It’s Spring Break and two weeks of holidays for the children, but we’re not packing our bags and heading off on vacation. We couldn’t even if we wanted to, as life in the spring revolves around tennis tournaments. However, we’re more than happy to stay right where we are because nature at this time of year is putting on a spectacular show, rivalling the glitz and glamour of any theme-park.
All we need is a good pair of shoes, a camera, the dogs, our children and as many of their friends as want to join us and we’re off out walking; sometimes through the local fields and tiny vineyards, sometimes down to the marais. It really doesn’t matter where we go; the weather has been fantastic, even if thunder clouds have threatened in the distance inland we’ve been spared their consequences. Everywhere is looking magical, the trees get more leaves and the landscape turns greener every day; it just feels so good to be outside and to feel the warmth from the sun again, to breathe in huge lungfuls of clean fresh air and listen to the children’s constant chatter. It’s just one of life’s pleasures to hear their squeals of laughter as they discover new finds and yucky insects! Sometimes we’ll take a picnic and walk for hours; we’ll run and skip, tripping over ruts in the ground as they set hard in the dryer weather; it’s healthy for both the mind and the body, it’s convivial, it’s wonderful family time and what’s more it’s free.
My father died of Motor Neurone Disease just before his 90th birthday, and it’s a horrible, horrible disease. Even when he was unable to do much at all he took great comfort in the beauty all around him, and although he couldn’t talk or walk very far, his garden gave him great peace. Not a day goes past when I don’t think about him; he was both a farmer and a fantastic gardener and I so wish I could ask his advice on so much we’re doing here in France. Some of you may follow Ellie O’Connell’s brilliant blog Have Some Decorum. Ellie has ALS. I do not know her but I have been a huge fan of her blog for a long time. She is young, she writes brilliantly and from the heart, and she is an inspiration to us all; the courage she shows is quite incredible. This post is dedicated to her and her brave fight and to my dear, dear father.
Today I want to share the gorgeous countryside around here with you; I am increasingly grateful for these simple pleasures in life, so come along on a virtual walk with us and enjoy the Charente Maritime in April.
Give the children a camera and a walk takes on a whole new meaning, lend them one of Daddy’s cameras and they’re in heaven!
We don’t really notice the time or the distance we cover. Every now and then we slow the pace down and take in everything around us, and then we’ll race ahead again like the dogs.
Occasionally we’ll stop, flop down on the grass and have a water break or practice gymnastics!
And then there are times when we’ll take the car and find a deserted beach, easy to do at this time of year before the madding crowds of the summer descend upon us.
Whatever you are doing this weekend, I hope you are having a lovely time; celebrate life, let go of the unimportant things and cherish those you love. Susan x