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Mayle’s book is now over 20 years old but still remains a classic of travel writing and has spawned many (not so good) imitations. At the time I stumbled arcoss this book, in the sharing library of an English vineyard we were staying in, I was vaguely aware of its existence but had never greatly desired to read it.

Looking for some light escapism, and given that our surroundings appeared more continental than English, the book seemed a perfect choice. I wasn’t disappointed. Mayle’s easy prose and gentle meanderings through the months  required no deep thought but were immediately entertaining. His wrangling with various tradesmen, difficultly in becoming accustomed to French time, and various ploys to escape English acquaintances who rapidly tried to become his best friend after his move delight. Even more fulfilling is his obvious delight in French cooking and wines, and despite being a vegetarian I was often reduced to mouth-watering approval. There is no conclusion at the end of this book, no lesson to be learnt, except perhaps that of living each day to its fullest and taking pleasure in the minutiae of which life is composed: and perhaps that is one of the most important lessons of all.

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