I’m Sorry I Went Quiet

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I’m sorry I was silent for a couple of weeks. I tried so hard to find the time to take some photos and scribble a few lines, but I failed. With the children on holiday and friends visiting and work calling there are precious few spare hours in the day. You are not the only ones I had to neglect, I ignored the garden too, but thankfully there really wasn’t much to do anyway. It’s been so hot and so dry that nothing is growing. But in the same way that the garden stayed on my mind, and I watered the vegetables and pots religiously every night, so I thought of you all and knew I had to find the time to get back in touch today. The truth is I missed you. So here are a few lines about summer, why I just love it so much and why, even though I am busier than ever, it is so important to find an hour each day to enjoy something special, even if it is just a stroll around the garden!

Summer makes us think of holidays, carefree times, lazy sunny days and ripples of laughter filling the air. Doors are flung open from dawn until dusk. The boundary between indoor and outdoors is blurred, and quiet evenings last forever.

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However, now that we’re in August, the lawn has turned brown, the grass is dry and parched. Flowers are wilting under the scorching heat.P7720735

Only the toughest plants are surviving this heatwave and drought, the vegetables need constant watering,

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and flower arrangements stretch the imagination to the limit, there is little to be found to fill a vase right now. Everything has taken on a slightly desert-like feel.p6770694

A few roses bravely flower all summer,P7720748

and not everything has to be perfect to be beautiful. The small blemishes and insects to be found amidst the plants are a glimpse into the intricate ecosystem of the garden.P7720753

The wisteria is threatening to take over one side of the terrace and the hibiscus the other. Β Nature is trying to reclaim the stone it gave to make our home.P7700654P7700657P7700661

I rather enjoy this all-green spot, the stone is cool under the soles of small bare feet, and the lack of colour is very calming.

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My lemons have come back to life after our abnormal sub zero conditions in March. Those days are but a distant memory. It’s almost impossible to imagine snow falling on the beach-like lawn.

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Now every meal is taken outdoors, locations vary according to the time of day. We eat what summer grows, be it from our garden or the surrounding area.

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The menu varies, but it is always reassuringly simple. The sun and the Earth dictate what food is at our table and how we live our days.P1000840P7700635P1000841

P1000842There is always trouble to be found, so don’t be fooled by these innocent faces!P7720712

Walking is best left until the early evening, when the sun has begun its downward journey. There are dust motes in the air from late hay-making, and cows too sleepy from the sun to do more than moo softly.p4840123

Strolling past field after field of sunflowersimg_768719884474_702499646612109_410804948313924129_n19642606_699823683546372_6589826353542619893_n

…and just occasionally a few find their way home.P7720702

Sometimes I’ll post a photo of a moment in time on Instagram, a rare glass of champagne on the beach, hinting at a relaxed unhurried lifestyle. If only that were the case, but I snatch those precious hours when as a family we can lay back on the sand, splash in the waves and enjoy just being. It’s good to escape from technology and work, and revel in the little pleasures of life right on our doorstep.

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Watching the sun set on the horizon. If only the entire world were so peaceful.13699961_526090510919691_4497683875438456125_n

89 thoughts on “I’m Sorry I Went Quiet

  • Another lovely post! So poetic, and I particularly liked the photos! Lots of love from our little corner of the world! Xxxxxx

  • Glad to hear from you but know the feeling. I have not posted in 2 months due to various reasons but will get back to it soon. Enjoy your summer!

    • Summer? It’s nearly over, I feel – just two weeks and the little ones will be off back to school – I hate it when they go….. sigh. But I’ll try and enjoy what’s left, thank you πŸ™‚

  • I have been missing your posts but was reasonably sure all was well but just busy. Glad to hear that was the case. It is the same here but so sodden by record rainfall. The wet conditions have brought a load of garden pests but, like you, I step back and look at the whole picture and am happy. We will combat the pests but I love all of the green which is so unusual in August In Washington, DC. My favorite new part of this summer is a mosquito suit that a friend brought we back from Canada. I have become slightly allergic to mosquito bites and those particular pests are also thriving unfortunately. I look a fright but the young girls next door are used to it already. The 8 year old told me that when she is sad she comes and walks in our garden to make herself feel better. Well, that makes all of my bites (because in truth some mosquitos still get through and bite me) and hours weeding, deadheading and planting so worth it and I feel the same way. Can anything soothe more than a walk outside in the warm sun with nature all around? xo

    • How nice of you to share your garden! I, too, am enjoying the plenteous rainfall in the D.C. area, although there isn’t any tonight and the weatherman said there would be! My a/c compressor went out two nights ago and we are enduring the heat. Rain would be very welcome to us right now….

      • Oh, dear! DC without AC is tough in the summer! Wish that I could invite you in to the cool. Hope your AC gets fixed soon. We head to NYC on Wednesday to visit our son and DIL and they do not have AC. I am scared! πŸ™‚

    • Hi Anne, I’m sorry for not being here – but as you say, all was well, just busy! Getting the right combination of weather for fewer pests and more goodies in the garden is a balancing act which all too often fails! We had no cherries this year and a horde of green midges for a while back in June – thankfully they were not biters, but then the mozzies did make up for them afterwards! So I share your feelings this year. We had way more than normal. I have a recommendation though – if you can find it where you are – Anthisan. It’s the best bite ‘soother’ I have ever come across. If you cannot get it where you are see if someone in the UK can find you a tube – well worth the hassle, it’s magic stuff, and cheap as chips, too.

  • This time of year I’m quiet for days on end as I take time to enjoy visits from friends and family, boating, gardening and all else that summer offers.

  • I was just thinking of you today! Funny how that happens! We had our first rain in three months. I was wondering if you were still melting under the sun. We’ll be wending our way in your direction next week and hoping to do the ever desirable cycle around the Ile de Re. A bit further on this time so shall be exploring beaches in the Mornac area. Hope you find plenty of relaxed moments for yourself. Xx

    • We are still melting, though unbelievably we have some rain forecast for today – the garden is so excited. I just hope it is a decent amount, that way I won;t have to water this evening! If you’re bored come and say hello when you’re up this way!

  • I was also recently thinking I’ve not seen Susan’s post lately and worried you had stepped away for good. I’m so happy you have not. Reading your beautiful insights into life in France and seeing the gorgeous photography is something I look forward to each week. Our beautiful world is to be enjoyed and savored, which you are keen at embracing. Thank you for taking time to share your life!

  • “… not everything has to be perfect to be beautiful.”

    We, too, are experiencing drought conditions and hot weather. Thanks for the reminder to look for the beauty as I walk across our crunchy lawn. And thanks, too, for sharing your exquisite photos. Just lovely.

  • Glad you are all ok – I had noticed that there hadn’t been any posts but thought perhaps you had managed to snatch a couple of weeks away ….. ‘if only’ I hear you say. In haste as it’s all go here too ….. perhaps see you before the summer is completely out! xxx

  • A lovely post as always Susan. Gorgeous photos. We pass fields of beautiful sunflowers between Saujon and Royan via bus and train. So far not able to get up close to photograph them, so loved seeing yours. Continue to find those rare moments to savor your summer amidst your busy schedule. πŸŒ»πŸ–οΈ

  • You know, dear friend(s) that I’ve been thinking extra often of you, fully understanding the predicaments of having an ΓΌber-full life but also because this week we enjoy our Torquay and Devon…. We have the BEST weather, some hot days but cooler nights, today we had a short downpour, just when we went into Coleton Fishacre so that we were forced (!!!) to go for a Wild Berry Tea and a lovely cheese-scone before the viewing. Everything in England is SO green in comparison to our French prairie. I try NOT to think of my precious garden, I did my very best to organise people to look after it but if all fails (and I have a feeling it might) that’s the way it is and I can’t do anything about it.
    Arriving at our friends’s place, I wondered if their hens weren’t laying…. Our friend stoically said: The fox got all but one, but hey, an oeuf is enough…. in his English/franglais pronounciation. THEN I knew I was back in good old Devon with self-depreciating friends, jokers, laid-back ‘loves & darlings’…. and every day we wake with the screaming of the seagulls.
    I take umpteen photos of the full-bloomed hydrangeas and think of our poor, poor, dehidrated plants ‘chez nous’, the lush greens in most places, the glorious hanging baskets when in France all there is leftover are hanging baskets with hay in them…..
    Thank you for coming back, don’t ever feel pushed to get back to us when you’re not able to. We want you in your fresh state and not because ‘you have to’. The only thing we will have to is dying, my dad used to say….. I don’t think I could get ever let go of that little rascal running along with Evie. That’s, by the way, another thing so very English. Everybody here seems to have a dog/dogs, bols of water are placed everywhere for the little pals to quench their thirst and we have seen more dogs in the past few days than we have seen in several years in France! Halleluja.
    Salads are on the menu every day, but the occasional fish & chips mustn’t be left out either. Summer is good πŸ™‚

    • Summer is indeed good, Kiki! Everything you have said is all so true, except the hydrangeas – we only have two and they are quite fine in the partial shade – but then they are very old and the roots are probably waaaaay down. I’ll write you an email XXXX

  • Thank you for coming back. . . you were missed, along w/the simply beautiful, if not perfect, life-style of Europe. After living abroad for 43 yrs. we are back in the US and miss the authenticity of life we came to love. I want to return if life & health allow me that privilege, if only for brief periods. Thank you for warming my soul—esp. the pictures of the pups & the sunflowers. Warmest greetings from central Texas.

    • Oh Sandi – you will simply have to come and stay again – I hope sooner rather than later. And you have hit the nail on the head with that one word – authenticity. I feel you are very correct – that is the difference for me.

  • Many of us are feeling the heat wave….but I must say that our grass is green due to the many afternoon rainstorms…even though it may be a bit brown and parched there…there is still so much beauty to see….love seeing your beautiful photos of summer life in the beautiful French countryside!

  • Oh, yes. The pups, the sunflowers, your happy children, the food, the ocean and the glorious wisteria. I have to say that tears were pricking at my eyes about two thirds of the way through – not really in sadness or (mere) envy, but just over the intransigence and painful exquisite beauty of it all. Do keep living it, Susan, for yourself and your family, and for us. You hold a magic mirror in your hands.

    • Beautifully said!
      Feel the same way…all of that.
      Yes, Susan, do keep living it, and know that whenever you can post it is such a delight, and there should be no pressure about when and how. We are relived and delighted for you to give yourself and your family and life the time you need and deserve.

    • A magic mirror? I have never thought of it like that – what a great turn of phrase thank you – BUT please do not cry πŸ™‚ Life should be shared, for all of us can support each other to the full, that way!

  • My Thursday is now complete…
    We are having serious drought here on the West Coast. Some mornings we wake up to the smell of smoke. The good thing is most people are being hyper vigilant. It seems strange to know that we live in a rain forest and walk on dry crunchy grass. It almost feels as if we are in the South of France. Your wine and cheese is much better though….
    Ali Xxo

    • Ali – what a sweet thing to say, thank you! And I am sorry you have to live with such caution. I remember when we lived in Bandol how careful everyone was there too. We had a close call one year I seem to remember. And I am not sure our wine and cheese is better – just different. XX

  • There is absolutely nothing to apologise for, though I do know you feel that you should post every Thursday. Life, life, life gets in the way and when life life life is as busy as yours it is bound to be a challenge from time to time. So take your time and don’t worry a bit. Your audience love to hear from you but I am sure I speak for all when I say that no-one would want you to feel compromised.

  • So happy to see your post. Isn’t it nice to know you were missed and that everyone is happy to hear your voice again. Life sometimes throws us a curve or a little more than we expected. You handle everything so beautifully and we are glad to know all is well. We are happy to receive whatever you have time to give.

  • So glad all is well and you can take a breath for the moment. Thanks for catching us up. Here we have had so much rain, the garden is rampant! Your meals look lovely and that beach is gorgeous. I hope you enjoy it much more before summer ends.

      • If I had a magic wand, you’d have the rain (which would definitely help with the rampant). it’s going to rain again today and the Metro is down for repair, so I’m going to be walking in the rain!

  • You thought of us . . . we thought of you! Hoping your brief real summer was blissful. Good vibes can travel long distances without necessarily being put into words . Thank you for the laid-back beautiful photos so making us understand your summer days. We are mid-winter of course but amidst the biggest and most tragic drought ever and our next week will go up to 28C almost every day . . . and some fools still maintain there is no global warming . . . .so glad you are well north of the bushfires . . .forest fires to you methinks . . . enjoy the remaining warm weeks and all the children home . . . . .

    • Ah yes – despite all my complaining, our summer has been fun, even if I seem to have spent most of it on the road in between tennis tournaments with Gigi. The upside to that, apart from another shelf-ful of trophies, is I am very concurrent with Europe’s top 20 pop songs – something Roddy always finds amusing as he hums another 60’s or 70’s something!

  • I, too, have missed your posts, which I enjoy so very much. I am glad you mention the lemon tree as I have wondered if it made through the winter. My lemon and lime trees are in pots and have to be brought in every winter. It would be so much better if they could be in the ground. Enjoy the rest of your summer!

  • Of course I missed you, even came here yesterday to check that I hadn’t neglected to read a post, but hey, life goes on and must be lived!! I’m glad you did so. I struggle with just keeping up with my posts and the blogs I follow, especially on the weekends, when I almost always work Friday-Sunday. Trying to figure out how to make that work and still have a life, but no clear-cut answers yet. πŸ™‚ In the meantime, enjoy and don’t worry. I’ll be sending you a quick email about something as well.

    Happy Friday,

    janet

    • Ah, to still have a life……Millie has reminded me of those halcyon days of youth this summer as she flits from rendezvous to rendezvous! Look forward to the e-mail and we can catch up! XX

  • so good to hear from you. Here in Andalucia the weather is “cool” compared to the middle Europe countries and all
    the past summers. But the flower/plant situation is the same as you describe and I knew it already in April/March
    (like the flowers did obviously ) that something with our climate must go in a wrong direction.

    • Yes – so much the planet needs doing to it, I agree, and I think like minded people agree. There may be a problem in that there seem to be far too many people who are not likeminded – one only has to see how much rubbish there always is by the side of the road to realise that. Sigh. Happy you are having a fine summer, though!

  • Enjoy the sunshine and time with the family while you can Susan, it looks beautiful in your photos. Weather here in Edinburgh back to normal now, after living here for 22 years, I’m not used to being hot! xxx

  • Beautiful……I know my AUGUST is RACING BY TOO!The garden NEEDS ME AS WELL!
    Houseguests have kept me from my duties!!!!!BUT ALL GOOD!
    Time now to head outside into THAT GARDEN and have my second cup of coffee!!!!!!!
    XX

  • I think we’ve all been a bit occupied with the enjoyment of the summer months and we all definitely need some time away from tap tapping on our various gadgets. Im sure you have had lots to do. The sundlowers are so beautiful. Makes my one in my garden seem a little lonely but I will plant more next year. The main memory i have of France is the fields of sunflowers. Such a beautiful sight x

  • Long hot days here in GA, but fortunately rain to keep most things thriving, especially the weeds :). Your property still looks lovely, and I do enjoy seeing all that shady green. Always nice to see your post in the mailbox, a visual treat, but enjoy your summer and your family and post when you are able. Your family takes priority.

  • Love the pictures & everything looks so pretty even if it is August! Thanks so much – I love even the greenery!

  • Ah, I feel your pain and joy. I don’t blog nearly as often as I should and I am reveling in the days of summer, although anticipating the autumn as well. Lovely photos.

  • I am intrigued by anyone who lives with doors and windows open! We have lived in our house 27 years and I don’t recall ever having lifted a sash!! I dislike the look of window screens so there would be nothing to head the flying varmints. We are plagued by mosquitoes from mid-Spring until it gets cold enough to kill them off in late Fall, and the odd fly or moth still finds its way inside on occasion. It would be nice to feel a breeze that wasn’t stirred by an overhead fan or an air-conditioning vent. As always, thanks for sharing!

  • Ah Susan, I totally understand your busy-ness! For us too, this time of year seems to fly by with grandchildren coming to stay each week, the garden to keep on top of, the hens needing some tlc as they are moulting and looking sorry for themselves, friends and family visiting and food to plan and prepare. It never seems to stop! But we have so enjoyed this lovely summer. A summer as it should be where you can actually plan outdoor meals! The poor garden is of course looking a bit crispy as is the brown crunchy grass, but we have finally had some decent rain in the last few days and oh how all of nature awakes, lifts its heads and thanks the rain by flowering and growing again, despite constant watering with a hose. Even the Delphiniums have come back again! Somehow, the rain is something special and coaxes the best from our gardens. But the soft fingers of Autumn are beginning to show their presence and I think we will have an early autumn because of the dry weather. Our Vitis Cognetiae (Crimson Glory Vine) is beginning to put on its lovely red and green dress for autumn and the blueberries have a tinge of red on some leaves. I find this exciting as I love to see the glorious shades of reds and oranges in autumn, it’s a magical time. By the way, Cocoa looks ADORABLE! I could just hug her to bits! You will miss her I’m sure, when she goes. Till then, lots of pics please! Have a lovely week and say hello to Bentley and Evie from us!! x

  • Oh I am so glad everything is ok. I thought it might have been the algirythems (spelling is wrong) of wordpress etc as to why I missed your post. Your photos are just stunning and the garden is beautiful.

  • We should never apologise for living instead of writing, because isn’t it that that feeds our souls? Our heatwave seems to have finally lost a bit of its fire here in the Haute Savoie. Hopefully still some nice ‘normal’ summer days to enjoy. I do admire your garden despite the ravages of August!

  • I just recently subscribed to your blog and then I didn’t see any posts. It’s all clear now. Love this one .The photos are lovely especially the sunflowers.Summer is such a busy time.We all want to make the most of the long days and some how need to remind ourselves to slow down and take it all in. So don’t feel guilty. It means you’re quite human! Looking forward to the next post and I love that you reply to your followers. That is such a lovely touch. 😊

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