Blue Monday? Today is supposed to be the most depressing day of the year.
It’s all white here!!!
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.
Art and history – my bliss! This weekend the privately owned 15th century, Chateau de Thard opened it’s doors as part of Les Journèes Europeènes du Patrimoine.
The heritage weekend takes place the third weekend of September across France. Each year there is a theme and this year’s was Patrimoine et citoyennetè. Public offices, monuments, historical sites, churches and chateaux open their doors to the public for a visit behind the scenes.
Chateau de Thard, a joli petit manoir, near Onlay proved to be a hidden treasure. We drove up a long drive hidden in the woods, which opened out to amazing views high above Onlay.
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
I threw open my bedroom shutters this morning and was greeted by an amazing bright light. Sunshine! The grey skies had gone, the fog had disappeared and no icy rain on the horizon.
My spirits immediately lifted and I quickly got ready to take the dog out for our usual brisk morning walk. I wrapped up warm out of habit but it was surprisingly mild.
As soon as I feel the first bite of winter I start wearing thermals. The layers stay on until Easter. I am not joking!
A walk enjoying the beautiful countryside always makes me feel happy whatever the weather. This morning was no exception and I felt lighter and brighter. Sunshine and birdsong. Something is in the air.
The start of not only a new day but a whole week full of exciting possibilities.
A time to hibernate – January is usually the perfect antidote to a very busy festive season. After 2,000 miles of driving from France and around the UK to visit family and friends I wasn’t expecting to bring back an unwanted present of flu and a throat infection.
I lost my voice and had to give up on work and retreat to my bed.When I felt a bit better I kept warm in front of the log fire snuggled in my crochet blanket.
Having no energy meant I had to take it easy and rest. On a positive note I had time to appreciate the simple things and be grateful that I could take time out to nurture myself and enjoy my home.
The benefits of our wood fired cooker and home made soup.
I appreciated drinking out of my new mug, wearing my new bed socks and reading books.
I lit candles, tea lights and lanterns to give a cosy glow on the dark evenings. Dosed myself up with natural remedies and drank honey, lemon and whisky.
So now after three long weeks of cocooning I am finally emerging into 2016 blinking into the sunlight!!