A lively month-by-month account of a British expatriate's first year in the Provencal region of southern France. When Mayle (a GQ columnist) and his wife decided to move into a 200-year-old farmhouse in the Vaucluse, they entered a world as different from London as sunshine is from rain. Entertaining visits from a plumber with a theory about everything (e.g., why ""Mozart would have made a formidable electrician""), inventing methods for luring elusive masons back to work (the most successful ploy: invite them and their more-conscientious wives to a champagne party), and attending a foul-smelling midsummer goat-race (as explained by an experienced bettor, ""An empty goat is faster then a full goat"") are just some of the diversions that became commonplace to their lives. In addition to local color, Mayle re-creates the Provencal countryside--as well as describes meal after mouthwatering meal--with a flair for seductive detail that never becomes offensively florid. And a keen eye for the eccentric--along with a good-humored ability to offer his own gaffes for entertainment--counterbalances a slightly less appealing tendency to refer to ""peasants"" and scoff at other less-genteel visitors to the region. Funny, evocative, and perceptive--Mayle's first book is a delight.