Appreciating the Ordinary

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Do you ever feel like you are being stretched in every direction, without enough hands, with not enough hours in the day, in fact not enough time full stop? It’s the first week of the children’s winter holidays and that means I am juggling balls trying to keep the wheels turning. I need to be here, there, and everywhere else whilst also attempting to keep the house running in a somewhat civilised manner. Some people cope with stress by doing yoga, and others try meditation; I, however, like to take photos!

Bizarre sounding, yes, but there is more to taking a photo than just clicking away with a camera. It enables me to see things I might otherwise miss. I can completely lose myself in my surroundings, enabling me to temporarily erase all other thoughts from my mind; it’s my own form of meditation, and lets me appreciate nature and natural beauty in its simplest form. Taking a road less travelled,

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and allowing myself a few minutes to stop and take a photo. Because a photo asks so many questions; where did this once lead? Why was there a grand entrance to a field? When was it built?

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I can totally absorb the peace and tranquility that I find in dormant vineyards.

img_2970The winter and spring holidays in France are staggered according to the region. It’s a really sensible idea, as it spreads popular destinations such as ski resorts during the holiday season. Imagine if for just two weeks everyone in France who wanted to partake in a little skiing or snowboarding or even just some fresh mountain air had the same two weeks of holidays! The resorts would not only be crammed to beyond bursting point but the season itself  would also be incredibly short for those who actually make a living in the mountains.

Instead France is split into three zones, A, B and C. One zone has the first two weeks, one the middle two and one the last two weeks – all this in a four week period with overlaps during the changeovers. Similarly, the spring holidays are then staggered as well. But each year it also rotates so whilst one winter someone may have their break during the first two weeks of February, the next year they may be in the last week and into the first week of March. The latter rotation is what we are on this year and this is why I am currently doing a vast amount of things all at the same time – it’s just complicated a little by the number of children involved.

So far my feet have scarcely touched the ground! We’ve left home long before the sun has risen and returned after dark, travelling to tennis tournaments. The furore started last Friday with an extra day off school due to a three day competition which all added to the excitement for Gigi. I haven’t been the one playing but the stress of watching is utterly exhausting, after five days of very intense competition in four different locations (two in one day on Sunday) we all agree we are completely wiped out! But instead of letting the mounting pressure get to us we’ve managed to keep the mood light. Simply by noticing the ever changing landscape when our coastal marshlands have given way to the vast open expanses of rolling hills and farmland has been a stimulus, an area where wind turbines feature heavily on the horizon (snapped by Millie on her phone as I slowed down as much as I could for a photo!). Renewable energy in the form of wind power and solar power is in abundant evidence everywhere in France, and although I know these giant figures on the landscape can be very controversial I personally find them quite graceful; their slowly turning blades seem to be a reminder that we need to take deep breaths and hurry a little less.

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We paused in a village, I can’t even remember its name, to stretch our legs and I snapped away at some different old houses for ten minutes.

img_0172Back at home for a few hours on Monday I’m in familiar territory; a brief pause to carry out some mundane routine tasks, the laundry flapped on the line in the winter sunshine and the car had to be taken for a service in Marennes. However, rather than waste a couple of hours sitting in a heated soulless room while the mechanics did their work on our trusty steed, I had a cunning plan. I’d put my bike in the back of the car and I planned to explore off the main road, out in the oyster country that is the backbone industry of the town.

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It was low tide and all was quiet

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At one hut Madame read in the sun whilst her husband worked with the oysters, his legs in the requisite rubber waders. I stopped and talked for a few moments, wondering if in the summer it gets busy, but she assured me that few tourists find this back road, and despite a coast crammed to bursting in July and August it seems little changes here year round.

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Old wooden docks line the waterways

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in an area that genuinely seems untouched by time.

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img_2686_hdr-2-copyincluding the utilitarian van version of the classic Citroën 2CV.

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However, even in the complete bedlam of this week, there is always some peace to be found in the garden, a quick stroll for just five minutes, a moment to reflect, to inhale deeply and smile.

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133 thoughts on “Appreciating the Ordinary

  • Such a treat to see your post this morning. Love all of the photos but especially of the oyster area. Congratulations to Gigi on her exciting tennis adventures!

    • Thanks so much Anne, the oysters fascinate me, small huts can be found all along the main roads selling oysters and seafood, it is our local version of fast food and takeaways! I will feature them more next month as I am interviewing a local oyster fisherman for the blog. xx

  • Yet still in your very busy life you have found time to write a post and not just a quick half hearted attempt but as always a piece of real quality with stunning photos, not that I would expect anything less of you, but I must admit I do admire you, whatever you are taking to give you so much energy, I want some!

    • Thanks Bev, what a truly lovely thing to say and much appreciated. Sadly my house is not looking quite so organised today, something has to give sometimes!! As for the energy, simple French living seems to do the trick!! xx

  • We are kindred spirits, I love taking pictures too. It makes me slow down and really look, breathe and see the small details. I think about composition too, what angle shows me the feeling of the scene. Your pictures look like you think about that too.

    • I totally agree Carole, I am merely a very amateurish amateur, but taking photos has made me think and made me notice so much more, it’s as if one sees things through different eyes. I would recommend a camera to anyone, even just a phone, it doesn’t matter. Have a great end to the week. xx

  • I’m delighted you meditate thus … your pictures are a delight so please don’t go all Yoga on us – you’d leave a lot of entirely bereft people! I shan’t tax you with further observations given the hectic school hols schedule – and aren’t the French sensible? It’s been amusing seeing the different swathes of number plates arriving and leaving Grenoble which, as it turns out, really is the gateway to the alps for many holiday makers xx

    • I think I may have mislead you because my meditation is purely in my head whilst snapping away. If I had fifteen minutes to spare to sit still I wouldn’t be able to because I would be thinking of the washing that I had to do, the floor that needed washing, the emails that needed to be written and the bills that needed paying, along with a million other things!!! No changes here I can assure you. Cannot wait to get to the mountains, we are all so excited, happy we are the last zone on holiday this year! I love looking at the number plates too and trying to work out where they are all from, some I know, others we try and work out by the alphabet depending on if it’s a high or low number! Always a good game in the car to while away the hours, along with spotting all the foreign number plates, oh and trying not to be killed by a huge lorry on the autoroute, but that’s another story, it has certainly been eventful!! xx

      • I’m afraid I have to confess that I nerdishly know them all – the departmental numbers, that is. And the Outre Mers. I didn’t mean to imply that you were wafting around with nothing better to do than meditate and take pictures. Sorry if I came across wrongly. I fully and totally get the busy life you lead and I am sure the next week when you are away and free to ski is calling you strongly to it. By the way, our conversation about tennis tournaments prompted me to insert a video clip into my last post which might amuse Gigi xx

      • I never take offence don’t worry, I knew just what you meant, we laughed at your comment!! I still have your latest post in my inbox to read, I haven’t even had a chance to look at anything on the Internet, I’ve glanced at emails on my phone but that’s about it. I now have a couple of days to try and make the house look somewhat presentable once again and to catch up before another tournament at the weekend and then, can hardly contain my excitement, the mountains!! So now, I am on a mission, I shall learn each of the departments and their numbers, I am sorely lacking and I am impressed. I shall watch your video with Gigi this evening, I cannot tell you how exciting this has all been, I’ll email you a few details, it’s kind of surreal to be honest!! Xx

  • What a wonderful idea to bring your bike while the car is getting fixed. I love these photos of the simple tasks, and sites of everyday life. There is so much beauty in nature that we miss out on. Have a great weekend, enjoy your family time even though it is a busy time.

    • Thanks so much Elizabeth, I really do believe there is just so much beauty all around us, things that we miss, if nothing else I hope by taking lots of photos our children are seeing how much there is to appreciate, because they have to stop and look with me! Have a great end to the week xx

    • It does indeed, because rather than just listening to the radio and looking at the road ahead, I find myself constantly taking in everything around me, wondering if it is photo worthy and in turn it strikes up a conversation. Living life with one’s eyes wide open I guess! Xx

  • I love your photo essays, Susan, and this one has appealed to me for all the right reasons – old fishermen and their sheds. I shall have to visit. All it needs is a shingle dune or two and I would feel almost at home – the sun is in the wrong place unfortunately for me to feel truly content 🙂 The lady on the chair looks just like my missus does when all is quiet and peaceful. I mend pots and she sits and reads, and sometimes sketches…. wonderful. Thank you for the reminder of the good weather that’s coming.

    • I think Madame sitting reading whilst her husband tends to his oysters is a perfect picture of contentment and when I chatted with them that contentment was very apparent, both happy with their lot, nothing was stressed or hurried, all was as it should be. Spring is indeed on its way, you must visit, you would love it, I am quite sure. Xx

    • No, sadly we don’t. Beyond are some houses, but nothing of the grand nature that one would associate with such an entrance. I always wonder that the gates have survived but the walls on either side which must have once existed have long since gone. There are plenty of examples like this around here and they always interest me immensely! Sometimes it is easier to stop and take a photo than at others, it just depends how busy the road is. Xx

  • Susan you are so adventurous. I’m sure the most I could muster when waiting for a car repair would be to bring a book to read or a bit of knitting – but your bicycle…. Well done. Your photographs are wonderful and tell a story of a beautiful country.

    • To be honest Lisa, I am not the best person at sitting still for too long. Sure if it was raining I would have relaxed with a good magazine and caught up with a vast amount of reading, but on a warm sunny day, I just had to be out there enjoying it, I am an outdoor girl and get cabin fever if I am inside for too long!!! Xx

  • I totally concur with you about taking photos – apart from getting me out and about more I too notice more things around me that previously I might otherwise have missed. Once the photos are on the computer I often discover that there are even more missed details showing to savour and enjoy.

    • Thank goodness for digital photography, it has certainly made so much more possible and I agree, I spot things that I had missed. The best part is one doesn’t even have to be a good photographer, I am just a very snap happy amateur but it is still great fun! Anyone can do it, even with a phone. Xx

  • Greetings from Peoria Az , US. Before I begin, I have to tell you the photo on the right of your header above makes me feel cold and damp, Just a great shot. I enjoy your posts immensely and love your photography. It’s all so inviting. I sometimes can’t believe what a serene environment you live in and yet you are a busy family. What a great balance. Thank you for sharing your family and France with us . mary in Az

    • Thanks so much Mary, I used to have just my original header but it was a warm summer’s day full of bright pink flowers and I decided I really needed something slightly more seasonal! I think the fact that it is serene is extremely helpful as it is really busy here at times and the two balance each other out perfectly. Today is a day for catching up, the first time I have looked at my computer for days, I’ve merely glanced at emails on my phone! Am I right in thinking you have had bizarre winter weather in AZ with heavy rains? It is not a state I know, but one I would love to visit. Xx

  • Good for you that you stop to shoot. Sometimes I see things that I’d like to capture but I often am on my way to an appointment and I don’t take the time.
    We’re in the first vacation group, so this week has been the struggle to get back into rising early. The sun is up earlier, but not early enough yet.

    • Frequently there are those times when I can’t stop too, I never leave early enough for things as it is, but then I make a mental note to stop on the way home, but I’ve covered well over 1000kms since Friday so there have been a few breaks and stretching of the legs! I don’t envy you getting back into the routine, it’s always a struggle, I’m not going to even think about it yet, by the time they go back to school it will be nearly the second week of March and it should be lighter! Xx

  • ‘Strolling’ through your post allowed me to slow down and savor your terrific eye’s work. Thank you for sharing the beauty in the midst of untold hectic-ness. Hoping things settle down a bit and you can continue to enjoy (and selfishly, I hope you share) these exquisite images. ღ

    • Yes I agree, there is so much that we truly miss. Now I find when I drive anywhere, I am far more aware of what is around me and in turn that sparks up new and interesting conversations. Blogging has a lot of very positive sides! Xx

  • Your photos are incredible. I have never seen this side of France before, normally we see the old houses and architecture featured, I am new to your blog and found this a very refreshing post.

    • Thanks so much Annabel and welcome to the blog. I love to show a complete mixture that we see in our daily lives here. I particularly enjoy looking at the old oyster sheds, their colours remind me of the Caribbean, it is really quite unusual and yet they are totally at home here. This is the oyster capital of France and little huts can be found alongside the roads everywhere, our region’s version of fast food and takeaways! Xx

    • Couldn’t put it better myself. But there is nothing better than having everyone here and everyone having their interests and activities, it might keep us on our toes but I wouldn’t change a thing! Xx

  • Susan,
    How lucky we, as readers, that we are the lucky recipients of something you ❤️ so much.
    I have thought from the Very Beginning that each and every photo that you take is a “palette” of your “intimate” “warm” and “welcoming” personality.
    Continue “taking the road less travelled” because selfishly I “explore” and “indulge” right along side of you with each new adventure and photograph! ❤️
    I just realized it’s Friday…ENJOY!

    • Oh my goodness I am sitting here laughing! I am obviously losing it! Too busy planning the birthday day for one of my daughters! This is a PERFECT EXAMPLE of finding some “ALONE” time today! 🙃😳
      So let me try again: Happy Thursday Susan! Have a great day! It has to Friday someplace, right? ❤️

      • Now if I didn’t know you I would assume you were in Australia and not think twice! But who cares, Friday or Thursday it’s a good day anyway, it’s just a name!! Hope your daughter has a wonderful birthday, what date? Millie’s is the 3rd, we shall celebrate in the snow!! Xx

      • Heidi turned 33 today… Megan’s Birthday is March 1st and she will be 36. Megan lives in Manhatten and either I go out alone or my husband goes with and we celebrate with her out there. I actually think she likes having mom/dad all to herself. Two weeks later the whole family reunites for a FAMILY TRIP to Sanibel. 🐠🎣👙🌞 This year a friend is having a baby shower and Megan is coming home to us! We are going to surprise her with a little party with some of her high school friends! So…I think she will be happy. BUT, then again she is missing the alone time with mom/dad! 🤗

      • Oh what fun, we have had several wonderful holidays on the west coast of Florida, enjoying Sanibel and Marco Island, you will have the most wonderful trip, and a great time of year to visit, before the humidity and heat! All of mine love alone time with us! xx

      • This is I believe is our 30th Year in Sanibel. I still can’t believe that the children take two of their vacation weeks with us! Tis Wonderful! The mountains sound lovely…looking forward to many fabulous pictures!
        Happy Friday! At least I got it right! :)❤️💐❤️💐❤️💐🤗

      • So you know it rather well! I think it is fantastic that the children take two of their vacation weeks with you, it just goes to show what fabulous parents you have quite obviously always been to them. I can only but hope that ours will perhaps one day when they are older and have left home, do the same. Lots of photos on Instagram of the mountains for sure, so excited, I feel like we have earned a little break! and yes it is Friday. Hope you have a wonderful weekend xxx

      • Thank you! Such a lovely compliment. Your children will ALWAYS come home! Susan, though we have not met personally I can tell by everything I read that you have created for your children and Roddy a VERY loving and caring environment! Your home is built on LOVE and it radiates in each and every post.❤️🤗 I am so excited for you and the mountains. I want to say ENJOY…but I know you will! Xx

      • Aww thank you so much, all I can say is we will change this in June, so looking forward to meeting you. I cannot tell you how much we are looking forward to the snow. One more big tennis tournament tomorrow and then a week of for the little one and for the support club too!!! Xxx

    • Thanks so much, oh goodness and I haven’t emailed you back. I will do this evening, as you can see I truly haven’t had time to think, much less reply to emails, I have merely glanced at them on my phone. Today is catch up day! And it’s very much Thursday here!!!xxx

    • Thank you so much, I am so happy you found me too and thank you for taking the time to comment, always much appreciated. Hope you enjoy following along, lots of exciting things to come and have a lovely end to the week xx

    • Spring is almost here, blossom, daffodils, violets and the weather is nice, it is in the air, that’s for sure! The lady was on crutches, she had injured her leg, but she told me even without them and her temporarily slightly reduced mobility she would still have been sitting reading her book enjoying the sunshine. It was a real scene of happy contentment. Xx

  • As usual a perfect way to start the day…..thank you Susan. It will be interesting to see the contrast of the busy summer in your photos. I hope you all have a great time skiing…

    Ali xx

    • Thanks so much Ali, I shall certainly take the bike and go back there in the summer and see if quite literally by turning off the main roads it does remain a quiet backwater, because Marennes is really busy in July and August. Can’t wait to go to the mountains, we are all very excited! Xx

  • I’m pleased to see you are letting the housekeeping slide 🙂 There should be more of that sort of attitude, and the world would be a better place for it.

    I’m on the lookout for a 2CV camionette like that. I need something for the orchard, and a little vintage runabout that I can drive. The Tractions are a bit heavy for me. What I’d really like is a Renault 4L with a giraffe hatch, but everyone tells me I’d be better off with a deuche, for various practical reasons.

    • Susan, Roddy is and has always been a Renault 4 fan, it is as if we are divided down the middle, I am a 2CV girl and he the quatrelle! If ever I see one for sale I will let you know in case you haven’t found one in the meantime. Housework I’m afraid always comes second, the children come before it and there simply hasn’t been time for everything. Today is catch up day, but the garden is also beckoning and so far the housework has yet again been shelved!!! Xx

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  • Some marvellous photos here. I agree, having a camera in tow encourages me to look, really look. But maybe I need to delete more too. Enjoy the remainder of the school break.

    • Thanks Margaret, enjoying every second of it! Thank goodness for digital photography, it has made so much so possible. Every now and then I try and go through having a massive delete session because I have far too many photos stored!! xx

    • Thanks so much Susan, sometimes I find that words aren’t totally necessary, they just get in the way! These photos all really speak for themselves, this is our part of France and I love it! xx

  • Ahhh, seeing your beautiful photos makes me slow down, take a deep breath. Just lovely.
    And I’m so glad for Gigi — may her good fortune continue, even as you clock up the miles on the road.
    Nice to know that the French, too, are using renewable energy sources. There were problems years ago with wind turbines when first introduced because supposedly they killed birds (as if pollution doesn’t), but with redesign they’re now much more environmentally sound. I like the spare beauty of those enormous sculptures rising off a hillside.

    • I am happy to meet another person who likes the wind turbines. In the UK there was and possibly still is a huge uproar about them because people say they ruin the landscape. But like you I find them beautiful and I am sure that pollution kills more and if it doesn’t kill then it certainly harms more than the turning blades. Take a deep breath, slow down and hopefully you will be here again soon! xx

  • Hello Susan, I loved this post and I appreciate that taking photographs soothes you; your photo’s are brilliant and I enjoy them so much. We also have a few wind farms along our coast and there is one within sight of our home (although one needs binoculars to see the turbines properly) and I agree with you, big as they might be, they have some sort of elegance and gracefulness. Joyeux Vendredi ❤

    • Thanks so much Jeanne, another person who can see the beauty in wind turbines. Millie and I discussed them at length in the car, there is indeed something so incredibly graceful about them, their slow turning, their clean simple lines, they just keep turning without hurrying, seemingly effortlessly. Just an hour away from us here they are everywhere, once one gets to the open farmland and giant rolling hills, everything changes so quickly. Have a lovely end to the week yourself. xx

  • I am simply loving everything about your blog, it’s so original and a pure breath of fresh air in a world overrun with low quality drivel. Keep up the good work!

    • Thank you so much Francesca, I am just an amateur who loves writing about our life here, there is just so much to see and do and so much to appreciate in everything around us. Hope you have a lovely end to the week xx

    • Thanks Sylvia, if I had the amazing creatures in my garden that you have I would be delighted. I never cease to marvel at all the wildlife you photograph. But I do agree, just taking photos is very relaxing, we focus on the subject, maybe it’s only relaxing if one photographs nature, but I really do see things through different eyes. Spring is definitely in the air, the blossom is coming out everywhere and it is noticeably much milder. I am quite ready for spring now! Xx

  • Hi Susan – I appreciate your comment about the meditative and stress management powers of photography. When you really look and observe rather than just click away, when you take the time to pause and really look, it is quite a contemplative art. I liked your images of the oyster country. Such quiet and serene places… it reminded me of the salt marshes around Guérande.

    • I wonder if it is just nature and nature related things photography that is soothing and relaxing? Perhaps it is. But I do find that I get really involved, looking at things with fresh eyes and noticing the minute detail, how a different angle totally changes the image. It is always fascinating as well and I find I am learning something new every day. The best part is it’s available to everyone, from keen amateurs like myself to professionals, and even with a phone, a good photo is possible; thank goodness for digital photography though! Xx

    • Thanks so much, I find I see things through totally different eyes, since I started the blog and started taking far more photos I am constantly looking around me, noticing things that perhaps I otherwise would have overlooked and clicking away, imagining angles and light, it is all so much fun! Xx

  • The single line about the vineyards is epic.
    And how-oh how were you able to hop on your bike and stake all of those amazing photos?!
    I am sitting here agog at how you manage, with all that is going on, to actually still mange to live the life of the French Oasis.
    I believe you may just be the hub, and an oasis forms around you!!

    Ps….. the photos are stunning….sublime…..so simple….so magnificent

    • Thanks so much, there is truly something so peaceful about vineyards at this time of year, they are in a deep sleep and somehow walking amongst them is always terribly calming. I think it is the French lifestyle that carries me through! The calm surroundings are a perfect antidote to a very busy life! Xx

    • Thanks so much Cindy, the school system really does work so well, it stops anywhere from becoming too crowded and really extends the ski season for all those concerned. Hope you have a wonderful end to the week xx

  • What an interesting idea about the holidays, Susan. It sounds as though it works, but I wouldn’t be excited to have my time off dictated by law. 🙂 Looks as though your cunning plan worked well and you had a good time. Thanks for sharing it with us. And daffodils already! Nice!

    janet

    • Hi Janet, no the holiday system is purely for schools and school children, adults can take holidays whenever they choose. It works so well for the children as it really does spread the load and stops things from becoming too overcrowded. The daffodils are out in force everywhere, along with a carpet of purple violets across the lawn and blossom is appearing everywhere, it feels good, Spring is definitely in the air. Have a lovely end to the week xx

      • OK, that makes sense. Spring is popping in and out of the air here, although some brave or foolhardy plants are beginning to sprout. However, it is almost March and that’s when spring finally begins (at least officially near the end.)

      • Yes, it is a great idea! Everything is full of life here, roses are sprouting green shoots everywhere, daffodils and violets in full bloom, everywhere looks so fabulous as if everything is just waiting to burst into life and yes it is so so nearly spring, can’t wait! xx

  • What beautiful shots. Yes, that is a way better time to spend your time than sitting in a shop. Very smart having the country divided into time slots for the breaks.

    • I admit had it been raining I would have sat down with a good magazine but on a beautiful day I simply had to get out and about, I am definitely an outdoor girl! Hope you have a lovely end to the week xx

    • I had no idea either until we came to live here. We have been chatting a lot to a local oyster farmer and I shall be sharing a post all about the oysters next month as I too find them quite fascinating. Xx

  • I Promise YOU this will all change!NOT the snapping away at LIFE around you but the needing MORE than TWO hands bit!ENJOY IT……………..LAUGH with it.YOU’ve GOT EGGS those will be dinner!Put them in some tomato sauce with olive oil and a clove or two of smashed garlic!FRY them………..HOpefully you have bread to SLOP up the remains!
    XX

    • But I don’t want it to change! It might be busy but it is wonderful, wouldn’t have it any other way and I do agree, always laugh! Always have eggs, always have olive oil, garlic and bread, where would we be without those things I wonder! xx

    • Oh I so totally agree, just a few minutes can totally calm the mind and restore me to a happy smiling person, the garden truly does work wonders, I couldn’t live without one. That is after all why they now know that gardens can be and are used for therapy. xx

    • I have to admit if it had been raining I would have happily sat down with a good magazine, but on a beautiful clear sunny day I simply had to be outside, I couldn’t waste it when I had two hours with basically nothing to do and I am so glad I did, what a beautiful place and I discovered it quite by chance! Have a great weekend xx

    • IT really works well. I had to sit for 2 hours, now had it been raining I could have read a good magazine or caught up with emails, but on such a beautiful day it seemed just too good an opportunity to miss, plus the bike is a folding Brompton so it fits in neatly, and oh what a treat my little adventure was, I found a place I never even knew existed. Xx

      • That’s one of the reasons why I like exploring on a bike. It slows down the pace and makes it easier to really appreciate the surroundings … and of course stopping to take photos is also a lot easier 😉

    • It really is the most sensible of solutions, it spreads the load. But what I also love is that it changes every year, so one year we are at the beginning of February and the next we go into March, it’s very fair all round. Hope you have a lovely weekend xx

  • Wonderfully interesting post in many ways but my eyes are on the beautiful wind turbines which together with solar can provide so much renewable clean energy in the world and oft is not ‘allowed’ to. I also find them graceful tho’ I believe they are pretty noisy close up – steady whirr: get used to it!!! Let’s not talk of today’s US but even in Australia the initial renewable targets have been downgraded by the current conservative govt: global warming supposedly does not exist in the minds of many! I clap for Denmark which gets a big percentage of power from renewables seemingly with little trouble. Australia is a ‘coal country’ – much money lost on exports, many jobs vacant locally unless . . . future of the world oft has to succumb for the almighty dollar! Problem naturally: if the wind don’t blow and the sun don’t shine what then !!! You have and we don’t nuclear backups . . . .

    • I so totally agree with you. The noise factor is one of the things that causes a huge uproar in the UK, there are huge groups fighting against them. We actually cycled right up past some a couple of years ago when we were on holiday and there was very very little noise, as you say a gentle hum, but surely this is, as you also say, so much better than pollution in the air. I am really quite surprised at how many people also find them graceful and like them, that alone makes me really happy. Personally I think we should rely so much more on renewable energy resources. It makes so much sense. Have a lovely weekend xx

    • I have many friends in Australia, and it seems the big industrial mining companies seem intent on destroying the continent’s very ancient culture and enormously beautiful natural resources without a qualm, either through sheer force of financial superiority or through – as my Ozzie friends like to call it – the ‘outback paycheck’. There is no denying that people need fuel and electricity but surely to goodness there’s enough sun out there to make inroads into the coal industry. Chinese investment will ultimately ruin Australia, peacefully or forcefully.

  • I always think that ordinary things are so much more amazing, maybe because they’re underappreicated! Love the wind turbine photos!

    • I totally agree with you, I too am a huge fan of wind turbines, we are heading up past them again tomorrow, hopefully on the way back this time we will have time to stop and take a walk past them even, I find them bizarrely gracious. Hope you have a lovely Sunday xx

  • This post just flipped by me, I even thought ‘Susan must be skiing somewhere as they have holidays’…. and now that I ‘clean up my mails’ (hundreds and hundreds every week) I came across your tobuwahohu week! Your garden certainly is much more advanced than mine here in the Ile-de-France region, but yesterday we collected a small bunch of wild (small but beautiful) wild daffodils in a wood nearby Orléans. So yep, hurrah, spring is on its way. However my own stuff, normally at this time of the year already blooming is still very much in childhood, the points reaching out of the soil between 10 and 15cm (4-6in). The one or other camellia button is opening, the magnolia buds still firmly closed. Today we have sharp winds and much rain, temperatures have fallen again.
    What a great idea to use the ‘pause’ for car maintenance for a bike-trip. Such peaceful photos and such grace in your writing and thoughts. I do have a lovely PINK bike but it would need a thorough service before I cd use it again and it also would never fit in our car.
    The aeoliens or wind turbines are, for me, a two-sided-blade. We pass them by in great numbers when we drive to Orléans, we fly over ‘villages of them’ travelling to Lisbon, but I sure wouldn’t want one of them in my back garden either. It’s not only the humming constant noise, it’s the blinking light – and yet, and yet. I can’t think of a better solution for our poor planet to create the electricity we all need… Of course, living in Australia makes the solar panels very attractive, but in many regions this is not really a possibility. They do look stunning from a distance, I don’t know how many photos I’ve taken through the car and/or plane window. The look so leisurely 🙂
    There would always be so much more to say, to write – but I do tire (not me, my eyes) quickly and I MUST do some ironing and cleaning, so I shall leave you with this novel for now. Greetings to your family and pets, neighbours and friends.

    • We are skiing now! But last week was tennis week! Down in the Pyrenees the temperature today was a quite crazy 20C! Whoever heard of that during the last week of February in the mountains! Anyway, fabulous to be enjoying a family holiday. Our magnolia at home are also still a while from flowering as are the camelias, but the daffodils are looking fabulous and purple violets are everywhere. Spring is definitely on the way and I am quite ready for it! I’ve travelled up and down to the Vienne quite a bit this past week, north of poitiers. This really is wind turbine country, they are everywhere, but also solar panels, barns with their entire roofs covered, actually it makes me happy, it has to be better than polution. I too must go, family time to make the most of. Big kisses xxx

  • No wonder you enjoy taking photos. They’re just beautiful and induce feelings of calm. Love them all. I remember that harried feeling, and I can assure you that those feelings slowly fade after the children are finished with all their activities. I thought I would miss them, but there are so many other things I want to do that I now fill my time with. I’m grateful to have shared those sports and theater activities with my children, but equally glad that they are now finished. Enjoy the school break.

    • Thanks Paulita, I truly do love taking photos, learning all the time, I will never be more than a keen amateur but with digital photography it costs nothing to play around and take lots and lots of pictures. I love these crazy busy times, it certainly keeps me on my toes, but I wouldn’t have it any other way! Have a great week xx

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