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Keeping the Dream Alive by Jan Bevan, published by Léonie Press

Keeping the Dream Alive
A sequel to
Peggy's Anderson's "Lilac and Roses"

Written by Jan Bevan

ISBN: 978-1-901253-48-1
(Old ISBN: 1 901253 48 1)

200 pages, paperback, 146mm x 208mm.
16 pages of black and white and colour pictures, 1 map
Published by Leonie Press, March 2005.

Price: £ 9.99 Postage and Packing:


e-Book versions
Kindle format ISBN: 978-1-909727-13-7
Amazon Standard Identification Number (ASIN): B00P4Q7ZZI
Click here to buy from Amazon

About the Book
Jan Bevan  writes: The dream of the title is my mum's - simply to have a home in a beautiful part of France and the pleasure of living in it - and with the French - for a large part of the year. My partner Mike and I have certainly been keeping this alive!

The book was written in celebration of our family's 40 years in the Ardèche, and of La Clède's 10 years as a gîte, as well as being a record of the work done to the house, firstly with my parents, Peggy and Alan, and then with Mike. I certainly couldn't have done it all without them, especially Mike, and the book is my special tribute to him, too. Peg and Alan had sold a piece of garden next to the house we all lived in for around £1,000 in 1962 and they paid 10,000FF for La Clède in 1963 (when there were around 12-13FF to the £). From then on, they agreed, it was to be Peg's project. They never again had a lump sum for all the building work that was required. My mum saved like mad while she was working - sacrificing other things like a car and clothes which she loved. She made them instead and scoured charity shops to find bargains for herself and La Clède. And she collected books and books of Green Shield stamps! She wrote about her experiences in "Lilac and Roses", which I edited for publication after she died.

The thing about La Clède is that it's never had a great deal of money poured into it - just a lot of love, blood, sweat and tears. It's two houses really, each roughly the same size, L-shaped, and linked by a communal door in the corner where they join each other. Peg and Alan renovated the larger building and used the other older one as a store. Mike and I have now restored this part, the original la clède where the chestnuts were dried. We live there and rent out the newer part as holiday accommodation.

The property's set in about three-quarters of an acre of terraced mountain land on four levels, in a small village near Joyeuse (about 25km from Aubenas). We are fully accepted as part of the community and have many friends here. The book describes our experiences and our French life in all its many facets.

Update: After 50 years in the same family, La Clède was – regretfully – put up for sale in June 2014. A sale was completed in 2015 and Jan and Mike are now back in the UK and are starting on a new project.

About the Author

Jan Bevan

Jan's working life has been rather more chequered than her parents', initially "climbing the ladder" in press and public relations, travelling, then opting for a career change as an interior designer/decorator, following a course at Chelsea Art School. After her parents' deaths, she moved from London to Canterbury, where she met her partner, Mike, who first visited Ribes in 1995 to repair the roof. "Thankfully", says Jan, "he loved it too and, since then, we've been spending summers in France and winters in England".




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