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Bloody Murder On The Dog's Meadow: (Building a straw-bale grand design in France) [Kindle Edition]

Mark Sampson
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)

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Book Description

It's July 2003. A tropical heat wave is raging and old people are dropping like flies in Paris. The Sampsons move from their happy home into a caravan that thinks it's a sauna. In 12 months they must build a house of straw on terrain as rocky as their practical credentials.
To anyone who struggles to pitch a tent, the prospect of building a grand design of straw bales - in France Profonde - could be somewhat unsettling. Some will tell you that building their own home is an enjoyable and rewarding experience; Mark Sampson will tell you that it was hellish. Based on his journal of building the house seen on frequent re-runs of Channel 4's 'Grand Designs', this is a darkly comic account of a year of living uncomfortably close to the edge.
Less about the technical aspects of construction, this entertaining book is more about the de-construction of family life in the face of a looming deadline, a shrinking budget, capricious conditions and a motley crew of tradesmen.
Laugh, cry and wonder why.

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Product Description

About the Author

Mark Sampson is a writer, journalist and book-maker based in South-west France. Born in London and raised in Belfast, he studied English Literature at Exeter University and American Studies at the University of Sussex in Brighton, where he met his wife, Deborah. They moved from Sheffield to France in 1995, not long after the birth of their daughter. They moved from the Corrèze to the Lot in 2003 to build the straw-bale house featured in the only series to date of Grand Designs Abroad. Mark has written stage plays, screenplays, children's books and two books of non-fiction. The second, Essential Questions to Ask When Buying a House in France was updated in 2012 as his first eBook for Amazon Kindle. As a journalist, he has written for most UK newspapers and many magazines, including France Magazine and Living France. As an on-line DJ for, he also reviews Latin jazz and other world music for Songlines magazine.

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 1911 KB
  • Print Length: 300 pages
  • Simultaneous Device Usage: Unlimited
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • : Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #302,829 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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More About the Author

Mark Sampson is a writer based in south-west France. Born in London, reared in Belfast and matured in Brighton and Sheffield, he moved to France with his family in 1995. The author of two non-fiction books, he has contributed articles to a wide range of publications, including all the major U.K. France-orientated magazines. He reviews Latin Jazz releases for Songlines magazine and hosts "Lost & Found", a monthly radio show on
The construction of his family's straw-bale house in France was featured in Channel 4's Grand Designs Abroad. You can find out more at

Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Highly recommended! 22 July 2014
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Let me entice you to read this book: 'I have come here…to a local lake', Mark writes, 'some mornings with the dog, when a gauzy mist is rising off the surface of the water like steam from a bath, and the peace and beauty and solitude have filled me with wonder'. You see what I mean? What struck me was how beautifully written this book is; clear, fluid, a joy to read. Written from the heart, it's funny, moving and honest; it has a beauty about it, and it never fails to entertain.
Achieving the good life can be a hard life….there are a marathon of problems to solve, involving the whole family; overcoming them is a feat of stubborn determination to see the project through. How the family manage to find 'space' to enjoy themselves is beyond me, but they do……vignettes of joy interweave the saga ['Barking!' that was one TV guide's considered assessment of..their.. grand design in straw when first aired on Channel 4'] and then, finally, there's a most beautiful house set in panoramic views to show his and his family's daring and courage.
'Bloody Murder on the Dog's Meadow' was a pleasure to read, and I look forward to more please.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Quintessential Englishman in France 6 Jun. 2014
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
The author is very upfront about the oddities of living and working in France, accentuated by his decision to build and live in a house made out of plastered blocks of hay in a fairly un-avante garde part of the French countryside. He complains about 'the French', yet exalts their qualities, recognises he is an exile, but throws himself into local life. Though this book is written in diary fashion, there is also something deeply philosophical about it. As a whole, the book is a delight, but cannot be rushed.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Delighful and insightful 20 Jan. 2014
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
The Thousands of people who watched charming Mark Sampson build his straw house on "Grand Designs Abroad" will be delighted to read this delightful and insightful book. On the TV programme Mark comes across as a reluctant builder and all-round amateur but as an author Mark is a real professional. Beautifully written, poignant, funny and heart warming Mark takes us behind the scenes of the human story behind the house build. We meet the real builders, TV crew, Kevin and Mark's family and Mark's inner demons. It's a great story. I recommend it to anyone.
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