Author Topic: A Year in Provence by Peter Mayle  (Read 1513 times)

Sydneystache

  • Stubble
  • **
  • Posts: 176
  • Location: Sydney (Westie!)
  • Aiming for RE!
A Year in Provence by Peter Mayle
« on: February 27, 2017, 05:40:13 AM »
When I was an impressionable 13 or 14 year old, I devoured this book. I had nothing in common with the author, never been to Provence yet even today this book has remained with me as my ultimate escape book. Was this the book that changed my outlook on life?

Looking back at it now, it resonates with the desire to FIRE and to live a better life. The angst of what to do during retirement was a fear unfounded. Mayle retired at 55 after 2 divorces and with 12 months of living expenses. He wasn't FI, he had a book contract to float him. And indeed this book turbocharged his post-FIRE life and wildly made him richer both materially and spiritually.

Perhaps how/what Mayle made his life in France so successful was his positive attitude and openness to changes and a more chillaxed way of approaching obstacles.

I do wonder how much this book has influenced my life choices and how it continues to - the search for sunlight, the search for community, the search for simplicity.

Stachey

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 885
Re: A Year in Provence by Peter Mayle
« Reply #1 on: February 27, 2017, 03:28:06 PM »
I really love your description of this book Sydneystache!  I liked this book a lot too but didn't realize the backstory (only 12 months of living expenses (!) for example).

A book you might also like is called "My Family and Other Animals" by Gerard Durrell.  It's not Mustachian per se (I think they were rather bad with money) but it is very evocative of a simple life in the wonderful countryside of Corfu.   

Sydneystache

  • Stubble
  • **
  • Posts: 176
  • Location: Sydney (Westie!)
  • Aiming for RE!
Re: A Year in Provence by Peter Mayle
« Reply #2 on: February 27, 2017, 03:45:52 PM »
Thanks Stachey - I have been meaning to read the Durrell books. They are such a fascinating family. The Durrell mother was a trailblazer in that regard - can't live in England so just move elsewherre. We saw the TV adaptation of "My Life and other Animals" last year and that was pretty funky. I loved the scene where the Durrells decided to dine in, rather than by, the sea but somehow forgot about the tides. Agree about them being bad with money so were frugal out of necessity.

How many rundown former Corfu palaces are available now for a reno and refit? Or Mayle's provencal mas?

Stachey

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 885
Re: A Year in Provence by Peter Mayle
« Reply #3 on: February 27, 2017, 04:18:50 PM »
Gerard and his family had great senses of humour (and I can't remember if it made it into that movie or not) the part where they named two new puppies that Gerard adopted: Widdle and Puke.
They also were trying to figure what to christen the boat that Gerry's brother had built for him...they decided to call it "Bum Trinket".  I still laugh over that book and I haven't read it in years.

You know I saw a cooking show on tv a few years ago...this British chef travelling around the Mediterranean collecting recipes.  Well he went to Corfu and saw the Durrell's Pink House!!!  It was pretty rundown looking but it was right on the seashore.  Gorgeous looking country.

Sydneystache

  • Stubble
  • **
  • Posts: 176
  • Location: Sydney (Westie!)
  • Aiming for RE!
Re: A Year in Provence by Peter Mayle
« Reply #4 on: February 27, 2017, 07:19:56 PM »
Was it Keith Floyd or Rick Stein?

BTW, just came across this on Larry

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EIOjaroRfEI

He looks so much like Gerard with the facial bone structure.

In 9:00 - "I was given GBP100 advance for a book which would give you 6 months freedom in Corfu, eating well and drinking well."

Hehe - gotta love it: wine, fun and happiness on peasant food!
« Last Edit: February 27, 2017, 07:29:32 PM by Sydneystache »

Stachey

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 885
Re: A Year in Provence by Peter Mayle
« Reply #5 on: February 27, 2017, 09:35:46 PM »
Cheers Sydneystache!!  I didn't know about that program. 

Amazing isn't it...100 pounds would give you six months of the good life on Corfu.  I like how he says "a person doesn't need very much to live" and "frugality is a very important lesson to learn".  Very Mustachian of him.  :)
I haven't read any Lawrence Durrell books.  Have you?  I might have to look for some.

I think it was a Rick Stein program I saw.

Sydneystache

  • Stubble
  • **
  • Posts: 176
  • Location: Sydney (Westie!)
  • Aiming for RE!
Re: A Year in Provence by Peter Mayle
« Reply #6 on: February 27, 2017, 11:04:13 PM »
No haven't read any of Larry's work yet - it is on the to do list! His Alexandria Quartet is supposed to be a classic but my impression he is dark whereas Gerald is in to the lighter side of life. Margo has written a book as well so there's plenty on the Durrell family reading list.

Trudie

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1296
Re: A Year in Provence by Peter Mayle
« Reply #7 on: April 05, 2017, 02:59:46 PM »
I really love your description of this book Sydneystache!  I liked this book a lot too but didn't realize the backstory (only 12 months of living expenses (!) for example).

A book you might also like is called "My Family and Other Animals" by Gerard Durrell.  It's not Mustachian per se (I think they were rather bad with money) but it is very evocative of a simple life in the wonderful countryside of Corfu.

Didn't the make a TV series of the Durrell's in Corfu for PBS?

pachnik

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1426
  • Age: 53
  • Location: Vancouver, BC
Re: A Year in Provence by Peter Mayle
« Reply #8 on: April 05, 2017, 03:12:11 PM »
Interesting thread.  I just picked up a copy of "A Year in Provence" at the thrift store and started reading it. 

VeggieGirl

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 46
Re: A Year in Provence by Peter Mayle
« Reply #9 on: April 05, 2017, 04:06:05 PM »
I read this book many years ago and loved it then. I probably should re-read it as I don't really remember much of it as it's been so long. Anyone read any of his other books?

Sydneystache

  • Stubble
  • **
  • Posts: 176
  • Location: Sydney (Westie!)
  • Aiming for RE!
Re: A Year in Provence by Peter Mayle
« Reply #10 on: April 05, 2017, 10:27:47 PM »
I read this book many years ago and loved it then. I probably should re-read it as I don't really remember much of it as it's been so long. Anyone read any of his other books?

Nearly read them all - the caper series is his most recent one which is meh. Along the lines of writing detective stories (what is it with wanting to write detective stories cf JK Rowling). I do like his trilogy of Provence: A Year in, Encore and Toujours Provence. They are classics: truffle hunting, mushroom foraging and foie gras eating. Getting hungry now.

The only book I haven't read is his baker's recipe book.

Sydneystache

  • Stubble
  • **
  • Posts: 176
  • Location: Sydney (Westie!)
  • Aiming for RE!
Re: A Year in Provence by Peter Mayle
« Reply #11 on: April 05, 2017, 10:30:02 PM »
I really love your description of this book Sydneystache!  I liked this book a lot too but didn't realize the backstory (only 12 months of living expenses (!) for example).

A book you might also like is called "My Family and Other Animals" by Gerard Durrell.  It's not Mustachian per se (I think they were rather bad with money) but it is very evocative of a simple life in the wonderful countryside of Corfu.

Didn't the make a TV series of the Durrell's in Corfu for PBS?

Yup - having a full course table lunch on the water while the tide goes in makes me want to recreate it but I'll do it on a low receding tide than an incoming high tide 😉

Stachey

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 885
Re: A Year in Provence by Peter Mayle
« Reply #12 on: April 06, 2017, 10:37:06 AM »
I really love your description of this book Sydneystache!  I liked this book a lot too but didn't realize the backstory (only 12 months of living expenses (!) for example).

A book you might also like is called "My Family and Other Animals" by Gerard Durrell.  It's not Mustachian per se (I think they were rather bad with money) but it is very evocative of a simple life in the wonderful countryside of Corfu.

Didn't the make a TV series of the Durrell's in Corfu for PBS?

I've seen two different made for tv movies about the Durrells time in Corfu. 

One was from several years ago and is called "My Family and Other Animals" and closely follows the Gerard Durrell book of the same name.  This movie was excellent!  (I was able to find this on DVD in the library...it's a two hour movie, not a series.)

The second is called "Durrell's in Corfu" which is a series recently on PBS.  It seems to be based on more books than just Gerard's because it had a lot different information than are in his book.  (about his mother almost remarrying for example )   I didn't like this series nearly as much.  It doesn't capture the humour and charm of Gerard's books.

Trudie

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1296
Re: A Year in Provence by Peter Mayle
« Reply #13 on: April 19, 2017, 01:13:09 PM »
I just picked up "Toujours Provence" (the follow up) at a thrift store for a quarter and am loving it.  I enjoy books in this genre.  The publisher of my paperback copy had a section in the back where it listed other travel memoirs on offer.  I just tore the pages out and am heading to my public library with the list so I can check some out.

Dicey

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 4912
  • Age: 59
  • Location: NorCal
Re: A Year in Provence by Peter Mayle
« Reply #14 on: April 20, 2017, 12:21:14 PM »
Yup, I've read all of Mayle's stuff and enjoyed it tremendously, despite reading somewhere that even the non-fiction stuff is ahem, "stylized".

I also enjoyed Francis Mayes' "Under the Tuscan Sun" and "Bella Tuscany". Her NF work, "A Year In The World" was much less captivating, and I've read none of the subsequent titles, though I know she has returned to her southern roots and lived to tell the tale. Also somewhat fictionalized, which you will understand after reading the second book. A similar kind of story, told from a woman's point of view. The movie wasn't bad either, because, Tuscany, even if they did screw with the plot line.

Speaking of movie adaptations, I adored "My House in Umbria" which stars Maggie Smith. I love it to this day. I read the book afterwards and didn't feel like the movie missed anything, which is a rarity, as every passionate reader knows.
I did it! I have a journal!
http://forum.mrmoneymustache.com/journals/a-lot-like-this/
And hell yes, I am still moving confidently in the direction of my dreams...

Stachey

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 885
Re: A Year in Provence by Peter Mayle
« Reply #15 on: April 20, 2017, 04:09:08 PM »
Do any of you remember the name of the movie about a group of British women who rent a home in Italy for a month?  It was made a few decades ago but set in the 1920s I believe.  I remember glorious Italian scenery and wonderful storylines. 

There was such a contrast between dreary rainy cold England and the greenery and amazing vistas of Italy.

ETA: "Enchanted April"!  That's the name.  Good movie!
« Last Edit: April 20, 2017, 10:07:49 PM by Stachey »

Christof

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 455
  • Age: 41
  • Location: Germany
Re: A Year in Provence by Peter Mayle
« Reply #16 on: April 20, 2017, 05:31:29 PM »
Have that book in my library... But I also have "A year in the merde" by Stephen Clarke which helps to put some things in perspective. I especially like the beginnings of each book.

Peter Mayle: "January. The year began with lunch."

Stephen Clark: "The year does not begin in January. Every French speaking person knows that. Only awkward English-speakerd think it starts in January. The year really begins on the first Monday onf September."

Sydneystache

  • Stubble
  • **
  • Posts: 176
  • Location: Sydney (Westie!)
  • Aiming for RE!
Re: A Year in Provence by Peter Mayle
« Reply #17 on: April 21, 2017, 06:34:27 AM »
I enjoyed the Under the Tuscan Sun movie more than the book. Perhaps it was the vulnerability of Diane Lane on screen, rebuilding life after divorce, that made it more appealing rather than Frances' matter of fact "I live most of the year in SF but spend summer in Tuscany". In fact, a colleague bought her own place in Venice, totally inspired by the movie. The scene in the movie where Diane stays in divorce hotel is a gentle reminder to "move on" even after awful events happen in life.

There was a parody of "Under the Tuscan Sun" by an Italian travel guide but as parodies go, it was pretty dismissive of people who buy the Tuscan dream forgetting the fact they were buying a place because there were no local young people left who can live and work on the land.

I enjoyed My House in Umbria too! Anything with Maggie Smith is normally great. Several movies that I have seen set in Italy showing expat life include Tea with Mussolini, A Month by the Lake, The Talented Mr. Ripley and The Roman Spring of Mrs. Stone. What seems to be in common to all films was the Italian scenery is gorgeous, but there's always the underlying fascism/danger/xenophobia of living in a foreign land - love the country, don't trust the locals. "Under the Tuscan Sun" was counter to that.
« Last Edit: April 21, 2017, 06:37:52 AM by Sydneystache »

Stachey

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 885
Re: A Year in Provence by Peter Mayle
« Reply #18 on: April 21, 2017, 07:12:00 AM »
"Room with a View" was wonderful also for great scenery as well as showing the culture clash between the English and the Italians.
I found Ivory and Merchant did a great job of bringing that book to the screen.  I can't decide which I like better and usually the book wins hands down.

Dicey

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 4912
  • Age: 59
  • Location: NorCal
Re: A Year in Provence by Peter Mayle
« Reply #19 on: April 21, 2017, 07:26:38 AM »
Okay, you three above me: we must be friends, kindred spirits at the very least. I loved Enchanted April, but since I'd already gone off-piste by bring up a different movie on a book thread, I didn't mention it, but I was thinking about it as I wrote my comment same for "A Year in the Merde", which I thought was funnier than Mayle.

And I have my issues with the Tuscan Sun books, but didn't want to drop in any spoilers. Quibbles aside, it's still a delightful escape for the armchair traveler.

Oh, and Cher. Loved her in "Tea". Loved the whole cast, but she was really a standout.
I did it! I have a journal!
http://forum.mrmoneymustache.com/journals/a-lot-like-this/
And hell yes, I am still moving confidently in the direction of my dreams...

StarBright

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 663
Re: A Year in Provence by Peter Mayle
« Reply #20 on: April 21, 2017, 07:58:39 AM »
Yup, I've read all of Mayle's stuff and enjoyed it tremendously, despite reading somewhere that even the non-fiction stuff is ahem, "stylized".

I also enjoyed Francis Mayes' "Under the Tuscan Sun" and "Bella Tuscany". Her NF work, "A Year In The World" was much less captivating, and I've read none of the subsequent titles, though I know she has returned to her southern roots and lived to tell the tale. Also somewhat fictionalized, which you will understand after reading the second book. A similar kind of story, told from a woman's point of view. The movie wasn't bad either, because, Tuscany, even if they did screw with the plot line.

Speaking of movie adaptations, I adored "My House in Umbria" which stars Maggie Smith. I love it to this day. I read the book afterwards and didn't feel like the movie missed anything, which is a rarity, as every passionate reader knows.

Under the Tuscan Sun was my "Year in Province" ! - as in, the book that made me think about what I wanted in life/started me down the path to mustachianism. In a weird twist of fate, unbeknownst to me at the time, we ended up buying a house in the same Southern town that Francis Mayes and her husband settled in and we ended up meeting them and were around them several times.

They are interesting folks and they are actually quite like how she describes them in the books (at least as far as gardening, entertaining, etc). My gut feeling about them was that they are delightful people and I just liked them (Ed in particular). They introduced themselves first name only and I first met them out our local grocery store's wine tasting "festival." I didn't put two and two together until the second time I met them - they were pretty unassuming.

Sydneystache

  • Stubble
  • **
  • Posts: 176
  • Location: Sydney (Westie!)
  • Aiming for RE!
Re: A Year in Provence by Peter Mayle
« Reply #21 on: April 21, 2017, 07:59:39 AM »
Dicey - off-piste, schmoff-piste. The second post on this thread was on the Durrells! Poor Mayle.

Still on the Mediterranean theme, I liked Chris Stewart's Driving over Lemons, set in Andalucia, Spain. Just beautiful writing...and pretty mustachian too - how to live on four figures a year by buying a five figure house. Jacob of ERE would have met his match in Chris.

Is it just me but France seems to have escaped all the fascist, guilt-ridden feelings written by expats in Italy and Spain? You get accounts of brave locals in the Resistance fighting off the Germans and Vichy French but some expat writer moves to Spain and Italy and inevitably the fascist element comes up over what the locals did (or didn't do) under Mussolini or Franco.

Stachey

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 885
Re: A Year in Provence by Peter Mayle
« Reply #22 on: April 21, 2017, 01:00:01 PM »
Yes we've talked about everybody else more than we've talked about Mayle.  (Poor Mayle-he's very good too)

Driving over Lemons sounds great Sydneystache!  Thanks for the recommendation.

(Oh and I forgot to mention that Enchanted April is very mustachian because it is about a group of disparate people who pool resources in order to have a month in Italy.  It's so good.  I have to see if it's at the library)

(Dicey if we lived closer we would start the most awesome movie/book club ever!!  I just know it!)   :)


ETA:  Got the movie from the library.  Also got the book by Elizabeth Von Arnim, published in 1922, and it is excellent!! 
Favourite quote from it so far:  "I've done nothing but duties, things for other people, ever since I was a girl, and I don't believe anybody loves me a bit the better and I long--oh, I long--for something else."
« Last Edit: April 27, 2017, 04:21:44 PM by Stachey »

Sydneystache

  • Stubble
  • **
  • Posts: 176
  • Location: Sydney (Westie!)
  • Aiming for RE!
Re: A Year in Provence by Peter Mayle
« Reply #23 on: May 06, 2017, 06:46:25 AM »
This weekend, I got several books from a local pop-up library that has "popped up" at a shopping centre. Good way to recycle books but I fear I am bringing more books home than giving away - so much for decluttering :-/

Currently doing a tapa/taster of several books including "Not another book about Italy" by Ann Rickard. *groans* but it is actually witty and self-deprecating so far.

Btw, have been following this Aussie couple who bought a chateau in the Pyrenees http://www.chateaudegudanes.org they bought it for half a million euros but the restoration cost is going to be in the $Ms. Chateau money pit...

Also living the Mayle life today. We're celebrating a relative's birthday weekend and she is into seafood. I have a favourite oyster farmer who has service down to pat (my other oyster farmers have had shit service or too far away). Through their recommendations I have found a good butcher and good festivals to go to. Today, one of their recommendations came through and it was a mud crab fisherman.

Mud crabs at the fish markets can be hit and miss with crabs being transported from other states. Muddies are also hard to catch because of size and tidal issues (best to catch them at a moving tide) Anyhoo, said fisherman had great produce and he was coming over to my part of town so he brought along his muddies and some oysters from my oyster farmer for me. Saved me a 90 minute round trip. Amazed by the service and a gentle reminder about supporting local producers etc etc

We also paired it with a bottle we bought from a local vigneron a couple of weeks back.

Winning!