Saturday, 13 October 2012

the joy of walking ... and picnics


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.
 
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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.
Jeanne
x








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19 comments:

  1. Jeanne, you look quite beautiful in that last picture! We share a love of jardins d'ouvriers; I spend a wonderful amount of time hanging around our neighbouring allotments as they provide inspiration and peace-of-mind in moments of need. They are indeed so lovingly tended. My thoughts remain with you during this month. Your little lady is ON HER WAY!

    Warmest wishes from France.

    Stephanie

    ps I hope you received my email, Jeanne? :-)

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  2. You look wonderful Darling...love your post today love from me....xxxx

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  3. When I was a little girl, my father used to take me and my sister out somewhere for a picnic every Sunday if the weather was fine. I lived on a farm and our means of transport was an old brown Commer lorry. My mum died of TB when I was four and my auntie (Dad's sister) used to prepare the most delicious picnics for us. We only visited the local beauty spots, but the memories I have are so lovely. Jeanne, your pictures are lovely too and I can see that you have some wonderful memories, hold on to them - they'll see you through. Love Molly xx

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  4. Wonderful photos and memories of a great time. I had many happy picnic in my own backyard when I was a child with my friends from the neighborhood. We lived in the city not close to a park and my mother would make us tea sandwiches with the crust cut off.

    Eileen

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  5. What a beautiful photo of you on a picnic!
    My favourite picnic memories are all from childhood. I don't remember any of the food, but I recall how I loved the way my parents relaxed and played with us - ball, word games, just watching the clouds above. Lovely picnic memories, all.

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  6. Gorgeous, gorgeous, gorgeous. All of it. As I am one of the perplexing people who finds autumn the most invigorating and cheering time of year, I can only wish you plenty of good books to keep your mind occupied until it passes.

    The best picnic I've ever been on was back when I was a flight attendant. We were overnighting in a cheap hotel just across from the La Guardia airport in NY (the building used to be a car park - all the hallways were tilted and the rooms were barely bigger than the bed). I'd told my husband (back then he was my beau) where we would be staying, and he drove out to the hotel and met me, bringing with him a huge bag of food from the local Chinese takeout. We spread it all out on the bed in that tiny, cramped little room, and put the wonky tele on some awful movie, and it was the best, most romantic picnic ever.

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  7. Being outside, walking, sitting in Café, meeting friends and admiring the beautiful colors of autumn. This cheers me up, also. Wishing you a lot of nice walks with friends, sunny days and do not let the turkeys get you down:-)

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  8. Dear Jeanne,

    I am happy to hear that it helped being outside. You are right to take one day at a time and not look ahead. I am doing exactly the same at the moment, although I find it difficult as I am an organiser/planner.

    Your photo's from France look lovely!

    Have a good week!

    Love,

    Madelief x

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  9. Oh, I almost forgot...Your look lovely on the photograph!!

    Madelief x

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  10. Lovely pictures. Allotments are wonderful in any country aren't they? So eclectic and imaginative - I was entranced by some I drove past in London just the other day.

    My best picnic memories are of picnic breakfasts in Normandy. We would drive off the overnight ferry in Ouistreham and rather than risk the 'getting lost in Caen' scenario again we'd always drive up the coast to Arramanche instead. There we'd stop in the car park over looking the beach and have hard boiled eggs and flasks of coffee. Very few other people were around (just as well as I had 4 step children at the time and they always had a number of accompanying friends too). It would set us up for the drive to wherever else we were going in France.

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  11. It has been such lovely weather for walking hasn't it and like you I find a walk in the countryside always lifts the spirits. I remember a picnic in a meadow near the river in Bakewell, Derbyshire. It was in the late 70s and the museum where I worked had a friends group and children's club, we went along in several cars, the children played and paddled and climbed trees and the adults sat around in groups on blankets and chatted, everyone took food so there was plenty to share, the weather was wonderful and everyone seemed happy. It was a lovely day:)

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  12. I just love eating outside, wherever that might be. In the sun, and listening to the birds. Magic.

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  13. Just a little note to say that it's lovely to discover your beautiful blog. I was attracted by the name as I live in an old cottage too and the garden takes up a lot of our time. It was lovely to see your photographs, and in particular the first one which really cheers my spirits too.
    Best,
    Lindsay
    http://thelittlereaderlibrary.blogspot.co.uk/

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  14. Jeanne, that few hours walk will have worked its magic I'm sure and your post is a great reminder to never underestimate the positive power of friends when we feel low. How wonderful to walk in companionable silence without the need to fill the time with needless chatter. I'm having some daylight strip lights put into my shed, mainly to give me a better light to work by but I'm keen to see how it might effect my moods too. I'll report back and let you know!

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  15. We have recently invested in a little picnic stove so that we can stop and make a cuppa and a picnic anytime on our meanderings - it reminds me so much of our big family picnics. On a Sunday my family in Sheffield would meet the other half of my family from Lincolnshire at Clumber Park (once part of Sherwood Forest). Gran would take a saucepan complete with peeled potatoes all ready to cook in water, and one with veg and a fully cooked roast with gravy. Once parked in a little secluded spot out came the stripey windbreaks, the tartan rugs and deckchairs and then dad would get the Primus Stove going. Afterwards we brewed tea and ate the homemade Fruitcake. Whilst the men and children played ball games the women set about the washing up using the empty cake tin as a bowl! Great Grandma would sit in her 'pinny' and always with her Sunday Best hat on throughout! Such happy childhood memories.
    Your photos are quite beautiful I would love to go and paint those wonderful allotments.

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  16. I missed your last post, and am sending a hug now I've read it. Meanwhile, what better than a walk to lift the spirits a little. I find it works for me, even in the rain!

    Those walled allotments are quite, quite perfect ... what delights there are in this world :)

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  17. Dear Jeanne, lovely images and words. yes, at times just a simple meal in nature can beat the most extravagant restaurant. I love simple pleasures, the best in life cost nothing at all, or very little.;)
    The best picnic that comes to mind was one I had with my family when i was about 16. It was an early spring day and we sat on cliffs above the North Sea. Most of all I recall how happy we all were.
    Have a nice week dear friend,
    xoxo

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  18. I've never been to this part of the world before - the photos and descriptions are gorgeous and I feel as if I've gone on a good armchair traveling mini-tour.

    You know what blog I think you'd love? The Other Side of the Ocean:
    http://ninacamic.blogspot.com/

    The blog author is based in Madison, Wisconsin and in addition to journaling and taking photos of her daily life also travels multiple times each year. Look under the 'labels' section of her blog (on the right hand side of the page) and you'll find posts from France (including the French Mediterranean), Spain, Italy, etc. with lots of amazing photos and observations about those places (and life and people in general). It's the kind of blog you can get happily lost in.

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  19. these photos are full of joy and beauty of flowers

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Thank you for taking the time to visit my blog and for indulging me in my musings. I enjoy reading your comments and will reply, time and tide permitting, on this page... at some juncture ... which may be several days later ... oh to have more time to blog!

I love to visit you in return also.

Jeanne
x

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