Thursday, September 30, 2010

New Blog Photo

Maybe you've already noticed? I've changed my blog profile photo to this one that Laury took of me yesterday afternoon. The adorable turquoise deux chevaux belongs to Christiane and she was gracious enough to give permission for a photo. If I decide to make France a permanent part of my life, this is the kind of car I'd have. I don't have to go fast or look modern and streamlined; I think old and charming is just my style. And if I could find a convertible like this one.....I'd be in heaven
For those of you interested in a close up of my new, all-gray look, here's the one I posted at Dona Nobis Pacem. Laury took this one as Lucie and I sat on an old bench she found in the loft of her barn. In the background is one of the many limestone cliffs that make up the causse; this one shelters Laury's barn, the Chatette and the village lavoir.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Coffee with Greg

Late yesterday morning Laury and I walked up to the top of the village to have coffee at Greg's house. He had invited us for 11am, and we were right on time. The fog was just beginning to lift, and as I hoped it cleared completely by the  time we were ready to leave. I just had to snap a couple of photos from Greg's front window. He has an awesome view of the Chateau and the causse across the Lot. My telephoto captured the charm of Saujac and its pretty little church perfectly. Sipping  a cappuscino and nibbling on a slice of chocolate cake, I listened as Laury and Greg caught up on village news. Greg invited me to the language class he does for a few of the villagers who want to improve their English. I'll go when Laury's gone, and even though it's mostly in English, it should be a good way to improve my French a bit. I know from going once last year that the French folks speak an awful lot of French while they're trying to figure out the English word that Greg is asking them for!

A beautiful walk home to the Chatette in the warm mid-day sun.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

My Hosts

You'll be seeing a whole lot more of this barn (la grange), but I wanted to introduce you to my 'hosts' in the Lot, Laury and her dog (le chien) Dali. They have opened their home and their hearts helping me make this dream-come-true adventure happen. I will care for Dali and Sam the cat while Laury works first in Holland, then in Germany on short term contracts. The barn, named 'Il y a plus que des anges' ('There are more than angels') was the site of a big apero party the end of August before the gallery opening (vernissage). Laury  has done a lot of work digging out the mud that covered the stone floor, cleaning up the wood and arranging displays of artwork inside. It's quite beautiful and she's actually found a few treasures (les tresors) while she's been excavating. It's yet another spot to enjoy the sights and sounds of the Lot.

Monday, September 27, 2010

We've Arrived!

After an almost flawless journey, Lucie and I arrived here in Cadrieu around 6pm Thursday evening in a steady Lotois rain. Things couldn't have gone more smoothly; everyone we met along the way seemed to love Lucie, and I think they were even nice to me because of her!  Laury and I spent most of Friday with her friend doing some grocery shopping and buying winter boots for me. On Saturday we went into Cahors to drop off the rental car, eat at a Vietnamese buffet for lunch, and hit the market for flowers. Home on the bus, then an aperitif party at Laury's in the evening. We definitely made Sunday a day of rest! Laury laughed at me because the first thing I said as I put my suitcase in her guest room was 'where's my desk??' 'I knew you were going to say that,' she chuckled. 'I put it in the barn for the apero party. Don't worry; we'll bring it back in.' And this morning we did! Here I am, sitting at 'my' little desk, looking out at the river and the causse. The tiny village of Saujac just across the river is peeking between the trees, and although the sun has disappeared behind the clouds, life is good! This morning we walked the dogs along the river as the fog lifted, its wetness leaving  brilliant dewdrops on this spider's handiwork. Everything is lush and green; the farmers are beginning to harvest. Soon the cool fall air will turn the trees on the causse and the underbrush brilliant hues of yellow, red and orange. As the seasons cycle, my adventure begins!


Saturday, September 18, 2010

A Million Questions

Before my trip to the Lot last September, I peppered Laury with a million questions about Cadrieu. How many people live there? Are they French or mostly ex-pats? Are there any businesses? Where's the closest boulangerie? Is there a school? What do people do for a living? Do they work in the village or do they travel to Cajarc? Figeac? Cahors? What kinds of crops do the farmer's grow? What's the weather like? Yeah, I'm pretty curious! She patiently answered my questions and also sent me this link to the village. Yes, it's in French, but if your browser is Google, Google will translate for you. Now that I've been there, I know all the answers to those questions first-hand. Now I'm even more curious, though, about what my life in the village will be like this winter. Come back after September 24th for the answers!

If you enlarge this photo and look to the far right, you'll see a big house (the Chateau). Below it and a little to the left is Laury's house...the Chatette. It sits right on the road in front of the River Lot.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Fall


Fall  is in the air, and it seems like every blog I read is beginning to acknowledge the changing colors, the shorter days, and the cooler weather that heralds this cycling of the seasons. Laury's blog post today at Soar-Dream-France features a photo taken about the same time as this one I took last September. The trees were just beginning to turn. You can see Laury's Chatette in the lower left corner, its neighbor, the Chateau towering above it, and just peeking over Laury's roof...the village church steeple. For most people, fall signals the 'end'....of summer, of gardens, of long, lazy vacation days. For me, though, fall has always been the exciting 'beginning'....of the school year, of new adventures, new friends and new things to learn. It's so appropriate, isn't it, that I will arrive here in less than two weeks, when fall is at its peak! I will arrive to new adventures, new friends, and many, many new things to learn. Fall...the beginning of a new experience!

Friday, September 10, 2010

Car-Less in the Lot






Once I get settled in at the Chatette, I'll drive into Cahors and drop off my rental car. I will then be car-less in the Lot. Kind of gives a whole new meaning to 'give us this day our daily bread,' huh?

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Sojourn


My Webster's dictionary defines 'sojourn' as a temporary stay as a resident in another country.' My winter in France will be a sojourn; I will be a sojourner...a temporary resident. Because this is different than being a tourist, my preparation for this time is also different. Instead of planning visits to museums and galleries, I'm thinking about how I will get into Cajarc for groceries. Should I walk the 4kms or ride Laury's bike? Instead of planning road trips to the Mediterranean and Paris, I'm thinking about whether Greg will let me tag along to Figeac when I need to buy dog food and cat litter. I'll want to get into Cahors not to 'ooh and ahh' over the Pont Valente and St. Etienne's, but rather to worship with an Anglican community which meets in a Catholic parish hall outside of the city. Does the bus schedule correspond with their worship times? Can I buy an carnet of bus tokens, so I always have one handy? More questions for Laury...how do I build a fire in your great fireplace? How do I make a phone call to the States? Who is your vet? What do I do if the power goes out? This trip is not so much about the bright lights of the city and the wonderful tourist attractions of France. Instead it's about that light in the window that says 'welcome home.' At least...temporarily!