Where would we be without books?

Hello everyone and welcome to the latest blog on The Olivia Rose Diaries on the 15th June 2022.

Our mooring in Chatel-censoir

We’re back on board Olivia Rose, and Paris beckons, but before we leave there are a few little engine jobs to do. This means that Michael has to squeeze himself into the engine bay to fit new fuel filters and do an oil change. For those of you who have boats and can sympathize he’s also fitting a new impeller. The old one never comes out without putting up a good fight which leads to much sighing and cursing. Experience has taught me that this is a good time to leave him to it, so I went for a wander round Chatel Censoir, the pretty little town next to our moorings.

Hidden behind a concrete wall I found a tiny washhouse, a ‘laverie’ . These are a common sight in France, although no longer used, but this one had gained a new purpose and been transformed into a book store, a ‘literary laverie’.

Washhouse hiding behind the wall.
A place of respite.
All subjects covered, even religious philosophy.

The back wall had become a bookcase and was crammed full of an eclectic mix of titles. Chairs had been thoughtfully provided, as well as a child’s play area. A faded notice pinned to a wooden post welcomed visitors, promising that the sound of the running water would soothe the reader and that they could enjoy a moment of peace, of well-being. I picked a few titles to browse through, sat down on one of the chairs, blissfully cool in the shade, and realised that they were right. This little washhouse was indeed a calm haven, one of those special places.

Where would we humans be without books? They give so much pleasure, share so much knowledge, make us laugh and make us cry. Books and reading are one of the best things about being human. However, before the reader can read, the writer must write, which leads me to the main topic of the blog this week. Brace yourselves – my third book has just been published.

I had originally intended that this latest book would be about the next stage of our travels on Olivia Rose but the lingering effects of the pandemic have delayed that for another year. Instead I found my mind travelling back in time to when we had a smallholding in Wales and we were trying, although not always succeeding, to live a self-sufficient lifestyle. This book is therefore the prequel, rather than the sequel, to ‘Just Passing Through’.

I’ve always kept a diary and it proved to be an invaluable record of this phase in our lives, but I was amazed at how the memories came flooding back, so clear after all these years. As I wrote this book, tapping away at my laptop in the various locations where we were house-sitting over this past winter, I could imagine a picture of a younger me, sitting at the kitchen table in our old Welsh cottage. I would have been deep in concentration, studying a book on how to keep sheep or chickens, with the dogs at my feet, perhaps a poorly lamb in a box warming by the Rayburn or a chicken sticking its head around the kitchen door. It was a quiet and satisfying life in many ways but not without its dramas, as we knew nothing at all about looking after livestock and had no real experience of growing our own vegetables. Above all it was a time of being settled, closely connected to the land, our wonderful animals and the good friends we made in our beautiful Welsh valley.

For those of you who have read my first two books and have come to know Michael and I as nomadic wanderers this new book, written as a lifestyle memoir rather than a detailed blueprint of how to run a smallholding, tells the story of a very different time in our lives. You can stay in one place and still change, still make your own internal journey and so it was for us because by the end of this book we were different people from when we took those first tentative steps towards becoming smallholders. We had finally come to realise that we were incapable of putting down roots, even when we lived a life that we knew was magical, a life that so many people would dream of. And so this is also the story of how, after much soul-searching, we left it all behind. We bought Olivia Rose, left for France and began a new adventure.

This new book is called ‘The Turning of the Seasons – Tales from a smallholding life’. I chose the title because our lives were governed by the seasons, from lambing in the spring to haymaking in the autumn. It also reflects the bigger picture because time never stands still. As the seasons turn, moving ever onwards, we humans are swept along with them, our priorities constantly changing as we search for fulfilment in our everyday lives.

If you would like to read ‘The Turning of the Seasons’ it is out now on Amazon, available as a paperback, on Kindle and on Kindle Unlimited. Below is a picture of the book cover and also a link to the Amazon page. I hope you enjoy it.


Best wishes and see you next week.


14 thoughts on “Where would we be without books?

  1. A book I look forward to reading. I am sure that anyone who has read your earlier two, and who know it is now in print, will also wish to read it.


  2. Wow! Congratulations! I look forward to reading the new book! And congratulations Michael on your mechanical exploits!


  3. Congratulations 👏 congratulations 🎉
    Look forward to reading your latest book.
    Keep them coming ❤️❤️❤️


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