To paraphrase that well known (?) song from the film Love Story – Where Do I Begin?

Picture this – Sheila and I sat in a restaurant in Cancale, northern Brittany, on a very wet Sunday. We were on holiday and to escape from the rain a leisurely lunch seemed a perfect idea. I remember it well, a set price menu from which I chose 18 huitres, (oysters) steak aux frites, fromage,(cheese) fraise (strawberries) and a carafe of vin rouge. The price? £10 what I call a bargain!

Feeling extremely content I said to Sheila “Let’s come and live in France”.

To be honest it was just a throw away remark so I was taken aback when Sheila replied “Yes OK, but don’t say it if you don’t mean it” Thinking that financially it wouldn’t be a viable proposition I replied that if we could sell the house for a good price then let’s do it.

On our return to England I was surprised, to say the least, when I returned home from work on Monday to be greeted by Sheila with “I have made appointments with 3 estate agents for valuations this week!”

Having both recently retired at 50 years of age after working for the Post Office for 30+ years with a good settlement, we were kicking our heals a little. Apart from me working part time for a couple of charities and Sheila volunteering at the local Hospice we had no firm plans for the future.

Something different and exciting was what we needed. So why not uproot ourselves and go and live in a foreign land!

Being the type of people who never really made plans but rather did things on the spur of the moment we were gripped by excitement and anticipation.

This all happened in 2001 and by the end of November that year we set sail to our new life here in the Loire Valley.

A Blog is something that has played on our minds for a while now and a push from Simon and Caitlin (Sheila’s nephew and his wife) provided us with the much needed motivation and the suggestion of “Oohlaloire” as the name.

Ideas of the content and the direction are still formulating, so like our lives things will just happen. But rest assured lots of stories about food and life here in “Monkvalley”, will happen! With other anecdotes that will surely delight the myriad of readers! with relish by an adoring fan base. So finally here is my introduction to the Blog “Oohlaloire – Monkvalley a life and food in France”. Dates and facts have been muddled a little to provide some romance to the story.

I hope you have enjoyed the history of how this blog started. read on to learn more about the wines of the Loire Valley. Wines

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