much else. I also separated from Mr Normandy at the start of the year and we are in the process of divorcing. This also took up a great deal of time. I will not write about the ins and outs of this for the time being but will, after the process, write about how you go about getting a divorce in France as British nationals and all that it entails. That has probably been the main reason why I have not been able to write as I would have liked to.

However, I am back! We are now a unit of 4 here in rural Normandy and I am also involved with a project with a person that makes living in Normandy the best fun it can possibly be – Alex. Whilst last year was certainly difficult it was also a lot of fun!

Together, we have set up France By Mistake – a spin off if you like! We will be recording youtube videos and later a podcast about life here in Normandy, France. If you are wondering about the name – it stems from the film Withnail and I where there is a scene in which they say to the farmer, whilst it is pissing down with rain (as standard for Normandy), “we’ve gone on holiday by mistake!” – we both love that film and thought it was a fitting name for our new venture so voilà! Do come on over to our facebook page, instagram and subscribe to our youtube channel. I will still be writing articles on here and you will find my daily life (if it is of interest!) over on my instagram page of the same name.

See you soon!

With Nail And I – “we’ve gone on holiday by mistake!”
Our French Life

How To Get Your French Drivers Licence

Okay I will refrain from my normal joke…oh I can’t I’m sorry….getting a French licence out of a Christmas Cracker. There I’ve said it. Now that’s out of the way we can get down to the actual way you can obtain your driving licence. I’m writing this from my own experience of getting my teenager – Master Normandy – en route to obtaining his driving licence.

It’s all a bit confusing the various abbreviations for different permis de conduire and I do not profess to know them all. Prior to this my son obtained his scooter licence. He was given two road proficiency certificates from his college in 3éme. By all accounts you need to keep these if you then want to get your driving licence. We took these to the driving school which teaches youngsters how to ride a scooter, over a period of 2 days. This costs about, from memory, 240 euros. They spend the first part of the day watching a road safety video and then in the afternoon, learning how to ride the scooter. The following day your teen has a full day of scooting around the Normandy countryside and towns.

Continue reading “How To Get Your French Drivers Licence”
Our French Life, our relocation life, Our Renovation Life

The Language Relationship Barriers

So whilst I may be somewhat of an angry *Elf at the moment I still thought I’d crack this one out about how your language or lack of language abilities can affect your relationship. I’m fairly confident that this is never mentioned when talking about moving to France. When do they ever talk about the bitterness and resentment that stem from one person ploughing on with the language, whilst the other languishes behind on A Place In The Sun? I rest my case.

Continue reading “The Language Relationship Barriers”
Our French Life

The Normandy Road Kill

A nonchalant French bird who flies when he wants to irrespective of a fast approaching vehicle!

So I thought I’d do a light-hearted post about death and what not. Now I appreciate that on the face of it, it probably doesn’t seem too light-hearted but believe me, I think you’ll enjoy this one about flattened animals along the empty roads of Normandy. Well let’s hope so.

Before I begin, I must say I don’t particularly enjoy seeing various animal species KO’d on my local roads, however, it does make for some interesting driving and seeing which poor bugger didn’t make it to the other side. Also, I’ve never seen such a variety of animals and birds albeit dead. I’m a city mouse and now I’m a country mouse – the last time I saw a hedgehog in the UK was probably in the 1980s. In fact, I think they are extinct there now. I see them on a weekly basis here, albeit flattened as a pancake. Interesting fact – I do believe they are eaten in the south of France assuming before they are flattened.

Continue reading “The Normandy Road Kill”
Our French Life

Do You Have Pandemic Homesickness?

I mean you don’t really have to be living in France to feel a little homesick at the moment right? Or British. You may be living away from your mothership, where you were born and bred and you may well have been in exile for many years. But for some, even those hard core ex-pats/immigrants, who are a dab hand at the living in a different country or countries, rocking the language, culture – even they might want to ‘nip’ back – where ever back is? To see friends and family. But no one is ‘nipping’ back anywhere, anytime soon.

Continue reading “Do You Have Pandemic Homesickness?”
Our French Life, Our School Life

Lycée – It’s All A Bit Weird!

It really is. In fact everything that surrounds lycée is a bit panto-ish. The school bus, the enabling a lifelong generation of smokers and a kind of bizarre university approach but it’s not university in any way, shape or form. It doesn’t really know what it is and I’ll be darned if I know what it’s all about that’s for sure!

Sorry but for an outsider, from a very different schooling system, I still think lycée is a bit strange. Now, I’ve written about the structure of lycée here so if you don’t know how it’s structured, then please do take a look.

Continue reading “Lycée – It’s All A Bit Weird!”
Our French Life

English Bashing By Brits In France

Whoah there sister! This one’s going to be a bit controversial fun wouldn’t you say?! This is a touchy subject in this ‘ere household. So I thought what better way, than to put out the embers, than to hit ‘publish’. I’m joking of course this is going to set it alight like billyo – best the neighbours close their shutters. Are your strapped in? Yes, so let me begin.

Continue reading “English Bashing By Brits In France”
Our French Life

How To Find A French Friend

Possibly my least favourite Beatles track. Sorry!

Oh do shut up! I hear you say. Are you really doing album fillers now? No. And yes, on the face of it, you would think this was bloody easy to do given that you live in France. How hard is it to find a French friend? Well, strap in and I shall tell you.

You’re in France right? You speak a bit of French or have the illusion you can speak right? Well, it would follow that you will make French ‘friends’ at a drop of a hat. Erm not quite. This is my take on it, as ever, and I’m sure there are lots of twenty-somethings/students in major French cities making French friends left, right and centre. But, alas, unfortunately I am not in that bracket. Mental note to previous self in a different life – move to a foreign country when you’re young, free and single!

Continue reading “How To Find A French Friend”
Our French Life

The Covid Contradictions

wacky races

I have written a few times about living with Covid here in France (you can read about them here and here) but I have tended to avoid it.  This is because it chops and changes every day or if not every day, it certainly feels like it. As I have said to my friends, when we have tried to arrange seeing each other, I have not seen my friends for nearly 2 years and most of my family for over a year, “A lot can change in Covidland!” Continue reading “The Covid Contradictions”

Our French Life

Dear France, Sorry I didn’t Get The Memo!

memo

Nope. Sometimes you think you have it all sussed.  You think you know what a country is all about and feel quite the smug immigrant. Then something happens and it suddenly occurs to you that you didn’t get the memo on that one. Or the one before that, the one after and the one before that. I feel I have missed quite  a few memos since my arrival here in Normandy, France. Continue reading “Dear France, Sorry I didn’t Get The Memo!”