Saturday, 20 May 2017

Just around the corner - there's a fork in the road.

"…..sometimes, when you take a great risk, life rewards you ten-fold" Heather Robinson

Champagne-Ardenne, France

Have you ever been at a fork in the road on life's journey and not known which path to take? One seems comfortable or familiar, the other foreign - perhaps challenging or fraught with difficulties; real or perceived. Which path do you tend to take? Which path is the better option? Dale Carnegie would emphatically state that "it's the road less travelled". But maybe the answer is "it depends": it depends on your "age or stage" in life, especially when  health issues are involved. 

Despite the path chosen, there should be no regrets. Continue to dream big, ask the seemingly unanswerable questions, add to your bucket list, and review the course you've taken. There is no escaping the fact that life is risky and will present us all with challenges. It is the degree of these challenges and risks and how we respond to them that sets us apart. 
As for me, I'm standing at the fork in my road..................procrastinating!

Linking with Black and White Weekends.


Saturday, 13 May 2017

Vintage French in B and W

Apologies – some of the details of the image have been reduced for the sake of its uploading speed.
Is this just me?

French + vintage  = bliss

The radiator cap of this vintage French automobile was designed to be sitting proud on top of the car's bonnet.

Linking up with Black and White Weekend

Sunday, 7 May 2017

Lavoirs - a snippet of social history for visitors of France

The village in which this washhouse (lavoir) is located, is devoid of a bakery and any shops, but it boasts a castle and a charming lavoir. The domed roof covering the spring, is particularly attractive.

It was a recent post from Fabously French that had me scouring my poorly archived photos for some images of lavoirs* – sign posts of a now fragile heritage.

Adjacent to the 13th century church that sits at the bottom of a steep incline in our village, is this colourfully decorated lavoir. The flowers are voluntarily grown and nurtured by the surrounding neighbours.

The quaintness and charm of surviving lavoirs, that can still be seen in many French villages today, usually belie the often gruelling demands of laundering in bygone eras. More than just a place of work, a lavoir also provided a place where women could meet and chat while attending to an extremely time consuming, and often arduous domestic chore. 

A quaint washhouse can just be seen to the right of this stream that runs through Beaune. 

Household laundry consisted mainly  of rags, cloths and the inner garments worn close to one’s skin. Bed linen and outer garments were washed sparingly.

This lavoir is located under the private home, shown below, and is constantly fed by a spring just a few metres uphill. There was no available information about the history the building. 

Scrubbing, thrashing and wringing out the sodden fabrics involved physical strength, mental stamina and having one’s hands constantly wet - despite the ambient temperature.

Adjacent to notre maison, is a set of stone stairs that descends to the foot of our village, where there is a wash house that would have served the past inhabitants of My French Folly.  The garden is the result of the generosity of the lady who lives opposite the perennial spring on which this washhouse is built.
This stray cat can usually be seen basking in the sun on the leaver walls.

Of course there was also the task of carting the laundry to and from the lavoir on roads that were often unpaved and not necessarily flat. The 3 lavoirs in our French village are located at the bottom of the hills - on which most houses are perched - where water continuously flows from underground springs.

*Lavoirs were communal spaces - often roofed -  in which the public could wash clothes. They were commonly used throughout Europe for hundreds of years before the advent of household laundries.  

Stepping into the cool dampness of this washhouse provided a welcomed relief from the heat outside.
A private washing "sink" located in an isolated hamlet in eastern France.

There is a school of carp of varying sizes that inhabits the waters under this roof.

The 2 images above are of a washhouse in an un named hamlet nestled in the hills around Louhans. 

Each time I descend this set of steps that winds downhill from My French Folly, and pass the lavoir that sits at its feet, my mind drifts to the past inhabitants of our French home. Water and sanitation had never been connected to our house when we purchased it.  The installation of these modern amenities was a costly exercise, fraught with unforeseen complications.

Twilight as we walked past the nearest lavoir to commence our climb  home, after a delightful
apero with some local friends.


Saturday, 15 April 2017

Joyeuses Pâques

The  familiar, rich tones of church bells,blanketing our village and scattering into the surrounding fields and forests, are absent today. It's disorientating as their recurring presence signposts every quarter hour of my life in France. However, come Easter Sunday, their comforting chimes will be restored once more.  

People respond when you tell them there is a great future in front of you, you can leave your past behind. Joel Osteen

The significance and traditions of this time of year very greatly around the world, but what cobbles them together, is an atmosphere of gratitude and renewal.

For me personally, it is a time to give thanks as well as a time of love, hope, and rebirth. The traditions that I observe at this time of year, both religious and non religious, help to anchor my life. 

Passover affirms the great truth that liberty is the inalienable right of every human being. Morris Joseph

Joyeuses Pâques


Monday, 3 April 2017

A New Chapter Begins

A new chapter in our family history has just begun with the recent marriage of our daughter.

Being deeply loved by someone gives you strength, while loving someone deeply gives you courage
Lao Tzu 

May God be with you and bless you.
May you see your children's children.
May you be poor in misfortunes and rich in blessings. 
May you know nothing but happiness from this day forward.
An Irish Blessing