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Posted at: 2019-08-17 09:01:15
August is passing in a whirlwind of bed making, tap polishing and batches of homemade granola. Here the pace of life is fast. But in the rest of France it has ground to a resounding halt.
I think I will forever be baffled by les vacances. The two weeks in August when everyone goes on holiday. And I mean everyone. It seems those that live in the north go south, those that live in the south go north, east and west switch and the majority of Paris decamp to the Ile de Re.
Businesses shut down, restaurants close and the best bakery for croissants around here shuts up shop for our busiest three weeks of the summer!
It’s inexplicable to us English folk that anyone would nip off on holiday during peak tourist season, but to our French friends it is obligatoire. Everyone else is on holiday so why shouldn’t you be? No matter that there might be money to be made.
It’s fabulous really. A commitment to life and family time above all else and I love it. One day I shall appropriate this tradition into our new French life and you’ll find me in a deck chair, in the shade of the avenues with a book and a nice cold glass of wine for two whole weeks. Until then if you need me I’ll be making beds. Have a lovely weekend everyone.
Across the lake, beside the potager, with its own garden hidden amongst the trees is the atelier, also known Maurice’s House.
Maurice, so the story goes, once lived in the atelier, in the gardeners apartment above the workshop. He came to be here due to his love of drink. His wife it seems did not, understandably, want a drunkard as a husband so she threw him out of the house.
He was given a roof over his head here and was allowed to work on the land. The only caveat being that he had to stay off the cidre/eau de vie/vin if he wanted to stay. He was here for sometime (perhaps years) before he managed to sort himself out and his wife welcomed him home.
For a long time the atelier has been just a workshop, a storage area and tractor shed. But now we are turning it into a gîte. A beautiful self catering holiday cottage with a large kitchen diner, opening out onto the garden. Upstairs, across the whole grenier, with its beautiful old beams will be two en-suite bedrooms and a big old sitting room filled with light. It will have glorious views of the chateau, meadow and lake and I’m so excited about it that I kind of want to move in myself.
We’ll be starting work next month and it will be ready for next summer. If I find a spare moment this week I’ll do a little behind the scenes before video in our stories so you can see all the gorgeous original features that I’m desperate to keep. Wish us luck. Have a great week everyone.
The children are in England for a week with my parents and the silence is loud. My days are unstructured without them - no set meal times, no discussions about who is doing the school run, no bedtime. My eye is off the clock and the jobs seem to get done faster.
But then there are no cuddles and squeezes and I actually have to set an alarm clock because my boy shaped one isn’t here to wake me up with his heavy footed clomping each morning.
I lie in bed first thing in the morning without having to worry if the children’s noise is filtering across the hall and up the stairs towards our guests (no one has heard them so far apparently). This morning all I can hear is birdsong and Monsieur Dupont’s cows calling to their calves - one of which is clearly in trouble for wandering off. It’s comforting to know that the cows are similarly annoyed by wayward children.
Our boys will be back before we know it, and in the meantime we have plenty of families visiting the chambre d’hôte to ensure a steady stream of small person chatter. And of course there are always lots and lots of jobs to be done to keep us all busy.
Good morning Amsterdam! We’re back from a little break to Paris and the beautiful Vosges. We enjoyed the Parisian way of living for a week and than went into nature at the Ecolonie, an (internet free) ecovillage in the forest. We enjoyed our time together, but it also feels good to be home again 💛
Have a great day!