We're now legal

Alpes-Maritimes, 24th of October

AkilaWe have a new addition to the family: a Siberian Husky named Akila. She has been brilliant for helping us to meet the pooch-loving French, and has meant that we have a great opportunity to use the language and chat. Most of the time though, we have only understood one or two words, but it helps us get the gist of it. At the ski resort up the road, there are a team of Huskies who take people for rides all year round. Their owner has said that he'll train Akila and I to sleigh - Mush Mush! Mind you, I need to train her in French instead of English!

French and English tenants

We've rented out our apartments. I decided to rent one of them full-time to a French couple. This way I have someone around when Ashley travels abroad, and I'm also able to chat with them on a daily basis. This is one of the problems when you are both English - we're not talking in French to one another. Now I'm learning all sorts of basic French words for around the house, shopping etc.The other apartment has been busy with English people, which is nice for us as we can have a relaxed chat when meeting them in the garden. Sometimes you just get a headache from all that thinking!

The builders

builderOur builders have been with us for two months now. We're very impressed as they're great workers. There is none of the usual "Here love, make us a cuppa", just a good 35-hour week's work. I hope they finish in time for Christmas, but being in France one never knows. I find that I have calmed down a lot. Well, it's a case of having to!

Language Janie!

The telephone is the hardest thing to use, as I can't see who I'm talking to, and their face and expressions. It is so easy to get it wrong and to offend. But saying all this, when it does go right, which is about 8 out of 10 times (with a lot of patience on their part), it is a great feeling of accomplishment. I met up with an English couple recently, and they hang out with ex-pats. In two years they have learned hardly any French - unbelievable! We certainly don't want to get like that. We came out here to be French!

And the band played on

bandA band turned up in our driveway the other Saturday, sitting in the back of a truck. We were'nt sure what they wanted, but as one of them carried a tin we felt obliged to give them some money. I found out later that they were part of our village's yearly party, and we were also meant to give them all a drink of Pastis or whisky. It is a tradition called "Aubade" and they play at every house they can get to. That is what I like about this place; it is so different from anything I could have imagined, and always a surprise.

Sent by: Janie


becca, manchester 2010-01-07

This is my homework to read the whole of the diary and it is good!

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Julia Fuller 2006-08-31

Hi Janie,
I was really interested in your diary as my husband and I are going to retire to SW France in approximately 9 years. Any tips?

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Christine 2006-07-31

I have enjoyed reading the Diaries, but have one question. WHY do you want to be French, I have lived in France for years but am very PROUD to be English and always will be.

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Smita Singh (Fiji Islands) 2006-06-19

Well Janie, seems you are learning a lot. I envy you being surrounded by French speakers and learning from your mistakes in French starightaway!! I am learning French by taking evening classes and it is great! Best of luck with your learning and experiences.

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Markus (Indonesia) 2005-06-30

Hi Janie! Good luck for your new life in France. I'm sure your French is getting better all the time because you're surrounded by French people.
I have been learning French online on the internet using the BBC website for about a year now and have improved my French a lot although I've never practiced it with a native speaker.

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