Adelante…*

A couple of months ago things went pretty topsy turvy.  Hellishly so.  La vie certainly wasn’t belle and our family took a big hit.

But we’re making our way around it, and at the centre of the storm rides my Mum, bracing the elements up front, and showing everyone her courage and determination.  It is her strength guiding us, with Dad at her side, keeping us afloat.  You are a champion Mum and I love you.

And how’s this, despite all this crap, my family, on both sides of the world, and our friends, are remembering each other and being reminded by each other, that there is love.  Everyone is helping out and expressing their love (geez Mum and Dad are even holding hands).  Yes I know it’s corny, and I should probably cut the trippy talk and be tough, but at times like this I realise that this IS what bloody well makes the world go round – to look after each other and enjoy ‘la vie’.  Really!

jan and pete

How many bloody wake up calls do we need to remember this??!?

La vie est belle.  Every crazy day of it.

lilas off and running
adelante!

hands 3

* “Adelante” (Spanish) :  1. ahead, in front, forward

p.s. thanks for the push, V

 

Lost in the Charente

Have been lost in the Charente, getting down with quality ‘in-law‘ time.

Will report back soon.

Hallelujah. A train station in France that offers an alternative to all those lumping stairs
Hallelujah. A train station in France that offers an alternative to all those lumping stairs
controlleur
a quick ‘clope’ (fag)

gare de Saintes

2CV charente

fishing

angeac sign

a sprung Spring, part 2… Purple reigns!

It’s still Springing – so here’s some more Spring pics for you from around the Minervois… (I just wish I could put all the incredible smells on this page too)

Purple reigns!

Lilas and lilas
Lilas and lilas

glycine1

spring 4

bernard

L'Arbre de Judee (Judas Tree)
L’Arbre de Judee (Judas Tree)

spring 1

the plane (plataine) trees are budding
the plane (platane) trees are budding
and so are the vines (buds can be called 'bourgeons')
and so are the vines (buds can be called ‘bourgeons’)

glycine house

glycine house2

market man
Spring market day
market legs
market legs
market friends
market friends

lilas manon 2

and then a little evening promenade...
and then a little evening promenade…
almost a picnic at hanging rock!
almost a picnic at hanging rock

spring walk 1

spring walk 2

Here little piggy

following in the footsteps
on the trail

When I’m on a roll and doing the right thing by my back (my G.P. freaked when I said I was discovering the merits of beer and wine over prescription pills to ease chronic pain), I get out and walk.

Up and down and around the numerous ‘chemins‘(paths) of our local village after dropping Lilas off at school – or if I’m at home, I lock the door behind me and head out for a wander around ye olde hamlet.  There’s nothing better for head-clearing than getting out and enjoying the sights and smells and sounds from the viewpoint of your feet (I haven’t yet embraced the bike-thing, despite obvious inspiration from the many folk here in Frogsville).

And now more than ever – with the hunting season is officially over, I can walk panic-free.

It sounds crazy but believe me, there’s this dodgy period of the year, from September to the end of February, when delightful shots ring in the air and I freeze and cower behind some vines.  The hunters are out.  Crouching like a ninny, you wonder if your bulk in a huge brown puffa jacket ressembles more wild sanglier (boar) than human.  Especially when you’re not much taller than a wild boar – and on all fours (ooh la la, I won’t start).  Here little piggy.

shells
Lilas likes collecting up the rubbish they leave behind. On you girl!

I’m not joking, accidents happen all over France each year during hunting season.  You can find any number of stats on the net, one of which claims 57 hunting-related deaths in the 2012/2013 season (up from 42 in the 2011/2012 year).  But the stats, depending who is reporting them, vary: the Office National de la Chasse et de la Faune Sauvage cites for 2011/2012, 131 hunting-related accidents of which only 18 were mortal, for eg.  And don’t forget the 9% concerning ‘non-hunters’…

hunting plaque

It’s a topic charged with anger on both sides of the fence.  I wonder which side this author is hanging on…

Oohla, Bernard has a petit hunting zizi surprise in his pocket
Ooh laa, Bernard’s petit hunting zizi surprise has popped out of its pocket – image courtesy of La Buvette des Alpages
…(AND NO, Bill! – that is not me that circled the goods)

Yes I’m confused, and wary of the propaganda – but when you’re out there enjoying the cacophany of shots whilst stepping over colourful empty shell cases, I wonder what my odds are.  I should maybe don a red beanie and have a plastic red rose held high, a la the travel guides shepherding their groups around the grand squares of Europe.

a tranquil walking path
a tranquil walking path, minus the hunting crowd

On the less extreme end, some groups simply argue for a ban on Sundays (most accidents occur on weekends)…  This leads me to wonder why Wednesday (with Saturday and Sunday) is also nominated as an’open’ hunting day of the week  – when it is, all-over France, the mid-week day-off for children from school?  Can’t say I’m itching to take Lilas out for a walk when you can see the camouflage khakis and gun cocked on a guy strolling not that far from the kitchen door.

But hey, on the whole I have no problems with hunting if regulations are respected.  It’s incredibly popular here in the Minervois and you see a big proportion of the villagers getting involved.  It’s almost like a religion.  And these guys are outside, enjoying the elements (and the odd bottle of red) and providing some of us meat-eaters with food on the table.  Probably better than frozen nuggets, pot and a few hours of Playstation in a dark living room .

dawgs in the back
dawgs in the back…  (I’d been wondering where I’d put this pic)

So onto those walks.  Like I said,  the season has offically ‘closed’ and the hunters are at rest for the next few months at least.  The piggies et al can relax – and me too.

hamlet 8

hamlet 6

hamlet 3

4L hamlet

calam5

hamlet 2

black pusscalam13

hameau

mousse

calam1

hamlet9

hamlet 10

a sprung Spring

wild irises in our hamlet
wild irises, thyme, jonquilles in our hamlet

The first lilas, the first irises, daisy chains made of ‘paquerettes’…

paquerettes and dandlieons 2013

iris 2

iris 3

wisteria 2013

our school held it's first of two 'Marche aux Fleurs'
our school held it’s first of two ‘Marche aux Fleurs’ in the village square
watching the sales
…careful observation of the flower sales
a surprise bunch for the Aussie shelia
a surprise bunch for the Aussie sheila

It’s 26 degrees, Spring is beautiful and I’ve just made my first ‘Jardiniere‘ of the season.

Look out for Mamy Jeanne’s recipe in the following post…