All posts tagged: France

5Rhythms in 5 layers, and scarf. Plus gumboots.

I just had a dance, and I feel so good. 30 minutes moving to a playlist I made back in Australia, pumping through my headphones, while around me the French countryside wakes up slowly. Those of you who know me in person know I love to dance; disco and funk tracks always get me going, and I still love going to music festivals to jump up and down at the front near the front to my favourite band… But the private practice that keeps calling me, following me, leading me, is the 5Rhythms HERE. It’s a moving meditation, a spiritual practice, a stress release, an exploration of the wisdom and challenges held in the body, heart and mind… It’s hard to put into words exactly! But those are my words for it today. Some people find peace in church. Others at the shopping mall, in the surf, during a meditation circle, listening to music, or making/enjoying art. Perhaps just with a good bottle of wine. All of them are valid of course, just not for …

Like bunting, her voice strings itself through the house

‘À table mes enfants, à table!’ We can hear her no matter where we are. Squat legs running down a wide hallway, heading for the third room on the right. The walls and ceilings reach as high as the sky; grown ups are as tall as giants. The woman’s voice calls us all, and squat legs are running in from the garden too. It’s hot out there, and the sunlight almost blinding; I prefer the cooler, quieter places inside. I’m eager to grab my reward though, chattering with the other small ones who also want what’s being offered. I wash my hands, clumsily rolling short fingers over each other, dropping the soap, and splashing cold water. The green drying cloth is rough on my soft skin, but I’m nearly ready! Four of us to a table, with tiny matching coloured plastic chairs. At lunchtime my legs will get sticky and hot on the seat, but it’s still early, so I know I can wriggle and kick. The talking and excitement reaches its peak, and of …

Our last swallow has flown South for summer

We arrived 2 weeks ago in the Dordogne (rural France at its best), down by train from Paris through late summer fields and villages. Old stone walls glowed gold at sunset. The air was warm, thick and welcoming, like a fresh baked cinnamon bun straight out of the oven. The ‘Barn’ has stood for more than 300 years, and been in the family since 1981, thanks to the pioneering and determined spirit of Aunt ‘M’ (she of the infamous parking fine in previous post HERE). The solid stone building was full of energy and chatter: twin girls here with their Dad, an Uncle from England, cousins, partners, ‘M’ the matriarch, a visiting octogenarian, old friends and locals alike popping in. Badminton games and barbeques. Loads of washing taken in and out, beds made up, beds stripped down. Wine bottles brought home, and emptied with loud laughter. Old stoneware bowls filled with baked potatoes, garlic, cheese and cream, matching the smoked salmon and rosemary baked chicken. Various neighbours invited for afternoon snacks, as we piled chips, …

Travelling with a teenager to Paris: Completely reassess your food budget

Oh Paris, how do we love thee? Let us count the ways. Son ‘15’ is a hoovering food machine at the best of times; set him loose in Paris, and watch him ramp up his gourmet habit. Before I committed to this 2-month trip overseas, I drafted a budget. I did some Internet research, talked to a few fellow travellers, and guesstimated how much I’d need to survive for 8 weeks in Europe (while not paying for much accommodation, thanks to my extended family). I panicked a bit over the numbers I admit, then woke up at 2am one restless morning and thought “F**k it, if I don’t go now, when will I? And more importantly, when else will ‘15’ want to actually come with me? It’s now or never, before he’s 16 and in love, or 17 and rebelling, or 18 and doing Europe by himself anyway!” So Hello two return tickets half cash half credit, and a firm but fair travel budget in place in my mind. Hello to sensible talks with ‘15’ …

My middle name is Lucky, and here’s why

“Flash fiction” short story from France: My 76 year-old Aunt ‘M’ and I took her little Golf car into nearby Riberac yesterday. We were going to send postcards back to Australia, wander the shops, and of course, find Wi-Fi to check emails. Where should we park? We drove around the ancient town, narrow lanes not designed for motor vehicles, and got caught in a one-way system round a free carpark; finally, we settled on a spot in the shade, neatly lined up with all the Peugeots and Renaults. We had 1.5 hours ‘Gratuite’ or free, according to the sign; perfect. Imagine how pissed off I was when I came back 1.45 hours later to find a big fat ticket under the windscreen wiper! I couldn’t believe it. I stood there next to the car, frowning and sighing. An old man walking past noticed me, so I went over and stumbled (in French) “What is this and why?”, waving the ticket at him, knowing that the French all love a good complaint about fines and rules. …