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Saturday, 13 March 2010

French Leave

At last! I finally find a few spare moments to stop and post - it's been manic here since my return from my few days in France.

I had a lovely time staying with my friend and her husband in their lovely home - I must admit I was a little apprehensive in case I unwittingly made a faux pas - like the time I gave my friend a hug as she was feeling down in the dumps. This was early on in our acquaintence and as soon as I did it I knew I shouldn't have - it's not the done thing!

I had the top floor of their lovely home to myself with my own bathroom and this was the view from my bedroom window each morning when I woke. I was lucky with the weather and it was bright and sunny every day except the first.

She had planned a very varied and interesting programme for me and I loved every minute of it all. On arrival at the airport she met me and took me to lunch with a mutual friend. Then the following day that friend came to lunch chez nous and we went for a walk with my frend's husband as guide and sherpa (ie he carried the bag with the water bottles and a snack)!

Our route took us along the river Glane an area known as the Site de Corot. Corot was a painter who loved the area and did many paintings of this particular area - you can see why can't you?

Apparently we did about 10 km and it took us about 3 hours including our rest break! That is St Junien where we came from in the distance in the picture below.

Here is a field of paquerettes (daisies to you and me!) which made me think of summer and making daisy chains and pulling the petals off saying he loves me he loves me not which both of which apparently the French also do!
We were so lucky with the weather and although the wind was cold the sunshine was brilliant and we reached home feeling very righteous - well I did anyway!

Friday we had our Femmes Ensemble get together which had been the reason for my visit - we always used to meet for a chat once a week and the group consisted of 2 other Brits and me together with 4 French ladies and we learned a lot about each others language and culture from our afternoons happily spent gossiping. When I look back over my notes taken at these get togethers I see just how varied and far ranging our topics of conversation were!
We had planned to go out for a meal together after our Femmes Ensemble meeting but the 2 other Brits had to go home first so I was left with 4 French friends and a game of Scrabble was suggested till it was time to go to the restaurant! I am not much good at Scrabble in English let alone French but since there were 5 of us my friend partnered me against the other 3. I think I managed one word! Next time I will suggest that I am allowed to put English words instead.

This is a little seat in my friend's garden - isn't it inviting? But it was too cold to sit there even though the sun was shining.

And here is the table on the terrace where I spent many happy afternoons in the summer months.

These violets we saw on the Saturday afternoon when we did another walk - shorter this time though and only about 5 km.

We went over this bridge which is apparently 900 years old - or was it built in 900 Ad - I forget but anyway it is very old.

Our route took us past a porcelaine factory which had a shop and we stopped to look inside. The porcelaine was very nice but what took my eye was this selection of bags - I have that leather still waiting to be made into a bag and this design would be just the thing...... !
That evening we went to a hand ball match - my friend's daughter is captain of the local team. It was not what I had expected at all and seemed like a cross between netball and football but played not using the feet but the hands. Another new experience for me.

View from the aircraft as we passed over the coast of France heading for Southampton.

Sunday came round all to fast and after lunch I had to leave. I will be back again though as although I don't miss living there at all and am very happy to be back in my own country I did enjoy my stay.
This week has been busy since our daughter went off to Australia for an extended stay and it fell to me to help her pack and to then sort out all her belongings and pack them away to be stored in our loft! Everything she owns apart from what is in her rucksack is here!! It was quite a stressful time especially as she got cold feet and didn't want to go - it was awful saying goodbye to her at Taunton knowing she was going I knew not where about as far away as possible and not wanting to go! Then on Thursday afternoon I had a minor procedure to remove a skin tag from my eyelid and was left with a black eye! That didn't happen when the lovely Monsieur V in St Junien did it for me some years ago!!
Anyway - if you are still with me - I think I am back to some semblence of normality now and hope to find time to catch up with your posts and to post myself again.


  1. Thanks for sharing your time in France. As we leave in just over 2 weeks it was good to hear about the weather. I am hoping it will still be cold when we get there as we are sick of the heat.
    I know how you feel seeing your daughter go off as ours went to the UK for a working holiday for 2 years when she was 26 and stayed for 5 years! Hope you have a contact in this country. if not you have me for an emergency. Just contact me through the blog ( I read it all the time). I imagine she is going to Sydney as that is the usual first point of contact for visitors. It is a beautiful city but very busy. Tell her to make sure she visits Brisbane where the pace is slower and the weather is good.

  2. Hi Jane, your jaunt to France sounds very energising for you all that lovely French countryside...I liked the bags very chic!
    Nice to get away but lovely to come home.
    Linda x

  3. Jane,
    It looks like a lovely few days away - crammed to the gunnels with things to do! Reading about those walks makes me tired but I bet they were invigorating. Go for it with the bag design. I think they are very chic and can't wait to see one of yours. It sounds like a very eventful week and I've just realised you'll be spending Mother's Day without your daughter there. Accept a hug from a distance. From where I am it is very much the done thing to do!! Lesley x

  4. Your week sounds wonderful. Loved the violets: I found a couple here today! :O). Hope Mothers' Day went well for you inspite of your daughter being away. Get busy and make a bag to take your mind off it all? Hope the black eye has subsided.

  5. Thank you all for your supportive comments - I accept your hug Lesley, Your offer of emergency support Helsie is much appreciated, Yes thanks my Mother's Day was fine - had a text message from Thailand so all's well! I still have the black eye but as I only notice it when passing a mirror it's not so bad!!


  6. Jane, what a lovely spot and gorgeous photos, sounds as if you needed to charge your batteries before your week. Hope you are feeling reassured, I am sure your daughter will have a wonderful experience. Now you can lose yourself in a little creativity.

  7. France looks so great! I love the photo of the violets. The only place around here that I have seen so many violets growing is in Clapham village North Yorkshire. Those bags are beautiful too!!
    Lucy xxxx

  8. what a lovely view from your room - rural france is lovely - glad you had a good time

  9. The scenery is stunning. Also a beautiful view from your bedroom. I love violets and daisies......small flowers always have a special place in my heart.

    Hibernation has been way too long this are absolutely right.....

  10. Your trip to France looks lovely Jane - I love the photos from your walks. Just thought I would quickly stop by - I'm still manically busy with work and have only just finished slaving over one particularly complicated legal document!

    I hope to have more time soon, too.

    Jeanne x

  11. Goodness, you have been busy!
    Saying goodbye to one's child is never easy, no matter how old they are! I am sure she will be safe here, & have a nice time.
    Loved all your pics taken in France.

  12. What a beautiful trip to take us on Jane, but I'm thankful hugs ARE the done thing in this part of the world, sending you a big one and hoping your eye is improving x

  13. What a lovely trip to have taken! My girlfriend and I were talking yesterday how close all the countries are to go and visit. I am hoping that my hubby and I can venture that way again this year. I hope that your daughter will do well and enjoy her time!
    As of black eyes, hope that has improved!
    Now I know that I need to go back to goodwill and get that leather jacket ($4.98), those bags are soooo cute!!!


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