more from Loire Lore

December 2012

Santa brought me..…an iPad – good grief a techno granny indeed! I will be when I have looked at a few more Youtube videos. Maybe I should make one myself – ‘simple tips for simple grannies’ or the ‘luddite’s guide’ – oh get a life!

I suppose my 4 year old grandson could work it but I am still trying to get to grips with it – they can do everything except cook the dinner I expect – well I won’t be beaten and I won’t throw it against the wall – after all its only technology.

So in between ‘playing’ with the new gizmo, walking the dog, seeing the family on Skype – a small duck was roasted and eaten with orange sauce, champagne popped and was drunk – so that was one aspect of christmas and a lovely day indeed.

Someone once asked me…

‘What is it you like about living in France?’

‘Oh,’ I said ‘ its a rich mix of things, the climate, the quality of life for us retirees, the peaceful rural way of life, the escape from the bustle of life in Britain, the fact that for a large percentage of the time we can eat outdoors, and if we want to walk we don’t have to drive anywhere first  – we can go in any direction direct from our front door.’

‘No, if you had to choose one thing what would be at the top of the list?’ she asked.

‘Opening the shutters first thing in the morning.’

That’s it – the physical act of pulling the small paned windows towards me and leaning out and pushing the wooden shutters open and clipping them back. It never fails to give me a frisson of pleasure. It proves that I actually do live in France, but more than that it proves that dreams can come true – ok, there may be changes along the way and compromises of one sort or another, but in my thirties when I first thought of a French rural retreat – I never believed that such a thing was really possible. Then, I called it a pipe dream, now in my sixties I call it living the dream.

The views from this little cottage are not in anyway spectacular – you have to be down in the garden for those – but what I see is typically french – wires everywhere, rooftops and the odd crumbling building – and I love it!

Opening the shutters I am filled with contentment  – the prospect of a day ahead fills me with joy. I can remember sometimes in my working past when the prospect of the day ahead filled me with dread!

Whether its cold, wet, snowy or gloriously sunny  I open the shutters and give thanks for another new day.

December 23, 2012.

keep taking the tablets…

Today I have been mostly thinking about blood pressure, putting on weight and the flu jab. It’s just great getting old! It was the bi annual visit to the GP today – always strange in a foreign language and nothing if not exciting. Now another pill to take – that makes three – two in the morning and one at night, and tomorrow another visit to the nurse and another blood test.

So, do more exercise, eat  nothing nice and not as much of it anyway, and as for those glasses of wine, forget them, its all ‘interdit’ and don’t- forget- to- take -your- pills – 

However, mustn’t moan – every day’s a bonus and if remembering a few pills is all I have to worry about it I’ll settle for that.

Its not like going to a  GP in the UK  – in our little village practice here, there is no receptionist to tell you you don’t need to see a doctor – you make the appointment with him and see him. He listens, he explains everything – often twice to make sure you understand and charges you 23 euros which is reimbursed from the state and your health insurance. OK so sometimes you have to wait because his appointment system isn’t brilliant and he takes a lot of time with each person, but I’m not complaining.

Now about this ‘more exercise’ malarkey… Shall I buy a rowing machine?  A Jane Fonda workout DVD for the over 50s? Not another running machine surely? I used the other one a lot – well.. ok.. maybe half a dozen times at the most. A cross trainer? I am bad tempered enough sometimes.  A static bike? Hmmm.. I have a selection of bikes here including one I now can’t get on to, (I was a lot younger when B bought it for me). I even have a super one with  a battery, but it might be raining, snowy, icy, slippery….

I already have a dog and walk with her every day – maybe I should get another? Would I walk twice as far with two dogs or twice as far and even faster with a bigger dog? No, definitely one dog is quite enough! And actually a lot more than enough when she has rolled in something the fox, sangliar or deer left behind.

And talking of the doglet – she likes to sleep quite a bit – and if the room is warm…

Now its off for supper,  a glass or two of wine, and are they crisps I see begging to be eaten with the cheese? Those lovely bags of chocolates the french have at Christmas – wrapped in tinfoil with frilly edges like small Chrismas crackers with a quote or motto inside, are nestling among the tangerines. Mmmm, delicious indeed.

mobile homme

No it’s not a new version of a phone. It was a ‘grande spectacle’ that we oldies braved the cold, and the big city crowds in the dark for. It was well worth it.

Suspended from a huge crane 40 metres up against the black of the night sky, illuminated by two huge spotlights, the drummers, dressed in napoleonic costume, drummed. Above them was the trapeze artist – aerial art at its best.

There was the incessant and rhythmic drumming and the sight of the trapeze artist above them ‘dancing’ in the night sky. The whole thing resembled a huge children’s mobile and was lovely to watch.

 

This is the youtube link but it doesn’t do it justice. It was exciting and thrilling and worth the crick in our necks.

The year draws to an end

I think I ought to write something sensible , meaningful or at least interesting, as this year speeds towards its close. However that’s difficult, but since every day’s a bonus, I shall attempt something today.

Yesterday was the twelfth of the twelfth, two thousand and twelve and my lovely mother in law would have been 93. She died in October this year, and it seemed to be a day for reminiscing. She was kind and generous and a real Christian in the true sense of the word. She never had a bad word to say about anyone. It is truly dreadful to see what dementia does.

It brought to the forefront of my mind that as we are now orphans it will be our turn next! What a scary thought, so much to do!

I read somewhere ‘Don’t look to the past – you are not going there’ but in the past is my own mother as well, with her tasty Liverpudlian ‘Sea Pie’  the like of which I have never been able to recreate. There is my father and the dogs and tortoises and the wonderful holidays we had as children. Of course it was always sunny…

But its right -we might occasionally glance at the past – but to look to it all the time is a poor substitute for living life to the full in the present.

It is so easy to enjoy life here in our peaceful corner of rural France – but maybe the poem doesn’t do it justice

‘In the joy of little things…’

It is ambrosia, food of the gods…

an early morning cup of tea

and the sun, already warm

brightens the photos, haphazardly

hung on walls of dusty white.

 

Shutters and windows flung open wide

allow the morning sounds, and as

swallows chirp, the farmer’s tractor

leaves the barn…

 

another day begins

 

downstairs are breakfast sounds

cups and plates, a tap running

a dog scratches, stretches

and waits patiently for

the opening door

 

Food Glorious Food!

Friday saw the meal to end all meals here at the cottage, and we are still finishing off the leftovers!

For at least two days B cooked and planned and worked out the timings so we could celebrate the tenth anniversary since we bought the cottage. This we did in style, with our neighbours (seven of them) and only a couple of months late.

We are lucky in that our neighbours are ‘tres sympa’ as they say here and the night was very successful – its just a pity that my photography was not quite as good.

B did a ‘real’ English meal – since he had been threatening the neighbours with one for a while, so celery soup was followed by roast beef and yorkshire pudding, peas and carrots and ‘proper’ gravy! It all went down very well. And then the choice of dessert – sherry trifle, bread and butter pudding and steamed syrup sponge and everyone tried a little of each!

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