About shahdlou

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I am a grandmother. I live alone, by choice, at the very end of France, in the Finistere (Brittany to those whose geography is shaky, the top end bit facing America), on the edge of a small town and near the sea. We have the choice of quiet coves with family beaches, or great wild expanses of Atlantic sand with crashing waves, a haze of spray, no people, just old blockhouses from the 2nd World War, which are slowly sinking out of sight.

I was born and educated in England, just across the Channel from here. I've lived in France, in Paris then the Loire Valley, since I was 19 years old. I'm happy in France. I speak better French than English, the climate suits me, I love the food and the wine, I get on with the people.

My children have grown up and gone abroad, to England and to the States. I have a grandson who will soon be two. Thank God for internet and a good telephone system which means we keep in touch almost as if we lived next door to each other. Difficult to babysit via internet though, or physically comfort a child, even if they are now adult, when things go wrong or they are ill. But most of the time it works well, and we are very close even if we see each other irregularly.

I do not have a lot of money, and times are getting harder. But I have a cosy roof over my head, a garden to tend, a labrador, Oslo, to walk with me on the beach, and a cat who grows more sociable by the day now that she is alone to rule the roost. I am happy. I think I have all I need. I have led a full and independent life which has led me to these tranquil waters of retirement.

I am an interpreter by trade and worked as such, and then as a translator and proof reader, for the United Nations. I moved from that into a coordinating role in tourism, then I ran a successful bed and breakfast until I moved to Brittany last year.

I create things with my hands almost every waking hour. I go to ceramics classes and do mostly sculpture. I am preparing to take stained glass lessons in the autumn. I carve stone, I knit, I paint, I emboider, I design gardens, all of it quite well, but I've never sold anything. Never tried really, maybe I should.

I have always thought, though, that to be a writer would be the most wonderful form of creativity, to be able to live anywhere and "just" do your however many pages every day and get paid for it, well... I know perfectly well that the reality of it is far from the dream. But I am making a start here...


Location: France
Primary occupation: Well I'm retired...so I can do anything I like
Dream occupation: Novelist and artist
Hometown: Sherborne, Dorset, England
Schools attended: Malvern, Sherborne, French Institute London
I like: The sea, pretending I'm arty, reading, gardening, animals, good food, Thailand
Favorite writers: Vikram Seth, Salman Rushdie, Kathy Reichs, Bill Bryson, Gabriel Garcia Marquez, Kipling,
Favorite books: Memoirs of a Geisha, The Time Traveller's Wife, The Sex Lives of Cannibals, The Curious Incident of the Dog...
Favorite newspapers: None, too dirty, too boring, too depressing
Favorite magazines: Saveurs, BBC Gardener's World, l'Ami des Jardins, Bretagne Magazine
Favorite music: Classical
Favorite movies: Anything with Kevin Spacey, Out of Africa, On Golden Pond, Paroles et Musique
Favorite TV shows: I hardly watch TV, mostly the news, nature documentaries
Favorite teams: What??? No sport please. OK, F1, McLaren...
Favorite quote: "The Light must come from within. You cannot ask darkness to depart, you must turn on the light." Sogyal Rimpoche
Gender: F

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