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A city girl in the French Southern country… Again

16 Aug

One may assume a city girl needs her city-comfort when taken out of her usual habitat and placed into a green area invisible on most maps, or else she may turn yellow along with nature. Try this (for their safety, please keep children away from this post) ;…

So… Take a city girl out of her natural busy and structured habitat and place her in a destructed, reconstructed country home where rubles have replaced lawns, stones used as stairs and where toilets and bathrooms are standing proudly with no roof nor all 4 walls intact… 

Give her a lantern at night to help her hold her toothbrush in hand and help her find her own two feet. Give her a mop at day to help her sweep the floors and walls in case of nightly rain and don’t forget an extra pack of toilet paper if the others, left outside, have turned into wet sponges…

Take her out to lunch in a fabulous spot overlooking the lake and the mountains. Then take her out for a walk… Let her climb the Gorge-du-Verdon in the rain, wearing nothing but a light city dress and slippery rubber city shoes that will end in hubby’s hands, holding on to her little city pouch for dear life as she faces, barefoot, slippery stones, worms and other bugs that shouldn’t even be mentioned ! The only difference between her and Indiana Jones was Steven Spielberg running after Harrison Ford with a camera on his shoulder screaming “wave your hands in the air like you just don’t care Harry”…

Gorge du Verdon

Gorge du Verdon

Si non, in the country side, the Mediterranean one in any case which is probably my favorite green shiny area, one can also harvest lavender. You cut it, collect it, smell it, sit by the pool and assemble it into small bouquets that you will then let dry for a month. before decorating your city home with. There’s nothing better than fresh lavender smell…

Fresh lavender

Fresh lavender

Once she got back to her everyday city life, she started (strangely enough) missing her Southern country (and it must be said, her friends that go with it)… And so the city girl has decided to take her bag out and pack all over again. A second trip to the country side is starting tomorrow…

Lavender

Lavender

A city girl in the French Southern country

2 Apr
Baudinard-sur-Verdon

Baudinard-sur-Verdon

It’s been a week now that I have been back from Baudinard-sur-Verdon. A lovely, really really lovely, gorgeous and stage-decor like village. Small, very very 180-inhabitants-small town, not far from the immense and sublime Gorges-du-Verdon canyon that straddles the departments of Var and Alpes de Provence not far from Aix en Provence in the South of France. I reckon I have drawn a pretty clear map here… If you still have questions, please do Google it up and if you ever happen to visit, make sure to say hi to Susie Q & Marcus, Jerôme, uncle Charlie, a quick hello to the village maire and have a fantastic home-made lasagna at Le Chardon overlooking the amazing landscape (Tip of the day : If you ever you make it there and stop by Le Chardon, I am sure you will be amazed at the sight you will get from the restroom… This is usually not a tip that guides mention but frankly… The view from that restroom is simply breathtaking !!)

While most of us run around like headless chickens in the city trying to catch the future before its time and missing out on the present, others run in the country side trying to catch those chickens in the back yard breathing fresh air and enjoying their time in a slower and pleasent pace. Beware : If you decide to leave the foggy city for the country side, make sure to breath slowly once you exit the train / plane / car or hot-air balloon. The fresh air may be overwhelming if you’re not used to it ; flushed cheeks, clear throat, bright skin… To handle with care.

Now, many bona fide city chicks like myself may wonder… What can one do in the country ? There’s the common wood chopping activities, cut grass, build pizza ovens, build stables or back-yard sauna’s, paint wood, rebuild a house, plant herbs, pick herbs, cook herbs, pick flowers, tan, enjoy a cup of hot tea on the grass by the pool, fill the pool, clean the pool, play in the pool, walk a dog, play with dog, kill a bug, go for run, pass by the village bar for an afternoon drink, watch the sun set sitting by an amazing chapel overlooking the Sainte Croix lake drinking champagne, have dinner by a fire place listening to jazz or watch a Sex & the City episode remincing the city life… The more I write this the more I want to pack a bag and go back…

Susie Q… Will my room be ready in time ?

Grey over Paris

22 Feb

It’s cold. It’s Grey. I keep saying the same thing day in day out… Although, we did have a sunny day a couple of days ago. Two whole hours of a little shy sun that kept playing hide and seek with our minds.

Today is Sunday. Rest day. Brunch day… But what can you do when it continuously rains outside and you can only see the lower half of the Eiffel tower, plus the new hair-do will get all fizzy the second I set foot outside. Boring ! So instead we tidy. We reorganize. We clean. We pamper and we watch brainless Sunday TV.

Paris has been this way since I got back from over-heated Africa… While one side gets too much of it all, the other is seriously underachieving…

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It’s cold. It’s Grey. I keep saying the same thing day in day out… Although, we did have a few hours of sunshine today. A whole afternoon of a little sun that kept playing hide and seek with our minds.

Today is Tuesday. Work day. Busy day… We shouldn’t even have time to pay attention to the state of the skies… But we do. I do. May you be born, like I am, in an overheated part of the world where sun and warmth are delivered to you in a baby bottle, an adoptive place such as this in a continuous Grey atmosphere, can sometimes be tough to handle.

Some of you who may know my past may ask me “But how did you make it through your years in Sweden if this seems so unbearable ?!”… To that question I have a simple answer : I was too young to remember and probably too young to care !

In any case, I may write again tomorrow and start by saying ; It’s cold. It’s Grey. I keep saying the same thing day in day out… But I won’t, as tomorrow, it will be cold. It will be Grey. And I will keep saying the same thing day in day out for the next, probably, few weeks… So sun, if you hear my prayers, please come back… I miss you !!

Warming up to, or, in Paris

25 Jan

Paris in winter is cold. Paris this winter is particularly cold. Too cold to my taste but as everyone else around here, I have to dress up as a penguin every morning and deal with it until Spring does us part.

Once upon a time less than a month ago I knew white sand beaches and 35°C sun. I have missed out on the white European snow storms of the time and am now getting blistering winds and spit-rain. The trees are naked and everything seems Grey and gloomy. You wake up it is still night-time, you get home it is night-time all over again. The day goes by too quickly to realize the sun has been up, and as lately, timidly hiding behind every cloud it can find up there in the atmosphere as if snubbing every human down on earth.

Lately, for the past few weeks I have been engaging in a brand new activity and light years from my normal projects, and for the first time since a very long time, I feel I am actually contributing to making the world a lighter place to live in. Maybe not for you, today, in this rather dark and dreary Parisian season, dear reader, but for some others in a small, yet significant way… You have no idea what I’m talking about do you ?… That’s OK, it will come…

The days are getting longer. A baby minute at a time each day. Step by step till spring comes… I’m patiently waiting while admiring the Spring collection in every shop and trying to figure out a reason to go out and buy it all, now, as we approach a harsh -7°C end of week with a closet so full of heavy clothing that an open-toe summer shoe would not fit in.

Now is the time for guts and guile…

Shivering in Paris

13 Jan

Since I’ve been back to Paris I’ve been wanting to write. Something small every day… Start a new page on this new year and put my words on it.

But normal life, work, obligations, schedules, delayed transportations and general evening inactive postures took over and all that I have started, has ended up unfinished in the “Draft” file.

There is much to say… Maybe not as exciting as monkey encounters on deserted muddy roads with no electricity or Diet Coke at hand…

Yet, much has happened in the past two weeks. I came back and had an encounter of the third kind with the (winter) cold and almost froze to death. Went to goat-cheese-on-salad heaven and came to life landing on a home-made-parental chocolate mousse. Rediscovered Brunch-Buffet on a Sunday. Took a train down South and back. Ate Kinder-Bueno’s bought off the street. Ate a carrot without boiling it and did not spit it back out again. Spent an hour in a supermarket trying to decide over a yogurt with or without fruit and if with then organic or sugar-free and if not then plain or with a mousse coating and if a mousse then if flavoured or sour… and ended up coming out with none. Does too much choice kill the choice ?… Other than food, family and friend pleasures I have also started to work. You know, that thing that you do on Monday, far too early, till Friday, way too late, and that makes you get up in the morning while it’s still dark outside. That makes you swear at the world until you’re fresh out of the shower and then makes you go out and be a killer business person of some kind. For the first time I’m doing something that has nothing to do with what I’ve done before and that is genuinely nice and worldly. Not just helping people buy things they do not need but think they can’t live without, but actually helping them on a personal level when they most need it. Maybe one day I’ll tell you…

Since I’ve been back, hubby went back to his African grounds for several months, 6000 km away. Skype is a blessing from tech-heaven but I’m counting the days until the big flying bird will bring him back…

Coming up next : human-jam in the metro, pushing and shoving in and out revolving doors, queuing for sake of it and help keep up the national sport, cheese, cinema, art, martini’s,…

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