Preparing for winter in France frugally

The post title doesn’t lie. I’ve quite literally, got so much wood I don’t know what to do about it. And for some reason related to living this french life for almost six months, that makes me incredibly happy 😆

When I lived in the UK I cared not for wood, beyond maybe eyebrow pencils or laminate furniture from ikea. Now look at me. I love wood so much I’ve quite literally got a rash. I’m wood-sick.

Those who have followed my Instagram posts for the last few weeks will know that we recently took the big (and expensive) step to take out five big trees from our front garden. It was a two day job by professional tree surgeons – plus we had electrical cables and telephone cables tangled up in there like a hot mess.

The work went like clockwork and we were really pleased with our new view…

BUT unfortunately we were grossly unprepared for just how much work it would be to process all of the leftover wood. Coupled with some truly biblical rain over the following days – and though we could ill-afford it – we had to make the executive decision to buy a trailer.

She doesn’t have a name yet so do let me know if one comes to mind 😂

Over the following week and a half we must have made around EIGHTEEN trips to the déchetterie and back. Thank the bois-gods that we have a green déchetterie in our commune, otherwise I might have just upped and left and moved back to the UK (though to where I have no idea, Victoria Coach Station maybe? I do have previous…).

SO, after numerous scratches, strained muscles, cuts and bruises on my thighs from the wheelbarrow with which I’ve become so intimately acquainted, we are DONE. The garden is clear, and it turns out it’s fecking massive:

Oh and dusty AF. I feel like I’ve literally been sneezing twigs all week.

Those of you who know me personally will know that I like a challenge. Hell, those of you who don’t know me personally will. Just look at the state of this blog!

International move? Check. ✅

No job to go to? Check. ✅

Not yet fluent in the language? Check ✅

Seriously limited budget to do it all on? Check. ✅

So, no sooner had we completed the relocation of easily more than a tonne tonne of chopped wood that we processed to dry out in our grange, our morning of waste-wood shifting was over and after a quick session with one of my clients we headed over to a house in our commune… because I had taken it upon myself to buy 2 cords of wood from one of our neighbours via leboncoin and for us to shift and stack it by hand. What fun! 🤦‍♀️🤦‍♀️🤦‍♀️🤦‍♀️

Three hours later and some strange looks from our neighbours (who I’m sure were saying, in perfect French, “those British people are absolutely mad, how can they want more wood?”) we had all 2 cords spread out in the top garden, along with bags and bags and bags of kindling. Here’s some of it:

All good, you’re thinking, lots of wood. Nice warm winter or two ahead. And you’d be right. Future me will be toasty warm. Unfortunately though, present me is sat on the sofa watching the Eurovision Song Contest (on French TV bien sûr!) covered in a bitey rash from some little critters that were in the wood and saw fit to eat me. Coupled with my skeeter syndrome it makes for an itchy evening.

So now I’m going to kick back and drink my Noz foraged Magners to recover. Speaking of which, have you checked out my Facebook group, The Noz Appreciation Society yet? We have a good laugh at our borderline obsessive Nozzing 😆 49c a can! 🥂

And for the eagle eyed among you, you will have seen my article in French Property News this month (June 2019 edition). If you read it do let me know what you think! It’s surreal and hilarious to see myself, G and the cats in print. We had a right good laugh about it and I’ve already had so many emails and messages from readers who liked it. Just flipping lovely.

Anyway, I wish you a bonne soirée and when I stop scratching I’ll get back to posting more frequently on Instagram as usual 🙌🇫🇷🥂

Laura x


  1. Tuesday Wildchild
    May 19, 2019 / 6:42 am

    Bee as she is black and yellow.

    • frugalenfrance
      May 19, 2019 / 9:54 am

      Yes!!! This is great! Maybe, l’abeille?

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