Monday, October 31, 2011

Who? Me??

I decided to go to Mass yesterday afternoon at our little village church. There was a special Toussaint service at 2:30pm, and I thought it would be a nice introduction to this special time in France. As I walked up the hill, I saw the priest by his car. He called out..I looked around. Who was he talking to? No one seemed to respond to him. I looked at him...who? me?? He nodded, and I walked over. In rapid fire French he requested me to do something while he rummaged around in his very full trunk. 'OMG', I thought, 'he thinks I'm French.' In perfect French (made perfect because I have to say it so often!) I said 'I'm sorry, I speak only a little French.' Switching to pretty good English, he asked if I'd help him. By now he was searching for something in his backseat. 'OMG, help him do what?' I panicked as my eyes landed on the Communion wafers and other accoutrements of Catholic Mass. 'He thinks I'm Catholic...what if he asks me to do some Catholic thing that I have no idea what to do??' I lowered my voice and whispered, as if this was some highly sensitive state secret, 'I'm not Catholic; is that okay?' Helooked a bit puzzled, but he chuckled a bit and replied, 'of are still welcome here!' Then he handed me a white satin cloth trimmed with gold and several priestly garments...I think his chasuable and robe. Can you see my face burning with embarassment as I walked into the church? He must have thought I was totally insane; all he wanted me to do was help him carry his things into the church. Even an Episcopalian can do that!

My embarassment only grew worse as I walked in the open doors. There was M. the Farmer, laughing at me! In his almost incomprehensible patois, he giggled, 'I thought maybe you were the new priest with that stuff...ha, ha, ha. But no, you can't be the priest...ha, ha, ha...unless they've changed the rules...ha, ha. ha! I had to giggle along with, monsieur, not me! I'm just the not French, not Catholic crazy woman carrying the priest's things!

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Our Daily Bread

Can you guess what this is? Yes, the big green box is the mail box; all of us in the village have one. What we don't all have is the long, gray cylinder that's attached to it. If you saw this in Iowa, you'd guess it was for the newspaper. Rural newspaper delivery is/was common there, and people have similar receptacles to keep their paper out of the rain and snow. But this receptacle attached to Josie and Patrick's mailbox is not for the's for their daily baguette delivered fresh every morning from the bakery in Cajarc! I think it must be Patrick's invention...he's very handy that way. I'll have to keep my eyes peeled to see if anyone else in the village has such a handy device to receive their daily bread. I'll bet you don't get your daily bread in such an inventive way!

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Still Blooming

Even though it's fall, summer lingers...
while the causse is awash with gold...

and arms of orange embrace the Chateau.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Fall Colors

It's been fun to compare this fall and its colors with last year's fall. I think everything is just as brilliant this year, but the wind has been blowing on and off which has stripped some of the pretty leaves from their branches before they were really ready to fall. The locals call this wind 'vent de fou' or crazy wind. I guess because it makes you crazy if it blows long enough! This morning the wind is warm, thank goodness. As winter approaches I'm sure it will blow icy cold. These pretty red leaves stretch their slender fingers on a protected side of a neighbor's house. It's almost as if they're trying to get into that shuttered window before winter truly arrives and they wither away.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Laury's Barn

When I stand at the wall of windows in my dining room, this is what I see....Laury's barn. We laugh that I actually have a better view of it from my house than she does from hers! It's so pretty, and she's done so much work to get it looking like this. If you're interested in how she's restoring it, you can click here and read her blog accounts of this 'barn of her heart'. On the far right, you can just barely see the roof of the lavoir. It rained a little this morning, so there is some water flowing thru it today. Not enough, though, for me to be able to tell if I can hear it when it rushes like I could from Laury's house. I hope I can; I loved that sound! Below is a 'before' photo of the barn that I took on my first visit to Cadrieu in 2009...

Monday, October 24, 2011

View From My Window

This is the view from my bedroom window. That's Saujac on the other side of the Lot. You can see the church steeple; at night it's illuminated, so no matter what time I get up and look out my window, I can see the church keeping company with the myriad of stars that twinkle over the causse. When the weather is warm enough to have the windows open, I can hear the church bells chime the hour and half hour.

Last winter when I blogged from Laury's house, I used "View From My Window" for the blog titles I wrote that expressed my opinions and views about France, the US, and the world. Now that I live here, I'll be using this 'view' for those posts. When you see this view of Saujac, you'll know there is an opinion coming. You are forewarned that the opinions expressed are mine alone!

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Have You Seen My Shower?

Have you seen my shower?? C'est tres magnifique! Just look at all those gadgets! It's definitely not something I'd ordinarily have for myself, but it's here, it's so Patrick, and I love it! It's totally enclosed, so unless I have the fan on, it functions as a steam shower. I can shower with the regular shower head at the left, or I can turn on the 'rain' head on top. Then it's like standing under a gentle waterfall or standing in a warm rain. The jets across the back allow me to have directed, pulsating spray in two different areas. Great for sore muscles. I can even sit down in front of them to further direct their massaging action. It has a light and as I said above, a fan. Oh's also equipped with an FM radio! I can listen to French music while I shower. What luxury!
My second favorite thing about my bathroom is my petite washing machine. I bought it at BUT soon after I arrived and it fits perfectly in this little niche where the hookups are. The tub rotates like a ferris wheel...quite ingenious how it fits in the small space.  The first time I opened it, I remembered Laury told me that the first time she opened her machine (she has the same model), she accidently locked it and thought she had broken it before she even used it. Of course, I had a similar misadventure when I tried to open the tub. The bottom of the tub was visible when I lifted the lid. Heck, what do I know? I thought it was the top, and sure enough it had a lever that opened it. When I pushed it, it immediately fell into the tub leaving a gaping opening. OMG!  I couldn't get it back in place and was sure that I had ruined the machine. Luckily, I thought to rotate the tub which brought the real opening into view. I pushed the button and voila! it opened the proper way, and I could reach in and replace the piece that had fallen in. Evidently, it is the bottom of the tub and can be removed if you need to manually drain it. I've washed several loads of clothing, and I couldn't be more pleased. I've used the 'rapide' setting which does a load in around 30 minutes and gets my clothes sparkling clean. The wash cycles for 'coton' and 'coloures' last up to 2 hours! I can't imagine how clean my clothes would be after a few washings on those settings...if I even had any clothes left!

Saturday, October 22, 2011

More Little Train House

Here are a few more photos of the house. Yes, the pictures leaning on the sofa are going on the wall above it. I'm having a third one done on canvas, and as soon as it's ready, I'll hang all three. I brought some of my other framed photos. Hanging them on my walls really make it feel more like home since all the furniture was already here. I still have a few things to an area rug for this living room, a couple of throw rugs for the kitchen, some table linen, a desk, and maybe a DVD player. But the house is very live-able just as it is. For that, I'm very grateful!
This is my room. While the bedspread isn't exactly what I would have chosen, it does go nicely with my hollyhock photos. The other three hollyhocks are on the right wall. Lucie doesn't seem to mind the bright colors at all!
The French do bathrooms in such a civilized way. Open the door marked 'Eiffel Tower' and what do you find?
The toilet in its own petite room! I'll share the rest of the bathroom story another time. You won't want to miss it!

Friday, October 21, 2011

Little House on the Train Tracks

You may have noticed that I've changed my blog profile photo to this one that Laury took of me sitting on the old wagon she rescued from her barn. (For more about the wagon, click here.) She managed to get me as well as the back of my house behind me. That long wall of windows is the enclosed terrace, now a dining room. There are two sliders that open into the backyard. The other little windows open into the salle de bain and le toilette. While I wish the house renovation had preserved some of the historic details inside, it's clean and very comfortable. And I'm not complaining about any of the modern touches!
The dining room. If I ever get really brave, I may throw a big dinner party and fill this table!
The kitchen is fully electric and equipped with dishwasher, conventional/convection oven and a ceramic stove top. It's big enough to accommodate a table that will expand to seat 6. We'll continue the tour next time...

Thursday, October 20, 2011

PN 434

While I still don't have my own phone/internet connection, I decided I better use Laury's wireless to blog before my friends and family fear I have fallen off the edge of the earth! Everything is good here....just no internet yet. I'm sure you're curious about my little French train house. Well, here it is...PN 434. PN stands for passage a niveau and each railroad house along the train line is numbered PN ___. I live in PN 434. Passage a niveau means 'level crossing' in French, hence the house is located where the tracks make a level crossing over a road. Here at my house the tracks cross Les Hortes just outside my back door. I'm almost disappointed that the trains no longer run. How fun it would be to see one chugging by my gate! This house has been renovated with the back terrace being enclosed. It now houses a dining room table that can seat 12 and a huge china hutch.

These windows open onto my kitchen and my living room...

This is the front of the house that faces the river. The second floor windows open to my bedroom where I have a wonderful view of both the river and the village of Saujac on the other side of it. You can also see part of the dining room windows on the left. Look up! See my big neighbor? That's the Chateau looming large above me. I'll share more photos of the inside soon.

Saturday, October 8, 2011

It's hard to believe that I've been here over a week and haven't taken a single photo! Not that there haven't been photo-worthy moments. I'm just really focused on getting settled into my new home. I've been into Figeac twice, gone to language class (English class for French friends that Greg teaches every week up at the library, attended French class at Christiane's, and had dinner up at Jean's house. In between, I've arranged and re-arranged furniture, reorganized my kitchen at least twice, found places for all my clothes, and gotten most of the framed photos that I shipped here last summer hung where I think they're going to stay. You know how it kind of have to live with things for awhile to see how you like them. I've sent and received back another photo printed on canvas that I'll hang over my couch with the two I left here for Laury's vernissage. Once they're up, I'll certainly put a photo of them on the blog. Lucie has settled in nicely, and we're walking twice every day.

Yesterday, Jean took Laury and I into Figeac and I bought a washing machine, a microwave and an iron. I'm a happy camper! And once my washer arrives next week, I'll be a happy camper in clean clothes. Once France Telecom activates my phone/internet line, I'll be connected to the world and blogging will be much easier. Maybe by then, I'll have some current photos to share!

Monday, October 3, 2011

I've Arrived!

No photo today, but I do want to let the world know that I've arrived safely in France and have moved into my new home! My trip went smoothly, the weather has been perfect, and Lucie remembers is good! Posting may be spotty for awhile until I get my phone/internet hooked up. I couldn't be more delighted to be here.