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I had never thought about living in France until my husband came back from a press trip to Thailand. Before he had unpacked the suitcases, he told me we were moving there. I ignored him.

SOME MONTHS ago (filled with shame, I didn't rant about it at the time but nursed my wounded amour propre privately in my bosom. I've got over it now, thank you for enquiring) an official-looking letter arrived for Josephine, postmarked R

It isn’t until the priest begins to speak that I remember I am in France.

This is the book I wish I could have read before I moved to France. I hardly knew the country at all, and knew nothing of how to live there. I was carried away by the whole adventure of it. Going to a new place, a strange language, a different culture.

THE TELEPHONE rings. I answer it, saying as I always do 'Oui? Allo?' A voice the other end says 'Monsieur. . . ?' followed by a long pause. I'm immediately suspicious.

The initial conversation goes like this:

Some woman the other end

WE WERE away at the time, so we missed out on all the fun. Some bright spark had decided that the one thing our sometimes quite touristy village lacked was a memorial to, or at least some kind of recognition of pilgrims passing through the village

News reaches me that many of us are going to live to be 100. According to experts there could be 1.2 million centenarians in Britain by 2074.