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It’s as if the summer in France was so intense it literally burnt itself out! This time last year we were enjoying temperatures in the late twenties, but it has been clear since the beginning of August that autumn is creeping in early. In fact as I sit here writing this I have my dressing gown on and my flip flops have been discarded for my autumn slippers (trust me my winter slippers are way bigger, with two pairs of socks underneath!)

After my sudden illness last weekend I am now ninety five per cent recovered, all but a bit delicate. I have lost four kilo, we are both eating healthier than we have in a long time (fruit has never been our thing. Salad’s yes, fruit was often just left to rot in the bowl) and we now have an occupied fruit bowl.

I would like to thank you all for your well wishes, and concern, but I was true to my word: we now have top up insurance and tomorrow I am sending off the docs for my carte vitel which is the seventy-five per cent provision from the government. As the lovely The grey divorcee said I really do feel as if a weight has been lifted from my shoulders. We will have to find the money every month but I do believe that life shows you the way, and I do believe life was telling (in fact yelling) at us to get it; so now I believe that life will ensure we have the provision to pay for it. Like I said it’s no longer an ‘option’, and it is about belief.

So back to my post. It is our twentieth wedding anniversary tomorrow, those who read my other blog you will know it has not been a smooth road, but then is anything in life? In fact if we all had a ‘smooth road’ all the time when would we know that we are experiencing something special? But I digress: after Danny (aka Rich) put in his holiday request form we are having this week off. We have a small budget but we only need to have each other and the Welshies to have a good time. So today we set off for the afternoon, to visit some recommended villages and towns near to us.

The weather was cloudy but warm when we arrived in St Denis de Gastines, where there was supposedly some gardens to walk around; but true to form for France it is August, everything is shut because everyone goes on holiday en masse, and there was not a sign for a garden anywhere. I love this country but sometimes there lack of entrepreneurial pzazz drives me insane!

What we did find though was this beautiful chateau

Oh wow! We said, let’s go and look at that, but sadly when we walked around to look through it’s gate it has just been left to rot. It was so pretty, with it’s walled garden and cloisters at the back, but it has been left and I understand that to maintain it would be so costly you would need lottery money to fund it.

Only the rabbits were in situ, frantically running for cover because they could probably smell Wiglet (aka the serial killer).

We left St Denis for a larger town nearby where something would be open for coffee, and during the journey we found this…

This is Chailland, a tiny medieval city of character, only forty minutes from where we live now. It nestles in the valley, with a large statue of Mary overlooking the town from a sheer rock-face cut into the hill.

It has some a few pretty bars and restaurants (all closed for the en masse holiday that the French take in August) but oh my that didn’t matter, it was quintessentially French, tranquil, and so so pretty.

The rivers Ernee and Varmourin run through it having carved there way through the rocks centuries ago. We both fell in love with it.

We had grabbed an impromptu ‘lunch’: crisps and nectarines, and we sat at a little table/bench that had been purposefully built opposite the rock face, river and old mill. What a place to eat your lunch with the man you have just spent the last twenty-one years with. I took these photos as we sat on the bench.

We both just sat there and thought this is what we need, perhaps life was showing the way! As the clouds rolled in and the rain started to fall we took shelter in the centuries old washer women’s area, right by the river. We just watched the river gain momentum as the rain fell, watched the raindrops plop into the water, and looked at each other and said ‘I am really enjoying myself’.

We Don’t have much in material sense, but we have each other, and tonight we have two sleeping Welshies, one in her own French antique cot!(She’s been dying to get in that because she’s seen the cats in it!)

We are galavanting a lot this week, with crisps and coke, and water, and fruit and Welshies, we are happy with what we have because we fought so hard to keep it.

Rosie

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