Surviving a Winter in the Auvergne


Everyone says we have been lucky this winter as we only had one fall of snow.

Ok, it was over a foot deep and the car was snow bound for four days, but we are told that this was only a ‘light fall’.

As we are from Leicestershire and not used to more than a dusting of snow once in a blue moon, it was quite exciting for the first few hours.

But when we woke to find the power off, the freezer defrosting slowly and the dog and cat both huddling under the duvet the novelty soon wore off.


Yes, I like snow, the dog loves snow, and the horses think its just another reason to escape from their field. But give me summer any day.

We only have electric heaters at the moment. At one point we did buy a second hand wood burner and spent three days erecting flue pipes. All went famously until we actually lit it. It took three days to get rid of the smoke from the living room, and needless to say, it’s not been on since.

Christmas was a wonderful time, we went to parties with our English friends, had a lovely Christmas day, even having turkey for our meal.

We didn’t do presents this year, due to the dwindling bank account and I must say, I didn’t miss the last minute shopping.


Our French is coming on a treat, we have now been here six months and can hold up a conversation with the neighbours quite well. I even managed to make myself understood when my horses went walkabout – we presume they were frightened by a wild boar.

Apparently we have quite a few around here. I was going to say we haven’t seen any at all, but as we were coming home the night before I wrote this, we spotted a family of four trotting down the road in the dark.

I certainly don’t want to meet one when I’m not in the safety of my car – they’re not small and cute in any shape or form!

We managed to get some work that started in February and we have just finished our third day. It’s only bottle packing for Volvic but any money is good and the people are fantastic.

We have been welcomed so much, with everyone wanting to say ‘hello’ and helping us out.

The people we are actually working beside have had us in stitches with their renditions of Madonna’s ‘like a virgin’ and we have had them crying with laugher after mixing up some masculine and feminine words that really should not be confused…

We started work on our cottage last weekend, stripping it out and ‘Acro’ propping the ceiling up to make it safe.

Leaky Shower

Our bathroom in the house finally has tiles on the wall and even the shower now works.
Some advice here; if you buy a French cabin shower, check that everything is sealed. Ours leaked like a sieve and we had to take all the jets and fixings out and gum them up with sealant – not a nice job.

We were given a sofa before Christmas and moved to an upstairs bedroom, which was nice – especially after I spent three days on the my knees with a nail brush scrubbing years of dirt away to reveal a lovely wooden floor. We also had the farmer over the road round to fill in our soak away.

All in all, we have not done too bad this winter. It’s been a bit of a close thing money wise but we are back on our feet now – for a while at least.

We have also made some superb friends, both French and English, and we now have a social life, and a wonderful home. I still stand by what I said before; I wouldn’t go back to England.

But roll on spring!

Ellie Jones

Share to:  Facebook  Twitter   LinkedIn   Email

More in auvergne, banking, family, horses, people, summer, work

Previous Article Mouton a la cuillere
Next Article Where to Buy Home Accessories in France

Related Articles

Leave a reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *