About Joan

Joan Lewis

                                                                            ABOUT JOAN

Hi ........I am a retired teacher, one time smallholder,  mother and now a committed resident of 'La Belle France.' Now that  life has begun to slow down,  I am able to relax and reflect more, and see my  home country from a different perspective.  That  has led me to writing , creating a number of short  stories, and two novels. The most recent of these novels, 'Because You Were There' , concerns Tina, a child of 'The Windrush Generation. It will be published in 2023. I also blog   about life in 'The Languedoc.'

For three decades  I taught children from four to eleven years of age  in schools in England and Wales. I taught teenagers  in a school for 'educationally subnormal' pupils for two years, and also spent a period teaching British children at a school in Germany.  In addition to my teacher training at Durham I studied at Bristol University to acquire a  Diploma in Education, and later with 'The Open University'' where I gained an Advanced Diploma in Special Needs in Education , followed by a Masters in Education. 


The boys
The boys

During our time in Wales we developed a smallholding in Pembrokeshire . I continued to teach while B. stayed home to milk our cow Mildred  and look after 'the kids'. It was an exciting time . We not only produced two children, we learned to make butter and cheese from Mildred's rich Jersey milk, baked bread , cured animal skins and much much more. B. also built an extension to our beautiful little traditional cottage.

One cow milking parlour
One Cow milking parlour

For the last fifteen or so years of my teaching career I was a Headteacher, firstly at a school in Wales, and then at a school   in England. It was here that we aimed  to  integrate children from the local E.S.N. school which was closing,  into the life of a 'normal' school. Young children are inspirational and they provided the whole motivation for my job. But sadly I came to be disenchanted with political interference in the educational world and, when I was forced to retire through ill health, I was not as sad as I might have been. On the other hand I miss the curiosity and joie de vivre of young children enormously.


For the remaining two decades of my adult life  we have lived  in the South Of France. We bought our house here in the Languedoc in 2001, and opened a new chapter in our lives, developing a small gîte business. Over the years we have met people of many  nationalities and made firm friends. There has been much to learn. Our property is situated within a national forest, and B. has had to learn new skills , such as how to fell trees. He a has also developed a productive 'potager' growing the most wonderful tomatoes and other veg..

View from the window
View from the window
  • 1 Rochers pond
  • Lodève market 2 wide
Garden pond

One might imagine that my life has been largely successful, but there have been many disappointments and failures along the way. I believe these experiences have influenced me as a writer, and now help me to explore and understand the human condition.

  I am looking forward to the publication of my first novel 'Because You Were There' in early 2023. This novel explores issues from my earliest teaching experiences at a school for 'educationally subnormal pupils,' where I encountered a gifted Caribbean pupil. I have tried to imagine how her life, as a member of 'The Windrush Generation', may have evolved.  I hope you will read it .  

Saturday Market
Saturday Market