A place in France

This post is by Sandy Snitch one of our members. A story of a special place, lasting memories and a lost love.

Our Place in France

A short piece, which I thought I’d lost about a holiday home in France.
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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.

Our Back Garden

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.

Observations of Life on Holiday by Gwen Bunting

Before we had the Corona Virus, before we were all locked down and isolating Gwen wrote this piece about a recent holiday. Holidays seem like distant memories now.

group of person sitting inside cafe le dome
A meeting of strangers Photo by Elina Sazonova on Pexels.com

 

On a recent journey I could not help but find people’s behaviour fascinating.  Some being friendly; others reserved; and others downright aggressive.  As the journey progressed observations became very much clearer.

The mum and daughter syndrome: the mother commenting to me, that now she was a widow she could enjoy all things SHE wanted to do,  as opposed to her late husband’s  dominance.  Little did she know she had spawned a duplicate of her husband; a daughter!  The daughter was an aggressive type, would barge her way to the front of any queue. Wow betides those poor souls in her way.

The quiet man who gave off the aura of ‘don’t speak to me’ was an interesting personality.  He had a partner, whom conversed with him, but his sole intention at the dining table was to eat as much as he could in the time allocated. His partner was quite different.  Nice friendly person.

The very tall man, his wife was bent over due to a back problem. Preventing her falling by constantly holding her hand.  How dedicated can one be:  Never had a chat with him, but on leaving the group he warmly shook your hand saying ‘it was a pleasure to have met you?’

The sad lady who had dementia and caused a lot of anxiety for her friend, who had not realised she was so confused.  Her wanderings around the various hotel lobbies very early in the morning asking when the coach was leaving and having her bags packed.  She realised on some occasions she was confused.  It made life difficult for her friend, most of the group supportive when needed.

The gentleman who requested they change his bottle of freshly squeezed orange juice as this one contained too many pips.  He got his way after many arguments.  His face was not dissimilar to a beautiful pencil drawing on display in one of the hotel lounges.  The said ‘orange juice man’ was extremely tall and as we were in Viking country I would have enjoyed researching his family history.

The various nations with whom we shared our hotels with were varied.  One nation in particular took it upon themselves to attempt to clear the buffet of all foods.  Hiding  loaves of bread, butter pats and boiled eggs into every orifice that was available to fill.  Life is very interesting when you are travelling and gives me lots of ideas to write stories about.