I’m taking a little skip, hop, and a jump to the present now- humour me!
My previous posts have been about my reasons for moving to France. I suppose I should have been writing it all down while I was in the thick of it. A few people suggested I should blog but I was so busy at the time I simply parked the idea.
Fast forward to now and the thought of a blog has never gone away. I love writing cards, letters, e-mails. I have enjoyed immensly any opportunity I was given to translate from French to English. The written word has remained a sheer pleasure for me and probably always will.
So I knew what I wanted to write about. I had vague notions of how to go about setting up a blog (all of them slightly skewy!) But let’s just say the execution of the project wasn’t exactly going to be my strong point. Enter stage left my very talented (and I might add – patient!) friends and designers, Hannah and Lee from Further Bound. They encouraged me from the get-go and invited me to stay with them in the South of France (they call it the “midi” here) where they are currently house-sitting (I should probably be more precise- chateau and cat sitting!).
I thought- right girl- grab the bull by the horns and learn all you can! So off I went. It was only while I was on the train I realised this would be the longest period of time that I had ever been away from my family. I’m not a mother hen and never will be. My hope for my girls is that they grow into independant young women who can stand on their own two feet. I am also not one of those mothers who can’t trust their partners to keep the boat afloat. I’m lucky- mon homme can do daddying and mammying impeccably. That’s not to say though I didn’t feel a little guilty. Here was I heading off on a trip of self-discovery so to speak while everyone else was working or at school.
But… a little bit of guilt wouldn’t be enough to stop me from hopping on the train and so I did! The train journey included a quick change in Paris. A cold and blustery winter’s day but yet the magnificence of Paris still managed to filter through. I love Paris, and no doubt I will relish the opportunity to write about the city of light at any opportunity I get to go there.
Leaving Paris, the train trundled through the cityscape and then hurtled on into the agricultural centre of France. Continuing on to the clefted valleys of the south-west, we passed the symbolic Valentré Bridge in Cahors and I knew I would soon arrive at my destination, Caussade.
After a six hour train journey I was delighted to see Lee’s smile at the train station. We mosied along the outskirts of the little town into windy, bendy little roads that took us to Chateau Dumas, where Hannah (and the cat) were waiting. A delightful catch-up ensued. Hearing all about their adventures and creative projects. Next morning however, after a blissful lie-in (remember I was sans enfants), the blog blitz began. And I have to say, I thoroughly indulged in and enjoyed it!
We took some well-earned time off however to explore the chateau and its grounds. It never ceases to amaze me how the light of the south can speak to the soul. It’s no wonder Van Gogh et compagnie were inspired. On the Sunday, the weather cleared up to reveal the pink dusty hues that envelope the midi. This light made the chateau dance in colour and the grounds were alight with nuances of lilac, pink and hushed blue.
Just beside the chateau, accessed by a little wooded path, stands a beautiful church. The church seemed to have been shared by both the inhabitants of the chateau and the little neighbouring hamlet. There was a reddish glow from the church walls- as if the stone was grateful to the sun and reciprocating its kindness. I was dying for a look inside but alas the doors were closed so we continued on the little pathway to wind our way down to the fields below. We trailed our way back to the grounds, enjoying the last light of the day before settling in to roost for the evening.
Once the fire was crackling and a glass of wine was poured, the feet went up and conversation flowed. There is something about Sundays!
I revelled in every second of it and we took the time to snap a few photos. I would never be able to do justice to the chateau itself with my pics but have a look at the chateau website and you’ll get the idea. Here are some of our offerings from the day.