more of an ordinary life

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Time to give the family silver a polish. Ok so its the family silver plate – but its old, about 1910 and precious and something from the past. I like to think that my dear mother in law is looking down on me while I do it, as she sits knitting on a cloud somewhere and chatting to my own beloved mum – its how I remember them…knitting and chatting and thinking about them is what I do while I polish. People say ‘don’t look back – you’re not going there’ but sometimes, just sometimes it is lovely to think about what has been and gone.

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And then this being France of course we should go and watch a cycle race – on a warm and balmy evening in the local town.

But grannies don’t just sit and knit, polish silver, watch cycle races and make bacon butties….

 

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They get taken to Paris…

and to the Bruce Springsteen concert!

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A fuse was blown, a message over the speaker system said leave the building and so we did…

gutted this morning to find out he spent 15 minutes going round the audience while they fixed it and then did nearly another hour’s concert. Very disappointing indeed – we missed dancing in the Dark and all the good oldies…

But then it could have been Bataclan…

 

 

July already…

And notes from an ‘ordinary life’ continue…

We have just had a lovely relaxing time on a campsite at Duingt near the lake at Annecy.

The old railway line there is a cycle track -flat and such a good surface – my sort of cycling indeed…what more could we want? Lovely views, lovely weather and nice little lanes to stroll with the doglet…

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and then in hardly the blink of an eye – we are back home again – and the peace of our ‘ordinary life’ surrounds us like a comfort blanket.

Black to the local walk with the ever present Charolais cattle, the view over the Loire valley and the colourful wild flowers in the hedgerows.

Oh yes and let’s not forget the bag…

IMG_0374 This one is more professional looking! I am pleased with the bright colours and the summery feel to it. I know someone who will like to put her knitting in it. There are one or two spots of darker red in the pattern where I hadn’t noticed the blood from my speared thumb! And no – I didn’t dare wash it – so it has been sent – bloodstained – for a belated birthday present. Oh sewing is a difficult hobby but I keep trying!

 

of tractors and brass and of course the finally finished bathroom…

IMG_0350Isn’t she lovely? Best part of three weeks and nowhere to hang the towel after all, but a great improvement and very posh indeed!

Bathroom aside – it was the Fête de Musique in the town for the summer solstice and since it was the first really warm evening we headed off to find some live music…

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…and found a saxophonist, then some Guinness and music – but not The Wild Rover, in an Irish bar

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It might have been the milky warmth of the evening, the slight smell of  drains, the friendliness of the barman, and the quirky back street, but we certainly knew we were in France.

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And isn’t she lovely? This is Luc’s really old Renault tractor – he was worried about the unseasonable weather and getting his grass in… The sky tells you what it has been like up until now, but today…

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I have been sitting in the shade of the back garden giving the brasses their once a year (decade…) polish!

And so, in it’s usual pleasant way – this ‘ordinary’ life continues  – some might say ‘boring’  but there is nothing humdrum about it, at our time of life – not while we can put our own shoes on, and eat, drink and be merry! You will notice I haven’t used the last line of that quotation…

 

old photos…

don’t you just love ’em!

Himself found a box of slides from 1981 – why they weren’t in with the others that were transferred to the laptop, when we borrowed a machine to do it  – we don’t know – but lo and behold a quick view on youtube and

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a cereal box, a light and a bulldog clip and its all go up in the loft! And who needs an expensive gizmo after all?

The saga of the new bathroom continues…

Week two and the tiler has gone, taking his two broken ribs and the shakes with him…

We are wondering if breaking his ribs by falling into a block of concrete could have been caused by a surfeit of the local pop…

He spent most of Friday morning on the phone or outside smoking and had disappeared by lunchtime! So perhaps the work is a teeny weeny bit behind schedule…

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Today the floor tiles are down and today he had left before coffee time! Tomorrow  – for the walls, he assures us, and he says he’ll finished on Wednesday – we will believe that when we see it…

Sometime later in the week, the plasterer might make an appearance to finish the ceiling and sometime even later for the plumber to fit the shower and other stuff ,and also to dig up outside the cottage to connect us to the new mains sewage system – new reed bed and pump…so that must be better than disappearing into the fields and river which is what happens now!

And so for now we continue showering in the camper van – aren’t we lucky to have a ‘van to shower in? Otherwise it would be a zinc bath in front of the fire – ah the olden days!

What else has happened in this lovely ordinary life ?

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Our roses are looking splendid this year!

This week I have gone dizzy practicing a line dance called ‘until the dawn’ holding the iPad in my hand so I can turn round with it. It is just not for me – but I will persevere with this dance as they seem to do it quite often. And I really need to keep my brain challenged – crocheting granny squares is not enough!

And it was our local village fête.

150 meals were served quickly and with no fuss…and the ex postman and his friend did a sketch – something about a butcher;  everyone was laughing uproariously but we didn’t get the joke – not only was he putting on a high pitched squeaky voice, but we think he was talking in patois too.

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I have recently spent a long time on the phone to Apple because iPhoto froze up while I was making a book..

It shut down completely and then the next time it froze up. A glitch…quite possibly.

It is a good free service – they ring you back and take over the screen if you want them to. Seems quite safe to me…but, and there’s always a ‘but’

I spent a pleasant 40 minutes or perhaps longer, chatting to a bloke with a lovely Irish accent – where was he, I wonder? – I don’t know, perhaps America, Dublin…who knows? I still don’t know why iPhoto did it or if it will happen again, but I do know now how to create a smart album… OK, so maybe I don’t need to be able to do that yet, but it is great to learn something new! And on a rainy day in winter, who knows what I will get up to!

But it is so good to understand every word. It made me realise for the umpteenth time that  being an immigrant with poor language skills is hard work…not the easiest way of life sometimes. And I will never be able to speak as well as I would want to, in French.

Maybe that’s no bad thing since I am a bit of a motor mouth when I get going.

But then, maybe all that is made up for by the relaxing, sitting in the sun with a good book sort of lifestyle, walking the dog on lanes without traffic, and seeing the hen harrier, some deer, a shrike or two, buzzards and a view across to the Burgundy hills..

..meeting our English friends who come for holidays, or who have holiday homes here…

…and eating our fresh produce from the garden; being able to contact our family through the wonders of modern technology, and old enough not to have to go to work,

and yet still young enough to tie our own shoelaces and make our own decisions.

What a wonderful life.

an ordinary life…

It is an ordinary life that’s for sure. I love it – not an adventure in sight unless you count a new bathroom. An ordinary life well lived – that’s what I am really aiming for – for me an adventure may mean a crisis, and we have had our share of those nasty things, and now at this time of my life a familiar and gentle life, comfortably lived, will suit me fine.

So this week’s missive is a tale with not an adventure in sight; but lots going on, plumbers, a plasterer with disconcerting home and away eyes,  the tiling chappie, some sort of line dancing, some photos and a parasol.

Yes it’s up – the parasol out t’back , so summer is really here and salad is the lunch time feast sitting under it.

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On Monday we shared our salad under the said parasol with a lovely couple from South Africa who have a barge on the canal here, and are about to set off in it on their travels around France. It is good to have a glimpse into other people’s lives now and then.

Don’t ask me how I met them…it’s another one of those ‘kidnapping tales’ – I hope the couple from Preston are reading this so they know they aren’t the only ones who get accosted by the mad English woman who can talk a glass eye to sleep!

And as for the plumber – he came with his deep voiced good looking son and with plenty of banging they ripped out the old bathroom, but the walls proved not to be straight so a plasterer was found at short notice…

Said plasterer swore and shouted and seemingly jackhammered the floor up, but worked tirelessly until 7pm…

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and our sometimes tidy cobwebby cottage became a tip!

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The tiler is here as we speak, and says he will be here till next Tuesday…there’s a lot of preparation work and floor levelling going on…But I am convinced it will be so worth it – even after a few days of showering in the sloping camper van and knowing there’s at least another week to go.

Actually showering me over there  isn’t so bad, but when the dog had rolled in the unmentionable… and a huge, and I mean HUGE, bee had flown in and all three of us were trapped in that tiny space and all three of us were panicking – the bee perhaps most of all – that’s what worried me… I ricked my back, the bee escaped as I opened the skylight, the dog took the opportunity to jump out and shook herself everywhere! What a good job she is a small dog.

And as for last night’s line dancing…

I had not practiced enough –  that much was obvious… and the strikers had closed the main road into town – so I thought I would be very late; no burning tyres though, thank goodness, those of you who know France will also know that a ‘manifestation’ usually leads to burning tyres and a great deal of black smoke and air pollution.

Because I had not practiced enough towards the end I thought ‘what on earth am I doing here, with my two left feet and no sense of rhythm  – I shall not come again’… and then for the last dance a young woman came and stood by me and tried talking me through it – how kind! It wasn’t her fault that I can easily confuse left and right in English and therefore  haven’t a hope in french – so of course I shall go next week and I shall practice more. Hmm!

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And yes, I really should be doing some ironing – or a million other things, instead of writing this rubbish…

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…but the birds are getting so used to us now it seems a pity not to sit and watch them.

There is a family of nuthatches – such big feet!

June already…

…and still it rains.

So this week I have been continuing my winter hobbies – like a bit of sewing. It is June and I should be sitting on the terrace in a sunhat with a glass of pink, but no, instead to keep dementia at bay…I made another sunglasses case and

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read some of my crafty books to see what else I could be doing

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and then I thought I would make a trial bag – the one on the front cover looks good…so I gathered some bits of left over material…

It would have helped if I could have understood, and therefore followed, the instructions and also if I hadn’t been thinking most of the time ‘is that rain I am hearing on the velux windows?’

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and the answer to your question is – no it didn’t turn out quite as good as the one in the book – well after all,  they were only odd bits of material including a piece of a Provençal tablecloth that I had cut a strip out of the middle and sewn up again, when I realised I had bought one much too large.

Also the sewing leaves a lot to be desired – I could blame the fact that I didn’t have iron on loft fleece – I didn’t know such a thing existed – I have now ordered some so it will be here ready for the winter project – but actually I am just a bit too slap happy with the measuring part and of course the sewing machine has a mind of its own!

The tennis in Paris has suffered from the inclement weather but some villages in central France are flooded so I don’t think I can really moan about the huge jagged hailstones that devastated the geraniums and put some dents in the car roof a few days ago.

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I have managed the occasional walk with the Doglet – the cornflowers are not as plentiful this year but so beautiful.

And from their nest in the bamboo near our well – the baby redstarts have fledged.

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The meadows are still blooming as it has been too wet for the farmers to cut them.

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Don’t you just love wild flowers?

And yes – I have practiced a line dance – for ‘practice’ read ‘watched a video on Youtube.’

Better than nothing, and I could nearly do one complete dance this week…In fact, if they’d gone over it just a couple more times I’d be away!

It’s my fourth week at the class now and so now I am less of a novelty – still ‘the older than anyone else English lady with no sense of rhythm’ but who cares eh?

It is exercise – at least it will be in a few years when I can do the dances right through. Who said ‘are you sure you’ve got enough time to learn them?’ Give over – you’re only as old as you feel!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

this week…

I have been mostly trying to make…

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a bag! Its to keep all my crocheted granny squares in – until I get round to putting them together…

The birds are upside down, the sewing leaves a lot to be desired, but, seriously it is a lot nicer to look at than an old carrier bag…

Oh yes and I have been trying to learn some line dancing steps for tonight’s session.

Don’t mock it – it is good exercise for both the legs and the brain! I might not be able to run 10 km any more, so best not moan but concentrate on what can be done.

However its 19 years since I first attempted line dancing…19 years – well that passed in a flash -Phew!

Todays quote had better be something to do with the passage of time then…

I didn’t mind getting old when I was young, it’s the being old now that’s getting to me.’

John Scalzi