La Chambre d’Hote

Susie decided to turn the main house into a bed and breakfast after she bought the smaller property next to the tea shop. She named the house La Bourge which in French means a lady who has to dress with everything matching; shoes, hat, bag and hat!

It’s a beautiful, traditional french house with 3 very tastefully decorated guest rooms and an attic converted into a studio that sleeps 4 people. While I was there only the guest rooms were being used and we had a steady stream of guests. They were mainly French couples and families travelling from the north to the south for their holidays and breaking their journeys in the village. Although we did have a lovely couple from South Africa who were touring Europe.

The main job in the guest house was serving breakfast and then cleaning, changing the beds and getting ready for the next visitors. At one point I considered changing my name to Widow Twanky as I washed and dried so much bedding!

Anyone visiting La Bourge is guaranteed a very warm welcome and great hospitality in a gorgeous house by a fabulous host.

Have a look at the website:, and if you are lucky enough to stay there check out the beautiful tiling on the ground floors.

sitting room the blue room the cream room the grey room

Le Salon de The

The little tea shop in Le Grand Bourg I worked in is called Time for Tea, it is sandwiched between the guest house and Susie’s house. It is decked out in 1950’s vintage splendor from the cabinets to the Formica tables.

It’s open from Wednesday to Sunday between the hours of 12 and 5. The delicious lunches on offer are soup with homemade bread followed by the tart of the day with 2 salads. The tarts come in many variations such as Spanish tortilla, vegetable terrine and spicy pizza, I made quite a nice spinach tortilla which seemed to go well. My savoury muffins, however, weren’t such a great success and could have been used as a weapon when they went extremely hard after a couple of days! But I redeemed myself a few days later with a tomato and mozzarella bread straight out of the pages of Paul Hollywood’s baking bible.

For afternoon tea the customers can choose from the good old fruit scone and a variety of yummy cakes. I’m not really much of a baker but I did manage to knock up a decent coffee and walnut cake. Of course all these goodies are washed down with copious amounts of tea.

Most of the customers in the tea shop are British people who have houses in the area, although we did have a few French customers on my first weekend as there was an open garden event going on. I think only the Brits truly appreciate a lovely cuppa in the sweltering heat, although I did manage to convert my fellow Workawayer, Karet from Estonia, to my way of thinking that it’s never too hot to drink tea!

cake display formica heaven le salon de the my walnut cake the bread vintage cabinets


The tea shop and bed and breakfast were situated in a village called Le Grand Bourg, but it should have been called Le Petit Bourg because it wasn’t the biggest of places. Apart from a few restaurants, a hairdressers, pharmacy and a bakery there wasn’t a lot going on. But there was something peculiar about the place that I never seen anywhere else on my travels. Around the village were very freaky looking manikins dressed up in various outfits and in different poses.

bag lady boules man confused corpse bride family gathering french boyfriend get knitted grizzly adams just freaky just wierd paper man poker face pot stealer tour de france

I’m not sure what they were supposed to represent but they were definitely nightmare inducing up close.

Le voyage commence

After a very early start and a ride to the airport with a very nosy taxi driver, I was soon jetting off to Limoges. An hour and half flight time later I landed in one of the smallest airports I’ve ever been to. Another taxi ride, this time with a very quiet driver took me to Limoges train station to continue my journey to La Souterraine. My internet search told me there might be a bus from the station that would take me to Le Grand Bourg, but as it only ran four times a week it would have been too optimistic to hope that Friday would be my lucky bus day. My host, Susie, very kindly picked me up.

Susie is a Brit and she owns the Tea shop, the bed and breakfast and the house next door. The other members of the family are; Pongo the dog she adopted while living in Morocco, Tripod the three legged cat, while she was a kitten a dog, (not Pongo), mistook her for a toy and bit off her leg, then there’s Colin the tabby cat with an identity disorder, he and Pongo think they are Yorkshire Terriers as they only eat dry food made especially for that breed.

There was another Workawayer here, Karet a French language student from Estonia. She had already been working for two weeks and had another two weeks to go.

My room was small and perfectly formed and I knew instantly I would be happy.

pongo tripod 20150709_214238

En Vacance

When a person finds themselves single again there is always the dilemma of what to do for a summer holiday. A lot of my friends are married with younger children or in relationships. My sons are adults now and certainly do not want to spend a couple of weeks in a foreign land with their old mum. I’m not really a lying in the sun kind of person and definitely wouldn’t want to do that on my own.

So having scoured the internet for ideas for holidays for billy no mates I found a site called Workaway. In return for 5 hours of work a day, 5 days a week, (on average), a host will provide accommodation and food. There are hosts in a variety of settings offering all kinds of work worldwide. As this was my first adventure I decided to stay close-ish to home and look for a placement in France.

Imagine my delight as I found a vintage tea shop in the Limousin region in a small town called Le Grand Bourg. My joy continued when I discovered that I could fly directly there from Bristol.

According to the site, the work included baking cakes and bread, serving customers and helping out in the bed and breakfast attached to the tea shop. As none of this sounded too taxing I booked myself in.

The next few posts will tell the story of my grand adventure en Francais.


Planking disaster

The planking challenge for February didn’t go according to plan, I only managed 2 attempts of planking for 20 seconds and that was a limb shaking effort!

But on a positive note, the reason why I’ve neglected the planking challenge is that I’ve been busy being active in other ways. For sometime now I have been walking part of the way home everyday, which is approximately a 25 minute walk and a couple of times over the last few weeks I have extended the walk, so very soon I should be walking all the way home. I have downloaded a pedometer on my phone and aim to do 10000 steps a day.

In addition to the walking and my weekly zumba class I have joined my local Back to Netball group. This is a nationwide initiative to get women back into playing netball in a friendly and pressure free environment. I played in the netball team in primary school, secondary school and college and absolutely loved it, but as that was at least 32 years ago so as you can imagine I don’t feel anywhere near good enough to play in a team. Just the very mention of the words “try out” fills me with dread. I’ve only been to 3 netball sessions so far but I’m really enjoying it, although I’m very out of practice and really need to work on my defending skills. Maybe before the season starts again I’ll be up to joining a team, but for the moment I’m happy just getting back into the swing of it.

I feel so blessed to be able to build up my fitness after suffering from chronic fatigue syndrome, while I was ill I never thought I would have the opportunity or indeed the strength ever again to live a fulfilling life. I hope by sharing my experiences I can bring hope to sufferers of this debilitating illness and belief that there is light at the end of the tunnel, even if it seems a very long one.

back to netball

Best laid plans

My start to the 28 day plank challenge didn’t go as planned.

My best friend and partner in crime Jane had a very special birthday the weekend the challenge started.

We had the most wonderful time in the smallest theatre in England, The Roxy in Axbridge, Somerset. Set in a Georgian coaching inn in the High street this community cinema seats just 36 people.

So a group of slightly wild women all congregated to watch the sing a long version of Mamma Mia and drink copious amounts of prosecco. We sang and danced all evening, terrorising our butlers in the buff (who kept their pants on!).

We had also hired the connecting house, so 11 of us donned our our onsies and danced and partied some more.

Needless to say the next day I was slightly worse for wear! I couldn’t get out of bed because I felt so sick, so planking was the last thing on my mind.

roxy theatre

roxy bar

group photo cinema

onsie time



Year of good intentions

Every year I make New Year resolutions and mostly I don’t succeed in keeping any of them. They always seem to be along the same themes… get fitter, learn another language, write my novel.
Last year there was a slight improvement , I did start Italian lessons but I chose one to one lessons and found them very intense and was ever so slightly scared of my tutor! So that one went down the pan.
The ideas and words for my novel are still in my head and haven’t made it anywhere near all the notebooks that I have stacked up collecting dust.
Getting fitter has been more successful, I’m slimmer than I’ve been for a long time, I am walking more and have even started running again.
I do need to work on my core strength so to this end I am going to attempt to do the 28 day plank challenge during the month of February. Then at least I can tick off a resolution as achieved.
I’m going to write regular posts on my progress throughout the month, but don’t just read about it, have a go! below are the details from the plank challenge Facebook page.
The 28 Days Plank Challenge
The task: “Planks”

How it works?

The elbows are directly under your shoulders.
The legs stretched like pushups.
Tense your buttocks at (M. gluteus maximus).
Stay in this position. Do not forget to breathe.

sounds simple, but it´s really tricky 😉

We start on February 1 to February 28 !!!
Day 1 – 20 seconds
Day 2 – 20 seconds
Day 3 – 30 seconds
Day 4 – 30 seconds
Day 5 – 40 seconds
Day 6 – rest
Day 7 – 45 seconds
Day 8 – 45 seconds
Day 9 – 60 seconds
Day 10 – 60 seconds
Day 11 – 60 seconds
Day 12 – 90 seconds
Day 13 – rest
Day 14 – 90 seconds
Day 15 – 90 seconds
Day 16 – 120 seconds
Day 17 – 120 seconds
Day 18 – 150 seconds
Day 19 – rest
Day 20 – 150 seconds
Day 21 – 150 seconds
Day 22 – 180 seconds
Day 23 – 180 seconds
Day 24 – 210 seconds
Day 25 – rest
Day 26 – 210 seconds
Day 27 – 240 seconds
Day 28 – PLANK for as long as possible

Planks is great !!!!
It strengthens the lower back, abdominal muscles and hips, buttocks as well

GO FOR IT !!!!


Santa’s on the run

Last weekend myself and 2 of my workmates, Stephen and Vicky limbered up in Millennium Square in Bristol for the annual Santa run in aid of Children’s Hospice South West.

Eddie and Jill Farwell had 2 children with life limiting conditions and had to travel miles from their home to receive care and respite for them. So in 1991 they decided to set up a hospice in their area. Little Bridge House was opened in 1995 but it was very soon apparent that this much needed service was unable to cope with demand. A second hospice was therefore opened just on the outskirts of Bristol called Charlton Farm in 2007. In the same year Little Harbour was created in Cornwall.

All of these fantastic places are full of dedicated staff providing specialised, holistic care for all the family to make every moment special and enhance quality of life as much as possible. But all this costs a lot of money and they rely heavily on fundraising.

Hence my friends and I dressed as Santa’s to do a 2km around the centre of Bristol. It really was the most surreal experience to be surrounded by hundreds of Santa’s of all shapes and sizes. Even the pet dogs made an effort in their festive doggy suits! But what made me laugh the most was the reaction of the general public, there were many people standing along the route cheering us on, but there were also many blase people who obviously thought it was perfectly normal to see 1500 Santa’s on a fun run and just walked along as if nothing was happening.

It was really good fun and it was the first time since I’ve recovered from chronic fatigue syndrome that I’ve run any distance and it felt good.

Carole and vicky santa's galore Stephen, Carole and Vicky

It’s all in the name

While I don’t like wasting time and energy thinking about my tragic marriage to the Turk, I did see something last week that made me giggle.

A few months before my soon-to-be ex husband’s indiscretions were found out he had a tattoo done on his arm with my name through the middle of it, bit of a strange decision knowing what I know now! Obviously this is now problematic for him and he has since tried to change it to the name of the other woman that was in our marriage. But by the look of the photo I saw it didn’t go according to plan and as far as I’m aware that relationship has since gone down the pan.

All is not lost though, as long as the next object of his desire is named “Kargle”, everything will be just peachy.

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