Our French Life, our relocation life

The Wild West Of Normandy

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Now, I was initially going to write this post about the British ‘ex-pats’ in Normandy and all that goes with that. However, following on from multiple tales of burglaries and the like in this region, I feel this post has a great deal of relevance and is more than just blogging fodder.

Now with all my posts I feel I need to put a disclaimer that this is meant to be a bit light-hearted (albeit true) and it is only my experience. You may have had none of what I am about to mention and great stuff if that’s the case. However, I feel I would be doing others a disservice if I did not mention the unsavoury element of living somewhere new and in particular, here in Normandy. Once again, strap in. Continue reading “The Wild West Of Normandy”

Our French Life, our relocation life

How’s Your French?

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How’s Your French? The amount of times I was asked that when we first arrived – I cannot begin to tell you! Invariably it was asked by someone who had very little French. Although this information was only volunteered after I had to explain my level of language ability. Like ‘French’ was a person or something, enquiring about its general health and well-being. Now funnily enough, I am of the opinion that if your French is of a poorly nature, is unwell, a bit sick then the same could be said for you as well. Continue reading “How’s Your French?”

Our French Life

Master Normandy Gives Up The Velo Club

 

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No. God No! Actually it’s okay. I think I’m more sad about it than he is.  Prior to writing this blog post I was about to write about his velo club. About how joining a club as soon as you arrive, be it for yourself or your children, is a great idea. It throws you into a normal French life, normal routine and catapults you into speaking, listening and understanding the language. Don’t wait until your French has improved – it’s always improving, it’s a lifelong project. Do it the moment you arrive. I’m so glad we did. What if I’d waited for a year until I decided to enrol him into this club? We would have missed the boat and he would never have experienced all the wonderful aspects of being part of a team. I’d also say children change massively – the difference in 15 months from the 13 year old that arrived to this 14 year old is huge. Continue reading “Master Normandy Gives Up The Velo Club”

Our French Life

5 Things That May Surprise You About France

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So you may think you know all there is to know about France.  You’ve been on holiday numerous times, you’ve been reading all the various forums or you may even live in France. Hopefully if you are the latter you will be nodding in agreement, if not, strap in and enjoy the surprises!
Continue reading “5 Things That May Surprise You About France”

Our French Life

School’s Out For Summer

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Outdoor Swimming Pool at Brecey – 3 pools in total

A whole 8 weeks of summer holidays. Some dread it. Some love it. I’m probably somewhere in between.  I love not having to be anywhere in particular. I love the freedom of it. The promise of relaxed holidays where we’re all lazing about, peppered with the odd major day out. Invariably, it never quite ends up like that but one can dream. Continue reading “School’s Out For Summer”

Our French Life

An Amateur In France

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Although I’ve been living here for just over a year now there are some days, or more recently a few weeks, that I feel like a complete amateur in France – and this generally costs me money.

So where to begin? Okay, so last September whilst we were busy sorting out our house, Mr Normandy noticed that the back two tyres of my car, were completely bald. Little did I realise that this was the beginning of my car troubles. In fact, if I have any sound advice to give you upon moving to France, I’d say treat yourself to a new car! It will be cheaper as second-hand cars, with double the mileage, cost a small fortune. This is even allowing for the fees you will pay for your Carte Grise, Certificate of Conformity etc.  I’d also check to see if there’s a main dealer near where you going to be living. But yes treat yourself and hopefully you won’t spend the best part of a year, in a garage, learning new French words for all manner of car parts. Continue reading “An Amateur In France”

Our French Life

How To Register Your Vehicle In France

It appears that most people tend to dread or worry about this process. I’m not sure why, as out of all of them, it’s low down on the brain drain pecking order. Less thought goes into this than, say, setting up a Micro Entrepreneur business (check), much less than if you start thinking about inheritance, dividing up assets and all that other fun adult stuff. And far less than filling out your first tax return form – check (with a “that will do if its wrong am sure they’ll tell me” type of approach). Actually make that forms – there’s a main one and lots of different ones to add a sense of danger and excitement to the occasion. Or you could employ an accountant but where’s the fun in that?!  Continue reading “How To Register Your Vehicle In France”

Our Renovation Life

The Full-Time Building Works Commence

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So, we had left the house for another two years prior to moving out full-time.  If you’ve missed the previous renovating stories you can read them herehere and here.

Mr Normandy had a deadline. To make the house water tight within 2 months so that we could move all our worldly possessions, from our damp rental accommodation, into our home. This was a tall order.  We knew we had to be out of the rental property (which was big enough to store all our contents etc) by mid July. We needed to ferry all our stuff over in stages to avoid paying storage costs. We’d already saved money by moving all our goods ourselves from the UK. We had made sure we’d rented somewhere where we could combine rental and storage together. Continue reading “The Full-Time Building Works Commence”

Our Renovation Life

The Roof Comes Off

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Having done a two week stint in 2014, Mr Normandy headed back out in 2015 to crack on with the works. This time to take off the roof. Initially we had plans for dorma windows but subsquently decided against it due to time constraints and various problems with rentals etc. By the way, the plaques on the building were made by Mr Normandy – we had a whole range of them which we used to sell and some pet RIP headstones. Another blog post for another time!

This time the weather wasn’t so kind and whilst he is an astonishingly fast worker, even he ran out of time. He had to leave the roof and cover it with tarpaulin. This wasn’t ideal at all and, after a fierce storm, we received an email from our neighbour to say this was hanging off together with the baton in April 2015. Continue reading “The Roof Comes Off”

Our French Life

Top Ten Tips To Learn French

Okay, so let’s be clear, I am no where near being fluent on the French front. In fact, even when you ask people how long did it take you to become fluent – you won’t get an answer. Why? Because you never really are. It’s never-ending. A bit like ancestry of which I am a bit of an ancestry nerd – we can talk another time and I can bore you then. There is no real beginning and no real end.  You see, I will know what someone means when they say, for instance, Mrs Slocombes’ pussy or “I’m free” or “Betty” or if someone was to say “it was so farcical I could hear the Benny Hill theme tune being played in the background.” Continue reading “Top Ten Tips To Learn French”