Blog Archives

Open house

Open the window in the village of Limeuil

“Tore open the shutters and threw up the sash” are words that we generally associate with a Christmas poem so this may seem an odd time of the year to mention them. They describe, however, exactly what we’ve been doing at the house all summer long. Sunrise is around 6:00 AM and by then we have indeed “torn open the shutters” and opened all of the windows plus even the doors that give access to the courtyard. While we are both fans of the light that has famously drawn artists to the south of France for centuries, in this case we are seeking something else: cool morning air. We can let in this genuine breath of fresh air and thanks to thick masonry and stone walls, capture it to keep us comfortable for the rest of the day. Free air conditioning! Read the rest of this entry

Retiring overseas

Chambord castle

Our friend Larry tipped us off to an article that appeared in the Wall Street Journal that addressed the topic of retiring abroad. The newspaper contacted about a dozen of their previous contributors who had written pieces about moving from the US and settling elsewhere in the world. Because most of those original articles were so optimistic about this big change in life the editors were especially interested to see if that initial enthusiasm continued years later ranging in time from 4 years to 14 years in residence. Some discussion suggestions were provided such as what’s changed since you’ve moved and what advice do you have for others considering living outside the country, but to get things rolling they asked everyone, “How did your decision to retire overseas turn out?” Read the rest of this entry

Who knew we needed that?

Hedgehog snacker

When you move to another country and pretty much everything you bring with you fits in 4 suitcases and 2 backpacks, you’re going to have to buy a lot once you arrive and get settled in. We sold our house in the US fully furnished, down to the silverware and plates, so we needed a place here that had everything included. We achieved that during our first year by renting a house normally used by weekly vacationers so everything we left behind was suddenly available to us once again. Because it was a compact (read “small”) place, anything new we bought had to have more than one function since storage was limited. I wrote about it in Double or Nothing and we’ve been able to stick with that ideal for the most part. Then we bought our own house and the rules got relaxed a bit. Read the rest of this entry

Pick up

A bottle of wine and a bed, please

A bottle of wine and a bed, please

We don’t have a guest room, as such, in our new house and that fits in well with the “Double or Nothing” philosophy we adopted when moving to France. In a nutshell, it just means that anything we buy here to replace something that we’ve left behind in the US must do more than one thing. For example, the top of our wine rack, right by the front door, gives us a place to empty our pockets after being out for the day and the drawers below that give us storage for pens, paper, maps, and notebooks. We needed a mixer for the kitchen so we got a “robot” that transforms into a blender, food processor, juicer, and a grinder. The patio table converts into a workbench. With the possibility that friends and family would be staying with us, we needed some kind of bed to turn the den into a guestroom. Ever-resourceful Bill ordered one and popped down to the wine store at the end of our street to pick it up. Read the rest of this entry

The kitchen octopus

Where do all of those pipes lead?

Where do all of those pipes lead?

The last time we had an octopus in the kitchen was…never except now, with the new house, there’s one there 24 hours a day and we couldn’t be happier even though it keeps us in hot water. Literally we have all the hot water we want, on demand, from this machine you see pictured here hanging on the wall in our kitchen. Anyone familiar with the old television game show question “Is it bigger than a breadbox?” will understand its size. Updated to our current location, it’s as tall as a baguette, as wide as a beret, and all of those pipes keep us toasty throughout the house. Read the rest of this entry

Satisfaction

Walking beside the Canal-du-Midi

Walking beside the Canal-du-Midi

Despite the title of the Rolling Stones’ 1965 hit song (and today’s blog post), according to the lyrics, they were never able to get any satisfaction. Luckily that’s not the case with overseas visitors who settle in France, according to a recent survey I read about last month. In fact, we find ourselves in a country that ranks 4th out of 45 countries when respondents were asked about the quality of life, and we totally agree. Read the rest of this entry

Fan fan

Open shutters let the breezes through

Open shutters let the breezes through

Growing up in the 1950s and early 1960s in the southern US meant that we experienced some hot summers without air conditioning. Schools didn’t have it, so it was a good thing that summer vacation extended from June 1 to September 1, and private homes certainly didn’t. Once my brother and I were old enough to mow lawns for other people, guess what was the first thing we both bought for our bedrooms: window air conditioners. What a glorious summer that was! Read the rest of this entry