It has been just over a month since I last wrote a blog and it has flown past in a blur of buying a new car, planning our move, packing, loading, cleaning, moving, unloading, unpacking and settling in to our beautiful new home here at La Girouette. We have now been here for 2 weeks and I am SOOOOO happy as I sit here in the heart of this sweet house writing these words.
The house was built in 1845 and was beautifully renovated in more recent times and, so far, she is offering us a very different life to the one we had before. We are both starting to feel the impact of our decision to downsize and to simplify our lives. The joy of travelling light is that it makes it much easier to move and the fact that we managed to buy the entire contents of La Girouette for only €3000 made settling in pretty effortless and relatively easy. We were almost completely unpacked after the first weekend here and, since then, much of my energy has been focused on creating our new potager (kitchen garden) because we are now just at the start of the growing season here and I want to make the most of it. My giddy excitement at planting melon seeds in our cold-frame was a reminder of all the delicious pleasures which await us as the weather continues to improve over the months ahead.
Our new kitchen was due to be installed the first week we were here but the ‘Beast from the East’ put plans on hold and it will now be the start of April before that arrives. When I first heard about the delay I was a bit frustrated but, in hindsight, it has been great to be able to ‘land’ and get to know the house for a few weeks before we face any more upheaval and chaos. The Universe really does have a great way of sorting things out when you get out of the way and let it!
One of the things that we were really looking for in our new home was a sense of community and connection so we were delighted that within 48 hours of being here we had been warmly welcomed by all the neighbours. That sounds impressive but there are actually only 7 houses in our hameau (hamlet) so news of the arrival of ‘les nouveaux voisins’ didn’t take long to get around, especially since most of the neighbours are related! They are all French apart from one Polish man and a Canadian woman (who lives in Montreal but is renovating the house next door to us from afar with her French partner ). We have been particularly warmly welcomed by elderly Hubert and his son-in-law Didier both of whom have been incredibly helpful and kind to us so far.
Didier helped us to unpack our lorry and move in and then, yesterday afternoon, Hubert spent an hour or so bringing us 3 tractor-loads of lovely, fertile soil from his farm for our potager. Eoin has had the flu all week so Hubert and I worked alongside unloaded and spreading the soil and we had great chats about growing old, hunting, family and growing vegetables. His mother was born in the hameau and Hubert moved back here in the 50s with his wife Georgette, a tiny little lady who reminds me of Mrs Pepperpot. He is a gentle, kind man with a twinkle in his eye reminiscent of my grandad but he has a very strong regional dialect which I find very hard to understand. Somehow manage to pick up the gist of what he is saying especially when he teases me for being stubborn and not listening to my elders! I wanted to buy him a bottle of something nice to thank him for his help but he informed me that he doesn’t drink alcohol so this afternoon I made a Tarte au Citron and took it over to their house. According to Georgette it was a good choice because he has a sweet-tooth and loves “toutes les gâteaux”! We find the majority of people in this area so gentle and open. It is really lovely.
Another highlight of our first two weeks here was the very special date which Eoin arranged for us at one of our ‘locals’ which just happens to be a Michelin star restaurant called Le Vieux Logis. It is only 4 kms away in Tremolat which is our closest village and the whole experience was a perfect way to celebrate the end of our first week here – a taster menu made up of eight courses of sheer pleasure and oral orgasms served with some seriously good wines in a gorgeous location (and a price tag to match). For foodies like us it was heaven on earth and it all brought me to tears of joy and gratitude a couple of times. Not just for the food and the experience but for it all…….
For my lover and best friend who organised the date and who has been brave enough to be on this crazy adventure to a foreign land with a language which he had so little of 6 months ago. For the incredible food and wine which we were enjoying. For the beautiful, cosy, quirky house which we have landed in. For the gorgeous garden, trees and breathtaking sunsets just outside our back-door. For the stunning landscape, scenery, medieval villages, rivers and chateaux all around us. For our new friends and neighbours. For the series of events which led us here. For our ability to listen to our intuition, to trust deeply and to go with the flow. For the Grace that has guided us and surrounds us in this new, soft, gently place where we have landed. For it all.