I bought this book after seeing it included in a post as part of Rosie Amber’s Friday Five Challenge. As I’ve mentioned before, several times, I love France and, as we are planning to move over there in a few years’ time, this story of a family who have done just that really appealed.
There have been lots and lots of books written about the British relocating to France but this book is different. Ian Moore is a comedian, and a mod. And a mod who is determined not to let the fact that he is living in rural France get in the way of his sense of style. He refuses to wear wellington boots, for example, even when the land is knee deep in mud.
His reasons for moving are ones I can really identify with. Why, in Britain, do we pay huge amounts of money for tiny houses and a square of back garden? Why do we accept that that’s how it must be? Bravely, or stupidly, Ian and his wife buy a house in the Loire on impulse, attracted by the space it will give to their growing family.
But it’s not all idyllic. Moore has to travel back and forth to the UK to work, leaving his wife Natalie alone with their children. Often exhausted when he returns home, he also makes the return journey full of trepidation as to how many new animals his wife and boys will have acquired while he’s been away. These animals, including a horse with an intense dislike of Moore, a dog that continuously makes amorous advances to anything that stays still and a band of feral cats that accept no rules, become the bane of Moore’s life. But his wife continues to add to the collection, even trying to save the mice left half dead by the cats. I have an uneasy feeling that this is how it will be for us, and I will spend my life picking up the endless piles of various animals’ poo which is how Natalie seems to spend most of her days.
Funny, very readable and honest too, this book doesn’t give a glamorous, how wonderful it is, fake picture of life in France. It isn’t all drinking wine in the sunshine. There are relentless winters, gales that blow trampolines through the garden, struggles and misunderstandings due to Moore’s inability to pick up the language, and times when it all seems too much. Yes, it’s light-hearted and fun, but it’s also realistic. Does it put me off going to France? No. Will I be reading the next book – C’est Modnifique? Definitely.