I am sorry I have not posted, but, in some ways, we have been en vacances, or felt like we have.
As you all know I have my mini bus of life that only holds fourteen people, but normally has four seats spare. (See my post the Mini Bus of life.) Well recently a really good friend, Karen, from my misspent youth got back on my mini bus. We used to holiday together all the time and for quite a few years we spent most of our time together, frightening the boys in our home town (because we both have very strong personalities and they could not handle us!! No change there then!!!)
But as life does we both got off each other’s mini buses because life took us in different directions. I moved to the Midlands and married my first husband, had a child, followed careers in managerial roles. She flew! She followed the career path that she had chosen in journalism to eventually become an Editor for some high flying magazines and then Editorial Director over a number of publications. We did meet up from time to time, she was still friends with my sister and she came to both my weddings (one as a bridesmaid in a lovely eighties ensemble) the other as a guest when I married Rich. But as life does, at a time when she had lost loved ones in different ways, and made some huge life changing choices my mini bus trundled round and she got back on, for support and advice from experiences I have had in life. But I have also got back on her mini bus, and she is supporting me, with her skills, with regard to my book.
We persuaded her that she should come to France, after making some life changing decisions, and after some life changing things had happened to her to which she had no control over. We said that she should sit in the vast space that surrounds us and reflect, and to meet the naughty Welshie pups before she finally made a choice about the longed for dog that she could now finally have, because she would be able to spend time with it, and get home before doggie daycare closed.
And what fun we had. It was as if we had gone back in time, even though we were now over thirty years older (but not looking it of course darling!) We drank copious (and trust me I mean copious!) amounts of wine, played old soul music, from Luther, (too many to list!) the Floaters, Float on, Dorothy Moore Misty Blue to our favourite “When the world turns blue” by Merry Clayton. (A massive thanks to the Wonderful Russell Smith for that and knowing what I always love!) God we have such taste in music!
We sat in the kitchen, danced in the kitchen, got pissed in the kitchen, and had a wonderful time. In fact we spent so much time in the kitchen (whilst I cooked the food, just call me the Witchy poo cook now!) the two bar stools we had were not enough, So I thought to myself I would be really clever and buy a smaller stool in the sales so that we could all sit in the kitchen. Sadly it was so small it became known as the naughty school and we all had to take turns to sit on it!
In fact Harley wouldn’t get off it!
We sat in the garden late into the evening until it got too chilly (Autumn has started to kick in early) listening to the owls hooting and the woodpecker tap tap tapping away.
We celebrated a birthday and an anniversary, were invited to aperitifs in friends garden with champagne, red wine caviar, and nuts but all wonderful. Karen met my mad friend Jan, (all meant with affection as she knows because it is her madness that I love.) She felt her goodness as much as we do.
We went out into Mayenne for moules and frites, and for us it has to be moules bleu, with blue cheese added to the traditional sauce. It was a lovely sunny evening which we started with some rose wine in the sun.
We ate loads of donuts (pink for Rich) too many crisps, but we had to have something to soak up the wine!! In fact on her first day here we went to the supermarche and all we bought were snacks, crisps, wine and donuts. The Anglaise huh!
Karen fell in love with the Welshies, the lovely mellow Harley, and the naughty Wiglet; who managed to bite the nose of a boxer dog in the Mayenne before it, or it’s owner even realised. The dog was so busy growling at Harley he totally underestimated the little Wiglet who just side stepped and had a quick nip. It was hilarious and no dogs were injured in this process, although maybe the boxers pride because it looked at her as if to say “You cow!” But as you can see he underestimated her because she does look as if butter wouldn’t melt!
Karen walked them, cuddled them, and spent time with them playing with them when we were out of the house and they fell in love with her; they both took it in turn to sleep with her and they impacted on her so much she has decided that this is the dog she is going to get, the much anticipated dog will be a Welshie,and she won’t regret it. They did a good job our dogs!
On the day before she left we visited a beautiful place near Mayenne called Fontaine Daniel, It is a small medieval town, originated from a cistern monastery. Karen fell in love and so did we, we stopped for coffee with this view
Which was then obscured by this view!
We all felt a little sad that it was coming to an end, and it was a poignant afternoon. But we hit the wine when we got home and all felt better then!
We have laughed, we have cried together, we have reminisced, talked about spiritual things, and psychology, and all agreed that we have all come to realise that when it comes to the mini bus of life, trust me someone else is doing the driving, and you need to let go and go with the flow. We even brought out the old photos; but more than anything we have realised that we missed each other, that we have always had so much in common, and that made us both cry; and now it will even be our dogs.
When the time came for her to leave we did not want her to go, and she did not want to go, and even though we have a reputation for being hard at times, we both cried, and so did Rich (I love my husband!)
The dogs were miserable, so much so that Harley took to a cardboard box and would not get out to say goodbye.
Rich even had to carry him in after she had left so we could leave the house
He was so upset that he stayed in it for hours. Wiglet just took to the chair and they both moped for the whole day, looking out for her to come back.
When we came home that evening the house seemed strange, Karen was not sitting in the garden, or putting the kettle on. Everything seemed poignant, the three empty wine glassed waiting to be washed up, the empty wine bottle on every table in the garden!! The empty bedroom, getting up the next morning and not seeing her sitting in the early morning sun in the garden with her cup of coffee. And we have missed her.
When you have a new life as we have, although my may love it, when people leave after such a wonderful time it makes you sad and leaves a whole for a while. So come back soon Karen, with the Welshie in tow (OMG it will be mayhem in the Mayenne!) and this time bring Russel Smith back he can be the D.J!
Thanks for a wonderful time our friend.