Blue sky and colourful blooms in St Chinian - September 2012
Thank you for your thoughtful comments and emails to my last post, the support and kindness of fellow bloggers never ceases to amaze me. As many of you have wisely suggested I am taking each day as it comes. A blue sky or just a glimpse of brightness has the effect of immediately lifting my spirits creating a much needed vibe of positivity.
A friend texted me last night just to say she was thinking of me (most of my friends know how much I struggle with this time of year). She knows I would rather be alone with my thoughts and that when I am ready I will contact her. After reading about Pomona's walk here and Lesley's walk here it had occurred to me that I was in dire need of some exercise. As we all know exercise and walking and just being in the fresh air is a great antidote to stress and depression. It may be a dull and misty day but nonetheless it is still daylight and our retinas have the capacity to soak up this much needed light releasing those wonderful endorphins and giving us a sense of wellbeing. I texted my friend back saying that I really wanted to go for a walk. "Fantastic!" she said "I will pick you up at 9.00." So off we set for Ickworth Park this morning. We walked for a couple of hours, sometimes sharing gentle chatter but mostly in companionable silence. It was just the tonic I needed. Thank you dear friend.
I've been looking through my French holiday photos over the past few days and realised that I'm really not done with sharing them with you! So, not wishing to keep them to myself, here are some images from a walk we took through the beautiful village of St Chinian.
First of all we stopped at the market to buy some further provisions for our picnic. This stand offered the most amazing and colourful array of dried fruit, nuts and olives ...
We just had to re-visit the house we stayed at on our very first visit to the south of France, which just happened to be in St Chinian itself - too many years ago to mention!
We went in search of the allotments (jardins familiaux or jardins ouvriers) that I recalled from our previous visit. I find these plots so inspiring and they are beautifully maintained by the tenants who work them. Even the smallest parcel of land is utilised. Homes in rural French villages tend not have gardens of any great size; courtyards and roof gardens being the norm, so these plots would have been very precious in years gone by, serving as the villagers' main source of fresh food. They would have been worked on tirelessly, as much out of necessity as of a love of gardening. Nowadays they provide a far more leisurely pursuit as we witnessed an elderly man, in the blazing heat, wheeling his barrow amongst the well-tended beds.
The jardins ouvriers below are particularly beautiful, enclosed as they are by ancient stone walls ...
Click on the images for a closer look.
It was a balmy day .... time to seek out some dappled shade for our picnic. We found this lovely spot on the bank of a small brook. We spread our blanket on the ground and took out the plates and cutlery from the picnic basket provided for our use and found in the house (the most well equipped we have ever stayed in I have to say!) Our supplies from the market were laid out and together with the crusty baguettes from the local boulangerie we rustled up a wonderful picnic. Why is is that the simplest ingredients that go to make up the best picnics can be more satisfying than a three course lunch in a restaurant!
Do you have memories of a particularly wonderful picnic - I would love to hear about them.
Have a great weekend.