So, it's the time of the year that I had dreaded. The cold, short days without the excitment of Christmas to lift spirits.
We arrived back in the south of France after Christmas in Normandy to a storm that seemed to last for three days. Thunder and lightening and never ending rain. The streams swelled to rivers and roared through the village, climbing up the walls of the houses built along the banks. The rain is very welcome. The land is thirsty for a winter of rain. Every morning that I wake to the sound of the rain on the roof and the rush of the small stream on the road outside I remember to be grateful for this water that will be reaching deep into the earth, lying dormant and then exploding green in the spring. It also means a lot of time indoors which is sometimes harder to find the gratitude for... The sea of toys that floods the floor, the endless requests to either bake or paint or create a boat out of the four chairs... At times it is no longer possible to get to the toil…


The first of December was overcast with deep grey clouds and everyone held their breath for snow. On the second of December we woke up to a thick white blanket with a grey sky still showering down snow flakes. Gusts of wind blew flurries and drove the cold into any patches of skin left uncovered.

Our village in the snow...

We played outside until Little I had had enough (Little L loves snow so much that I don't think she would choose to leave it before freezing solid herself) and we had hot chocolates in one of the village cafes. It was market day and afterwards we met with friends under the covered square and the children played again, sculpting minature snowmen on benches whille we bought our vegetables and apple juice to mull. We dedicated the afternoon to making Christmas decorations which meant that I tried to get Little I to do something other than cut up a sheet of paper into tiny pieces (her current favourite thing to do) and bit my tongue as Little L reinvented clove oran…


The month of November. Morning frosts on roof tops and along the length of the riverbanks. The sun lies low in the sky in the afternoons, just about warm, but never quite chasing the cold from the shade.
Little I and I have been taking morning walks together after dropping Little L at school. We walk down to the old railway path and follow it to the river. We spot the ducks paddling against the current and, sometimes, a heron, flying low and then up over the treetops. We crunch through the frost until her hands feel the chill and she remembers the 'bou-yan-gy' (or boulangerie) where some days we buy a croissant to share along with our usual bread.

Under the weeping willows by the lake the fine branches reach almost to the ground. Little I takes them in her hands and swings them, to and fro. The willow's last golden leaves flutter down around her and then she clamours for a bullrush to pull off the fine down and spread it around her.

I've sat down to write outside and now…