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WE'VE GOT the builders in just now. They'd been booked in for months to repair some rotten woodwork in the eaves.

We're lucky. There's a boom in the building trade at the moment. Popular wisdom says this is caused by the thought that come J

AH, WHAT a dream! Abandon everything, stuff your pocket with a few quid/greenbacks, hard-earned washing dishes or pulling pints in the student union bar or on the Christmas post round, trust to Providence and P & O ferries and set off, guitar

You can always tell when it's going to happen. Notices appear tacked to the trees down the street, lashed to lamp-posts or stuck to the official notice boards scattered about the village.

'By order of the maire' they say, and there's a lot

IT'S ALL the letter S this month.

Slim, Slow, Sly, Scarface? Shorty, Scratch, Sad? Stan, Smith, Smog, Smoking? I could go on. On and on. There are about 230 of them. Yes, they're names. Dogs' names, to be exact.

I'll explain. We went


THINKING OF buying a house in France? A lot of people do and most manage to turn the experience into something pretty exciting. Some even write books about it. The sense of adventure is often enhanced by comparing what your money wil

RUSTLE, RUSTLE. There's something there, throwing its tiny weight about in the long grass by the steps that lead up to the vegetable garden. A lizard? A mouse? A cricket? A cicada, even?

Presently the grass parts and allows your corresponde


HERE'S SUMMER upon us, like a long-awaited favourite guest. Hooray. We've waited so long for this. We can sleep with the windows open, get the main work done in those delectable hours between dawn and coffee-time, flop out round the