mon coeur de campagne

living a simpler, rural French life


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A Gorgeous Glut

It’s harvest time and everyone has a huge amount of courgettes. Last year we hardly had any!  This year if you mention the word courgette, friends and neighbours widen their eyes and step back in horror with a shake of the head and a quick “Non!” Friends have even taken to arriving for aperos clutching a selection of courgettes or courgette apero cakes – even better!

One lovely friend had too many tomatoes and bought a big bag along to a party.  I love tomatoes so it was a great present for me.

The freezer is full of courgettes and runner beans, haricots espagnole and a variety of different soups.

Our vine hasn’t given us so many grapes as usual but they are sweet and juicy.  We have turned them into juice and are eating the rest.

We will just have to get inventive with the courgette recipes.  There’s ratatouille, chutney, soup, braised, grilled, roast, stuffed, pureed, shredded, salad, cakes and bread.

Any other ideas?

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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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Bon 1er mai!

Happy May Day!

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May Day started with a friend wishing me a Bon 1er mai and sending a Lily of the Valley posy.

The tradition started on May 1st 1561 when King Charles IX of France offered the ladies of the court a sprig of Lily of the Valley or Muguet as a lucky charm.  Over the years it has evolved into a way of showing friendship.  The florists and markets are full of Lily of the Valley in the lead up to the 01 May.  The local Prefrecture had to issue a warning this year not to pick too many from the woods.

The sunshine, bird song and wild flowers mean that spring is finally here.  The dark nights are over and there is a feeling of celebration in the air.  The long holiday weekend also celebrates the Fete du Travail.

spinning wheel

We spent a sunny afternoon with friends showing us how to spin and weave.  Spinning has been used for thousands of years as a way of producing yarn.  Charlotte enjoyed using a Spinning Wheel using wool from local sheep, a method in use for centuries since the Middle Ages.  She might be taking up spinning as a new hobby and wants to make a rug using wool she has spun herself.  A good start to the month.

 

 

 


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Blue Monday

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Blue Monday?  Today is supposed to be the most depressing day of the year.

It’s all white here!!!


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A close call

  
Freezing fog, snow, frost and icy roads. We are in the grip of winter.  Our region, La Nievre has been on alert for bad weather this weekend and we’ve been advised not to drive unless you have to.

The snow has been melting and we went to see friends 10 minutes drive away and the roads were clear. On the way back I suggested driving back a different route and on the hill up to our house the road was unbelievably slippery. Our tyres couldn’t get a grip and I had a flash back to my car crash. Very scarey!

A wolf has been spotted not far away! An animal has been attacking sheep and a very wolf-like animal has been caught on camera.  The authorities are taking the threat seriously and are investigating.

So maybe it isn’t so bad staying close to home and hibernating!


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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.