In France, it’s the famous “Fall back” weekend, meaning that tomorrow morning we’ll all be well rested after an extra hour of sleep (in theory… unless we do the old “I’ve got an extra hour to sleep tonight, what else can I do?” trick… you know that one?)
As I’m writing this, it’s still early and the kids aren’t up & about yet. Liz typically takes advantage of the early mornings to air-out the house – throwing windows open wide (especially recommended in an age of Covid – but the French are big proponents of it in normal times). She had pity on me though… at only 12˚C (54˚F) my teeth were nigh unto chattering, so she made me a hot chocolate and closed the window. 😉
Let’s look back on the week…
Church Work Day
I mentioned last week that we were off for a work day at the church. We had a full day and came home ‘zonked’ as my grandmother would say.
Our Spring work day got ‘kai-boshed’ (another grandma word) due to Covid, meaning it’d been a full year since we’d gotten things done around the yard aside from regular trimming & mowing.
We were few in number but had a good sense of accomplishment to justify our weariness.
Monday lived up to its reputation this week. It began when, at 6:30am when I usually be taking Sophie to the train station and then heading to Angers, the car wouldn’t start – dead battery. Ugh!
Our neighbour boosted us, but not before we’d both missed our first class. I was able to get to Angers for my second (of four) classes (so still, not bad), but the rest of the day somehow felt like we were always running behind… rushed.
Oil change & battery check on Tuesday and yes indeed, we’ll need a new battery, including a few other things. Urgh… cars! That being said, all things considered, ours has held up well – just normal wear & tear on a 12yr old car.
Classes on Wednesday & Thursday, now we’re all on a bit of a school break for a week.
I’ve got to admit… I miss it.
I’m seeing folks back home posting shots of vibrant reds, oranges, golds and everything in between. Here, the dominant colour is yellow unless you see:
a) Virginia Creeper,
b) some (not all) oak trees, and
c) some varieties of Crepe-Myrtle (Lagerstroemia).
Fortunately, the Château de Montreuil Bellay (where the photo above was taken) has Virginia Creeper donning its walls…
Family Day Trip
Though I’d visited the Montreuil Bellay castle before, Liz & the kids never had. It’s just under an hour away so after Dominic was done an online tutoring session, we hit the road.
Coronavirus has of course changed the way we travel. Masks are manditory just about everywhere here, and for good reason.
“We’re going to see a castle, right?”
I’ ve got to admit, the kids have gotten better.
There was a time when they’d cringe at seeing another castle, but while Timo mad an initial –teasing- protest, they were game for a day out of the house.
I just find that IF we stay home, then all too often, we each end up doing our own thing. By getting out, the kids got to “arm dance” in the back seat, together, on the way there while the music varied from Black Gospel to Paul Anka’s “Puppy Love”. (Yes, my kids have discovered Paul Anka, and I’ve entered a time warp!)
We went from visiting the guards’ walk, crowning the walls of the medieval fortress, to experiencing the coolness of the wine cellar some 4-5 stories lower, in the bowels of the castle.
The castle manages 16 hectares of vineyard and continue to make wine today. A fraternity of winemakers meet at the castle and have this saying:
“When my glass is full, I empty it. When it is empty… I pity it.”
This pretty much expresses the high esteem in which many French hold their wine and the ceremony that surround the wine-making process.
It’s worth considering how we could apply that same principle to our relationship with God…
“When the vessel is empty, we go to God & he fills us,
When we’re full of God’s Spirit, daily life has a tendency to empty us.
When we’re empty, we are unhappy and to be pitied… until we go back to God for a fresh refilling”
Not quite as short & snappy, I’ll give you that… but it makes sense in my mind. 😉
Château de Coussay
On the way home, we made a quick stop by one more little castle, the Château de Coussay.
This one is privately owned and you can’t really visit the inside, but the owner was out raking leaves and kindly invited us to take a walk around the castle perimeter, following the moat.
We arrived back in Châtellerault, Got five Kebabs-to-go from Chez Tito (Timo’s favourite kebab joint) and munched down around the kitchen table. Perfect end to a perfect day… Nice to relax together as a family.
If this is a “fall back” weekend for you…. Enjoy that extra hour!
God bless you this week and thank you for stopping by… Appreciate your prayers, as always.