It was the church bell that would be our time piece from now on; no need to clock watch here. We would soon find ourselves up with the Angelus Bell, it's chimes at 6am calling everyone to rise and get those chores done before the heat of the day. Once again at noon, the bells signified it was time to down tools for the seemingly obligatory 2 hour lunch and, finally in the evening, the 6pm chimes ringing out across the village, called everyone indoors for a relaxing aperitif before dinner.
On Mondays, the nearby town was transformed into a busy colourful street market, where we would stock up with fresh produce for the week and spend lazy hours over a coffee in the village square, catching up with the local gossip.
Neighbours shared produce from their gardens and helped one and other out with seasonal chores.
At Christmas, everyone gathered in the local town hall and made decorations, gifting each house in the village with a brightly coloured cracker to hang on their front door.
Entertainment was 'homespun', centreing around the village hall as it had done down the ages. We didn't need an excuse to celebrate; there was a fete for every occasion, each accompanied by a hearty meal and washed down with the local wine and Cognac, as dancing carried on into the early hours.
Very soon the stress of the city became a distant memory, as the pace of life slowed down in tune with nature and the surrounding countryside. We began to spend more time out of doors, busy in the vegetable plot. It was over a glass of wine on the terrace one evening, we agreed we might have gone back in time, but we certainly didn't want to go 'back to the future' anywhere else!
The story of our French adventure is captured in my book, 'Bonjour Darling' by Heather Francis. Below you can read two of the reviews on Amazon which have given the book it's '5 Star' rating.
'A wonderful book which brought laughter, tears and a desire to visit and experience it for myself. I would highly recommend this to everyone. It is filled with delightful stories and brings to life people you would like to meet and spend time with. The village and its characters sound idyllic.'
'This is truly a delightful read. With an array of memorable characters, it gives a warm and heartfelt account of their time and adventures in Southwest France. Written in a style that is humorous and easy it flows effortlessly from one adventure to another, and you become immersed in the way of Village life. It says that, together with humour, love and determination, you can overcome most difficulties. its a book you will not want to put down. I can thoroughly recommend this read especially to anyone thinking of a life in france. C'est une excellent lecture.'