Early Spring and Ponderings on our New Life

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It’s been the strangest winter. I don’t think the temperature has gone below zero more than a couple of times and there has been absolutely no sign of snow. As a result, spring seems to have come a couple of weeks early.

Our house at the moment, with pansies and bulbs on the railing, the last of the winter jasmin on the left and our evergreen honeysuckle on the right.

Our house at the moment, with pansies and bulbs on the railing, the last of the winter jasmin on the left and our evergreen honeysuckle on the right.

We are in Blois for a month this time, the longest period yet so it feels more permanent. Things are starting to get more organised but I’m still finding it hard to reconcile my translation work and doing more interesting things such as gardening.

Jean Michel cleaning the moss. Our new paving stones are waiting to be made flush with the ground.

Jean Michel cleaning the moss. Our new paving stones are waiting to be made flush with the ground.

Also, having one person working and the other free to do what he wants with his time is not easy. Not that Jean Michel is lazing around – quite the opposite. Among other things, he has chopped firewood, completed the electricity in our upstairs kitchen, made two roof ladders and cleaned the moss off one of the roofs.

Crocuses and pansies against the front fence

Crocuses and pansies against the front fence

But we are having to adjust to a different pattern. In Paris, Jean Michel gets up earlier than me during the week – often around 7, and has his breakfast alone. I get up around 8.30, get dressed, have a quick breakfast and am in my office by 9.

Primroses on the way up to our little wood

Primroses on the way up to our little wood

Here, if we get up at 8.30, I’m not sitting in front of my computer until closer to 10 because Jean Michel needs to take his time in the morning. I’ve been making an effort to get up at 8 but I only gain a half an hour and I’m tired! On intermittent fast days, it’s much easier as we skip breakfast. We’ve talked about it together and Jean Michel is also frustrated because he is a morning person and has the impression that he’s wasting his whole day if he doesn’t get up until eight (but he hasn’t suggested getting up earlier).

Our little wood full of daffodils

Our little wood full of daffodils

So I’m trying to schedule our two fast days for Monday and Friday and maybe I won’t eat on Wednesday mornings either. Then on the other two days, as soon as I’ve finished my breakfast I’ll leave him to it instead of taking time over tea together. The weekend’s not a problem of course.

Wild hyacinths

Wild hyacinths

Jean Michel also has a short nap after lunch and goes to sleep before I do at night, so all in all, I’m not getting enough sleep, and am exhausted! I hope we’ll have solved the problem soon. At least having a whole month in Blois means that we can get into better sync before the final move in October.

Pansies and bulbs

Pansies and bulbs

The fact that it rained most days last week didn’t help either. We were nice and wet by the time we finished the market on Saturday morning then spent the afternoon chasing after things like bottle racks and mats to scrape the mud off our shoes. By that evening we were feeling a little jaded.

View of Trinity Church from the top of the hill overlooking Vendome

View of Trinity Church from the top of the hill overlooking Vendome

However, Sunday dawned fine and sunny and after a leisurely breakfast, we drove to Vendome which is really pretty. Clouds came over around midday, to our disappointment. But by the time we had finished a very good lunch at Le Rond de Serviette, the sky was blue again and we walked up the hill to see the stunning panorama.

The daffodils I bought from the Red Cross stand on Place Colette and replanted

The daffodils I bought from the Red Cross stand on Place Colette in Paris and replanted in Blois

We arrived back home just in time for a late tea and macarons in front of the fire. It felt as though we were on holidays because it’s exactly the way we used to spend the day when we stayed in a gîte with a fireplace in winter before we bought Closerie Falaiseau.

Our local orchids are looking good. They'll bloom

Our local orchids are looking good. They’ll bloom in April.

Oh, and I nearly forgot – the annoying neighbours with the poultry yard have packed up, lock, stock, barrel and chickens. We couldn’t believe our luck! We expect that someone else will move in soon, perhaps at the end of the month. Let’s keep our fingers crossed.

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6 Responses to Early Spring and Ponderings on our New Life

  1. Susan Walter says:

    Simon and I keep completely different hours and don’t angst too much about it. It frustrates Simon a bit that I go to bed much earlier than him so I’m never keen to go out at night and he would like to go to the occasional concert. Apart from that, me getting up much earlier than him works fine. We breakfast separately, but always lunch and have dinner together. Luckily most of our clients are from time zones that are active in our afternoon/evening (American clients always ring me just as I am preparing dinner). We discuss responses to emails that have come in overnight once Simon is up in our morning and respond late morning or early afternoon. Housework (pahtooie!), gardening and biodiversity surveying just fits around the work in what ever slot is practical on the day.

    • Rosemary Kneipp says:

      Thanks for your input Susan. I applied my Tuesday system of going to work when I finished breakfast and I felt so much better about it! Same for afternoon tea which we usually dawdle over as well.

  2. Femme Francophile says:

    It is hard to believe that in 6 months time you will be living full time in Blois. The garden is looking amazing already. Be kind to yourselves as you find a daily rhythm that works for both of you. I think it is wonderful that you can talk openly with each other about it.

    I love Vendôme. We had a week there in a chambre d’hôte many years ago. It was my very first experience studying French in France. We were only 3 in the class!! Each day whilst I was at classes Arch would go off exploring on a bike lent to him by the owners of the chambre d’hôte.

    • Rosemary Kneipp says:

      Thanks Kathy, for your reassurance.

      Do you happen to remember the B&B in Vendôme. I know someone looking for a place to stay.

  3. Andrea says:

    I’m sure you’ll figure things out soon enough. You’ll have to! 😉

    It must be nice to have a mild winter for a change, especially after last year’s bitterly cold weather. I’m kinda sorry I wasn’t in Paris this year.

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