This post is by Sandy Snitch one of our members. A story of a special place, lasting memories and a lost love.
A short piece, which I thought I’d lost about a holiday home in France.
The cottage held my heart from the moment I stood on the steps, the cold air almost took my breath away———I. knew this was where I wanted to be, to make it home for holidays for friends and family. I turned to look at my husband smiling, smiling with his eyes (a thing little seen of late).I knew he loved it too. We wanted it! Far more than we wanted to pay but with some negotiation, it was ours.
Strange as it may seem, we first encountered the owners at a street cafe , situated in front of an estate agents,who, of course were at lunch from tweive until two!
I ordered our moules frites in french, we then started speaking in English about the properties we were hoping to view.
The man on the next table spoke, “Ere, a you English? Red you talking about cottages, were got one to sell. Give you the address, come when you want, we’re aving a bbq , tomorrow, Come over then, if ya want!”
The following day it was sweltering hot, no air. The car had an efficient cooling system we followed directions to the area of Southern Brittany, which was really picturesque , with small towns and scattered hamlets, and popping out from the greenery was the , name we were looking for!
We were too late for the bbq, but that was not a problem, it was too hot to eat!
It was love at fist sight. Over the years almost every half term, and holiday we were at the cottage. We cleaned, scraped, polished andpainted, everyday there was another job which was tackled with gusto. We pruned trees, built fences, set gardens, made rockeries, and best of all we made some wonderful friends, of various nationalities, who were as willing to help us, as we were to help them.
The climate was great, a micro climate on the top of a hill! An orchard with peaches, pears, plums, apples, chestnuts and hazelnuts, deer in the woodland at the top of our land.
We had a vegetable plot, surrounded by roses and soft fruit, and also a very old well, which anyone could use in drought, and if they were the owners of a sixty foot rope!
We didn’t even think of other places for the holidays, this was our paradise I painted almost anything that didn’t move: pictures, windows, white goods. I made quilts, embroidered, all by dim lights and warm wood burners, Terry never stopped using his considerable building skills, renovating old buildings, but best of all I believe he enjoyed building bonfires!
The wood for the three wood burners was coppiced from our own trees. We used hours cutting, splitting and stacking, ready for the cooler days two years hence!
We enjoyed our thirteen years of ownership, but were sane enough to know that the work never stopped, and as we slowed down, the four hundred metres of hedge still grew, and the four acres of land still needed cutting,
It was time to leave
The bustle and work emptying the cottage left little time for regrets,and knowing that the lovely young couple who bought it, walked up the steps and together said,
“This is it, we want it!”
We go back to the area, we go back to the friends, we pass by the end of the road. But after all these years we have never driven by “our” cottage!
But I still miss it like hell!
We go back to France, we go back to see the friends we made, we go back to the village, and pass by the end of the road, but we have never yet gone past the cottage!It still hurts like hell.
2 thoughts on “A place in France”
You can’t beat a regular summer location for making memories. When the children were small, most of our summers were spent at “the Plots” where my (then) husband’s family had a bungalow and sundry caravans as well as a collection of sailing dinghies (being on an estuary). Now my brood have children of their own, they have rented another plot opposite for more ‘vans and spend most of their summer weekends down there where they meet up with those of their cousins still in the UK.
I’m so envious Gwen, something I’ve only ever dreamed of. a lovely story x