With summer vacation in full swing, favorite Figeac haunts were packed with people on market day yesterday.
I found myself doing my share of "people watching" and "people finding". I ran in to people I hadn't yet seen on this visit: part of a pair from Montbrun and one of my favorite bus drivers who is a bus driver no more. It was a day of French, French, French and more French for me. I love it, even though I know I am very hard work to others who sometimes have to struggle to understand me.
And so, I sat inside at the PMU. I opted for a bierre pression while everyone else was coffee-ing, and was lucky enough to get the last croissant so I didn't have to drink that beer on an empty stomach. I wrote my cards to St. Louis, stopped at the patisserie for a few snacks for later, dropped my cards in the poste box, and headed over to the bus. It was probably a good thing I had a mouth full of a jambon et fromage croissant when my neighbor, Madame Pages walked up. Ah, but she didn't totally escape me and my pitiful pronunciation for the second time that morning!
Wishing you days of finding friends, new discoveries,
Yesterday morning it was almost raining on the river and almost ready for candlelight, while Monsieur Winkelmann and I waited for our friend to come down the hill to spend the day with us.
We were on a music mission. I had my fingers crossed that our friend would arrive before the rain and before the need for candlelight! We spent a wonderful day of making music between the raindrops. I had the closest window open to the river. The back door to the terrace was open too. Music magic filled the Chatette, ran between the raindrops, danced around the lavoir and meandered down the train tracks.
When a New Orleans friend wrote some tunes and asked me to write the lyrics; I didn't hesitate. It was fun and meaningful, but everything remains unfinished.
One tune is particularly beautiful and meaningful to me. Monsieur Winkelmann and I have been picking it out and struggling to play it since my arrival. I'd hoped to share a more finished version when I return to New Orleans. It became clear that I had to ask for help. I did, et voila. We have a draft. We are on the road. Our mission continues. As you can imagine, Monsieur Winkelmann is smiling!
I'm always learning. It takes a little more work, but if I want more flowers I need to prune back some of the trees that are blocking the sunlight.
This deep purple buddleia only started blooming, once I got the overhead tree branches out of the way. With Evelyn's help, not only was I able to trim a much prettier view to the barn; but the sunshine made the buddleia even happier and brought even more butterflies!
Sometimes pruning takes more than one person. It's great to have Evelyn's help...she'll hold the branches down so I can then cut them up higher and use both of my hands. A HUGE MERCI to Evelyn!
I've learned the lessons of working in the sun and heat. Take breaks. It gives your skin and the rest of your system a rest so you can go back out and keep working. Cutting my grass is a big job that I generally enjoy. I have sections that are huge in area, but level; and others that are small in area but very uneven and lots of up and down with steep grades.
Pushing to get the big level piece cut the other day, I found I needed to stop every so often and take a break. It turned out to be a very pleasant day...with mint green iced tea, plums from my tree, and interludes of reading "The Rape of Europa" (for my second time) as I went. Everything got done on that piece and looked beautiful.
I can't say the same for yesterday. I confess, even though I stopped I did over do it. With that tough terrain, I always think: "Just a little more...just a little more..." but finally got wise in front of the barn and cut enough so if I want to varnish and clean the grass will be cut there and not in the way. On to more enjoyable chores...maybe a little treasure hunting today. More on that another time!
I have to confess to just now using the panorama feature on my camera for the first time this week. Till now, I'd take a distant shot and then crop it to catch what I wanted. These two buddleia at dawn shots were done that way.
Working back on the land this week, challenged me to try panorama and see. What I've discovered is that both techniques work well and are very pretty. The main difference is with the panorama setting on the camera you get something that is more circular.
With grass to cut, these days of rain-sun-rain-sun and then lots of rain at night make it close to impossible to get it done. I've surrendered to outside activities that can easily start and stop, and just generally feeling my way with whatever strikes my fancy in the moment. The last couple days, I've been exposing stone, pruning trees, and raking up on the land behind the Chatette. I even took a crack at using the panorama feature on my camera that gives you this wonderful sweeping shot from exposed stone all the way to the front of the barn. I'd say...prettier and prettier. And, maybe the grass will get cut today!
The restful, decompress, get away 4 months that was supposed to be my second 4 in France of my 4-4-4 plan, hasn't really materialized until just this week. I'm not sitting around or anything, but ongoing problems from the states just keep finding me here. To the point that I almost decided to cancel my plans for the Paris trip.
Kat convinced me otherwise. In the midst of being totally stressed out with tax, parent and apartment problems, Kat said: "Just go make your plans for Paris." And, I did. I'm so excited, and looking forward to a whole day in Paris on my own, just for me. I want to wander (mostly on foot) and do everything I love. I have no scheudle or plan. I've decided that even if it rains, I'll be fine. There's a reason for it all and I plan to enjoy my day in Paris however it comes to me.
I'll be catching the midnight train out of Cahors on the 12th of August-sleep in a first class couchette-arrive in Paris at 7am on the morning of the 13th. The night of the 13th I'll catch the midnight train to Cahors-sleep in a first class couchette-arrive Cahors about 5am and will catch the 6:15am bus home to Cadrieu. By booking more than a month in advance-my round trip first class ticket was 120 euros.
You might have some fun imagining with me what that day in between will hold. It's my 60th Birthday Present to me! Of course, you'll hear about it here upon my return. A day in Paris...hmmm, I bet there's enough material for blog posts for the rest of my time here in Cadrieu and into St. Louis!
Sometimes I sit on the porch swing on the covered terrace and watch the rain. Other days, it might be sunny and I usually have a book I want to finish.
The other day I was out there on a sunny day, with a Maeve Binchy novel. I finished it. Put it down and looked around.
There was: a bird on every bird ball; butterflies on the buddleias by the barn, wagon, back land, and lower terrace; Sam lolling in the sunshine; dappled light on the wagon; just enough water in the lavoir to treat me to water melodies; and peace.
I looked to my right to see the land with the wagon, the barn looking so pretty, and the Chateau on high that wows me to this day. I looked to my left to see the cliffs, my lady from Christiane nestled on the land below, and the buddleias blooming away in 3 different colors.
I was over come with huge senses of peace, joy and love of place. I know now, that 12 years ago when I bought the Chatette...this is exactly what I had hoped it would be. This is it!
It doesn't get any better than that. It's wonderful to be filled with peace, love, joy and gratefulness whenever it appears! Happy Sunday!