So…. we’ve been here for just over a week now, and things have been really busy – non-stop in fact!!
There’s been the serious business of trying to progress the transfer of ownership to deal with, and the even more important business of socialising to contend with!!
Our social calendars are buzzing!! We’ve been for more coffee dates, and meals out than we have done for ages!! It’s lovely! We are feeling as if we are becoming well integrated with the local community – albeit that is mostly – but not exclusively – the English community. It’s all good though. The Maire recognised me when I popped in to his store for some veg, and a few other French people have also recognised us when we have been out and about.
Living life in a van (after all that’s what our motorhome is – a Fiat Ducato that has been converted to include a living space) has its challenges. We are quite literally on top of each other for 24 hours a day – and it’s a small space……and tempers fray!! It’s important to find ways to overcome this, and one of the ways we do it is to not do “everything” together. So, for example, I will stay in bed whilst Martin goes to the boulangerie in the morning with the dogs – that’s after he has made me a mug of coffee!! Oh, I suppose that’s not really the right spirit is it? It’s not far – here’s his route: –
But I have to confess that it was bliss to spend last Saturday morning slowly wandering around the village market and then having a peaceful cup of tea in the café watching the world go by – all on my own. Little things like that go a long way to help us not be in too close proximity.
We have been very fortunate that we have now managed to clear the land enough to drive the motorhome up on to the track next to it – and most nights we have been sleeping up here, although we did spend one night back down in the Aire – more about that in another blog I think.
The first night we didn’t know what to expect – we wondered if the doggos would bark all night at the strange animal sounds – but no, they slept soundly – as did we. The second night we were both woken by a really loud hoot and screech of an owl – really close by! Lovely to hear and a very vivid reminder that we really are in the middle of the woods here. It’s really lovely, very enchanted and we feel very lucky to be embarking on this adventure
Tuesday was the Fete du Printemps – the Spring Fair – which started at 0800 but at 1130 there was a memorial ceremony up at the war memorial outside the Town Hall to mark Armistice Day – the French mark both the 1st and 2nd World War endings. Naturally we could understand very little – but we listened anyhow and tried to take in the general meaning of what the speeches were about.
Our friend Carol sang in the choir – they performed the French National Anthem – La Marseillaise – which was “Tres Bonne” to hear. There were lots of beautiful things to buy at the fair – we are trying to avoid buying “stuff” as we have such a limited space to keep it in, so it was mostly food we bought. I approached a nice looking food stall being run by a nice looking French man and made a brave attempt at my most recently learned French phase – “Pardon, ma Francais ce n’est pas tres bonne” (sorry, my French is not very good) and then “avez vous any vegetarienne” (have you any vegetarian) to which he laughed and said – it’s OK I’ll speak English then – and told me that just about everything was vegetarian – I was really pleased that a French fete had some veggie choices – not at all what my fears had been. Even more so later in the day when we discovered that the crepes and gallettes stand had a vegan option for a crepe – tofu and mushroom. I was naughty though and had 2 fromages!!
All day people were praising the dogs – everyone loves the doggos and comment on how they just lay down, really calm – just waiting for something interesting to happen – or a piece of sausage to fly their way more like.
Then in the evening we went along to the Café de La Poste to watch the local ex pats play pool – and again everyone just loves the doggos – they are settling in really well.
We’re becoming more French by the day – we do the French kissing thing – and we now have a French bank account. The day we met with Brieuc at the local branch of Credit Agricole to set that up was very amusing. We had finished our business with him and were standing in the little foyer just chatting to him. Unlike in England we can take the dogs pretty much everywhere so they had been in his office with us, and they were just minding their own business by our feet. Then someone came in to use the cash point and the dogs leapt up and starting barking excitedly – then we realised it was our friend Carole – who of course the dogs recognised and she probably had treats for her own dog Panda. We all said hello – and Carole gave me the obligatory kiss on each cheek – French style – then Martin and then she turned to Brieuc and kissed him. I just assumed she knew him from the bank and as she has been out here 21 years it was quite feasible that they had become very friendly. I thought nothing more of it until we went over on Sunday for afternoon tea with Carole and Bernard and she confessed her “faux pas” – she had thought Brieuc was with us – maybe even James – and kissed him without thinking. I bet he had quite a shock!!
So, as I sit here it is 8.30pm on Friday evening – it’s 24 degrees – nice and cool in comparison to the sweltering heat we had earlier today. We’ve had our dinner – cooked outside on the new top of the range Cadac my darling husband bought me to soften the blow of not having a proper kitchen for a year, and we’ve had our Gin and Tonic in the sun (and also a sneaky little after dinner snooze) and I’m thinking – it’s only a grass track – but it’s our grass track!! And it’s our little piece of quietness, and solitude…. And heaven.
And if this is to be our temporary home for the next 12 – 18 months (or longer if the French system doesn’t speed up somewhat) then that won’t be so bad will it.
Better go now before the grass (quite literally) grows under our feet!!
©Sharon Rees-Williams – wordpress.com/thislittlepieceof.land, 2018
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