Bananas in Bordeaux: Self-sufficiency for Dreamers

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9781901253290: Bananas in Bordeaux: Self-sufficiency for Dreamers
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Louise Franklin Castanet's enchanting and witty book sparkles with humour, warmth and a sheer love of life. A tour-de-force of comic writing, it tells the tale of 12 months when the author's life changes for ever. Putting away her career-woman's Filofax, the English-born 25-year-old, living in Bordeaux with her French husband, Eric, takes a plain notebook and starts to write her hilarious and often moving diary. It is to be shared with their new baby, Benjamin. She chronicles his birth ('the best product of European Union - who arrived with a yell but no cricket bat or string of onions') and the early days of parenthood, when she and Eric veer between exhaustion and elation ('his first smile was the most beautiful thing I have ever seen - even if it was at 5.30am'). But motherhood is not the only upheaval. When Ben is three months old, Eric decides to give up his hated job as a photocopier salesman and to take advantage of a government grant to train as a landscape gardener. Together with their Dougal lookalike companion, Dog, they leave their city flat and rent a stone farmhouse with soft blue shutters, an ancient iron-studded front door and hollyhocks growing against the butter-coloured walls. It has 20 acres of pasture and woodland and faces south towards the river at the bottom of the garden. The rent is cheap, they are told, because their access road is prone to flooding. In this idyllic setting, financed mainly by Eric's government grant and Louise's family allowance, the couple have to be self-sufficient in order to survive. But they also find time for numerous adventures and Eric's typically-French passion - cycling. Practical but also irrepressible dreamers, they make lists of livestock to rear and fruit trees to plant but 'only really agree on bananas - also very good for weaning babies'. Deciding against llamas, bees and giraffes, their menagerie soon grows to include chickens, goats and sheep, the occasional mouse, a visiting wild boar and Miu-Miu - the cat who failed her training as a circus acrobat'

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