Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Farther from Paris...

"Is it me, or do things seem a lot smaller the farther we get from Paris?"

Monday, June 27, 2011

Why Leave Home?

A bakery....

an ancient bridge 

a chateau entrance 

a garden that someone else takes care of..

and a view of the tallest tower around.

Why ever leave home?

Friday, June 24, 2011

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Monday, June 20, 2011

Sunday Afternoon

Sunday is a day for families in France. Dads and their children go fishing or splash around in the river in front of our house. Moms sit on the banks with a book or visit with other family members. It’s not unusual to see three generations leisurely wandering around Bourdeilles. Some families are our neighbors and some are families from surrounding communities out for their Sunday stroll. The docile Dronne River is a big draw, along with the magnificent setting of our castles.
This Sunday Tom was off to attend his first rugby match. A big final that would determine rankings next year for our region’s semi-pro team. (They won and now will be the bottom of the next level up - and still not the top level.)  Tom reports that the mass post-victory kiss-a-thon among fans and athletes was one of the stand-out differences between French and American pro sports.
While he was off with the Sunday sports crowd I decided to join the Sunday parade of visitors to the chateau.  It’s a long way up there and making the huffing and puffing up to the top once a year seems like a good goal. So off I went across the medieval bridge, under and up the ancient, river-worn back alley, under the immense gates of the castle yard,

through the small entrance to the inner courtyard, 

and then the grand climb up the spiraling, steep, tight stone staircase.
 Darkness overtakes you in parts of the climb and there is no hand railing or rope to cling to. One is forced back in time just by the unusual physical effort and focus. Each step is sensed rather than looked at. Stone steps that someone had to cut and then place in this, the tallest chateau tower in France. 

Then one arrives at the top and the placement and importance of Bourdeilles is completely apparent.

Our little house is the one on the left.

 This is when I‘d like to be able to travel back in time to expereince a bit of medieval life. Thank goodness that the ancient decree of a day of rest, Sunday, has persisted into modern french life.

Time to join the locals for a Sunday afternoon aperitif.

Friday, June 17, 2011

Friday's Petite Aquarelle

Spring Garden

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Popular French Colors

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Color Selection

Yet to be tried.....

It would seem that a color junky artist could narrow down a wall paint color to just the right shade, value and feeling, but it’s just not that easy.
Drop of Water too blue
Heather too green
Storm Blue too purple
Pudding  just right, but what a name.
Just right.

Pepper too ferocious
Smoky  too timid
Kite too happy 
Just not quite right with oak furniture.

Beach House will work, but not where we thought.
Cornflakes too crunchy
Jasmine too smelly
Summertime too hot
Welcome to the operating room - or some one said San Quentin State Prison. To be changed.

Just how many coats of paint can a wall hold?
All this and four more rooms to go.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

French Front Door Security

Monday, June 6, 2011

magic key

How strange it was the first time I held the magic key in my hand. It’s the kind of key that you only see in old movies--long, heavy and dirty brass dark. It is a key evocative of magic. It is type of key that unlocks musty trunks and opens doors that hide unknown places. It is one more key clanking on a metal hoop of some spooky person. I wasn’t even sure I knew how a key like this worked. Turns out the lock is just as hefty and the key turns with a surprisingly loud and satisfying clunk.  

No need to enter Bourdeilles’ medieval tower, renaissance chateau, delicious bakery or hear the babble of french language to enter into the magical world of lost time in France. Just take hold of that ancient key and unlock the front door to our house.
It is interesting to me that we have constantly updated and converted all of our locks in the states. Our house here is no older than a lot of homes there. But, with the exception  of tours of historic homes, I can’t recall an old fashioned lock on a front door anywhere.
Tom loves what I hate about these relics-- they are unbelievably finicky.  “Unlocking your door is all about carpal tunnel syndrome!” groaned a house guest.  “No, it’s all about touch,” croons Tom.  I think the answer lies between-- a hard but thoughtful kick usually finds success for me.

Using this magical key is part of the mystery of the entry into another world here in our little home.

Saturday, June 4, 2011

Friday's Petite Aquarelle

Cherry Blossoms Spring Fields