If it’s Friday, it must be France …
I’m posting a little earlier than Friday this week … and do I have a treat for you! The one and only Janine Marsh is on the blog! Yes, that’s right … Janine Marsh, the originator, creator, gatekeeper, researcher, reporter, photographer, writer, editor and muse of the exceptional website and ezine, The Good Life France. (Talk about multi-tasking!) She will be the first to assure you that she has assembled a talented support group and team of writers to keep up with the extraordinary growth of TGLF. Those who work with her attest her leadership is key.
Humble, unassuming, and with a sharp wit, Janine graciously shares a few personal thoughts with us here.
PS ~ Janine, so many of us have grown to know and admire you through your wonderful creation, The Good Life France. Would you mind giving us a peek into what came before the website and ezine, and how the concept of TGLF came about?
JM ~ Zut alors, I’m blushing, but, thank you. I’ve known I wanted to be a writer since I was three years old but life got in the way. My first “real” job was for a glossy in house magazine for a diamond company, I worked my way up to features writer and editor and I loved it. But as a divorced Mum with a young son I needed a more secure job that didn’t require me to work until the early hours of the morning every time an issue was being “put to bed”. So, I went into banking as a project manager and I loved that too.
When my wonderful Mum died at the young age of 60, it was a massive wake up call for me. I started to think about what I really wanted out of life. By then I was married again and back working crazy hours, away from home a lot. When my husband told me he wanted to take some time off to go to France to renovate our old shack, that we’d bought for the same price as a decent car, it seemed the ideal time to start writing again. I wrote posts about what life in France is like for my friends and family and they called me The Good Life France after a UK TV sitcom (The Good Life about a city couple who seek a more rural life). My audience just grew and grew and with it The Good Life France website.
PS ~ Were you always enamoured with all things “France”?
Yes! On the day I was born in London (I am technically a true Cockney), my Dad went to a horse race and won £50 on a French horse called Janine. When he returned home, happy with his winnings, he insisted I was called after the horse as it would make me “a lucky filly”. It imbued me with a sense of being a bit French from a very early age.
PS ~ The photography in TGLF is exceptional. Which came first for you, writing or photography?
Writing! My professional photographer friends all say that taking good photos isn’t all about technique but having “an eye”. I use a fairly standard camera but I love to take photos and I try to capture a view that best show readers what I’m really seeing more than trying to line it up so that its technically good. People share photos with me on my Facebook page, usually just “holiday snaps” but often because they are enamoured of the subject matter it really shows and makes for a great photo.
PS ~ Your love of animals is obvious and you introduce us to your delightful menagerie on this page in TGLF. Is there any one story in particular you would like to share with us here?
JM ~ Well, I have 6 cats, 3 dogs and about 40 chickens, ducks and geese and I love them all. All the cats and one of the dogs were strays we’ve found. I’d never had an animal of my own before France and to be honest I never wanted one. But, shortly after I came to France I found a kitten underneath our van. He was being attacked by a much bigger cat so I rescued him and took him home. His nose was hanging off, he was bleeding and so small I had to feed him with a pipette. I didn’t think he’d make it through the night. I called him Winston after Winston Churchill. Now he is the biggest cat in the village, completely neurotic and thoroughly spoiled!
PS ~ TGLF followers enjoy fascinating and unique journeys to all parts of France. There is no shortage of the best travel information and surprising ‘insider’ secrets. Readers are transported from magnificent, history-filled chateaux to obscure, picturesque villages to those simple boulangeries you discover, that have been preparing the most delicious treats through generations. Do you ever take time off and relax? If so, where do you choose to visit for holidays?
JM ~ I never take time off because every experience is something I like to share – good or bad. I haven’t had a holiday in years but its okay because I love what I do so much that I’m doing what’s important to me and what I want to do. To relax I read and I’m trying what the French call “Art Therapie”, colouring in books for grown-ups basically! I’m just trying it out but it is surprisingly enjoyable!
PS ~ Do you have a “guilty pleasure” you care to divulge?
I love to dance but I’m awful at it. I can’t help my hankering, my Italian grandmother was a trapeze artist in a circus so I’ve got movement in my blood but it just hasn’t translated to my feet. I dance in the kitchen and one day I was boogying away Flashdance-style only to look up and see Pierre the farmer from down the road and his 80 year old mother peering in the window looking completely bemused. I hadn’t heard them knock at the door; I dread to think what they all call me in this little French village behind my back…
Thanks for taking the time to join us today, Janine … and for providing Francophiles around the world with such a welcoming “belle maison”.
Do you while away hours on www.thegoodlifefrance.com? Have you signed up for the exceptional (ezine) THE GOOD LIFE FRANCE MAGAZINE, published 6 times a year. It’s hard to believe all this is FREE! There’s a link here in the column on the right.
You can also reach Janine here:
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