In between my, mostly, weekly blogs, I describe impressions and relate anecdotes on Facebook or in e-mails. Often these are just snippets –not quite enough for an entire blog– but I think they offer a quick glimpse of my day-to-day life in France. As I compile these entries, I feel so much more settled in that it’s difficult to realize only a week has passed. Little changes around the apartment, make it feel more like home — a few plants here, a piece of fabric there, candles burning. At the same time, I know that regardless of my physical environment, it is people who truly make the difference. My two months in Excideuil was definitely enhanced by those I was fortunate enough to meet. And here in Montpeyroux the same is true. New people, new experiences, all part of the grand adventure.
And Sunday is the vide grenier where I hope to pick up all sorts of bargains for the Baker’s Cottage!
FROM THE PAST WEEK . . .
Day 2 Baker’s Cottage. Still a bit cavelike, although I can envision improvements. Next week-end there is a huge vide-grenier (a community wide garage sale) and all the streets in the village will be blocked off to accommodate it. Might find a few necessary things there. Still undecided, long term and, fortunately, I’m not locked into a contract. Since I don’t have a car and would rather not incur the expense, finding then moving to another place with a year’s worth of luggage needs some careful consideration.
This morning, needing to get out and think things over, I walked up to the market square and bought cheese, bread, eggs, paté from different vendors while practicing my French. “Oofs,” I say and get a blank stare. I say it again. “Oofs?” he says and shakes his head. We oof back and forward for a bit, then I change the pronunciation slightly. Voila! He leads me to the eggs. This sort of thing never fails to improve my mood and I carry everything back to the Baker’s Cottage which, alas, is still dark and cavelike.
Things are definitely looking brighter than they did just three days ago. Got a lift to the market in the next village, Gignac, and a French lesson as well. Amazing market, warm sunshine, sidewalk cafes. Used my French to buy all the usual–cheese, paté, fruit. Feel that, ever so slowly, I’m improving. Lack of light in the apartment was the biggest problem–that and no microwave, toaster, etc., which has now been resolved. I decided to convert part of my bedroom to a work space by the window. This would allow me to see outside, stare off into the distance as I watch the passing parade, etc. To do this required moving several very heavy pieces of furniture so Julie, my landlady, said she’d call some friends. I hear voices outside my door, open it to find four brawny lads, one of them holding a glass of red wine, all of them clearly in their cups. “We have come to move your temple of pleasure,” the one with the wine glass said. Turned out to be the only English he knew. Half an hour later the temple of pleasure was switched to the other side of the room and my desk and computer were set up by the window. Went out just now to close the wooden shutters. The air was still warm, it’s nearly eleven, the street was quiet and dark and there was an empty wine glass on the window sill.
This morning a very handsome fellow knocked on my door–unfortunately I was in my full-on morning look, birds nest hair and sweats–to install my new washing machine. Looks quite unlike anything I've seen before, but its here in my kitchen. Fantastique! No longer faced with the prospect of hauling my laundry onto the bus to use a laundromat in the next village.
The French word for poppy is coquelicot–poppy is much easier to say! They are everywhere at the moment; growing between the grape vines, bursting out of stone walls, flashing crimson in stands of tall grass. I wanted to bring some inside, but they droop almost immediately so I just enjoy them on my walks instead.
Everywhere I go, I fall in love with other people’s dogs. My first French affair d’chien was Fenzi, immortalized in my Facebook photo. Fickle creature that I am, I have now met another. A really bad boy. Peepoh. I think that’s his name. The first time we met, there was instant chemistry. The next day, as I walked back from the boulangerie, he saw me and came bounding down the street. Paws on my chest, he nearly knocked me over. He was ecstatic. I was thrilled. And then I realized he was eating my baguette. He’d wolfed down almost half of it before I caught on. I was told that’s what he does. Bad Peepoh, he only wanted me for one thing. But now I’m wise to him. I won’t be fooled again.
Here he is with Madame, who knows he’s bad but is charmed anyway. Isn’t that the way it is?