Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Waiting for "Avril"

 It doesn't look as though March is going to go out "like a lamb".   It's been a "lion" the whole month.
Today is the 26th of March and it is still very cold here in France.   By now there should have been at least a couple of days in the 60's F.   I know that is the case in the States, too.   They've had huge drifting snow in England, very rare.  Everyone here says it's been an unusually long, cold winter here in Brittany.   I looked ahead online to the long range forecast and even a week beyond Easter, it will still only reach into the low 50's here.   Very disappointing.  But hoping "spring" doesn't jump right into a steaming hot summer.  There is no air conditioning here!  Brigitte (my landlady) informed me that it isn't necessary as the summers are "cool-ish" and the house stays cool.    Still, I might invest in a fan or 2.  It is a humid place.  There goes the hair!

The weekend was a little eventful for me.  I had been looking in the classifieds for a used sofa to replace the "daybed" in the living room.  Last week I found one not too far away.  Brian Bird had also been looking on my behalf and he helped me get in touch with an ad I had found in AngloInfo.com
I made an appointment to see the sofa on Wed. and Brian and Ann drove me out into the country through a village called Guillac, 8 km from Josselin.   It's real country out there with farms, crowing roosters, everybody in wellies and beautiful rolling green fields.  We met another Derek (a popular English name) and his wife Evelyn and their Jack Russell terrier, "Jack", the owners of the sofa.  Well, we learned their story of moving over just a month ago.  So many British people have relocated here.  Everyone has their own fascinating story.  I am amazed at just how warm and welcoming all my British friends have been.   Derek and Evelyn have even suggested I stay at their country place with Skippy when they're away.  So generous.  But I might feel stuck without a car anyway.  But I mean, I just think that's so generous for just having met me, the stranger who bought the sofa.  We agreed on terms for the sofa and they agreed to deliver it and so they did on Saturday morning!
So, not only did I acquire a new sofa for the house, but acquired 2 more friends!  We enjoyed some coffee, or rather cafe' and had another good chat.

I've been introduced to another new friend, Lucille, by my postman Guy (pronounced Gee).  She lives just down the street on the steep lane leading down to the canal.  She stopped by on Friday afternoon and we had a glass of wine and talked and talked.  She lived for a few years in Chicago and also Las Vegas.  But she has been back in France a long time.  At one time she was married to a well known violinist.   She is Parisian and speaks English very well.  So, I have finally made another French friend!! We had lunch on Sunday just across from the Basilique. 

Everyone was coming out to pick up their palms for Palm Sunday.  I waited for Lucille to come out and then we went to lunch.  I tried to be good and had a salade but it had large chunks of roasted cheese and walnuts so I wasn't so good afterall!  Lucille had told me about a cousin of hers who is a very renowned actress who is now 99 years old!!  She was excited because she is in a new movie just opened.  She had invited me to go see it in Pleurmel on Sunday after lunch with her friend Penelope, and so I did!!!  (Penny drove) The actress's name is Gisele Casadesus.  The Belgian movie is called "Sous le Figuier"  or "Under the Fig Tree".   It was in French, no subtitles, but I was pleased that I was able the get the gist of the story without too much trouble.  Not really by understanding the dialogue but just by the action and the visuals.  Anyway, I loved the movie.  Very sweet.  Charming.  Nice soundtrack.  A little story very well done.  Frankly, I would have made Gisele's hair a little messy at times, but I suppose she gets her way at 99.   She is very beautiful. Penny, it turns out is another British ex-pat!!   I took a picture of the cinema screen with Gisele's name on it.....but it's hard to see...Anyway, I won't give the story away, just in case........

This morning Sue stopped by to visit and see my new sofa.  She helped me get the daybed up the stairs.  I huffed and puffed and had to use my inhaler.  But then, that's par for my course.  We had a good talk and off she went to get her car which was getting new tires.   Everybody is busy here.

Tomorrow is French class and Thursday we are going to Pleurmel shopping.  We're also planning to go to Ikea one of these days to get meatballs! 

So now you know what my days here are like.  Aside from walking Skippy and sipping coffee.  And puttering online.  And reading. 

 My new sketchbooks have arrived and so I am excited to start working on things. It's just so darn cold out there. 
AuRevoir Mes Amis!!!

OH wait, a really good PS here!!   I mentioned the AngloInfo classifieds.......they really are very interesting and entertaining.  Have a look......www.angloInfo.com.......click on classifieds, then click on Brittany for the items near me...........but lots of stuff all over, too.
Last week I saw a male goat..."looking for a home".  haha   I'm sure we have similar ads in our rural classifieds.  But they are fun to read!!  You can really find rare and fascinating stuff and also stuff whose names I don't even know.  haha..... maybe next time I'll give you a list of stuff I find!!

 AND here's a funny story on me.......Last week when Sue and I went into a second hand shop, I had in mind looking for a jug or ceramic container handy for silverware to keep on the counter.  The drawer is too far away in the dining area.   Finally I came across a greyish color jug with brown script lettering on it.  It seemed just right.  I asked Sue what it said but she didn't know.  I paid 1/2 euro for it, or 50 cents.   When I got home I looked up the meaning of "Remasse-Couverts".   Haha, it means "Pick Flatware"  !!!!!    So it was specifically the very thing I had set out to find!!! 

Thursday, March 21, 2013


Signs of Josselin...

Symbol of the ermine, the Symbol of Bretagne found in a boarded basement enclosure
Handy Clinic 3 minute walk away
Circus is here this week!!
The Cinema

Signs of Spring.....

Ann's garden
Sue's garden
 Sign of Skippy

Monday, March 11, 2013


This sign advertises the upcoming "flea market" sale called VIDE-GRENIER, meaning..."Clear out the Attic" 
I went to one here in Josselin yesterday with Sue.   I did find some small picture frames (for drawings) for .50 each.  Also a terra cotta jug for utensils, for 2E.  

There were lots of nice things, but mostly not.   I think the nicest things never make it this far.
People here really hang onto their things.  There is lots of trading and bartering going on and so by the time somethings gets into the Vide Grenier, no one really wants it.

After the sale, Sue hosted me for another wonderful lunch, pictured below.  There are also some stills
taken in her charming house.    Anemones in Sue's garden.  

Today, I've learned all about the train routes from here to Paris and beyond.
Particularly to Prague.  I hope to make that trip one of these weeks, after the weather improves.  You can go straight through with the last leg on a sleeper.  Change over in Cologne.  I am really excited to do that.

 A new acquaintance, Derek, is an expert in rail travel, having consulted on the rail network throughout China.  He knows the European railways very well and is helping me plot out this trip.   I really have met the most interesting and well traveled people here.
 One lady I met, hitchhiked around the world on her own, twice!
Those of you who think I am brave or bold.....just think about that!!!  She ended up stuck on a south Pacific island off a freighter with no money.  She did finally manage a flight off after begging a ride to an airport on dirt roads.   I would just collapse from the stress in that kind of predicament.  

The weather today is awful. Heavy, Pouring rain.  They are predicting snow tomorrow!  It is snowing in England now and it is coming in from the north/east.   I thought we were all done with that as the last couple of weeks have been nice and mostly in the 50's. (F)   I can't wait for the good weather to finally arrive!!!   Bonjour, au revoir!!  K

Saturday, March 2, 2013


                                             Above,  1.my friend's little dog, Gus.  2. An etching of the castle
                                             with little lamp in the antique shop window, 3. "Destokage" at
                                             the tea shop down the street, (meaning Clearance),4.  sign at a
                                            beauty shop,5.  and a window of my favorite house.