Wednesday, April 30, 2008

THE Wedding

''One Day Only''
for Ever and Always!

Click here to see engagement photos

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Blondinette, c'est moi

A natural brunette
growing white
highlighted blond
blondinette, c'est moi !

This morning as I watched my brunette-white and washed-out blond hair being swept up and combed into the coloring process, I remembered my first appointment here at Mod'Coiffure.

I was scared...but not for my hair as one might be the first time at a salon. My fear was strongly rooted (pun intended) in my lack of French words. I held on tightly to my often practiced facial expressions and sinuous hand gestures....those are almost fluent! I managed that appointment with my homespun sign language and a few simple, very simple, words.

Today, over 2 years later, conversation at Mod'Coiffure remains limited for me, but, I have a feeling of ease now and No Fear. I have also accepted that learning French is a slow process for me, any progress is progress and facial expressions will always be useful.

Next language challenge:

The dentist on Friday.
What is mmmabbubbhuhuhhhaaahhhhh in French?

Friday, April 25, 2008

Marry Us Again s’il vous plaît

We found out yesterday that my carte vitale (French health insurance) has not been valid since August 2007. oooops. More importantly, Why Not?

After much sleuthing by the staff at CPAM, it was discovered that the French system had ticked the box Not Married on my application.

So. Apparently I am not married. More bureaucracy, more paperwork, more time...this is Life in France. Though we are getting used to it and at least now have some shred of confidence that the system will, eventually, be ''corrected''.

In the meantime, I may plan another wedding for us.
Because, actually, we do need a new set of pans and a coffee maker...
Okay, we won't go that far.
Let's get Mindi and Tommy hitched first!
(click Mindi and Tommy to view their website)

To learn more about the carte vitale, click here

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

One Thousand Three Hundred Sixty Tiles

If you build a house in France, well, it is - at best - a challenge. Most of us have heard all about the delays, mistakes, builders going bust...blah, blah, blah...but, it seems to be true.
We have had many B&B guests, from the UK, stay with us while following up on their house construction. We've become more aware of the many difficulties people are facing with new construction and consequently we became involved in assisting our B&B guests through the building process. Our own experience in building, renovating, buying and selling homes in Brittany has helped us to help others.
About a year ago, Brian and Rosemary were one of over 30 couples that had a builder take their money and run. It was a terrible, long and complicated experience for everyone. And just one example of What Can Go Wrong in building a house. Or, in that case, what can go wrong with the builder.
But it looks like Brian and Rosemary are going to have a happy ending soon!
Brian and Rosemary have stayed with us often. We've had their 1,360 tiles stored in our garage since September and, hooray!, this week we're getting the tiles ready to move into their new house!
They have been putting a sealant on the tiles all morning and
Tony is quite happy to stop for cookies and a cuppa!
Rosemary looks satisfied with her work so far
and I think Brian is saying
how much he likes having his photo taken...
did I hear that right?
Will they finish today?

Brian is The Inspector...
will the last completed tile be as good as the first?

Here are just some of the
one thousand three hundred sixty tiles
piled up
ready to load in the van
and take to the new house.

I'm going to put my feet up now.
Their work is soooo exhausting!

Sunday, April 20, 2008

La Prochaine Saison

Tomorrow marks the start of our third B&B season.
Not that season two actually stopped,
we've had guests steadily for months, but,
I do think of Spring as a new beginning...
and since we are booked solid this week,
it seems to be the appropriate mark for La Prochaine Saison.

Many of our guests have been attracted to our location
partly because of the River Oust.
Walkers, photographers, artists and bicycle enthusiasts
from all around the world
have taken advantage of this lovely stretch of water!

Although no one currently resides at what was once
the lock keepers house,
the garden is obviously well tended
and perhaps the most picturesque spot
in our village.

When we started our B&B in 2006,
we didn't really know what to expect,
what would be satsifying
or difficult,
or, *gasp*,
if we would be any good at it!

Turns out we have had more fun than we anticipated!
Weather permitting and motor operating,
our guests enjoy cruising in our 1928 Chrysler,
fondly known as Emma.

The most difficult part of operating a B&B
is having to say good-bye to our guests.
Fortunately, many of our guests return often
and all agree to a photo for the
Le Ruisseau B&B scrapbook!

For more information about our village,
and the surrounding area, click

Saturday, April 12, 2008

Printemps à St Martin

Happy Birthday to Brian and Margaret!
We walked to our village restaurant, Chez Bernard,
yesterday to celebrate in full French fashion...
savoring a 4 course lunch complete with smooth red wine,
mousse au chocolat and strong French coffee.

Très délicieux!

We strolled along the river Oust because
a walk is definitely needed after a French lunch!

I spotted lilacs blooming

and the arrival of flower boxes!

Tulips are in full bloom

and in our garden
we have primroses, azaleas


and our happy cat Frankie
soaking up the sun!

Click on photos for a clearer, larger image

Friday, April 11, 2008

A Loooong Road

When B&B guests insist on helping with the washing up,
there is a good chance that a great friendship is on the horizon!

John and Anne have stayed with us several times over the past year. They have been coming here to check the building progress on their holiday house, La Maison Rouge, also affectionately known as The House That Jack Built. Problems with the build? Um, yeah, just a few...hundred challenges! As John says, ''It's been a loooong road''.

And expensive. Building errors cost A LOT. During their last stay in February, we all decided to pool our pennies and play the U.K. lottery. Tony was able to scrape some British pounds together and, as you can see, John was eager to take it! So far we have won a whopping 10 pounds. We just need to add a few more zeros onto that...

It was indeed a very happy day yesterday when John and Anne arrived in a van filled with, I quote, ''40 tons of all sorts of nonsense''.

We unloaded the van quickly

furniture was assembled

kitchen set up

and time to relax!

All the best to our great friends Anne and John
as they settle into their holiday home this weekend
and, finally, enjoy the destination of that loooong road.

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Voila! 4 beds…

Le Ruisseau Bed and Breakfast, or,
How a Math Teacher and Chemical Dependency Counselor establish a Bed and Breakfast

First examine CV. Delete professional experience. Guests do not want to discuss fractions or have an alcohol assessment on their holiday. Well, okay, maybe a few would - gah! - but I am staying with Delete.

Accentuate personal interests. Tony took nearly a ream of paper and I more or less filled a Post-It note. It was clear then that Tony would be Executive of Social and Recreational Activities. Tony offers guests How to Find Us directions to What to See or Do tips. He his able to engage with the guests about nearly any topic and he does this with great gusto. Me? I became Executive of All Else -aka Other Duties as Assigned.

Considering our experience in the B&B industry - which was zero - we decided that 3 rooms, 4 beds and 6 guests would be manageable. Fortunately for us, it has been. We have also survived the frenetic pace during the month of August. This is a time when every B&B, hotel, motel, gite, friend et al, is booked solid. Our reservations for August start as early as January!

We tried to give a clever name to each of our Suites. Tried. The Family Suite is individually indicated by the names of our daughters. The Master Suite name just stuck because, frankly, we could not think of anything else!

The Master Suite

The Mindi Anne Suite

The Elsie Marie Suite
Click here for Le Ruisseau Bed & Breakfast website

Friday, April 4, 2008


Brittany residents, tourists, or anyone attracted to France, may enjoy Brit’mag.

Christine Prédéry, Founder of Brit’mag, initiated this magazine to assist the English speaking community with integration. Christine’s experience as an expat in America no doubt inspired her to support English speakers in her homeland.

Christine fearlessly moved to America with both a limited English vocabulary and a high level of determination. Her motivation and enthusiasm were keys to her language development, integration and enjoyment as an expat. Years later, Christine still speaks American very well!

At the core of Brit’mag is the heart of Christine’s dedication to assist, inform and support our English speaking community. Bien fait, Christine!

Click here for Brit’mag online!

Tuesday, April 1, 2008


After many years of enjoying holidays in Brittany, we made a permanent move here from America in 2005. We were fortunate to find a home suitable to accommodate family and friends visiting from America, England and Australia. Our bed and breakfast developed from the desire to provide a home away from home for visitors.

I hope that this blog will be of interest to expats, travelers, family and friends. I will be posting relevant links and travel info, photos and adventures of our life in France.


Above photo: Celebrating 15 years of wedded bliss
at Chez Nanou in the Champagne area of France.