mon coeur de campagne

living a simpler, rural French life


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Back to Routine

September brings a change in energy as the days are cooler and shorter, summer is coming to an end.  It is time to get back into routine again.

It’s la rentrée today, back to school and college but here in France, la rentrée is far more than that.  In August it’s not just school that is out but the government, offices, restaurants and businesses are also AWOL. Many French families take a long holiday for much of August too.

For weeks shops and the media have been talking about la rentrée.  The supermarkets have been piled high with exercise books, pens and folders. Harrassed mamans scan the aisles clutching long lists because French pupils are expected to provide all their own stationery and equipment.

This weekend our friends and neighbours have been wishing us and each other bonne rentrée à tous.

For me, la rentrée has a special significance this year as I am returning to normal routine (I hope!) after an operation and long convalescence. Chez moi, je suis le chef du bureau and my desk had ended up being a dumping ground.

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I have been preparing for la rentrée by tidying up, putting my papers in order and organising…ranger mes affaires,  trizer les papiers and organiser.

tidy desk

I wish you a bonne rentrée.  Je souhaite une bonne rentrée.

 

 

 

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Time to Shine

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No-one told me that recuperating after an operation takes so much time and patience. The lack of energy has been a big shock and just getting up and showered is an achievement!   I am on the mend now and realise that as frustrating as it is I have to pace myself.

Due to the heatwave, la canicule, we have found ourselves living in one of the hottest places in France…hotter than the south of France!  Temperatures in le Morvan, Nievre are 37 degrees and rising as hot as Casablanca and Algeria.  Searching for a cool spot I have swopped resting on my bed for the hammock.

The hammock hangs in the garden between two old nut trees and has been lowered so that it makes it a bit easier for me to get in and out!

Encore une journee de soleil et de chaleur. Another day of sun and heat. The trees envelope me in their cool, green shade and an occasional gentle breeze makes the hammock gently sway.  I look up and focus on my breathing taking slow and deep breaths in and out.  The heat descends like a heavy blanket and even the crickets are quiet.  The only sounds are the repetitive thunk, thunk, thunk of someone in the village adding to their wood pile and the occasional distant burst of chatter from an excited child.

The warmth of the sun, the fragrant leaves, the muffled sounds lull my senses.  I feel calm….my jumbled thoughts drift away….I have found my perfect spot.

Soon my body will be recharged and I will rejoin the world brighter than before!

 

 


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Letting Go

 

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It may be another National Holiday here in France and talk of politics is everywhere. Le Penn, la blonde, got well and truly beat.  Macron will be the new President. I live in La Nievre where Le Penn won the first round.  I was holding my breath but over 76% of the local population turned out to vote with Macron winning 59.92% of the votes against 40.8% for Le Penn.

It’s time for all of us to let go of stress whether it’s politics, health worries, not enough money or too much work and not enough time!  It’s the start of another working week for me. Life goes on and that’s great…but sometimes it can be overwhelming.

How about combining learning techniques and gentle exercise to help you de-stress with a holiday in the beautiful Burgundy countryside? You can’t fail to relax when you are surrounded by green hills, forests and  lakes with the freshest air in Europe.  A three day Letting Go workshop is being held by international life coach and therapist Orsolya Rist in July.

For more visit http://shineconsciously.com/lessstress.htm

 

 


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Verre de L’amitié

champagne

 

Last night, the Mayor invited everyone in our commune to toast the New Year with a verre de l’amitié, a glass of friendship.  We made it through the snow thanks to a lift from friends with winter tyres on their car.  The snow was so pretty and the Christmas lights in the centre of the village made it look very festive.

It was nice to see so many people there from our small community.  The Mayor welcomed and thanked everyone who had managed to get there.  He then thanked everyone who works or volunteers for the village, the school, the library and various associations.   He outlined what work had been done around the commune and plans for the coming year.  There was a poignant moment when he asked us to remember everyone who had been touched by terrorism and for those that had passed away.

The champagne was flowing but as we are having a dry January we politely declined.  A first for both of us!  Despite lots of attempts to fill my glass I managed to stick to orange juice until the Mayor handed me a glass of champagne – it would have been rude to say no!  I discreetly passed it to a neighbour who was more than happy to drink it for me.

For a small commune of around 200 people we are an international and friendly bunch made up of mostly French, a couple of Dutch (the numbers of Dutch increases in the summer!!), an English family (us), a German couple, a Texan and a South African.

We thanked the Mayor and asked if he could organise more evenings like this!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


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Retour au Travail

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Back to work today and no more champagne and Christmas cake for breakfast or chocolates and cheese for tea!

After this year’s extra long festive season packed full of family fun and parties with good friends it is time to get back to routine. It feels good to tidy up and get back to “normal” (whatever normal is). Even clearing up after our crazy Mexican NYE party  and taking the Christmas decorations down felt cathartic.

This Christmas has helped me to learn to let go of things I can’t change and emphasised how grateful I am to have such amazing family and friends.  It made my Christmas that  my family travelled via ‘trains, planes and automobiles’ to celebrate with us here in France.

I am looking forward to the fresh start that a New Year brings and turning the page.  Are you ready for the next chapter?

Happy New Year!


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The Curtain Falls

  
La nature s’habille de givre.

Le froid est enfin la. The cold is finally here and what perfect timing!  My brother, sister, nieces and nephews celebrated Christmas with us in France and after 10 amazing days of fun, food and partying the final guests left for the airport this morning.  They left just in time. Today’s winter wonderland is heralding the first snow forecast for next week.

Freezing fog has caused a white-out, shutting out the sun and blue skies finally bringing the curtain down on 2016. 


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Love Actually

  

The downside of living abroad, for me, is the distance away from family and friends. The last time we saw our son and daughter was Christmas so when they said they wanted to spend Easter with us in France we were delighted.  And  suggested that they travelled on the Eurostar and we would meet them in Paris.

That was before the Terrorist attacks in Brussels. I was working in London when the underground and bus was bombed and that terrifying experience began the chain of events that eventually saw me fulfill my dream of living a rural life in France. The escalation of terrorism across the world is frightening. The  extra police and army presence in Paris is slightly reassuring but it was with a feeling of trepidation that I set off via car and metro to the Gare de Nord.

Being Easter Saturday it was extra busy and I was surrounded by a mixture of nationalities, grandparents, children, friends and lovers all waiting expectantly  for their loved ones. The excited chatter soon faded away as the train slowly pulled in.

There was an almost unbearably sweet moment of anticipation broken only by the shriek of a guard’s whistle. And then carriage doors were flung upon spilling passengers and their luggage onto the platform.  I pushed forward standing on tiptoe to grab that first precious glimpse of my son and daughter. 

It seemed like forever but then suddenly there they were! I was hugging and being hugged. Surrounded by other joyful reunions. Together again. And just like in the song ….love was all around. Xxxx