French Lessons serves up another hilarious slice of life as it is lived in rural France - but only by the disaster-prone author and his long-suffering wife. The seventh book in the immensely popular series about a British couple scraping a living in Normandy, French Lessons is another hugely entertaining account of innocents and innocence abroad. Having been forced to flee from their beloved Mill of the Flea, George and Donella find themselves in a rambling and decrepit chateau set in a vast swathe of marshlands in an isolated part of Normandy. How will they survive in their new home with no money and a menagerie of animals and the author's perennial naivete? Simple, says our hero. The Easts' will set up a multi - activity holiday centre, with hikers, cyclists and other energetic leisure seekers mingling with sculptors, writer and artists in happy harmony. Or anyway, that is Plan 'A'. And so the scene is set for another memorable episode in the best-selling series about two ordinary people who - thanks to the author- continually find themselves in very extra-ordinary circumstances.
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Before becoming a (fairly) professional writer, George East tried his hand at a number of careers. "It would be good to say I followed the advice that writers who wish to become great authors should try all experiences and conditions and types of work, "says George. " In fact, I get bored very easily, and I also got sacked a lot." George's varied career path has included (in no particular order): (failed) Rock god, Impressionist (house) painter, plumber, welder, demolition engineer, pickled onion manufacturer, private detective, male model, lorry driver, brewer's drayman, PR and Marketing guru, magazine editor, freelance journalist, hotel manager, snooker hall major domo, seamstress night club bouncer, DJ and radio and television presenter. After a record 15 jobs in three years, George decided to become a media star, and got a job as tea-boy at Portsmouth's new commercial radio station, Radio Victory. After five happy years and having climbed to the dizzy heights of senior producer, George got itchy feet again and thought he would emulate fellow Portmuthian Charles Dickens by becoming become a great writer. A promising career writing stories for Jackie and Bluejeans magazines came to an end when a conference in London revealed him to be a bearded 18-stone man rather than hackette Gloria Glasspole. It was time, George reckoned, to become a beer baron. As detailed in A Year Behind Bars, George became Mine Host at one of the seediest pubs in Portsmouth. During his reign he was voted Worst Landlord of the Year for two years running, after which the organisers abandoned the contest, saying they would never find anyone bad enough to displace George. It was because of the pub that George became the only human bed tester in the history of the world. When his bed collapsed and the leg came through the ceiling of the public bar, setting off the alarm and causing the arrival of two police cars and an ambulance, the media leapt upon the story and tale of The Bed Bustin' Bar Owner went viral. After appearing on 300 radio stations across America and in the pages of most national newspapers, an international bed manufacturing company offered our hero a job as a professional bed tester, travelling around furniture exhibitions and demonstrating the invulnerability of Sealy beds by leaping from the top of a stepladder on to an Emperor-size divan. Unfortunately, George lost his post when his role in television advertisements was taken over by a cartoon hippopotamus. As recorded in The Mill of the Flea series, George persuaded his wife they should move to France to escape their creditors, and where they would make their fortune living off the land and their wits. His schemes for garlic-flavoured car deodorisers, panning for gold and bottling the polluted waters of their Normandy mill-house stream not working out, our hero turned his hand to writing about his continuing disasters in his second favourite country. There are seven books in the series about his life and times across the Channel, and George's wanderings in France have resulted in the French Impressions series, so far featuring unusual (not to say unique) travel books about Brittany and the Loire Valley. As there are another twenty regions to write about at a year apiece, George trusts that the French Impressions series will see him out to a happy retirement and allow him to concentrate on his hobby of finding any bars in France he has not already visited.Review:
This is a funny, lively account of Normandy life... SAINSBURY'S MAGAZINE A sad but funny end to a wonderful series of french anecdotal life... Manche Today
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