Sunday, December 02, 2007

Toute seule

I am here on my own this week (well, that’s if you don’t count the 3 dogs, 9 chickens and 100 sheep and goats :0) as Eddie has gone back to the UK for a few days. It’s actually the second time he’s been away in the last few weeks and the first time he went away I did wonder how I would feel being here on my own.

I had no worries about how I would cope if some sort of mini (or major) crisis occurred – I can think of at least eight people off the top of my head who I could phone and who would do all they could to help, which is very reassuring. Whilst we have no intention of living in some sort of ex-pat enclave, and we hope to eventually be able to count some French people amongst our friends, the advantage of knowing other Brits is that everyone, to a greater or lesser degree has been through the settling in process we have, and every one of them at one time or another has needed, and received help. For that reason, people really do seem to rally round, and there’s a fabulous spirit of “pay it forward”. We’ve been blessed with meeting such lovely people since we moved here, and I know if we were ever called on to help out another Brit (or anyone else for that matter!) we’d be there like a shot.

What I did wonder was how I would feel being alone in the house. We’re not isolated, but the nearest neighbour is not within screaming distance and I wasn’t sure what the house would seem like with just me in it. It is a big, rambling old place, but – as I’ve discovered – not at all spooky. From the outside it is really welcoming and has an air of calm and tranquillity about it. Inside, it’s snug and cosy and warm. The only things that go bump in the night are the mice that have taken up residence since the weather turned colder!

We had rain yesterday. Hardly “hold the front page” stuff you might think, but it was the first time I had seen rain here since mid September (we did have one day of rain in October but I was in the UK). It was really quite odd to see grey skies, as so far this autumn / winter we have been blessed with gloriously sunny days, so even when it’s been cold (and it has been down to -4C) it’s still pleasant to be outside. Today is beautiful. The temperature must be in the low 60sF, which can’t be bad for the beginning of December. What’s more, the goats are still out every day

which makes life so much easier for us (and I’m sure is better for them). Since they would have been permanently housed in the UK from about mid September every day they have been out since then has been a bonus. It’s just another little thing that makes the winter seem so much more bearable. They’re also now grazing a field which can be seen from the village so the locals are finally getting to see them. They are a subject of huge interest on the Saturday morning walks we go on. We started going on these at the beginning of October. A group of villagers meet every Saturday morning for a 2 hour “randonée” around the commune. There is only one other English couple who go besides us so it’s proving to be a great way to practice my French in a social situation, rather than just when dealing with shopping or bureaucratic stuff. Everyone has made us feel very welcome in the group, and during the walks most of them will make a point of walking alongside us for a while and chatting to us. It also means that now when we go into the village we are much more likely to see a face we recognise; someone we can pass the time of day with, which all helps to make us feel part of the community.

On the knitting front, after much dithering I finally plumped for the Lily Chin Reversible Rib Shawl.

My goal is to finish this in time for New Year’s Eve when there is a large village gathering for a six course meal and general knees up. I think I should have enough knitting time; my only slight concern is whether I have enough of the yarn dyed in this colour (as I think the chances of my being able to repeat it are virtually nil). I have just over 300g, which should be about 900 - 950 metres. Fingers crossed!


Blogger cpurl17 said...

It sounds that you've settled into your home and that the little creaks and groans that a house makes aren't scary at all! It seems that, while you're alone, you're not lonely and that is a real blessing!

5:43 pm  
Blogger clarabelle said...

Wonderful to see the actual goats who gave rise to my lovely Falling Water scarf!

I'm sure your house has good vibes; I think if it hadn't, you'd have sensed it and not bought it in the first place. The randonee sounds such a great way to feel part of the community!

And the shawl is looking good (esp against the rustic backdrop!) - lovely autumnal colours....

7:16 am  
Blogger Caroline M said...

The shawl looks lovely, if it does end up a bit short you could always add half a ball on each end and vary both the colour and the pattern as a design feature.

Happy goats, playing out in the sun in December. Happy owner, not having to muck out the barn.

10:58 am  
Blogger Carolyn said...

So nice to hear that all continues to go well! And an actual knitting report -- good thing I was already sitting down. ;-)

My blog is still down, alas, but I just finshed up seven different scarves to sell at the local artisan shop. I took photos, so will post them when the blog returns.

10:10 pm  
Blogger JudyMac said...

I've never seen that shawl pattern before, and can't wait to see how it turns out.

How are you settling in? Liking it?

The pace of life is a little different here, it is like going back in time.

Do you have a local Patchwork club? We do, and I found it a great way to improve my French.

9:48 pm  
Blogger JudyMac said...

Hi Carolyn :)
I just stopped by to wish you all a good Yuletide, have fun and don't eat too much!

4:51 pm  

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