Pet Sitters Wanted for France – free holidays with dogs

Pet Sitters Wanted for France – free holidays with dogs

Pet Sitters wanted for occasional sitting of my dogs here in France if I have to be away for any reason. Effectively, free holidays as I’ll pay reasonable travel expenses and provide board and lodging.

I’m looking for someone exceptional whom I can trust 100% to be in charge of my girls, Rosie and Fleur, and the cats, Bibi and HRH the princess Freddie Mercury, if and when I have to go anywhere.

161230_fleurandrosieRosie and Fleur get first dibs on the sofa. You may have to sit on the floor

It must be pet sitters I can trust to follow my instructions to the letter, not simply to do what they feel would be the most appropriate thing. Fleur loves everyone unreservedly (except other dogs) but Rosie is very nervous of anyone she doesn’t know, especially men. That makes choosing pet sitters difficult.

I’d be quite happy to take a couple of pet sitters but any man would have to be exceptionally good with nervous dogs to win Rosie’s trust. A couple of ladies would be ideal, or one female pet sitter who was quite happy in their own company as it’s a bit remote here.

No long walks with the dogs, either. For reasons I won’t go into here, I wouldn’t want the dogs taking off my property while I was away.

The cats are not too difficult. Bibi also loves everyone and is very affectionate. HRH is a typical Siamese cross, very haughty and anti-social so it’s quite likely that pet sitters would actually never get to see her during their stay, but that’s quite normal for her.

140627_hrhThis might be as much as you ever see of HRH

The cats are not allowed in the house; they live in the barn and have their own run, Al-Cat-Traz, with a stunning view. It’s nice to sit there in the steamer chair watching the sun sink down behind the chain of volcanoes, with a purring, cuddly Bibi on your lap, and she will take any amount of fuss.

bibiIf you like cuddly cats, you’ll love Bibi

Pet sitters also need to be non-smokers (or vapers) please and no more than moderate drinkers. Also able to drive, either with their own vehicle or happy to drive my left-hand drive van.

If I can find the right person, it could become a regular thing, as I get braver to go away for the occasional visit. But I have to warn you I am paranoid about who I trust with the dogs so do please think carefully if it sounds like your thing.

If you are interested, do please visit the Facebook page Free Holidays in France for more details, or email me


Children’s book raises funds for Alzheimer’s Research

Despite the glorious sunny summer here in France, I don’t have much of a suntan. That’s because I’ve been spending a lot of time at my desk, writing.

I’ve just completed Book III in the DI Ted Darling series, out early October 2015, and am making good progress with Sell the Pig Book IV.

If you’ve already read the Sell the Pig books, you will know that my mother suffered from dementia. So when I was asked to join a group of writers to produce an illustrated children’s book to raise money for Alzheimer’s Research UK, I was quite happy to put both Ted and Pig on the back burner to write my contributory chapter.


Little Kitty – the Cat Burglar, is a charming book which appeals to adults and children alike. I wrote Chapter Six, the others were written by a team of seven other writers. It’s delightfully illustrated throughout and is available from all Amazon outlets.

100% of funds raised from the sale of the book go to Alzheimer’s research, and I think these days most of us at least know of someone affected by dementia, if not have a relative who is.

Final cover

So why not get your copy now? The paperback is already available and makes a lovely Christmas gift for someone, as well as raising valuable funds for a worthy charity. There will be a Kindle edition, but the ‘real’ book is a perfect stocking filler.

It’s something to keep you amused while you wait for Ted III and Pig IV!

Leaving home in the UK to move to France

Just to prove I do listen to my kind readers and respond to their requests, here, especially for Carl, are some of the pictures of my “grottage” near Market Rasen, Lincolnshire.  Affectionately known as “The Hammer House of Horrors” when I bought it because it was in such an appalling state, having been largely lived in by animals for years.

As ever, photographs are accompanied by relevant text from my book, Sell the Pig, for the benefit of those who have not read it and to link things together for those who have.

“I wasn’t particularly thinking of buying a property at this stage in my life, and certainly was not certain that that area was where I wanted to put down long-term roots, having been there barely six months. But, like the Elephant’s Child, I am full of “’satiable curtiosity”.
“So when a neighbour told me horror stories of a cottage in the hamlet that was coming up for sale, I simply had to go and take a look at it. She told me it had been repossessed by the mortgage company when the former occupant, who apparently had some mental health issues, fell behind with payments and became unable to live there on her own any more.

“According to my source, the house was in very poor condition, as she’d kept all of her animals indoors for years – and I do mean all. Apparently the menagerie included dogs, cats, chickens and goats.”
  Main bedroom
“It’s hard to say which of our senses was assaulted first. The smell was indescribable. But my eye was immediately drawn to the tell-tale dark brown stains all over the floors and the door frames, wherever we looked.
“Before we’d even stepped over the threshold Mother was already saying “No, oh no.” But Auntie, who was surprisingly intrepid, was bumbling about peeping into rooms and cupboards and following me up the stairs and round the bedrooms – very brave, as parts of the upstairs floor boards had been rotted away with presumably several years’ accumulation of animal urine.”
First impressions on entering – the “kitchen”
….”I loved my cottage, now promoted from grottage, with a lovely garden, all created by my own hands. My predecessor there obviously had some very serious issues as, once I started digging in the mass of nettles and runaway lonicera nitida which was all there was of a garden, all I came up with was endless pairs of tights inside Walkers’ crisp packets.
“Not sure which flavour. The blue bags. I only like the plain ones so I don’t know the colours of the different flavours. But whatever the former resident had been trying to achieve, I can tell you that no matter what soil you plant that combination in, it simply doesn’t grow into anything.”
The garden, as I saw it first
That’s your lot for today, but I promise to show you some of the “after” photographs, after the promotion from grottage to cottage.  Do please leave me your comments and as ever, this blog is driven by you.  What yea ask for shall be given unto thee, or something like that.


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