I can't believe that an entire half term has passed since I last sat down to write. The return of the school routine has been exhausting for Little L and left us all mourning the freedoms of summer. These two weeks of holidays from school have given us the chance to pause and just practise being once again. I've been so very grateful for the moments I can pass just watching Little L free to draw for hours on end or act out her imaginary scenarios with her collections of toys and silk scarves and stones. Little I is jubilant in having her sister around day after day but her celebration is all too often an energetic destruction of  Little L's precious make-believe landscapes.


Lac Montbel 


The first signs of autumn came with the tractors hauling trailers heavy with wood through the village. Piles of logs outside front doors, hastily being taken into houses to be stacked in sheds and hallways to feed the fires throughout the winter. When we open the window to push back the shutters each morning the crisp air is scented with woodsmoke from early mornng fires.

For the most part we have had the most glorious of indian summers. Chilly mornings under blue skies and afternoons warmed under a gentle sun. The occasional days of drizzling rain or blustery wind take me home and are welcome too.

One morning on a walk to buy bread, the girls and I found ourselves under a flock of swallows. The air was light with rain and the sky grey. The swallows flew and swooped above our heads. Some were clinging to walls or lined up on telephone wires, others, nestled under the eaves along the street. We wondered whether this might be a ritual before taking off on their migration south. I talked to the girls about all the animals that migrate on long journeys for warmth or food or mates. Since then, Little L frequently shouts out 'let's go to south America!', to which Little I shouts back 'No, no, south America' and if the battle continues she runs to me with tears in her eyes and pleads that I stop Little L threatening a migration to south America. I love the absurdity of this frequent conflict between them.
Our neighbours have once again been passing us gifts from their garden and afternoon walks. Mushrooms and chestnuts and walnuts. Even in our small corner of the house, in a room still bare of plaster, the chestnuts, hot in our hands from the temperamental plug-in oven, somehow make us feel cosy.

To the south of the village at higher altitudes the trees are now ablaze with colour; browns of all descriptions, yellows; golden to lemon, red, orange and deep and dying greens. At every opportunity we have set off to walk and explore these valleys and hills around us. We found wa oodland, once the home to Resistance fighters, with such a variety of mushrooms that we hardly walked at all, instead, inspecting each clump or single mushroom pushing itself up through leaves or clinging on to decaying logs.

Maquis de Picaussel et Plateau de Sault




Labrinth Vert

Col du Chioula 


The swallows have left now and the leaves on trees around the village are beginning to die and fall, following those on higher ground. We have another week left of school holidays with plans to let the girls roam free and perhaps build a den by the river that passes by the village (mostly my project but the girls are kindly humouring me). The last of our visitors for this year have left (fortunately coinciding with the arrival of our first mouse... ) and the last squash harvested from the garden. It feels as if we are ready for the colder weather November will bring, the snow falls on the mountains and the layers of jumpers and extra socks.
The roof is watertight, the chimney is built and the attic bedroom is beginning to take shape. The prospect of having a seperate room for the children or just a seperate room to sleep in away from our living space seems almost unreal. A luxury we can't even imagine! Florent's had his head in electrics the last few days and Little L has been diligently producing extravagent wax crayon plans for bunk beds...


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