Updated: Jul 16
We are well into July now and the weather is hotting up. The grass is turning yellow, the fruit is ripening, the flowers need watering and the farmers are busy cutting their wheat crops. The sunflowers are just coming out, the spectacular swathes of vibrant yellow fields lining the roads always bring such a smile to my face. Life is returning to normal here in South West France. Everything is open now, we have ventured out to the cafes and restaurants and the produce markets are once again bustling. It is all rather strange though with the wearing of masks, they are so claustrophobic and hot as we reach temperatures in the 30s. It is always a dash back to the car to rip the mask off and cool down. If anyone had told me this time last year I would be wearing a mask to wander through the market or local brocante, I would have just laughed.
Enough of that, life is good here. The scenery is always so spectacular in this region and you constantly want to stop the car and take yet another photograph .Every twist and turn reveals yet another amazing landscape or fascinating stone house or bastide village. Driving along the other day I spotted a field of onions. I had to turn around and drive back so that I could take a photo. The tall onions were so structural with their large globe shaped heads all lined up into the distance. It is a photographers dream here. I hope to keep expanding my portfolio of images and have an exhibition in the chapel perhaps next year.
Sadly, we have had to cancel our courses here this year due to the Covid 19 situation but we are determined to go ahead next year. In the meantime I have joined a local art course and am thoroughly enjoying the lessons each week. Its in French so it is serving a dual purpose for me -French and Art. Our tutor is a very talented Argentian artist called Florencia Cairo. I am really learning a lot, new techniques, working out of my comfort level. I have signed up for a four-day course later in July, where I will be trying even more methods new to me. I cannot wait. Learning something new is a fantastic way to exercise the brain and really very therapeutic during the strange covid times. I highly recomend you to have a go and sign up for something new.
I have also been so pleased to be able to wander around the brocante markets again. Sunday morning browsing the stalls with an array of items from junk to some really lovely items is my ideal way to spend a relaxing day off. You can spend ages looking at a load of old tosh but there are also some wonderful stalls selling fantastic French linen cloths and napkins. There are lots of great glass and china and sometimes some really whacky items. These brocante and vide grenier events are very popular, as tourists start to return to the area I notice more and more foreign accents amongst the stalls.
Sitting in the chapel painting and drawing is bliss, as the sun hots up outside it is so cool and calm. It is the perfect place to feel creative. On with the classic music, out with the pencils and paper and paint, and I can spend hours in there. I have also had fun with zoom calls, in particular with an art class that I belong to back in the UK. Every Tuesday we all join the class by zoom. Our fantastic tutor artist Sarah March is very patient with us all as we tackle a topic she has a set for us. Zoom has proved to be a very successful way of keeping in touch with not only our friends but also all the various clubs and courses we belong to. We do miss face to face contact but its wonderful to be able to chat and see our fellow artists.
I will be returning to my jam making later this week as the fruit is ripening fast, I have so many large fig trees here so will be looking for lots of recipes for fig preserves .I am very excited to have discovered that we have large walnut tree. I had not spotted it before as it is hidden behind a very overgrown bank. Alan's mission is to hack his way through and clear the area so we can harvest the walnuts later in the year. Its great having home produce, I will be taking all these jars of homemade produce back to UK to give to all my friends later in the year.
Very exciting this month, we feature in the magazine French Property News. It tells the story of the chapel restoration, get a copy now. I will post the feature next month..
Will blog again soon, must go now as I need to get some sleep. Tomorrow is art day online, so need to get organised.
Keep well and safe.