Millie was somewhere out there in the English Channel, bobbing about in a sailboat. I scarcely slept a wink and awoke groggily, my first thought was to grab my phone and see if there was any word, but nothing. Walking into the kitchen, I opened my laptop. We were able to track the location of their boat via the AIS satellite tracking system. When we had gone to bed last night, she was still off the south coast of England having just passed the Isle of Wight. Now we saw she was about 40 miles west of the Channel Islands, obviously they were reverting to plan B and not stopping there, but heading straight down to Brittany. Read More
Today I am going round in circles! One train of thought has led to another and then another, but stick with me because it does make sense – sort of! Today is the 14th July; today is La Fête National, the French National holiday, more commonly known as Le quatorze Juillet, the fourteenth of July.
Her head ached with November sun despite the straw-hat, and dust coated her shirt and shorts. Audrey was driving the tractor in bare feet, as she had always done, and her toes danced on the brake and clutch as she eased down into the last row of bananas. To her left the first tree had a ‘bunch’ covered in the coloured plastic sheet she was looking for, a lurid orange, and she brought the trailer to a stop with a touch on the brakes and a grunt of gearbox. Her boys spilled off the edges of the trailer and started down the row, looking for further flashes of orange which indicated maturing bunches that were ripe enough for cutting. Dotted down the row were other colours, red and green, each indicating a different stage of maturation. This week it was the orange they were after. Her bandana was wringing wet and she squeezed it dry over the mudguard as she stood on the small plated step. The late afternoon sky above was a vivid blue, and for an instant she was jolted back to a land of lavender and grapes, where a small house sat on the edge of a little village. The thought startled her with its suddenness and intensity, and she shook her head, wondering which bizarre part of her brain had brought the scene to life. Read More
Here in the Charente Maritime houses and buildings have donned their summer clothing, pretty pastels and vibrant colours abound. Everywhere I go there are climbers, reaching upwards, the bigger the better; these are the social climbers of the plant world, they twist and turn around anything they can cling to for support, or anything that will enhance their status! Read More
The little house still stood in the lane, and in the hot August sunshine the roof almost glistened with heat in the places where the moss had not yet got a hold. The gate in the overgrown, unkempt hedge, hung heavy with chain and a large rusty padlock; the path beyond to a door that had lost most of its paint was barely visible for the tufts of shaggy grass and clusters of pink valerian that sprung out of its cobbled cracks. The afternoon silence shimmered with heat and all that could be heard was a soft buzz of insects and the rattle of scurrying lizards in the grass. Read More
EVERY HOLIDAY HAS ITS STORY
We had quite a challenge recently, when friends came to visit us for just over a week from Florida. It was the first time they had been away from the USA and so this was one of those ‘trips of a lifetime’. The big question was, what to do, and where to take them during their 8 days here? They knew they wanted to experience real French life, but they also wanted to make sense of its long history, and see as much as they could about the country. Read More
This morning we have awoken to a new Europe. Overhearing our discussions at dawn over the glow of an iPad, two little girls rushed into our bedroom this morning at 7.05am. Two innocent pairs of eyes worried about something they could scarcely understand, worried that we could no longer live in France, worried for a future they know nothing about.
“Mama what’s going to happen to us?”
We reassured them that everything will be fine, because that’s what parents do.
Izzi, our eldest daughter phoned from London where she is working as an intern for two weeks, scared and worried, wanting some family reassurance.
Our two teenagers, who have finished school for the year, sat at the breakfast table; long periods of silence were punctuated with urgent questions.
“Oh England, what have we done?”
It’s a question that is going around and around my brain this morning. Who knows where this will lead and what will happen.
The only thing I know for sure is whilst I am British, I am also extremely proud to be a European and very happy to call France my home, to have so many French people as friends, and we really do appreciate the welcome they give anyone who visits their country.
As I sit here writing this post gazing down our long garden, it’s a scene that probably hasn’t changed much in a hundred years. Yet so much could alter today, the day Britain votes to either remain or leave the EU. In London it’s pouring with rain, there are lightning strikes, and storms and flooding have caused travel chaos. Here in the Charente Maritime the hot sun continues to shine, the skies remain resolutely blue, and life continues as normal. Read More