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Bananas in Bordeau Book Cover Bananas in Bordeaux:
Self-sufficiency for Dreamers

Written and illustrated by
Louise Franklin Castanet
 

ISBN: 978-1-901253-29-0

(Old ISBN: 1 901253 29 5)

306 pages, paperback, 146mm x 208mm.
12 watercolours, 2 B&W photos

Published by Leonie Press, May 26, 2002.
Reprinted January 2005, March 2007

Price: £ 10.99 Postage and Packing:

About the Book

Louise Franklin Castanet's enchanting and witty book sparkles with humour, warmth and a sheer love of life. A tour-de-force of comic writing, it tells the tale of 12 months when the author's life changes for ever. Putting away her career-woman's Filofax, the English-born 25-year-old, living in Bordeaux with her French husband, Eric, takes a plain notebook and starts to write her hilarious and often moving diary. It is to be shared with their new baby, Benjamin. She chronicles his birth ("the best product of European Union - who arrived with a yell but no cricket bat or string of onions") and the early days of parenthood, when she and Eric veer between exhaustion and elation ("Ben's first smile was the most beautiful thing I have ever seen - even, if it was at 5.30am").

But motherhood is not the only upheaval. When Ben is three months old, Eric decides to give up his hated job as a photocopier salesman and to take advantage of a government grant to train as a landscape gardener. Together with their Dougal lookalike companion, Dog, they leave their city flat and rent a stone farmhouse with soft blue shutters, an ancient iron-studded front door and hollyhocks growing against the butter-coloured walls. It has 20 acres of pasture and woodland and faces south towards the river at the bottom of the garden. The rent is cheap, they are told, because their access road is prone to flooding.

In this idyllic setting, financed mainly by Eric's government grant and Louise's family allowance, the couple have to be self-sufficient in order to survive. But they also find time for numerous adventures and Eric's typically-French passion - cycling.

Practical but also irrepressible dreamers, they make lists of livestock to rear and fruit trees to plant but "only really agree on bananas - also very good for weaning babies". Deciding against llamas, bees and giraffes, their menagerie soon grows to include chickens, goats and sheep, the occasional mouse, a visiting wild boar and Miu-Miu - the cat who failed her training as a circus acrobat...

About the Author
Louise Castanet
Louise Franklin was born in Somerset. She moved with her family to Cumbria before moving to Bordeaux in 1980. In 1982 the family returned to the West Country, settling in Bristol. Louise attended Bristol Grammar School and was a 6th form pupil at Colston's Girls' School. She achieved the John James award for Academic Success in 1990, and then went on to read French at University College London, where she graduated with a first class honours degree in 1994.

She met her future husband, Eric Castanet, in Bordeaux during her year-out from university, and moved to France to settle permanently in 1994 once her degree was completed. Eric and Louise married in 1995, and had two sons, Benjamin and Hugo. Sadly, they have recently split up.

Louise still lives in the Bordeaux area where she is involved with the restoration of an ancient water mill and its conversion into gites, on behalf of an aunt and uncle who live in the United States.Click_here

Reviews
This delightful book more or less chose itself as our Book of the Month..." Living France, August 2002.

"You have done it again - reduced me to a blubbering wreck as I commute to work, alternating guffaws with sobs. How wonderful that, despite the generation gap between Anne and Louise, the same sensitivity, love and joy shine through. I hope she is still writing the diary even as I sit in my garden writing this. She reminded me how wonderful it is growing children. Mine are now 30 and 27, so I'm beginning to think grandchildren... " CB of Southampton writing to Anne Loader.

An extract from the book appears in the January-February 2003 copy of "France" magazine, Pages 64-65. In it Louise describes her experiences as a private English language tutor at one of the local chateaux...
Although that issue of the magazine is now out of print, the book isn't and can be obtained from us.


You can order this book directly from us by post by following our Ordering Books links -
or if you prefer you can order electronically by credit card from Amazon UK, by clicking here... Order from Amazon UK
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