Crossing the Loire




Book Details

Language : English
Publication Date : 4/14/2004

Format : Softcover
Dimensions : 5.25x8.25
Page Count : 282
ISBN : 9781412024259

About the Book

Satisfied, she turned to me. "Good?" she enquired.

"Absolutely delicious," I lied.

She eyed me suspiciously. "Quoi?" She said.

Was she deaf, as well as blind? "Tray bonn," I bellowed, waving my glass in the air and praying she wouldn't offer me a refill.

Her eyes rolled round the room as if she was seeking an intruder. "I think she's confused by your accent," Fabrice explained to me in English. "She is an Anglaise," he said to Mother in French.

"Anglaise?" Mother repeated as if he'd said 'Martian'.

"It is the best liqueur de prune que j'ai jamais tasted," I said hypocritically.

Mother turned on Fabrice in fury. "We aren't in Angleterre now - tell her to speak Français for the name of God!"

"But je suis speaking Français," I squeaked indignantly.

But Mother had given up. "Les Anglais, huh! she sneered. "What do you expect from the ones who killed our Joan of Arc?"

Crossing the Loire is an important psychological moment, because France's most famous river is said to signal the climatic divide between north and south. But when Heidi Fuller-love and her French lover quit their respective lives - and comfortable centrally heated homes - in London and Versailles in the late 1980's, to live in a tiny French hamlet with twice as many cows as inhabitants, they discover they haven't just crossed a river, they have crossed over into a whole new way of life.

Settling in an ancestral family hovel with no heating to speak of, just enough hot water to spit at and sadistic decorative elements and electrical facilities which would be the envy of Death Row, they struggle to survive in a world populated by colourful characters like Lenin-worshipping Dede, père Renard whose wife 'no longer provides', Steamy Specs the Mata Hari of Mouzon, and Lulu, who lives with his brother, the 'little nutter' in the old house by the church and beguiles the village with endless accordion renditions of 'The Chicken Dance'.

Initially treated with great kindness, when the young couple decide to set up their own business they find themselves pitting their wits against French bureaucracy and rural inertia, in a battle which threatens to drive them stark, raving barmy.

Packed with twisted humour, sticky camembert and plumbing tales to make your hair stand on end, Crossing the Loire is a wicked, witty - and sometimes downright worrying - modern 'Clochemerle' about moving to rural France. Not for the faint of heart!

About the Author

Heidi Fuller-love was born in Kent, to a Dutch mother and an English father. After running a successful comedy cabaret venue near Lewisham (where the likes of Mike Myers/Austin Powers,and Jo Brand 'cut their teeth'), and guiding misguided Americans on tours of haunted London in her spare time - she moved to France in 1988 and opened a Chambres d'Hôtes. Since then she has written and photographed features for hundreds of French interest magazines, both at home and abroad, and has regular columns in 'French magazine', 'Living France', 'Spanish Homes magazine', 'Design & Architecture' and many others. Her 'Notes from a Spanish Pueblo', a humorous account of buying and renovating a ruin in a tiny pueblo blanco lost in the heart of Andalusia, is a regular slot in 'Everything Spain' magazine.

Heidi Fuller-love now divides her time between a charming hovel in Charente and a half-renovated ruin in Andalusia. Her next book, to be published shortly, is 'A Deadly Mix', the spine-chilling and highly evocative true story of the woman who inspired Flaubert to write Madame Bovary.

If you would like to read some of Heidi fuller-love's travel features, follow one of these links:

article in Travel Intelligence

The author's home page