Jude's 2019 travel blog

Marché D'été in the square

Enjoying Marché D'été

Hilary's birthday lunch

Hilary's birthday lunch

Gift from Paul

Gift from Frances

Giselle at their soirée

At the soirée with Paul and Shaun

Guests at Giselle and Philippe's

With Hilary at Philippe's soirée

Tony, the mad Irishman

Keith, looking happy

Betty and Mollie at the soirée

Our host, Philippe

Tractor parade

Tractor parade

Tractor parade

Band in the tractor parade

Bonjour all,

The world around us seems to lurch from one crisis to another but my life ambles on in the village and it continues to give me joy. I hope yours is also giving you joy.

I've gone with the flow over the past two weeks (without Lorri here) which means that I've been out with friends, had lunches and dinners and drinks from time to time. My friend Heather in Australia asked me if that was all we did here and I have to admit that it is a feature of summer in the village. It's one of the reasons that I'm prepared to endure a second summer every year (after the Australian summer,) even though it's my least favourite season. But now the heat wave has broken for us. We had very hot temperatures, then some days around 30 and now we are having rain overnight and in the mornings on a regular basis. It's quite a relief to be cool.

I had a six hour lunch with Mollie and Betty the other day at Mollie's house at Antigny, a few kilometres away. We weren't eating and drinking for all that time but we were talking. The stories that those old girls tell amuse and at times, amaze me. I also play the role of tech expert as Mollie (77) has no confidence in dealing with computers and Betty (82), while more confident, cannot see now. I regularly download audio books for Betty and I sort out online purchases and printing for Mollie.

Recently we had the Marché D'été or Summer Market in the community square. It is locally called the Producers' Market as its a showcase for regional producers of meat, vegetables, wines, cheeses, baked goods and preserves etc. There were carnival rides for the children and stalls serving crepes, waffles and barbe à papa (fairy floss). The square was set up with large communal tables and everyone brought their picnic sets, bought food and drinks and joined in the jovial atmosphere. You could select meat which volunteers barbecue for you and add frites if you wished. The wine and beer flowed as the roving accordion player entertained us with his music and his cheeky grins. This event is always a highlight of my summer here. At the end of the evening dozens of volunteers dismantled the tables and the square returned to its former condition in record time.

A week later some of us celebrated Hilary's birthday with lunch at Le Saint Savin which was lovely. To my regret, the place is morphing from a local bar which serves food to a restaurant which serves drinks. It's no longer my "go to" place to have a casual drink and catch up with friends as the tables on the terrace are always set up for lunch or dinner. It has changed quite a bit since David and Virginne sold up and returned to Paris. I miss the atmosphere that they created.

However, we have other choices here. I've frequented the PMU or Hotel de L'Abbaye for a glass of wine more often this year and I will occasionally stop at the Fa Si La Manger or Le Pass Temps for a coffee and biscuit. I think Le Pass Temps serves the best coffee in the village and it only costs one euro. On the other hand, Fa Si La are really stepping up this year and have had special dinner events with music and entertainment such as a fire eater. Who knows why!

There's always something happening in the region if you want to get involved. Neighbouring villages and towns have their own events and festivals which sometime involve Saint Savin as well. One day I was over at Glenda and Garry's, watering their garden while they are away when I heard the music of a "honky tonk" band nearby. I dashed out to see a tractor parade or battages défilé that had come from the farming festival of nearby Antigny. I knew that the festival was on but I didn't know it involved us so it was a lovely surprise to see the old tractors and hear the music. Serendipity makes me smile.

Some of us in the village do little kindnesses for each other. For example, I bake for friends because I enjoy it (and they do too,) but I don't expect to get anything in return. However, before Frances and Robert returned to England she cut some roses from her garden and brought them to me to enjoy because I don't have a garden. Another day, Paul had been making sausage rolls so he thought he'd share with me. Those are the unexpected little things that "spark joy" as Marie Kondo would say.

A few days ago Philippe and Giselle held a soirée in their courtyard as it was a refreshingly cool evening. It was a very pleasant atmosphere with about half French and half English speakers. It was good for all of us to chat together and overcome the odd challenge in communication. Wine and champagne flowed so that always helps, I've found.

Take care and enjoy your lives.


Jude xx

P.S. Happy 40th to my niece Murphy. I know that you are still living it up and may be too busy to see this for a while.

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