Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Off to the Races

Because Labor Day in France was way back in May we have had to find another way to mark the "end" of summer. If the weather is good we head off to the races as our last hurrah of summer fun. And this year's weather was good, actually gorgeous. So a gaggle of folks headed down the road to the world's most charming race track in the tiny village of Pompadour. Yes, as in Madame Pompadour, mistress of Louis XV. This chateau and race track were one of the 16 chateaux she was given for her amusement by the king. 

We don't have a BBQ, but a picnic is just the thing. The local car buffs brought out their gorgeous cars to get our juices ready for the four legged beauties that would soon be the center of attention.
After lunch there is a lull in the conversations as each person checks out the day's racing form. This is a serious and private moment!


I have a different approach to picking my horses. For each race I choose a different way to select the winning horse. For the first race of the day I stood and watched the horses as they paraded in the paddock. As soon as I saw #2 I knew this was the horse for me. She had a look of passionate reserve, she was calm with her handler, and even though she was the slightest horse out there she seemed built for speed. 


When her jockey came on board I could see a twinkle in their eyes that said, "look out everyone here we come."

And they were off! #2 lead the entire course and seemed so happy at it!!
For the second race I consulted with my helper. We went by the jockey's colors this time. We went for the blue on blue silks and by chance once again the #2 horse.

Once again a good pick as Sky Run came in by a good length or so. Too bad I don't ever put a real bet on my choices.
When there is a grey horse in the running I have no choice but to choose them as the winner. My luck continued for yet a third race....maybe I really should have bet - ha!

It was a very quiet crowd spread out along the course under the terraces of the grand chateau.



The gentle fields below the chateau have been carved out for a beautiful course. There are flat races as well as steeple chases. I hold my breath each and every time they jump those seemingly enormous hedges.

Tom spent his time at a bend in the course making sketches. 
He got a bit distracted today and made this his pick for the winners circle.















Tuesday, August 26, 2014

There are Other Small Villages in France


What is the chance that someone living in Vermont would meet someone from Connecticut in a class in New Hampshire who lived just a couple of hours away in France?! 
I don't know the odds, but I did meet my dear friend Joan this way and have loved visiting her in her small village in France ever since.
Her village of Turenne sure looks bigger than my small village and yet there is only a 200 person difference in population. The setting and preservation of Turenne is just breath taking and has earned it the classification of one of the Most Beautiful Village of France. My love of Bourdeilles and it's beauty could get me a bit envious, but as you will see there are indeed valid reasons for this prestigious label to be applied to Turenne. I'll let the images take you on a tour of the grand, the intimate and the delicious parts of the village.












 




 



Thank you Joan for a lovely visit into your small village in France. We sure have learned a lot since those days in New Hampshire!

Maybe you would like to buy your own small village in France? Visit this lovely blog by Lynn McBride.  www.southernfriedfrench.com

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Confrontational Weather

"In weather news, an aggressive Spanish warm front may bring in some confrontational weather today."

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Clouds

It is always the same and always different. It is our evening walk along the long ridge above Bourdeilles. It is our way to wind down the day. We call this walk the ridge walk.  The walk takes about an hour. I have no idea how many miles it is because as soon as we start to walk all sense of time or distance evaporates into the great wide sky. This a time to visit with each other, a time to move out the legs and stop the brain, a time to observe life from on high.
Today we stopped our workday a bit early. The clouds that we could see from our edge of the river valley promised to be quite spectacular up on the ridge. Perhaps the ridge isn’t as high as we perceive it, but it climbs just high enough for us to sweep the bottom of the sky with our finger tips. As you emerge from the village into the farm fields that unroll themselves up and over the ridge, your heart opens. I can’t exactly explain what I mean by open, but I do know that I feel open all over, happy, peaceful, and always in awe of what is happening below me in the fields and above me in the sky. 
 Today’s sky was about as dramatic as they come. Drifting from horizon to horizon were continents, all the world’s ocean liners, incongruous snowdrifts, oyster shells and pearls. We hoped to grab a handful of one of these monsters. We wanted to stand under one and feel the enormity of such a colossus. We wanted to feel the state of water that created these shape-shifting masses of cloud.

And feel it we almost did. To our north, south, and east the encircling horizon offered bright clouds and blue skies. But turning west to head home the sky was full of battle ships - angry, forceful grey, fast-moving clouds. The sharp line between beautiful sunshine and driving rain announced an impending doom. This walk was going to end in our being drenched to the bone, but the show was too magnificent to make us care.

Luckily the storm edge of the clouds passed along the far side of the river valley. Not a drop on the ridge side. There would be puddles at home when we returned. 
For us this is what the ridge is all about. It’s about being in the middle of something that, in intimate ways or in earth-rattling ways, changes everyday. It is experiencing the progress of the growth of the wheat, the wind rustling through crops, the days we have black berries and the days we have black clouds. Or sometimes it is just an hour with nothing but the feel of the big, wide, calm, sky surrounding us.

Thank goodness the dramas of these walks are also such an inspiration for Tom's works.