IMG_5302There’s a time and a place for everything and right now it feels so right just to be out in the open, in the country, enjoying nothing but good clean fresh air and good clean fun. Where little changes except for the seasons and there are no decorations except for natures own way of trimming the trees and embellishing the landscape.



Black Friday fever has struck the world, the US tradition has reached our shores, although I doubt Rochefort went too crazy and if you mentioned it to any local in our village they wouldn’t have a clue what you were talking about. Just across the Channel in the UK there were people queuing overnight to grab a bargain in many of the large cities including London, Edinburgh and Manchester. I read that in Singapore the lines started at 11am the day before for those intent on nabbing a windfall on Orchard Road, Asia’s most famous shopping street. I’ve shopped there once and remember the streets being a little humid, to say the least!

But the feeding frenzy, like most things, has it’s counterpart, Green Friday, and this derivation is slowly making a little headway in France, including protests in some cities against the form of mass consumerism that Black Friday represents.

Whatever you did, whether you shopped till you dropped or just stayed well clear, there is thankfully now the tiniest lull before the OTHER festivities begin in earnest. And for me this is a wonderful time to just enjoy this colourful season for what it is, a beautiful turning point when the leaves are losing their grip on life and burn bright with the angst of their departure from this world. While the green cathedral spaces of summer foliage are a wonderful cool tonic during the heat of July and August, I have always found the melancholic russet tones of autumn a cathartic background for family thoughts – it’s almost as though I start to think of Christmas and a new year with my favourite people in mind; not just my children and Roddy, but also others who are no longer with us. I suspect the notion of everything about me fading and disappearing is a natural way to remember those who are no longer with us.



I may not have put this quite how I wanted, but in essence autumn always reminds me of the good things about my favourite people;  thoughts that are tinged with a slight tear of sadness, which I think is what provides the catharsis, for I believe that grief is good for the soul in small doses. It drives away sentimentality and often leaves behind a fresh space one can fill with positivity.  Does that make sense?

On a long country walk in autumn, I find myself often starting a conversation with someone, “Do you remember…..”


The largest gathering of people we saw yesterday were the regular faces at the boulangerie, a crowd of sage bread-buyers who discuss the weather with the same intentness the English do, but who also always feel qualified to comment on the patisseries as though they have made them themselves. The French truly are a race of food-lovers, and I refer not to the Michelin starred restaurants, but to the ordinary household that makes wonderful food out of basic ingredients adapted to traditional recipes – where perhaps a marmite containing a soup of faves beans, peas, onion, a ham hock and perhaps a little carrot, may simmer long enough through a half closed window that a passerby may stop for a second and sniff the air in appreciation, and then nod approvingly before rushing across the road for their baguette. It is a country where one can learn how to cook something in a quite surprisingly different way from the very person who sells it to you; it’s a country where an innocent question across a market stall may end with a dozen people offering advice.


Our afternoon saw us out above the marais, surrounded by silent still water


and trees ablaze with colour, fields green with the tender young growth of winter wheat and vines reduced to naked skeletons.




I imagine we were surrounded by unseen creatures, with hundreds of pairs of hidden eyes observing us from the undergrowth. Thankfully though, the only soul we saw was a lone hunter who stopped to ask if we had seen his dogs, a rather forlorn look on his face appeared when we said we had heard nothing, and his little white Renault van disappeared up the track with a clatter of stones and a scattering of mud about our boots, leaving us alone again in echoing tones of rusting leaves and sunlight.


The weather has turned chilly; crisp and clear, just how I like it. The meteo, my daily forecasting bible, has snow in store for mid-week. That’s right, SNOW. I couldn’t believe it when I saw the two tiny white symbols that translate to ‘expected white stuff’, and my heart started beating just a little bit faster, I felt like a child entering a candy store. Should I tell the children and build up their hopes, or keep it to myself? Because in reality the chances of actually seeing a snowflake are almost zero, for we never get snow here! I decided to keep quiet, there was no point in getting them all excited for nothing. And having said that, at supper last night I just had to blurt out, “They forecast snow this week!!” loudly enough to bring complete silence for a couple of seconds before delighted faces burst into animated chatter. Now, of course, I know I have jinxed it for sure!

But still, it’s cold enough for me to wear gloves and to make a November walk exhilarating, the type where you return to a warm house and really appreciate the crackling log-fire, where cheeks turn instantly rosy and fingers tingle. All in all, autumn is a wonderful season for many people, a time of remembrance perhaps, a time for preparedness also, but above all a time for a family to gather itself together again and remember what each of us should be for each other.


I hope you have or, depending on where you are, have had, a wonderful Sunday. x



105 thoughts on “Sunday

  1. I hadn’t seen the snow forecast…
    Thanks for sharing your thoughts. You capture the autumn mood perfectly and verbalize an emotion I hadn’t recognised in myself until now. It is a time of reflection and remembrance. Well said.

  2. We have had family visit from Colorado and Illinois this Thanksgiving, Lots of memories, some we should have never heard as siblings chatter about thier escapades! Truly wonderful.

    1. Ah, nothing better (or sometimes worse) than to overhear small people talk about their adventures! It does give us an advantage sometimes and I wonder whether we should let on or not!

  3. Oh to walk that walk with you in the beautiful French country side would in itself be a gift better then any Black Friday bargains. Thank you for my dream walk this chilly morning in Michigan.

  4. I do hope you get snow! Let us know.

    Have you changed some setting on your blog? I can no longer “like” it and in order to comment, I now need to enter my name, email and website!!!!

    1. I hope we get snow but I know we won’t! I think you are far more likely to get it than we are, we see the white stuff here about once every five or six years it is just too mild as a general rule, inland gets snow and we get rain! I haven’t changed a thing, but I will certainly go and have a look and see what has happened. Thanks for letting me know, if I find out anything I shall come back to you. WordPress has a way of changing things without telling anyone! xx

  5. Not having a gift for words, I have taken yours as a way to explain how I feel as the weather changes from Summer to Fall to Winter. Somehow when one season changes to another I feel sad for a moment but soon I’m all aglow with what the coming season offers. Now I have to beat the raccoons to the persimmon tree or else there will be no persimmon pudding. Wouldn’t want to miss out on making the James Beard recipe. Have an awesome Sunday.

    1. I always feel a little sad when summer fades into autumn, as I am definitely a summer girl, autumn to winter is fine and of course winter into spring is fantastic! We are lucky we don’t get raccoons here, but the birds love our persimmons, thankfully there really are enough for everyone and so they have their fill and we have ours. We always struggle to get ours to ripen and have still not found the perfect solution, if you know of any please let me know. xx

  6. I’m wishing you snow with all my might! I think this is such a reflective time of year (my mother always dreads November because she has lost so many of her loved ones, including both her parents and her elder sisters in that month) and I find myself bolstering her up with goodwill and hope for what lies ahead but in truth, the sap has fallen, the trees are near if not entirely naked and the flowers are beginning to succumb to the frost. A time to remember our own mortality, perhaps. My eldest and her husband are visiting next weekend … the forecast snow is a given here and I am just hoping there will be sufficient breaks in the storm clouds to ensure great views of the alps enrobed in white! xx

    1. Oh me too, it was Millie playing tennis for a change this afternoon, in the ladies team, her coach came over and chatted to me whilst she was playing, pretty soon he mentioned the weather, (I’ve learnt, it’s a French custom just as much as an English one) and he said its going to snow thursday and friday! Of course I listened even more intently and was far more talkative after that! But then, back at home, our neighbours popped round for tea, I broached the subject with them, he is a Paysagiste, surely he would know! No, was his reply, “it never snows here, it won’t,” and that was that, the conversation moved on to other things, my hopes crushed for the evening!!! I find we have to often bolster up our elderly relatives at this time of year. But I find just as everything is fading and dying in the garden so too there is new life. Amazingly there are buds on the cherry tree and the robins have returned and hop around on the terrace every morning, still one of my all time favourite birds. I am sure next weekend will be fantastic. xx

      1. Your neighbour sounds like my husband – ever the pragmatist I sometimes have to ask him not to tread on my dreams which he doesn’t meant to but the realism can feel a little heavy handed on occasions. Especially when one is a child with nose pressed to the glass willing it to SNOW!!!! Still sending snowflakes your way …. I think it will xx

        1. Yes he is never overly enthusiastic about anything! He is a realist whereas perhaps I am a dreamer! But a few dreams are always good in my opinion. I dared to sneak a peak at the meteo this morning and I felt utterly crushed, virtually all of France has snow on Thursday night except for our mild little coastal microclimate here, we have rain!!! xx

          1. Noooooo – take heart …. Lyon is another place that seldom gets snow and they are only 45 minutes up the road from us. My husband is actually quite the dreamer but he has this pragmatic streak and it tends to emerge just when I am at my most starry eyed about something 🙄 xx

          2. I cannot complain, it is the perfect climate here, we don’t really get frosts, well hardly ever, geraniums survive outside year round (most years), lemons grow happily outside, one cannot complain, but it does mean we miss the snow and ice, go an hour inland and you’ll get it, but here we don’t. I guess we cannot have it both ways! xx

  7. Reading your blog this morning was warm and soothing to the soul. The words you put to paper reflect not only the beauty of the fall turning to winter, but the people who have left us and their love for us. I enjoy reading your perspective on life in France, which transcends the sea to where I live in Yorktown, Virginia. Life here is much like what you describe in your little seaside village. I live about 4 miles from the York River where ships from France arrived to assist in our independence so long ago. France inspires so many of us here and I thank you for all of your beauty and light that arrives in my mailbox each day…. it’s such a joy and I pray you continue.

  8. In total agreement , I grab the chance for a long weekend walk with the family and dogs whenever I can, luring teenagers outside is always hard but in the end very worthwhile.

  9. Haven’t been connected to the internet for a long while but happy to find your blogpost today and it is as beautifully descriptive and the photos as evocative as ever.

  10. I loved starting my Sunday morning in San Francisco by going on that lovely walk with you. Oh to have those beautiful surroundings at your feet every day of the year. Thank you for sharing with us!

  11. Such a lovely post. I was strolling along with you and feeling completely peaceful. Here in Indiana I did enter one store on Friday out of necessity but enjoyed the remainder of the day relaxing at home with my loved ones and celebrating our own holiday, “Christgiving.” I wrote about creating this special day on my blog. Check it out if you’re interested. Now I need a wonderful recipe for “French” ham and beans. (Hint hint) I truly hope it snows for you. Happy holidays!

  12. Lying in my bed reading your words has brought me back to where I should be. I spent all of yesterday getting Christmas decorations out and putting up my tree for the next 3 weekends are full of activities. By the time I payed down last night, every bone in this ol’ Body ached and I’m realizing now that it wasn’t even fun. Just another chore that needed to be done because of all the family that will be piling into the house the week before the big day. SO…….after reading your words, you’ve convinced me that today will be spent on a walk in the woods with my sweet puppy dog who turned 17 last week. To enjoy this moment of time and reflect on life and special people. To relax. To be just me today.
    Thanks for that!!!!

    1. Absolutely – you HAVE to make time for yourself at this time of year, because no one else will do it for you. It’s vital to do this, otherwise one spends all one’s time worrying about something that really does not need to get worried about.

  13. Funny you mention about the hunter and his dogs. We had a similar event last week, this time a hunter frantically screaming for his dog to come back, but in the end having to chase after it in his van. None of the locals here seem to be in control of their hunting dogs. They do keep them locked up all week, so I think when freedom beckons, the dogs are off! Its a wonderful time of year and the colours are amazing early morning with the frost we now have. I have to get some photos up on my blog. Not sure if we will get snow, but as you said this loudly, you might have reached us here too. 🙂

    1. I know what you mean about the hunting dogs and I have seen some kept in not such great conditions in France, but I must admit here they all seem to be a pretty well trained bunch and the owners are for the most part charming too. I think if a dog gets the scent of something, he is off, it is in a hunting dogs nature, and no man calling will get him off the trail of the scent. It is the first time we have met someone who has lost their dog so far this season so that is a good sign! The colour are beautiful at this time of year aren’t they. I think you are somewhat colder than we are, we have only had one very tiny frost so far, a couple of weeks ago and it did no harm to the plants thank goodness. Are you hoping for snow or not? I know some people love it and some don’t and I can see the pros and cons, I will just always be a snow fan! However, we do have frost forecast this week, so even if we don’t get snow we might just get quite chilly. Time to bring the geraniums in I think for the winter! xx

    1. I know!! They grow so fast, a fact reinforced by the daily exchange of clothes and shoes between us all. Hetty can now steal my stuff, which is terribly sad, and Gigi and Millie now share shoes. I think Roddy has started to give Jack old shirts!

  14. I love your post! The countryside is just beautiful. I live in Texas & believe me the Black Friday thing is not an old tradition. My husband & I have never participated in Black Friday & never will. It’s just ridiculous! I would much rather walk the countryside like your children are doing. Thank you for showing us what beautiful looks like.

    1. I agree totally. Black Friday in Florida was an experience akin to shopping on Mars. None of us could ever get our heads around it. Perhaps we are not too clued up, but the crowds would put us off to start with. So happy to have showed you a little tranquility today instead.

  15. We really do try to downplay all the seasonal hoopla…and with no children in the house it is fairly easy! The walks here have been lovely too: still some leaves on the trees, the mornings are so sunny and crisp and bright but not too cold, and there is a feeling we best enjoy it before all the craziness begins!

    1. I can’t imagine what it will be like when they are all gone. I suspect there will be some music in the silence to take the place of their chatter. Roddy will be able to play some of his beloved Sibelius again, I think. Glad to see you are of the same mindframe as me!

  16. We went walking near Cassis today. Blue, blue sky and wind…no clouds. It was so exhilarating. Lunch at the port was enjoyed. Three sleeps left….

    Ali xxx

    1. Oh Ali – what memories we have from there. I hope you and Bob enjoy your last few days – make sure you write when you get back. Roddy is still keen to talk to your friend about his Middle East memories….. XX for you both

  17. Lovely as ever. I think your writing just gets better & better! The onset of the Christmas season does make us all think of loved ones gone from our lives, but certainly not from our thoughts. I just wish it wasn’t such a retail nightmare now, we are slowly losing the real sense of Xmas, which is so sad. xxx

    1. Janet, what a lovely thing to say, even if I may add a “Piffle” to the comment. 🙂 And I thoroughly agree with your sentiments. When I think back to my childhood and what happens today, the two times couldn’t be more different. I rather think the Internet is a little to blame, for all the good it CAN do as well, of course. We have definitely cut back with the retails side of things the past few years (we found it impossible to give each child a new computer, phone, camera, electric scooter and a drone each Christmas 🙂 ), but the extent to which some people go is quite incredible. I can’t say, I might offend someone…. and I’d hate to do that.

  18. Hello Susan! It’s been a couple of weeks or so since we last got round to your blog, so apologies for the being absent! But I had to comment today to say that I love way you have described your appreciation of autumn – I couldn’t agree more with you either, it ,s a time to remember. Lovely, lovely photos as always, and love the Jack Russells in them; can’t keep them away…..Amy sends her love and we both really hope next year we can make it out your way. Oh, and thanks for the shop – I have had to tie and gag Amy from visiting it. I might have to hide her bank card next. I was actually admiring those shell spoons when they went to another home. You have some wonderful treasures. Do you have any more of your mother-law’s art? I would dearly like a chance to buy something like that after my abject failure in the two give-aways you have done over the past couple of years!

    1. Hi Simon, wonderful to hear from you and Amy again – I do hope you can make it this way next year if she gets a bit more time off work. It would be great to show you a corner of my France, as it were.

      Your comment about art is very interesting – I mentioned this to Roddy and he said he will have a look. We do have some, but we are not sure if it is saleable, to be honest. I’ll send you a note to say we have put it up on the shop if we decide to do so. Say hi to Amy from me XX

  19. Oooh your Etsy Shop is just lovely, I have browsed around and earmarked a couple of items and am off to buy them now quickly before someone else snaps them up. I wish you all the success in the world with this Susan, you more than deserve it and not only is it a chance to buy some great French vintage items but also it is our way of giving back to you for all the joy and pleasure you are giving us. Long may you continue.

    1. Shari – thank you for your kind comment! I am amazed at the reception we have had, and nothing gives me more joy than being able to find things for others to enjoy. I just wish the postage from France was not so expensive. 😦

      1. I do agree the shipping costs are always tough to cope with, but they are the same with anything coming from Europe and yours are no higher than any others. Keep going I think it is a splendid idea

        1. Thanks so much Shari, I appreciate your encouragement, the postage is high, but what can we do, we don’t even charge what it actually costs and absorb some of the cost ourselves. There are slightly cheaper ways but I wouldn’t trust them and they might take months and months. We are really enjoying it and will keep going, don’t worry. It has been a wonderful start. xx

  20. I think Black Friday has finally reached its saturation point since you the bargains are easily obtained online any time. Avoiding the crowds and traffic has always been my MO and with the temps hovering in the upper 60’s and mid 70’s lately (egad!!) it’s hard for me to get in the spirit of the upcoming season just 29 days away. Gah! Yesterday I puttered about the garden and had to water the new trees and plantings since we’d had no moisture yet.

    1. “Gah” – I had to ask Roddy what that was but now I know I thoroughly look forward to using it myself! It fits the bill exactly! Avoiding crowds has long been a family tradition, something into which queues for Black Friday affairs do not quite fit. Gah indeed!

  21. What a lovely sentiment for a Sunday evening! Also a good evening to have a look at your new shop Susan! Wonderful work

  22. Writing from US here, we as a family make it a point to stay inside and DO NO shopping black Friday. The mass consumerism and all the behavior it entails is about as ugly a thing as I have witnessed. No desire to partake in the madness. Love the lull and beauty in your photos today. Minimalist and just as nature intended. Sometimes being a quiet witness of nature’s beauty is more than enough in this life journey.

    1. My pleasure Annie. It’s a very special time of year, no doubt about it. An important point in a human’s soulful year! I suspect 30,000 years ago that the same feelings were elicited by each solstice – I think that would have been there important moments.

  23. Well, am reading this ‘Sunday’ on my Monday when I surely should be working at least 95% of the time! Just love your walk . . . . am about to trip up and have another ‘go’! Oh, the peaceful photos and a promise of a little snow . . . Don’t talk to me about ‘Black Friday’ – since living rurally I buy most everything on line, the ads did pour in and ‘Black Friday’ became ‘Saturday’ and ‘Sunday’!! And someone further up said that these prices are available on line practically all year anyways: how true !! Am afraid the moment I saw another such over the last three days, the finger was on ‘del’ 🙂 !! Different with your shop . . . . well, indulged just a little to have one small piece from your way: a tiny kitchen item which will probably become a little show-off piece on a table somewhere . . . you must be pleased that quite a few sets of fingers have been travelling – and all the pieces you have sold were amongst my favourites! More local shopping Ma’am to fill the depleting coffers!!

  24. HI, Ms. Susan. Your words made me experience what autumn is like. Coming from a country where there is only two seasons – the dry and the wet season, I can only imagine what 4 seasons look like. I may seldom comment, but I always read your blog weekly. It’s become my weekly habit. It’s a bonus opening your blog on a Monday and reading a new post.
    I always thought that among the 4 seasons, autumn is bleak or sad. Now I know for sure, it’s not. I still have that dream that I can experience the 4 seasons. We dont’t have Black Friday here, unless you count Good Friday during Holy Week. This is already Monday lunchtime here. Hope you have a beautiful week ahead. From your fan in SE Asia.

    1. Jenneth, thank you for commenting, it is always lovely to hear from you and don’t feel you have to write all the time, every now and then it is wonderful to hear from you. Seasons really are important to me, I am not the biggest fan of winter, but I do know that it makes us appreciate spring and summer so much more. I’ll admit too, being English, that when we have had Christmas lunch in tropical heat when not in Europe it was a weird sensation! Autumn is a time for reflection and re-ordering, I think, as well as remembrance. It’s certainly not bleak – we have too many warm fires to come home too for that! Have a great week, and thank you again. xx

  25. Such thoughtful and inspirational words you have shared. The beautiful scenes of Autumn in your lovely region warm the heart. Mille merci’s.
    I will email as we are returning to France in February and would treasure your suggestions on towns we may not yet have discovered in the Charente. We are planning to take a long term rental abd clarify if we shall live in the Charente on or near the coast. We also enjoy further South and have rented in Collioure, Antibes and Provence. Each wonderful. Cycling would be easier for Terry in the Charente. For me, I love the sea and wish to be close to beaches year round as well as countryside. Profitez bien.

    1. It sounds as if you have a fabulous exciting adventure ahead of you. I think a long term rental is a very good idea, better to be safe than sorry and when you live somewhere you will get a far better idea of what you really want. Many places are very different in the summer to the winter, especially inland. Do please email me, I would bd delighted to offer any help or advice I can xx

    1. Thanks Janet, people don’t shun carbs here, perhaps that’s why I love to live in France! fad diets really are far less of a thing here as you well know. Can you imagine telling a Frenchman that there was no bread for them!! xx

        1. Ha ha! Yes it has, there was always butter but the problem was the price! So now supermarkets seem to have sourced butter from elsewhere. We often buy local artisan butter from a small grocery store and they have not had any problems with supplies at all. The huge brands though like President seem to be non-existent on the shelves at the moment.

    1. Thanks Paulita, it is indeed the backbone of our lifestyle here, the calm, the peace, the simple, slower way of life. Of course, everyday life also has its frantic moments, lots of work etc etc and never enough time in the day, but it is this backbone that keeps everything so wonderfully grounded here. I am sure you will find it exactly so. xx

  26. Autumn is my absolute favorite time of the year as well, so of coarse your view makes lovely sense. The sound of the dried leaves in the birch tree rattling as to give notice to the world, they’re about to fall.
    As for Black Friday, I thought we had escaped that madness when we moved from the US to Sweden, but no, it’s become huge here. Gladly Black Friday and Cyber Monday are behind us. Thankfully the tradition of the local Christmas Markets is still famous here.

    1. Local Christmas markets sounds so very much nicer than the ugly commercialism of black friday. Interestingly there are several Christmas markets here which are very much in a Scandinavian style, they even advertise them as a typical Scandinavian Christmas market and they are fabulous, little wooden chalets which all feature local artisans and their hand made goods. It is certainly one of my favourite ways to shop. xx

  27. We love our weekend family walks with the grandchildren, they are always so special and yours looked very good, beautiful colours still, our leaves have nearly all fallen now.

  28. I very much enjoyed this walk with you even though I am somewhat late reading it. Still I can see why it beat Black Friday shopping hands down.

  29. I’m wondering if you got your snow? Growing up in Scotland we always loved any days that meant no school and snow always meant fun for kids but not for our poor parents and adults, who battled with roads not cleared and ice!

    1. Hi Helen, no we didn’t! and it is no longer forecast as of this evening! Oh well, we will keep hoping for some other time during the winter. I know what you mean about the roads, my parents always used to say they didn’t want snow and we children always did. The problem is living in an area that is not used to snow and not able to cope with it. The last time there was any significant amount here, and by that I mean just a few inches, it caused absolute chaos and roads were closed and schools were closed for two or three days because they simply didn’t have any means of clearing the roads. But, I still love snow! xx

  30. Oh gosh I am late again! I have just loved every minute of today’s post only to find I haven’t even read last Sunday’s. I am not used to you posting on a Sunday, but that is not to say it’s not a fabulous and very welcome surprise because it is, the more the better, can never get enough of our French Oasis!

    1. Oh sorry if I threw a spanner in the works! Every now and then I post on a Sunday as I find it rather fun and sometimes there are things I just want to write about and I need that extra publishing day! It is wonderful to hear from you whenever, there is never any timeline. xx

  31. A long walk and then a stop at that boulangerie for a pain au chocolat to go with a chocolat chaud sounds like my idea of heaven!

    1. We do, but far less this week as we have had brisk winds all week and a dramatic drop in temperatures. But there is still plenty of colour in places, it does make winter seem wonderfully short. xx

  32. It’s ‘another’ Sunday – and I thought I’d send you a few snippets of my Sunday. Just to make you slightly jealous, we had a smattering of 15 snow flakes on Thursday evening (actually, maybe 15000) which turned to slush on the road and by the time we returned to our car after the choir rehearsal, it was just ugly, frozen in parts and difficult to drive in. On Friday morning when we got up, we had a very, very light dusting of pure snow all over the place, it looked beautiful and pristine, when I looked again, the birds had drawn ‘motorways’ to the various feeding canteens, a neighbour’s cat had left patters of its feet and 2hrs later nothing was left at all….. Not as nice weather as you had, though. Heavy clouds and definitely fresh & cold. For us, a sign of winter is always when the oil/grease in the heavy wrought iron portal of the parking isn’t closing any more…. We have been pushing it very lightly for 2 days now, so there – it’s officially winter here!
    There was no leaf raking today, we came back from Orléans, 120km from us, it was very foggy and it felt very cold. The thermometer in the car read -1.5°C but it felt colder. I had tittery nerves because my cello doesn’t like the cold at all and it got damaged 2 winters ago. Had to take it with me as we are preparing some music for our church Christmas Fête. Am playing with a very talented 11yr old who seems to have no nerves at all and who plays w/o any problem, just like that, and very well too! Feel very old next to her 🙂 She brings me drawings from time to time, and I always have to laugh when I see ‘How she sees me’….
    As this is the blessed first Advent today (Dec 3/17), I can now say that soon I’ll be ‘done’ with my house decorations. There is so much I find in my ‘stock’ I like, I then want to use much of it, but this year I’m holding my horses and I shall be going for very minimal…. (ha ha). I always have tons of candles though and I always have those warm tiny guirlandes I wind around everything. Some of my 120+ window squares get star stickers (easy to put and easier to pull off after Christmas) – the incoming cards are being hung up, there are amaryllis and branches everywhere and the Christmas tree (this year a beautiful fake one as we aren’t always at home) will be done sometimes next week as on Sunday we’ll have visitors again. Today we gave ourselves a ‘Christmas lunch’ in our favourite restaurant in O….. It was wonderful, a bit decadent and gratifying. Our ‘pressies’ for each other is a Christmas concert every year. Our best loved counter tenor (alto) will be singing when we are away, so we chose a wonderful little ensemble and they’re presenting our best loved music. This is OUR treat, as we don’t ‘do’ pressies any longer. So, now a few letters and cards and then ‘to bed’ – tomorrow will come soon enough – too soon always.

  33. I hope you have your snow? Here in occitania-it’ll always be Languedoc for me-we got our first snows on Saturday. Overnight the gold and yellow of autumn trees turned black and skeletal. Like you I find this to be a reflective time -it’s much more natural for me to take stock, think about what i’ve achieved and what I have yet to do. It’s this time when I start planning – writing, the garden, what to tackle next in the house etc. New Year resolutions don’t cut it for me. Like you I’m one for long walks with the dog snuffling and snootering in the hedgerows alongside me. Sadly, as I await my knee op after Christmas the walks are somewhat curtailed.
    I really enjoy your posts and the photos, please keep ’em coming. I shall need something to while away the hours when I’m hospitalised.

    1. Oh no, that sounds as if it is going to be painful, but I am sure that you will feel fabulous afterwards and will be back to plenty of long walks with your dog, isn’t it just the best way to walk. I agree with taking stock now rather than new year’s resolutions, this is indeed such a reflective time, I find winter in general is too, perhaps because I can do so much less outdoors, it is a time to really plan for the warmer months and all I hope to achieve and if I succeed in getting half of it done I am happy as I am always over ambitious in my plans! X

  34. Hi Susan. I was appalled at this Black Friday thing! It just seemed to suddenly appear and engulf us. I absolutely hate it. Why do we have to follow the not so good things from the US? It just brings out the worst in human nature, greed, impatience and thoughtlessness. Consumerism gone mad. But how can we stop it and say ‘we don’t want it thank you very much!!’? So, like you, I boycott it and will not be a part of it. We’ll probably be thought of as ‘old fashioned’, but if that’s what I am then so be it!! Never mind Gah! Grrrr! as well!!
    On to nicer things – your autumn/fall thoughts. Totally agree, you put it well, a little sadness as summer ends and then the glory and wonder of autumn to enjoy and lift us just before winter throws her icy mantle around us. And yes, it does make one remember those who have departed and that is a very good thing, part of how we should be – happy to carry on living our lives but mindful of the past and those that helped us to our present. Hope you had a lovely end of November!!

    1. I totally agree with you, whilst we cannot dwell on the past, I think we must remember and a little sadness whilst we do so is never a bad thing, it makes us appreciate all the more what we are so lucky to have today. Now these shorter days have their own magic about them I think, I love the cosiness of a warm fire in the evenings, it inspires conversation and conviviality. Hope you are having a lovely weekend, winter weather or not! xx

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