January over with, how was it for you?

January always seem like a non event to me, maybe it's to do with the come down from December's holiday and New Year celebrations but I have to say, I always feel brighter when February rolls around. All that rain didn't help either!

How about you, did you have a great January, or do you feel like I do about it?

List your highs and lows for January here, let's put it firmly to bed and get on with 2013!



Not our house by the way!

January...mildly frustrating work wise and consequently finanacially but I'm still basking in the glow of being back "home", amongst friends in my beautiful flat surrounded by gorgeous snow capped mountains.

Now I am not particularly religous depsite living 10 minutes from the Sanctuaries of Lourdes, but tomorrow I think I am going to go and light a candle for health, hope and happiness in 2013 for all SFN members...In fact it will be the SFN 2013 Lourdes candle :)

Hate January and February and more so with each year older, whether here or in UK. None of the comments seem to be from la Creuse (Limousin – our neck of the woods) which some will know means ‘hollow’. (think that’s the politest translation). Here we are again … the hellebores have blooms but I just know if I remove their old leaves, the big freeze will move in as last year. These winters can always catch you out however organised you think you’ve been putting the garden to bed (the happier, ‘smugger’ you are, the more the bloody Creuse winter will kill off your darlings – like our olive trees last year). The river valley close by is mega flooded but as we have a son in Exeter, our floods are paltry. We’ve all had the gastro, and a nightmare with elderly mum who lives with us (there’s a big spin off story here) but this weekend Six Nations! Whoo hoo! OH and I miss – and don’t miss – all those afternoons yelling our son on playing with local team Gueret (bet none of you have heard of it) – Allez Verts! Allez les gars! ‘til hoarse – but of course all rugby stades are brutally exposed. Oh dear France, what happened today? Italy deserved that win. So, I’m coming up 59, sort of trapped in a carer role, desperately trying not to beat myself up at feeling of non-achievement in January as fellow SF friends are powering on with their novels, poetry, writing, freelance etc (I’m an ex journo but feeling somewhat obsolete). It’s hard to know what to make of January/February as you get older – two months of your life are too precious to wish away but perhaps it is okay to just consolidate, count your blessings, survive … OH and I did our hour’s round walk today (not yesterday – snow, hail, lashing rain), three tiny crocuses are twinkling through, the birds are grateful for their birdballs … still to spot my first snowdrop … can’t wait for Creuse spring – blossom, wild flowers, my lavender, butterflies …

Ok thanks.

Is there much paperwork involved...LOL this is France...but of course there is, but nothing out of the ordinary, it took a few months to get the paperwork together. An interview was had and then almost exactly to the day 1 year later, I was naturalised. Keeping the nationality not sure, depends on the irish govt

Well, good for you then.

I don't know if I can have Irish and French nationality at the same time, that would be ideal.

I reckon I've paid about €100,000 to the French State over 10 years.

Is there much paperwork involved?

Previously nationality (although i've elected to keep it as well) is Australian. No mixed feelings, except it took a long time to get and I have worked hard for it, but mostly I feel now that I can vote at least I can have a say. Ive paid a lot of taxes here and due to my being out of Aust for so long, not able to vote there or here and paying taxes in both places cheesed me off, but apart from that..but somehow I do feel different and I can't explain it?..

@ Kate Navarro: Naturalised? What was your previous nationality? Any mixed feelings? I qualify (10 years' residence) for naturalisation in April, but apart from being able to vote and displeasing my Dad, it won't get me anywhere, as an EU national (the name might be a giveaway on that one).

January? We saw the sun about twice in western Côte d'Or (Burgundy). I've often though about getting a t-shirt done up saying "I survived 8 9 10 winters in Burgundy", but this one really takes the biscuit -- the spirit needs sunlight to function, and Burgundy is known for crisp freezing days and winter sunlight, but this winter, niet, nothing.

..Any month of the year, living in rural? Vendée, encompassed by country folk..."les vendéennes"... can be difficult..La Vendée:the last Royalist(and Catholic) stronghold in 18th century France....many of them are about as open-minded(ouvert d'esprit) as the chickens they rear in A1 paper sized prisons..(there won't be many rustic pro gay marriage votes around here!)....but January hasn't been any worse than the other 30 Januaries(?) that I've spent here..and we are still in love, my (parisien) girlfriend and I....the dog still wags his tail when I pay him a compliment: Can't complain quoi ! A decent month...!

I'm glad January is over. I wanted to start the New Year with enthusiasm and then discovered I will have to wait for my commission money until mid February. Not easy to get back to work with no money and that killed my get up and go. Still I hope the rest of the year will be better than the last two. And I agree about the rain, can it go away now please.

Signed in...got a great big message...3 friends unfriended you ...grammar sucks for a start...that has screwed February for a second...plus as I am so blunt I don't even have 3 friends. January...Entropy Happens! Well it is better than saying sh..one..t happens.

Your friendly misanthrope ;-)

This being the warmest January of the 3 we have been here, last year was horrendous though with all the rain the basement is flooded yet again, must try harder to stop the leak, February is the month to watch out for last year was minus 18 with the washing maching frozen for 3 weeks and friends having to use their well water as all the pipes in their house frozen this year then got away lightly so far

Frankly great as the first Christmas/January not suffering from some awful medical issue for three years. V pleased that this am somebody came up to me and said how well I looked. January was not very cold here in Brittany and this far only two nights of frost all winter! Bonus- electric bill for 2 months arrived this morning 100 euros less than last year. Sad points- £ down against euro so income affected. Pundits say the £ may be up to 1.28 euros later this year. Another sad point our rabbit died. Another plus point our cat aged possibly 14 is still with us. Yes bulbs are coming in fact I am still shallow planting some for instant joy. Very sad Wales lost today but pleased England won. Overall chipper!

Januari was great! Somehow, somewhere, someone opened a work-faucet and it kept streaming in. I made double the hours of my monthly average in 2012, so I wont have to feel guilty for the upcoming February vacation. All the work alo means I hardly got out, but who cares with this sh|tty weather?

I like Januaries except for the fact that I always end up one year older! This one was the first one I have ever started as an unemployed person (or rather, as i prefer to call it, on temporary pre-retirement!) and was also one with about 80% of the time spent with a stinking cold. Ended the month in Dubai on an interesting 3 - 6 contract which will hopefully lead to better things out here and will definitely let me meet up with a lot of friends out here. With a bit of luck it will allow us to move out of Beziers although we'll still need to Survive France as our residence secondaire is in Corsica (which is sort of in France) - where we would really like to live full time.

My January included becoming a fully fledged Frenchy..naturalised on the 25th of January at the Prefecture de Police a Paris...about 60 participants, russian, georgian, 1 cuban, 1 american, 1 canadian, maroccan, algerian, ivory coast...etc very proud to sing the Marsellaise.

Paris was beautiful wearing its coat of snow.

Continuous rain was a downetrain was a downer.

James - glad to see the back of it...except Maisy's 1st birthday which was lovely.

Hi James
Have moved to the village of Garris about 2km from St Palais (64). Beautiful location with views of the Pyrenees from the back garden.
It’s an area I’ve known for around 30 years so have some French friends in the area. The college in St Palais was twinned with a school in Northumberland where I taught for a long period of time. It seemed a natural place to look for a new home.

Out in the countryside , North of Fontenay le Comte I hibernated during most of January - the weather has been rain, rain and yet more rain. All the lakes are near to bursting their banks, farmers' fields are totally full of puddles, and the cows have disappeared into their various barns. I actually knitted two large thick jerseys for myself, stoked up the log stove and curled up in the warm for most of the month - only going out to shop for things I had run out of. Yesterday the driving rain did not cease all day, and produced a few leaks in my outbuildings. Today, so far, it has been fine, so I actually went out into the garden to have a quick prune of bushes and one peach tree - the rest will have to wait as it's now started to rain ! Anyone seen Noah and his Ark floating by ?