Monday, September 29, 2014

On Another Note

Dining room table centerpiece two weeks ago.  The fig season is over.

Something to Think About

I'm currently reading The Passion by Jeannette Winterson.  This colorful novel "intertwines the destinies of two remarkable people: Henri, a simple French soldier, who follows Napoleon from glory to Russian ruin; and Villanelle, the red-haired, web-footed daughter of a Venetian boatman, whose husband has gambled away her heart. In Venice’s compound of carnival, chance, and darkness, the pair meet their singular destiny."

It's a good sequel to reading the Sandra Gulland Josephine Trilogy and a good preparation for our upcoming trip to Venice. Reading novels set in a particular place is one of my favorite ways to prepare for travel.

I know that all there is is now, but how challenging to live mindfully even when retired and living in France!


Wednesday, September 24, 2014

A Perfect Day in Aix

We live in the country when we are in France.  It's quiet, lush, water tinkling all around us.  Here, we get to hear what we think, listen to our hearts and be completely at peace.

But once in a while, we need the rush of a city: sights, people, shopping, shopping... shopping.

Enter: Aix-en-Provence, a perfect jewel of a city of about 143,000 lucky inhabitants.  The architecture, history, art and culture are breathtaking, the shopping, really good (especially on market days) and the food can be lip-smackingly delicious.

That was yesterday.  We took our recently-widowed neighbor with us and she brought her dog.
V. and Balou

V. likes to take care of Balou.  We've never had a dog and Balou is charming.  He's a boy dog, so it evens  out the group. Balou misses his master and V. is happy for another male's company so it all works out.

We did some market shopping, some brocante shopping, some shops shopping, ate great salads at Le Verdun (thanks to DC's suggestion) and exhausted, we headed for the 50 odd minute ride home, thirsty for some natural spring water and... peace!

Best of both worlds have we.

Stella, replete.

Sunday, September 21, 2014

The Many Lives and Secret Sorrows of Josephine B.

While in France, I read this trilogy on the life of Josephine Bonaparte.  Born in Martinique, Rose Tascher was quickly whipped away to France as a teen because her looks and intelligence made her the perfect candidate for a marriage which would elevate her parents' lifestyle back in Martinique.

Marry she did, and she produced a boy and a girl for her first husband...

Using primary sources,  the author weaves the life of "Josephine" (renamed thus by Bonaparte), in the first person through her journal entries and letters.  This historically acurate novel teaches the French revolution and the rise of the napoleonic empire in a way that captivates and entertains the reader.  Through the eyes of Josephine, the horror of the revolution is brought to the forefront, and the story of Josephine is one of a strong-willed, kind and generous yet spoiled woman way ahead of her time.

For it's educational and entertainment value, I give Sandry Gulland's trilogy 4 stars out of 5. 

Bon dimanche,


Check out my Pinterest board on Bonaparte and Josephine  here.

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Do You Know the Way to St-Tropez?

 Once or twice after the school children have gone back to school, we make our way across the hills to St-Tropez.  We go to Tiki Beach, on the plage de Pampelonne at Ramatuelle. They are often referred to as the beaches of St-Tropez but in fact, they are just a little way out of town.  The rental of lounge chairs and a parasol costs 36 euros for a day and is well worth it. We bring a bottle of the water from the fountain on our street and we usually buy lunch on the beach.  There are about 50% less people and the weather is more moderate than in July and August.

We lounge and read and sleep and swim and lounge some more.  Then we walk a little, swim one last time and head home after about 5 hours.  The swimming was great today.  It was warm, wavy and salty and,  as I clung to V. for some wave jumping, we laughed and giggled and let our inner child frolic to it's heart's content.

Nothin' like a day at the beach to soothe the soul.


Friday, September 12, 2014

An Evening in Cassis

Yesterday, I was getting my hair done at my friend's house, then leaving to go to the brocante and passing by Ikea to pick up shome bed sheets.

Well, I got my hair done...

The rest, was pure magic:  laughter, camaraderie, good food, smiles, a walk down the beach, loud-talking, goofing off, gratitude and a long drive home.

Every dinner begins with an aperitif.  This is a Pastis Bar

Three friends having a Pastis before dinner.

Name a brand of Pastis, you will find it here. V. liked the windowfront.

Every dinner should have good food and good company. Check.
As we approach the mid-way mark in our 11 week holiday, we have to say that it's been everything we'd hoped... and more.  Provence is an indisputedly beautiful context but the real difference is made by the people you share time with.


Saturday, September 6, 2014

Follow By Email

A reader has written me to tell me that Follow by email is no longer working for her.  She is not getting emails and when she tries to re-subscribe, she's told that she is already subscribed.

Anyone else experiencing this?

Please let me know by commenting:

1. You are subscribed and it's working


2. You are subscribed and it's not working


3. You are not subscribed but thinkng about it...

4. My post reminds you of a time...

5. It's your birthday

6. You have a question about a book

7.  You want to share a similar story

8. You want to make a joke

9. You want me to know you are out there

10. You want me to check out your blog

11. You want to wow me with your writing skills

12. Etc.



P.S. Lizette commented on the quality of my pictures and says she doesn't know if it's the photographer or the camera.  I have to say that it's the camera (Canon Rebel)... and the fact that I take 3 or 4 shots for every one I use...

Friday, September 5, 2014

Early Evening Stroll

Stella en Provence