Growing Up!

So, hello to anybody who is calling in to see me as part of Vicki’s “Grow Your Blog” Party. It’s lovely that you’ve come to visit, and I hope you find something to enjoy here. I am posting this a bit early too – but it’s only because I’m working tomorrow (huzzah!).

This is quite a long post… but I needed to introduce everyone who lives here at La Maison des Etoiles. (Star House)

I am Dormouse, so called because I am more than a little fond of sleeping! It started when I used to visit Mr D’s family at the end of a working week. I would arrive at the house, fall asleep in front of the TV and wake only to eat. Then I’d fall asleep again! I’d be reasonably perky the next day, but the nickname “Dormouse” has been hard to shake.

The name of this blog, “View from the Teapot”, comes about for two reasons: firstly, the World Famous Dormouse in “Alice in Wonderland” enjoyed sleeping in a teapot.

(Though it doesn’t look very enjoyable being stuffed into a teapot like that!!)

The second reason is because I am now living my dream as an English Dormouse in France. The French all imagine that we spend our life drinking tea, so for a sideways look at my life in France it seemed  appropriate to be taking in the view from a teapot (regardless of the fact I actually drink very little tea!)

The situation of this English teapot is a village in the mountains of the Massif Central, halfway between St Etienne and Clermont Ferrand. I live here with Mr D, my husband of 27 years, and our four cats.

Mr D concentrates on steering the narow boat straight!

We started the Cat collection soon after we moved here, when I went to the Cat Refuge, and chose Pomme and Biscuit. Biscuit unfortunately had a virus and she died shortly after she came to live with us. I like to think that at least she had a few days of being loved as an individual, rather than being in a huge cage with lots of other cats. She was a sweet, older cat and I wish I’d had more time to get to know her. Pomme endeared herself to me by jumping on my shoulders when I went into the cage- a habit she has not grown out of. She was about 2 ½ then, and so she’s reaching middle age now.

Pomme loves helping me with crafting!

After Biscuit died, I went back to the refuge to get another cat. We chose Pumpkin who was the most individual cat you can imagine! She was definitely “my” cat and would follow me around. She would often bring toys so that I’d play fetch with her, or bring me presents of things that she found around the house. The most memorable of these was when we had friends for dinner – Pumpkin was heard miaowing in her “Look! Look! I have a beautiful gift for you!” fashion…and in she trotted with a pair of knickers that she’d fished out of the washing basket!!  Sadly, she had Feline leukaemia (probably passed on from her mother, as she was born in the refuge); the fact we had her regularly vaccinated meant that she had a good 4 years of life that she wouldn’t have had otherwise…but I still miss her!

Pumpkin & Pomme watch for pigeons through the velux

Following the sad demise of Pumpkin, a friend offered us a kitten when her cat was next pregnant. Minou was duly impregnated, and, on 23rd April 2011, gave birth to three lovely kittens. We chose the ginger boy, who was promptly named George, for the day he was born. Later, for long and complicated reasons, we also ended up with George’s tabby sister, who became known as Mildred (Millie for short). She was saved from The Bucket, which appears to be a favourite way of disposing of unwanted kittens in this area. George is now a huge bog boy of a cat, extremely placid and good natured, and a little bit put upon by the others!

George as a kitten

So our Feline Family was complete – until I rescued another abandoned kitten from a fairly certain death under the wheels of a truck at the Michelin R&D site in Clermont, where I was working. Bib entered the Dormousehold. She is fast becoming quite attached to me, and is as mad as a box of frogs. She has quite a lot of Pumpkinlike qualities – she too enjoys a game of Fetch, and although she thankfully hasn’t yet brought us gifts of dirty knickers, she does steal clean socks from the clothes airer and take them away! Maybe the gift of knickers is not too far away! Yes, four cats is probably one cat too many – but I wouldn’t be without Bib now!

Bib when she first arrived

We don’t have children (through choice, not necessity) and I am trying to earn a living here as an English teacher.  Mr D is working at the local supermarket, referred to as ShCarrefour – this is because it used to be Shopi, and then changed to Carrefour – we often forget, begin to call it Shopi and the segue into Carrefour. Hence, ShCarrefour. It’s not exactly his career choice, as he worked in London doing stuff with computers and reinsurance, but until he can find a computer related job (or until the contract runs out!) it brings in money!

At the moment, I’m trying to find work, as I was made redundant in October. I do have some private students, giving me about 11 hours work in a good week, and I have just been employed to give some telephone lessons. That’s another 3 hours a week! I’m feeling quite optimistic…

This is a random view of Clermont Ferrand, taken on one of my walks

The story of how and why we moved to France is detailed in the section entitled “So, throw off the bowlines” that you can see on my header. I won’t repeat it here, but I can say in all honesty that I don’t regret making the move. We may be earning a lot less money, we may not have the job security we had in the UK – but it is a good life here.

I am Christian – no denomination, really, having worked my way through Methodist, Baptist, Anglican and URC churches. I studied in the UK to be a Licensed Lay Minister, and so did a lot of preaching, but since moving to France I have been attending – rather sporadically – an Eglise Reformée. I did some preaching (in French! Eeek!) when we didn’t have a minister, but I don’t do it any longer. While my faith is still the bedrock to my life, I do have a tendency to cover it with lots of crap, and lose my way a little. But God is gracious, and is waiting to take my hand (yet again!) and lead me back to where I should be. And I don’t think he heaves too many exasperated sighs!

Blogging is something I really enjoy, although I only manage to post once, or –if you’re lucky! – twice a week. I love the sense that there are people out in the ether who come back to enjoy what I have written, who are beginning to know me and who, if I met them, would be able to say “How’s the work/ the back/ the… whatever” I love taking part in gift exchanges, and have enjoyed both receiving (well, of course!) and seeking out gifts that are just right. I have favourite blogs that I return to, time and time again, but there are others that I find serendipitously by following random links from other peoples’ blogs. Quite often, I don’t return to these – usually because I’ve forgotten to bookmark them! – but it’s like meeting someone in a café, chatting and enjoying the conversation, and then never seeing them again. It’s a moment in time, enjoyed and then passed on. But, having said that, it’s great when I do find I have new people commenting on this blog. As you will have noticed, there isn’t the facility to “follow” this blog, but if you like what you read, well…please comment, bookmark it and come back and see me another time!

An example of one of my hand made cards.

I have another blog too, which you may have already visited. That started when I was trying to lose weight, and I wanted to be accountable to people, so it was named Fat Dormouse Getting Thinner. There is such an animal as the Fat Dormouse, so it seemed like an appropriate name! Two types of Dormouse:

You choose which you prefer (or maybe you like them both!!)

To celebrate lovely Vicki’s blog party, I am offering a Giveaway to someone who comments on this post. If you read other posts, you’ll see that I enjoy crafting and making cards. I also do some calligraphy. As a giveaway, I’m offering 3 handmade cards – for particular occasions, should you wish – and a bookmark/parchment with a short quotation of your choosing.

Thank you for visiting, and I hope you enjoyed finding out about me…I look forward to meeting you as I visit (slowly, over the course of a few weeks, I think!) your blogs too. Please come again! I’d love to offer you a cup of tea!

37 Responses to “Growing Up!”

  1. magsmcc Says:

    My goodness, Dormouse, I’ve learnt so much more of your story from this post. I’m loving the Grow your Blog thing already- I’ve popped in chez you and Betty and it has made for fascinating reading! I’m having a little giveaway too, but it will definitely be tomorrow before it’s up! Do call round later in the weekend x

  2. Quinn Says:

    Hello! I am from the GYOB Party as well, but I am still figuring out everything about blogging, and could not even get the badge on my page! Ah well, all in fun anyway!

    I cannot imagine that four cats could be one too many. Yours all look like precious individuals 🙂

  3. Moriah Says:

    Oh your kitties are precious! We joke that we run a geriatric facility for animals (at one point we had a 26 year old cat!), so I know all about rescues. 🙂 I found you through Vicki’s party and I am so glad I did!

  4. Terry Says:

    You are an interesting writer. I love your kitties (Ihave 2 and 2 dogs.) They are so much fun. I;m on the GYOB tour.

  5. Sue H Says:

    Hi, Doormouse! Oh, I really loved reading your blogpost and getting to know a little about you!

    I don’t think I would have the courage to up-sticks (or ‘throw off the bowlines’) in quite the way you have done but good on you for going ahead and doing just that!

    I understand the need for quality of life – I took early retirement from library work and don’t feel at all guilty about ‘enjoying the journey’ of life! I’m also a Christian (originally Anglican and done the rounds – now just settling into a Baptist church) – having been in a spiritual desert for a while I’m beginning to feel closer to God, though we often have ‘discussions’ when I’m ironing or washing up!

    I spotted the pic of Mr D steering the narrowboat – we live by the Oxford Canal in Warwickshire and love to see the boats chug-chug-chugging along!

    Will bookmark and call back for that cup of tea later! ;-P

    Regards, SueH http://knittingassassin.blogspot.co.uk/

  6. Rhonda H Says:

    What sweet cats! I am owned by 4 cats as well so I understand the special bond one can have with them!

  7. Becka Says:

    I am fascinated by your life in France, and the story of how you arrived there.
    I am a cat lover as well.
    I’m so enjoying the ‘Grow your Blog party’
    and am excited to meet you and get to know you better.
    Hugs- Becka @ Girasole Farm

  8. Beulah Says:

    May your blog grow and multiply!

  9. Jade Says:

    Great blog name! Found you through GYB and I look forward to reading more.

    -Jade @ http://www.muffinteahouse.com

  10. Elizabeth Johnson Says:

    I enjoyed reading about all your kitties. I have a passion for cats. Thanks for joining in on the party.
    ~Elizabeth

  11. Star Traci Says:

    I have ALWAYS wanted to live in France so I am excited to follow your journey! I also love Alice so you had me hooked pretty much at “hello”! I would love the opportunity to win hand-made cards.

    Also, my daughter and I have an event on my blog wherein we have real pen pals. If you would be interested in participating from France, please let me know.

    Happy blog party! I’ll be back.
    🙂
    Traci

  12. Lou Anne Says:

    I think your cats are lovely! We recently rescued an elderly calico and have had lots of experiences with rescued kitties. It’s great to meet yet another cat lover.

  13. Beth Says:

    hi. hopped over thanks to the blog hop. hope you are well. i enjoy your blog so. so many cats – they were like a quilt laying all together. so sweet. please stop by my blog. have a great day. ( :

  14. Deborah Says:

    Hi I’m visiting from the Grow Your Blog party. I love cats, too.

  15. carolyn Says:

    I loved reading a little more about you Dormouse, and meeting your cats.

  16. Susan Says:

    I’m visiting from the party. I love your attitude/philosophy. I will try and visit again. I have to figure out how to bookmark on my new computer. We have just upped and moved for a new lifestyle. Good for you! It would be nice to have unique cards to send to friends so please include me in the draw.

  17. Tiffany Says:

    nice to meet you and wonderful pictures

  18. Barbara Says:

    Just realised when I got to the bottom of your post that I’d already met you via your other blog, thought you sounded familiar :O) I just wanted to say that your cats are gorgeous!

  19. Gill Says:

    Nice to meet you! I loved learning all about you!
    I would love to join in your giveaway!

  20. Veronica Roth Says:

    Hi Alison (name from email…hope I got that right) Stopping by from GYB and also from my blog where you left such a sweet comment…thank you so much. I can already see we’re kindred spirits and are destined to be friends. You are not far from my most favorite part of France, Annecy and beyond to the High Savoy. We lived for a time in Geneva and would drive to France and Yvoire, Thonon, Evian…and on. Don’t you just love Jardin des Cinq Sens in Yvoire? My children all went thru French immersion so are fluent. Lucky because I’m really rusty. 🙂 I think we (some of us) might move back to that part of the world for a time again. Your site is now on my favorite var so I can come visit and read thru your posts a lot.

  21. Tamatha Says:

    Hello! I really enjoyed reading your post and how you got your kitties. I peeked through your blog a bit and see that you’ve posted quite a bit about life in France. I’ll be back again to read more! 🙂

  22. Jay Says:

    Hi, glad to visit your blog from the Blog Party! I love your pictures of the kittens! So cute! What an interesting life you are leading! I would love to have you come visit my blog! This blog hopping is so much fun! I will look forward to more tales of your kitties!!

  23. Pauleen Says:

    May you acquire many new readers and find new friends. I enjoyed reading a synopsis of your life story, and how you came to have all those VBKs. I only wish my boy was half as affectionate…he is a cat who walks alone, nearby, but never on me.

  24. Michelle Says:

    Oh, I need to come back when I have more time to read; this looks interesting! Definitely following….

  25. Evalina Says:

    You have a lovely blog. I’m new follower and ‘Grow Your Blog’ participant. Have fun in at the party!
    Evalina, This and that…

  26. susan Says:

    I am here from 2 Bags Full blog party.

    How very brave you and Mr. D were to up and move to France. Awesome for us that you are telling us some of your adventure and sharing some of your crafts.

    Tonight when I journal it will be about my life dreams: What can I do this year that moves me towards a dream? You are an inspiration.

  27. Val Says:

    ‘Happy to meet you. 🙂 It will take awhile to catch up with everyone who participated in Vicki’s idea, but I will be back to visit more. That view from your walk is amazing!!! I’d love to walk there. How lucky you are!

  28. nicole Says:

    Just found your blog through the party! I look forward to following along! All the best!

  29. Denise Bryant Says:

    Having lots of fun checking out a few of the blogs from the Grow Your Blog hop! I am a cardmaker too, and a cat lover! Enjoyed looking at your pics and your creations!
    DeniseB
    deniseb777ATgmailDOTcom

  30. Maureen Says:

    Hi again! I am glad you left both your blog addys when you left your extremely kind comment on my blog – I will definitely bookmark this one so I can return! So sorry to read about your feline losses; but it looks like you have a very lovely furry family now! I adore my three kitties; so I know exactly what you mean by not thinking of not having your fourth little one. They are all precious!

  31. val Says:

    what a lovely post….we have 2 rescued kitties in or household too….so sweet! Please hop to my party…I have a giveaway!

  32. Alison Says:

    Hi Dormouse,

    I’ve come across your lovely blog via the GYB links. Looking forward to getting to know you better and enjoy your travails in France.

  33. Peggy Says:

    Hi there! I am not a particpant in the GYOB because I was too late but I am happily doing the tour! I teach English too, in Quebec. I am English, so I live in a French community! I will certainly come back to visit and see what you are crafting and teaching!

  34. hueisei Says:

    Nice to meet you at the party!
    Beautiful blog and I love your cats…
    Cheers!!

  35. Joanne Roberts Says:

    What a lovely blog. I am looking forward to exploring it further. Congratulations on your post. I hope it all works out.

  36. Jane Seals Says:

    I’ve finally figured out how to comment on your blog!
    I’m reminded of the dormouse I made for you in cross stitch many, many moons ago, probably before you got the nickname.
    Glad to see the work’s picking up.

  37. Dormouse Says:

    I’ve had the name for a long, long time…In fact I chose the cross stitch because of the name…and the picture is still hanging on our bedroom wall – I admire your skill everytime I look at it (especially as, if I remember correctly, I’d started it and then given up in frustration. You kindly took it on and copmpleted it!)