Browsing Posts published in September, 2010

Tour De France

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A big part of the whole exodus for me has been figuring out how to live a simpler life, to have more by using less, to drop out of the rat race, to stop and smell the roses, ah how I love talking like a bad greeting card. If you have been following along you know that I have had some pretty wild fantasies about this life in France including riding about the village on a bicycle (The Devil Is In The Details), collecting baguettes and flowers, playing the part of Euro chic gal, fake it ’til you make it I say.

Anyway, fantasy and reality are closing in on each other as I am now the proud owner of the coolest bicycle ever. Initially I was all over the vintage look bicycle complete with wicker basket and big, shiny bell but in a rare fit of rational thought and consideration of practicalities I went for the Gitane E-bike.

Now this beauty does have the required basket for pretending that I’m Audrey (Hepburn, Tatou, either one will do) but instead of the romantic wicker it’s black metal which I have to say is a far better choice for weather AND will hold several heavy bottles of chablis and pinot noir. So clever, me. Continue reading “Tour De France” »

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The Village Idiot

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So I thought a language update was in order. Let me summarize by saying that it’s not going well. With all the enjoying France and immigrating to France business I have to say that the French study has been pretty much abandoned. I have a habit of this kind of thing, procrastinating when increased effort makes the most sense. One would think that now that I am finally here, learning French should be the top priority, study day and night. But that would be too sensible now wouldn’t it? But there is a price to be paid my friends.

The other night at the dinner on the Farm I had several opportunities to revisit my old friend embarrassment. I was asked what my plans were for tomorrow to which I replied “yes”. The Wife said “no, what are your plans for tomorrow?” (patient and smiling, god love her) and I said “yes, thank you”. Ha, ha, ha everyone laughs, including me. What do you expect? These things take time so I’m okay with this one.

A little later I gather my courage and jump in the current topic of discussion, Sarkozy and his plans for France. I begin and I’m surprised at how well I’m doing. The words flow out smoothly and unhindered unlike my usual halting and painfully slow speech. I’m up to Newfie pace at one point and I think oh now I’m cooking. I am a genius, immersion personified. This isn’t so bad at all. Continue reading “The Village Idiot” »

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A Sunday In Burgundy

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It’s only been 2 weeks and already it seems like a lifetime ago that I left my home for this strange place. Every day is an endless stream of new things and places and people. While on the surface most things seem the same it’s like living on another planet. Sunday was a day of discovery for sure.

We started with the Farmer and the Wife for lunch. Now in France this involves again champagne, then more food than I have ever eaten at a dinner in my life. The table looked like a buffet for a wedding. Again wine flowed. We ate and talked (well I listened mostly) and we met the son, 16, adorable and in love with his girlfriend of a week. It was her birthday and he had bought a necklace for her, very sweet and very French. It was reassuring to see that kids are the same all over the world. While the Boy was polite and charming, trying out his English with us, clearly he was biding his time to go and be in love. There he was texting and facebooking all over the place. Continue reading “A Sunday In Burgundy” »

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The Farmer Takes A Wife…

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Well just as I had hoped, France has opened its arms and taken us in. Don’t listen to those who tell you that the French are cold or crusty, wary of the ugly North American. We have, in just 12 short days met the warmest, kindest people imaginable. Every single person I have encountered so far has been kind, welcoming, happy to help me along with my terrible French. It reminds me a bit of Newfoundland.

Take the other day. I had been looking at a bicycle and after a couple of visits to the store that sells lawn mowers, chain saws and French bikes (ah the country life), I settled on the Gitane e-bike. After several ungraceful attempts to get it into the demon car, we gave up. So they said they would deliver it later that night and 9 o’clock the lovely store owner pulled up with the van, came in had a look around the house, tried out his English for a bit then off he went wishing us well. Apparently he spent a lot of time looking for the house but was sweet as pie as was the lady who sold it to me. Continue reading “The Farmer Takes A Wife…” »

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Great, now I’ll have that song playing in my head all day. Our home for the next 6 weeks does not represent how we will be living. We would need a winning lottery ticket to come close to owning something as special as this. We got an incredible deal on this place through the people we hope to work with. While it does represent a simple life in rural France, it is really a stunning example of what local people (more about them later) can do with a run down property. Words cannot describe it but hopefully the pictures can…

Entrance to the Ancien Moulin, Etrochey

Home sweet temporary home

View from the terrace

Side terrace

Morning view from the front door

Garden behind the house

Blog central in the kitchen!

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Bed, Breakfast and Beyond

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Well, we have settled at the new digs, unpacked and uncorked and we’re finally getting back into something that resembles a routine. The new place is nothing short of spectacular and I hope to give you a worthy description with photos as soon as possible, it’s worth the wait. I have a lovely new writing spot where I sat at 7:30 this morning reflecting on the past 5 days.

I think the allure of France (for me anyway) is the way people live and we’ve just experienced it first hand and in fine style. We stayed at a family run boutique chambres d’hotes (bed and breakfast), a renovated farmhouse in the tiny village of Buncey. It’s called La Ferme Ancienne and it is everything you could imagine it to be, beige pebbled courtyard behind huge metal gates, clay pots of lavender on the steps, ancient beams, stone walls, on and on. Each day we were greeted with fresh juice and croissants and yogurt and every evening a feast prepared by a charming young woman, so skilled at hosting and cooking that I wonder what the hell I have been doing with my time. Continue reading “Bed, Breakfast and Beyond” »

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Je Suis Arrivée

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Yes, I have arrived in the much talked about France. The travel, as usual for me, was a bit of an ordeal. I’m not good on planes and in lounges and airports for hours on end. This time was especially challenging because I was quite impatient to just get here. I anxiously await the day when we can be transported like on Star Trek magically appearing anywhere in the world. That being said the trip had some points of interest.

First, I got upgraded to executive on the Halifax-Toronto portion of the journey which was most convenient as my wacky-loves to fly-husband was already sitting up front (guess who did all the booking?). Then we hung out with a rather large group of Newfoundlanders in the lounge in Toronto, so nice to ‘talk the talk’ for one last time before living in a place where no one has ever heard of the phrase ‘what are ya at?’

Finally we got on the big plane. Again my travel genius husband scored us Aeroplan points seats in the executive section so we each had a little pod with a seat that went flat and a choice of food (it’s still bad but at least you get to pick what you think might be the best of the lot). Executive is quite interesting on these transatlantic flights, full of people who have actually paid for these seats. Next to us was a young, dapper chap who was moving to Paris to take up his diplomatic post, complete with a Paris apartment and a driver, courtesy of the Canadian tax payer. Honest to god, I said “hello, what do you do?” and he says “oh, I’m a diplomat, what do you do?” He had had 2 meetings with Hilary Clinton, 2!! Suddenly my little story of running away seemed a little dull. Continue reading “Je Suis Arrivée” »

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Let The Games Begin

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Okay this is it. The first day of the rest of my life (I’ve decided that I now speak in tired clichés). Transatlantic launch is in about 5 hours. I’m here at an airport hotel, homeless, carless, bedless, broke but determined. There is no turning back now however, as we all know, an Air Canada delay would not come as much of a surprise.  So, passport, check. Year supply of MAC and Lancome products, check. Hockey bag jammed full with essentials from Rapid Release Tylenol to the riveting 501 French Verbs Book, check. Husband, check. Fear and panic, check. At least my hair gives the illusion of courage.

First I have to actually survive the whole travel business. I’m great at arriving but getting there, not so much. Neil loves to fly, what a bizarre creature he is. He eats then falls asleep, it drives me wild. There aren’t enough drugs on the planet to put me out on a flight. We have about 16 hours travel time to Paris, then a 2 hour drive to the B & B where we will be 5 hours ahead of our usual time zone. I look forward to the effect on my already completely wacky sleep pattern. Continue reading “Let The Games Begin” »

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