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ALLOW ME TO INTRODUCE MYSELF…


…is a literal phrase you never use in polite company in France, in French.


I learned that the hard way.

Let me explain.

In French, you present yourself to someone. In English, you introduce yourself to someone. The subtle difference is that when ‘you introduce yourself’ in French, it quite literally means you introduce yourself into someone’s body.

Even worse if you have just told them you are hot.

No, ‘you have heat’ in French, not ‘you are hot’. If you are hot it quite simply means you are up for ‘it’ and ready to go.


Enough said. Moving on.

I’m Jill, an English professional gardener, garden designer and landscaper living in South West France since 2012. This is a personal account of my gardening life, some of the jolly and occasionally not so jolly japes that ensued while working, and the subsequent treatment of my ongoing back problems.

No doubt the gardening and back issues are interrelated.

Setting out a few guidelines so as not to waste anyone’s time:


  1. First off, there may, nay, will be language. Colourful. Vulgar. It’s a part of me, I’m a Taurus after all. Frankly, I’m not all that comfortable without it or with people that avoid it, however I shall attempt to temper it somewhat, as a nod to a lesser ferocity within, and politely dilute some of the foulness that emanates from my mouth. My brain however, remains firmly entrenched in the bosom of coarseness and I cannot and will not dispel it.

  2. I will try to be less grumpy than I actually feel. Grumpiness is becoming an habitual thing. I fear it is age and condition related.

  3. I promise to be as truthful as my memory allows. I don’t like liars or those who practice to deceive. I’ve been on the receiving end of that. It ain’t nice, it ain’t proper, so I’m not going to be that person.

  4. There will be attempts at humour. I’m not promising rib-tickling, earth shattering stuff, as I’m now a grumpy old bag. However, my husband Simon, who thinks he is second only to an odd Morecambe and Wise/Tommy Cooper/Mickey Flanagan/Jimmy Carr/Ken Dodd melange with occasionally alarming Frankie Boyle tendencies, has promised to furnish me with a comedic repartee every day after I have spinal surgery. This will duly be passed on to you in an attempt to lessen the vileness that I know I will endure, so you too can share in the jollity and his fabulous wit. I’m sure you can hear that my tongue is stuck firmly in my cheek but we await, we certainly await. I bet you can’t wait, eh?

  5. I’m not averse to inventing my own vocabulary. If existing words seem insufficient or mildly inappropriate, I will offer others that suit the way my brain is wired.

  6. There will be itinerant ramblings and fripperies, of that I am sure. There may be serious stuff too, who knows? Bear with them all, or maybe not, if you so choose.

All this now said, if you can deal with my pre-amblings and pre-ramblings, then read on. If not, then thank you for getting this far but I now bid you farewell…


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Hi, thanks for stopping by!

I’m Jill, a RHS gold medal winning English professional gardener, garden designer and landscaper living in South West France since 2012. This is a personal account of my gardening life, some of the jolly and occasionally not so jolly japes that ensued while working, that probably caused my subsequent back problems.

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