Week 8 Creating and Recreating

Hi all

It’s 8 weeks now since we left Alice Springs for our great French adventure! There’s still a lot to do and see and we’re really enjoying being here. This week has been spent catching up around the cottage so we haven’t done any touring. We do, however, have a few things to talk about:

Petit Friture is Off the Menu!

On Friday we had a lovely 2 hour walk along a nearby canal, with Tony and Dee and their dogs, Sprocket and George, followed by lunch at a restaurant at one end of the canal. Here I made another little ordering error – the restaurateur said the entree ‘Petit Friture’ was a little terrine of fish (I imagined a pate-type slice and thought that would be quite nice) but discovered when it arrived, that the terrine was a shallow fish-shaped serving dish, full of tiny, very thin, fried, whole fish, including eyes and I just couldn’t bring myself to eat them (I did try one, minus the eyes and they weren’t that good anyway). Luckily we had the dogs with us and they really enjoyed them!

Art for Art’s Sake

We’ve had two watercolour painting classes now and it’s turning out to be a nice, relaxing 3 hours. There are about 15 of us, all around the same age, and the teacher. Everyone pretty much sits quietly working on their pieces; every so often someone wanders round the room to see what everyone else is doing, making appropriate, supportive comments. The teacher wanders round as well, giving advice, sometimes demonstrating a technique which I’ve found very useful. He does have a tendancy, as he demonstrates, to take over a bit, as David will tell you: “…he gave his input, verbally then rather extensively with a brush on a painting I was doing and when he came back about ten minutes later he looked and asked if I had retouched the painting. I had no idea what he was asking. I can always rely on the ‘Je ne parle pas francais.’ He looked at Chris and asked her and she sheepishly looked at me knowing I had and said that I had added lines to the work he had done. Monsieur Emile looked at me, then Chris and waved his finger saying ‘Non, non, non, non, non’ to touching work he had done. Needless to say I was a little miffed and had I had the language skill he would have copped a gob full of ‘….its my painting, I’ll put what ever lines I like on it thank you very much.’ Instead I meekly acknowledged his command and went on with the class. When we got home, I fixed the painting the way I wanted it and I won’t take it back to class for fear of a frown and a finger wag.” David has a natural talent when it comes to drawing and this is spilling over into his painting while mine, as predicted, comes kicking and screaming onto the paper. I see it all beautifully in my head but what’s in there and what ends up in front of me are two quite different pictures! Hope you like the photos of our art work – remember, you can create anything and call it art!! (Double-click on the first one to enlarge it then you can scoll through the others. Click the back arrow to return to the blog).


You Make Me Feel Like Dancing

It’s David again. Thought you’d like to know about our country dancing classes. They are excellent exercise and I can now count confidently to 10 as the teacher always counts the steps so we get heaps of un, deux, trois, quatre and occasionally it goes further to include cinq, six, sept, huit, neuf and dix. Who’d have thought I’d learn basic language skills from dancing but I’ve also learnt my gauche from my droit. I never thought I’d like bootscootin but when in France do as the French do. I wouldn’t have thought that line-dancing would be popular in France but it appears that many towns have country dance associations. We had to join the association so we now proudly carry around in our wallets our membership cards, including photos to prove our membership. It was more complicated becoming a member of the association than launcing the first Apollo mission to the moon. Passport photos in triplicate with stamped self-addressed envelopes, signed forms and a doctor’s certificate to prove you won’t drop dead on the dance floor. We must be OK at it as we were asked if we wanted to stay on for the advanced class. Back to Chris…

Would You Like Smoke With That?

Everyone knows smoking is bad for you…everyone except the French! We’re staggered by the number of people, of all ages, who smoke. It’s actually been banned in outdoor eating areas – a very unpopular infringement on smokers’ apparent rights and, while this law is weakly enforced in Paris there is much resistance (the French are good at resisting!) and in any town outside of Paris, there’s no attempt to enforce it at all. As most of the dining areas for the majority of restaurants is alfresco, there’s often a pall of second-hand smoke hanging over what would otherwise be a pleasant place to eat. Perhaps in the future, people will take to heart the message on their plain-packaged cigarette boxes – Fumer Tue! and we’ll all have a much more enjoyable meal.

Ode to the Staple Food of France

Oh how warm and dependable

When I wake in the morning

You tantalise and tempt me to your table

And in the evening

You are there again to comfort me

I would walk a thousand miles to find you

Til my feet were strips of rags

Torn and bloody

To attain the prize

The hidden joy

That bursts from deep within

Your pain *

I cannot live without you

Oh please don’t make me try

Yet whenever I need you

I reach out and there you are

Your crisp crust hides your

Inner softness

I savour every morsel of your


I am content as you fill me

Day after day

You are as always

My baguette

* Pun intended – pain = French for bread

Waxing Poetic

Sunday afternoon

Sunlit verandah

Lull of bees floats


Caress of breeze, cool, fresh

Sun sails in vivid sky

Strange, to see it there

Towards the south in this

Other hemisphere

Garden alive in green, bright

Splashed with colour swaying


Bird calls

Dog sprawls, stretches

In the warmth

Week 8 Done and Dusted

Well, that’s it for this quite relaxing week. We hope to do a couple of day trips this week and it’s time to do all the mowing again so that will keep us busy.

Take care

Chris and David

4 thoughts on “Week 8 Creating and Recreating

  1. Audrey Fittall says:

    Really enjoyable reading, lovely poetry, sounds like a lovely life 🙂 The paintings are really great, I love them, especially the 2nd pics you both did. And I’m with you, David, it’s a big no-no for a teacher to paint on a student’s work withought their permission! How rude. Keep enjoying yourselves 🙂

  2. Norah and Brian says:

    Your photos brought back a lot of memories. Loved the art results, Pont du Gard was easily recognisable, well done. We presume you will bring back your master pieces, don’t leave them for the interfering teacher! Hope you can put up with the change in the weather! We are trying to cope with the brief warm spells.
    Lots of love Moth & Fath xxx

  3. Erin says:

    Sounds like you had a lovely week. I love the paintings, make sure you bring them home, they’re great! 😀
    Miss you both! xoxox

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