Bring On School Vacation!

Bring On School Vacation!

Good morning from the east side of “the pond”!

Spring is in the air as temps this weekend are slated to hit 16-17 celcius. But even if there had been any doubt… the presence of the bright yellow mimosa blossoms would’ve been a dead give-away.

Here you see one of our Sunday School kids carrying a bouquet almost as big as him! Florian just turned 3 and, for the past several weeks, has been proud as punch to rattle off his memory verse. He’s a ball of activity, but the way he learns verses makes one anxious for the day when he’s old enough to be a Bible Quizzer!

Let’s play catch-up for the past 2 weeks…

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A Sweet Smelling Season

A Sweet Smelling Season

Today’s feature pic shines the spotlight on a wonderfully sunny Spring flower … Mimosa.

I came home from picking up the kids the other day and there was a huge bouquet of it on our doorstep – a gift from our neighbour. That it was left at the front door is something in and of itself. Unlike in North America, typically, the French wouldn’t come into your yard without you letting them in… it goes to show the level of comfort between us (but… it’s also the first time).

To get a bright yellow bouquet like this, you have to pull all the leaves off (there’s one leaf at the base of each flower branch – so it’s a bit of work) but it’s so worth it… by later that evening, the entire house was bathed in its sweet scent.

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I've Been Amazed This Week

I've Been Amazed This Week

First off, I’m amazed that the first month of 2020 is already behind us! (Is it too early to start the Christmas-countdown clock?! 🙂 )

Just kidding… we’re still hanging on to the last threads of this Christmas. Decorations came off the tree yesterday and the tree itself (artificial) will come down today, leaving a huge, gaping hole in the living room that we’ll have to get used to again.

This week I’ve been amazed a number of times, for various reasons. Let me give you the low-down….

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Winter Finally Arrived!

Winter Finally Arrived!

OK, so friends & family back in Canada will be wanting to strangle me… seeing the picture of frost-laden leaves on the ground and using the “w”-word to describe it. Yet, the -1/-2 degrees that we’ve been getting at night are more seasonal temps for us. Friends assure me that several weeks of -15/-20 used to be a yearly occurrence here… but not so any more.

I’m OK with that.

Feeling the need to quickly move on to less controversial topics however, let me tell you about our week…

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Lessons from the Greenhouse

Lessons from the Greenhouse

Liz would tell you – as would the kids – that I’m the hardest person in the house to buy for at Christmas.

If I am difficult to buy for (I’ll neither confirm nor deny), you’d never know it from this year’s gift. Liz nailed it and I couldn’t be happier. One of the local gardening centers had a good deal on this 3m x 3m (10′ x 10′) polytunnel.

Fellow gardeners will understand my enthusiasm and putting it together over the past couple of weeks has taught me a few things…

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(re) Construction

(re) Construction

Just a quick post for today as it’s a Bible School weekend the day will soon be in full tilt.

Today’s feature photo (see larger version below) is, exceptionally, not one I’ve taken personally, but one which was published earlier this week by the National Heritage Foundation and features Paris’ Notre-Dame Cathedral as seen from a construction crane erected to work on restoring the world famous monument.

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"Snow Day" in Angers

"Snow Day" in Angers

If you’ve been following the blog for any length of time, you’ll know that the chances of having an actual snow day are slim to none. You will also have seen me use the expression back in early December when I had an unexpected Saturday respite from travel to the Paris region.

What do I mean by a “snow day”?

Growing up in the throws of a Canadian winter, snow was just part of the drill. You dressed a little warmer and on a good day, you got a fresh bread bag to slip your feet into before placing them in the snow boot. This wasn’t a “poor” thing, it was a “keep your feet dry despite snow getting into your boot” thing… and very effective.

Getting a snow day was when it had snowed particularly vigorously overnight, snowplows hadn’t reached all of the primary & secondary streets and the school board deemed it precautionary to cancel school for the day.

In other words… you woke up fully prepared and expecting to go to school (or work) and then… surprise, surprise… your day was completely yours… total freedom.

Those days happen less as an adult, but they do happen.
Let me tell you about mine yesterday…

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Welcome to A New Year!

Welcome to A New Year!

These are some of the lights put up in out little town, over the holidays.

The structure is a small scale replica of two great smokestacks that stand a kilometer or so west of that location. Here, it’s dressed for the Christmas season but last summer, city workers had that same steel structure planted top to bottom with flowers & vegetation… quite a feat really, extending the functionality of the decor over several seasons – ingenious.

The real towers are a throwback to the city’s industrial past and a winding staircase and platform make it possible to access the stacks and get a birds’ eye view of the city. So this tribute to them in the center of a major city traffic circle has been well done and well appreciated.

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Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas!

Christmas tree-shaped meringue… that’s what’s in my hand in today’s feature pic. When you have a local baker (president of the regional bakers’ association) who always comes up with original ideas to add to an occasion, you like to support them… (and treat yourself in the process).

Merry Christmas friend!

Last weekend we were in the thick of getting ready for Christmas at church so I didn’t really offer up a normal post. In larger church settings, there are lots of hands to lighten the load. Our situation here is a bit different and given the makeup of the congregation and where many of them live… most things fall to us, making weekends like last weekend a little extra busy.

That being said… let me really quickly go back two weeks, before telling you about the past week…

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Merry Almost Christmas…

Merry Almost Christmas…

We’re in the midst of final preparations for tomorrow’s Christmas service at church so I won’t go into too much detail about the past week which, primarily for the kids, has continued to be heavily impacted by strikes in the transportation sector.

They go to school 30km from where we live and depend on the train. Due to strikes, their transport time has just about doubled daily making for very long days. Needless to say they’re very glad to be on vacation.

I’ll share more in detail in the coming days, but for now, we’d appreciate your prayers for tomorrow’s service as we are expecting a number of first time guests.

To tide you over… here are a few pics from this week… Christmas is definitely in the air!

Talk to you soon….
God bless you & Merry almost Christmas!