Sunday, November 28, 2010
Saturday, November 27, 2010
Friday, November 26, 2010
Thursday, November 25, 2010
Gershwin is playing Gershwin on the CD. Seems just the right music for thinking about home and all that I'm thankful for this day. Of course, Travis, Becky, Chase, Parker, and Marley top my list! But I'm thankful for all my family, who even if they think I'm totally out of my mind for closing down Red Bell Farm in order to experience this winter in France, are gracious and loving enough to keep it to themselves! They've all been so very supportive of my adventure; I love them all. A special thanks to mon frere, Jim who is receiving and sending my mail to me.
I'm thankful for Laury's offer that gave me this opportunity to make a dream come true...
I'm thankful for this group of super nice people who have made me feel so welcome here in Cadrieu....
I'm thankful for warm friends and warm fires, windfall walnuts, goat cheese, good health, Cahors wine and Cantal cheese, croissants, my faith community and St. Timothy's, Lucie, Dali, and Sam...
Gershwin is playing "An American in Paris." This American far from Paris and deep in la France profounde says "Thank you, God" for all the many blessings in my life.
Wednesday, November 24, 2010
I made my first solo bus trip to Figeac yesterday and lived to tell the story! And what is so spectacular about that, I hear you saying to yourself. Let me ask you this question: when is the last time you made a trip to buy groceries by bus? Unless you live in France, my guess is never! We don't do the bus in the States. Getting back to my trip yesterday...it was a non-adventure. Which is good; that means I read the bus schedule correctly, had my ticket ready, got off at the right place, found almost everything at the Carrefour that I had on my list (no sweet potatoes...do the French not eat them?), bought just the right amount of stuff that fit in my backpack and my nifty French basket, made it back to the bus stop to catch my return ride, and arrived safely at home...all without having to open the umbrella I took, just in case! I didn't have time to take photos, tho, so you'll have to be content with these that I took last September. Isn't that a cool gate? And the garden behind it was just as intriguing.
I love the narrow winding ruelles of the old part of town.
You never know who will have their laundry hanging out to dry...or in this case, drapes?
French shops have such clever advertising!
Monday, November 22, 2010
I've blogged previously that one of the unexpected pleasures about staying here at the Chatette is enjoying some of Laury's great CD's. She's a huge Neville Brothers fan, and while I've heard some of their music, I can't say that I've been a fan. All that changed after I listened to their 'Gold' CD. Here's one of my favorite songs from it. Aaron Neville covers the Bob Dylan song, "With God on Our Side." Enjoy!
Sunday, November 21, 2010
Saturday, November 20, 2010
As you can see, the calendar part isn't particularly useful. It's all really more about photos of my local sapeurs et pompiers in action with lots of advertising.
Jerome and Alexandra were my uniformed visitors. I certainly hope 5 euros was enough for them to answer promptly any emergency calls from the Chatette!
*** sapeurs et pompiers are firefighters.
Oh...and the door? If you come back tomorrow, I'll share its secret with you!
Friday, November 19, 2010
Laury had only been gone a few hours last Sunday when I heard a car stop in the front of the house followed by pounding on the front door. Let me first explain that the Chatette sits right on the road; there is no place for a car to pull off out of traffic, so anyone stopping must park and put on their flashers since their vehicle totally blocks the lane. So, most visitors pull into the drive at the end of the property and park in the yard. Secondly, I must admit that the few times someone has come to the front door, I'd never actually seen how Laury opened it. Dogs barking madly, I rushed to the door. I could hear voices on the other side; the knocking continued. I stood there staring...how in the hell do I open this door!? I tugged, I pulled, I jiggled handles and slides....nothing. Someone tugged and pulled and jiggled from the other side. The dogs were going wild and I was going crazy. "This is stupid," I said out loud. "There's got to be a way to open this damn door." I pushed again; the visitor pulled. Nothing. "Come around to the back," I yelled in English only to realize that whoever was out there probably had no clue what I was saying. More jiggling, more barking, more swearing under my breath until I yelled "Wait!" I dashed through the house, out the back door, down the terrace steps and ran around to the front of the house to see two people in uniform standing on the steps, their official vehicle with flashers flashing totally blocking southbound traffic!
Come back tomorrow to find out just who these uniformed people were and what they wanted.
Thursday, November 18, 2010
and finally to here!
It will take me several days to get it all stacked. In the meantime, it will warm me twice as they say...once has I carry it up the stairs and onto the terrace and then again when I sit around the cozy fire.
Wednesday, November 17, 2010
I can't tell you how many people over the past few years have stated as a fact that French people are rude and unfriendly. "Why do you want to go to France?" they'd ask. "The people there are just awful...rude, unfriendly and they don't like Americans." Well, I'm not sure where they got their information, but my view is....they are dead wrong! I've have never been treated less than cordially in all my trips to France, and I can tell you that since coming here to my little village of Cadrieu, I've been welcomed by my new French friends with grace, good cheer, and an openness that Americans could do well to imitate. I've been invited into homes, introduced to family, and asked to join in village projects. People have listened to my awful French and have tried very hard to understand me. They've chuckled over my inability to twist my mouth into the shapes required to pronounce such words as "chevreuil," "feuilles" and "ecureuil" while good-naturedly repeating them over and over while I struggle to imitate the wonderful sounds that come from their mouths. I've gone to parties where I've gotten totally lost in the flow of fast French conversation when someone will stop and ask...'do you understand what we're saying?' and when I say 'only a little' that person will give me a quick synopsis. Cashiers at a French market are no more impatient than the ones at Wal-Mart who heave a big sigh and roll their eyes while you hold up their line fumbling for your credit card. French teens are giggly, loud, and a little rowdy on the bus, but then so are American teens. I could get very used to being greeted politely with a "Bonjour, Madame" when I enter a shop in the States or get on the bus. Plus, I'm always left with an "a bientot, bon journee!" ( see you soon, have a good day!) when I leave. Is your grocery clerk at Safeway this polite??
The View From My Window tells me that French folks are as open, friendly, and polite as anyone else in the world!
PS....in translation the words are 'deer,' leaves,' and 'squirrel.'
Tuesday, November 16, 2010
Sunday, November 14, 2010
Pierre Daura, the artist who bought the house in the 1930's. Village gossip has it that Spanish Civil War radicals hid out in this house after Daura joined the Spanish Republican Army in 1939. After coffee and conversation, we had a peek at the rest of the house.
The entry room...
We saw a large reception room with huge fireplaces on either end that was set up as a rehearsal area for the Parisian dancer and her musician husband who are in residence. From this window we could see the home of Andre Breton, a French writer and poet who is considered the founder of Surrealism.
We wandered through painter's studios, computer rooms, a small library, Mike's living space as well as his music studio. Each level of the house was connected by spiraling stone staircases and dimly-lit hallways painted with ancient frescoes and medieval designs.
After wishing Mike bonne chance with his upcoming concert, we climbed back up to the church to light a candle to the Merci Lady, St. Therese. We left the village by the chemin in front of the cemetery which is still decorated for La Toussaint. St. Cirq is very quiet these days; the tourist season is over, but creativity still flourishes at Daura House!
Laury at Porte Rocamadour
Saturday, November 13, 2010
I'm fascinated by the visual patterns created by the composer...
Who wouldn't be inspired by the view from the composer's window?
More about Daura House tomorrow!
Here are a couple of sites to check if you're interested in hearing Mike's music:
Friday, November 12, 2010
If you've ever spent any time in another country surrounded by people chattering away in a language you don't understand, you'll recognize this phenomena. Suddenly out of the crowd you hear a word or two of English, and your attention is immediately re-directed to its source. And if it's American English...hot dog! That means someone from home. This happened to us last week as we were shopping for a few groceries at the Ecomarche in Cajarc. An exchage of comments en anglais led to a brief conversation in the bread aisle with a man named Mike. Mike from Wisconsin. Oh, the joy of being able to tell someone I'm from Iowa without having to explain just where Iowa is! As we chatted, Mike shared that he was a musician and giving a concert at the church in Cajarc on November 25th. We gave him our email addresses so he could provide us with more information. In a flurry of email exchanges, Laury invited him for coffee only to find out he is as car-less as we are. A quick modification of plans brought us by bus here...to St. Cirq Lapopie on a misty morning yesterday. More about our adventures at St. Cirq tomorrow....come back!
Thursday, November 11, 2010
I know this blog is supposed to be about my adventures in France, but really, I'm a grandma! I just had to share the latest grandkids' pictures that Becky posted on Shutterfly. Parker and Marley are truly the most precious part of my life.
I'll be back to France soon....I promise!
Monday, November 8, 2010
Walking the dogs through the village every day is a moving visual feast. Let me share some of it with you.....
My favorite deux chevaux
More berries...and yes, they are hot pink.
The Chatette, the Lot, and beyond....