Mon Amour

Posted on 15 December 2005

The Exotic South of France

A Motley Pair

For some reason, it sounds exotic: “Oh yes, we’re spending Christmas in Paris, after spending several weeks in our home in the south.” But the reality is far from it. This is an exceptionally cold year and, as my neighbour so bluntly said (in French) “your house is a house of summer.” There’s no central heating and though we have three electric heaters, we can only run two at a time. We depend on our two wood-burning stoves for warmth. But warmth can only be guaranteed (and only in two rooms) if there is enough wood. Brendan ran out before we arrived and started buying sawdust logs. A few days ago, we bought 75 more and we’re going through them too quickly.

A man called yesterday and told me in French that he would arrive “vendredi entre onze heures et midi.” I understood enough to know that he’s coming Friday between eleven and twelve, but I did not understand whether he is coming to clean the chimneys or deliver wood. I hope he is the wood man but the other would be fine too. We do need the chimneys cleaned. Our former tenants were slack and didn’t have them cleaned before they moved and now, if we have a house fire, our insurance won’t cover it.

In some ways, I feel as if I’m still working. I have spent countless hours on the internet, to a number of people, at the store, and also to several of our vendors. Though sorting out a few problems has taken much thought and energy, I think my job, in the future, will be less frustrating. I have also spend some time dealing with our home and business. Now I want to relax and enjoy.

And there have been moments of pleasure. Brendan and I spent a morning in Toulouse before meeting Rob at train station. We visited Albi together and enjoyed elegant food in an elegant cafe. (I was surprised and impressed to find that Bren ordered a dish and had no idea what he ordered.)

And we have been to market in Gaillac where Rob and I both bought a pair of slippers from a man off a trailor for 15 euros. Now, isn’t that too sweet?

And one of our finest moments was driving through the countryside – it is as lovely in winter as it is summer and though I still prefer summer, there is something magical about the near frozen landscape – it’s almost like looking at a black and white photograph – and it was such fun leading Rob to Chateau de Maraques where the owner photographed us amid his barrels and poured us a taste of sparkling wine and several reds. We bought 3 of each, nine bottles total, for all our celebrations over the next few weeks; and if there is any left we will carry a few bottles back to Vancouver.

Dream Location

When I see photographs of myself and Rob (or most people) I am shocked at my size. I don’t feel little. (Note my fancy
beret that I bought in a hat shop in Albi.)

So time passes… on Saturday, my dear Gill arrives; and we’re all looking forward to her presence and her cooking. Now, if only Michael could fly across and meet us in Paris, our family would feel complete.


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