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Showing posts from 2016

SNOW ON THE MOUNTAINS AND FIRST FROSTS.

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Since getting back from our visit to England we have felt so much more at home here. Something almost imperceptable has shifted toward this new place feeling like home. We have again relished the unspoilt nature around us and new places to explore.


We have been holed up in our little living/ sleeping space which sometimes feels like a tiny fortress against the cold of the rest of the house. Trips to the toilet are the briefest of affairs, the toilet seat itself is so very cold, even the wooden floor feels like it might give feet frostbite through socks. I'm really hoping that this British obsession with 'hygge' at the moment means I get some warm socks for Christmas. This mass comercialisation of a concept that is apparently untranslatable has come at the best of times for our family hoping for warming gifts. Our luxury at the moment is our bed. Two double matresses we place in the middle of the room each night giving all four of us a lot of space to sleep. Heaven.
It's…

THE HOUSE IS A HOME

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These are perfect Autumnal days, beginning close to freezing and ending with warm afternoons where a heavenly light bathes everything in a warm yellow. The afternoon sun illuminates the hillsides where goats graze to the melodic ringing of their bells and poplars stretch up like brush strokes of a golden tumeric.

There are moments when the light is so perfect that the scene before me appears so fragile that if I reached out into it all it might crumble to a fine dust. Moments where the girls look up to the sky, delighted by aeroplane trails or peer down to the ground to examine an acorn in their path. This ephereal light catches in their hair or eyelashes, casts shadows across half of their faces or dances in the leaves in the trees behind them.


We carved two small pumpkins for Halloween and then, as a necessary sacrifice for our frugality, cooked them the next day in a soup. I suspect this will be a trauma that Little L rebukes us for in later life. How she had to bear parents so crue…

FIGS AND CHESTNUTS

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The beginning of October; chestnuts, figs, crisp mornings and evenings drawing in ever earlier. We are relishing wrapping up under more and more layers as we make the most of the clear skies before winter arrives.
Autumn here is also the time when animals are walked back down from high grazing in the mountains to lower, more hospitable, ground for the winter. These 'Transhumances' are often accompanied by 'fĂȘtes' and communal meals as the village traditionally welcomes back the shepherds and the herdsmen. We watched a flock of sheep arrive back in a nearby village with the community out to welcome them home. It was quite moving to think that in the past these farmers may have had no contact with their families and neighbours for those summer months spent caring for their flocks and this welcome home was a real reunion.




My sister came to visit and we had a special weekend of adventure with her: Vulture spotting in Bugarach (the mountain destined to be the sole location to…

WHEN FRIENDS ARE FAR AWAY...

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We've lived here for three months (and half of that was in a tent in some woodland out of the village) so I know rationally that it is fine not to have made friends yet. I know that just because I have not made friends so far, that it doesn't mean I will never make friends here. However, who considers these things rationally when they are missing their friends from home and life as a family of four needs some serious fresh air ? I am prone to emotional responses to most things in life, it's what led me sob whilst listening Nadya Hussein on Desert Island Discs a few weeks ago, as if I had forever forfeited the opportunity to bake cakes or reminisce about the Backstreet Boys with friends simply by moving to France. It was perhaps also the repetitive task of chipping plaster off a beam combined with a lunch of tinned mackerel that led to the emotional outburst but the bottom line is, if there's an opportunity for teary melodrama, I generally take it.
When we first arrived…