The crowds have left, the leaves and the temperatures are falling, and we are deeply into the changes of autumn. Finally Rick and Tanja, your erstwhile travelers at La Busaneth, can surface and report on the progress we have made and life in rural France in chilly November.
It has been months since we last reported on our journey. During that time we have been busy completing a large portion of the work on the gîte portion of our dwelling. Rooms have been replastered, painted and scrubbed. Furniture has been purchased from local brocantes and repurposed as newly minted creations gracing our guest bedrooms. Also, we have figured out how to get heat throughout the building, something that was last on our minds during the summer, but now has come to the forefront as nightly frost has come to stay.
Outside, our new Scottish friend and gardener, Simon, is completely redoing the front garden. Already it feels more inviting and planned.
We have had a steady stream of guests, including family and old friends. We even ventured into paying guests who helped us break the ice as innkeepers. Now that things have slowed down there is time to enjoy the season and to reflect on our new lives here.
Most noteworthy, one of the most meaningful events we participated in was this year’s Armistice ceremony in Eymet. We have joined a local French-English choir, Cantabile, and the group was asked to sing at the Armistice Ceremony.
We arrived at the monument on the cold and rainy 11th of November morning, dressed in black, umbrellas up, music at hand, on one side of the tiny memorial garden. A band of young students was under a tent on the other side. At 10:30, they began to accompany the group singing a ballad of a young soldier singing to his beloved right before he died at Craonne, a bloody battleground during the Napoleonic wars.
The band was out of tune but it didn’t matter. Then the pompiers came marching in dressed in their parade uniforms. Two older military veterans stood at attention. Families with young children crowded into the space as the mayor spoke about the war to end all wars. We then sang God Save the Queen and everyone sang La Marseillaise.
This was one of the most moving patriotic services I have ever seen. It was so obvious in everyone’s demeanor, in the words of the mayor, in the solemnity of the placing of the wreath on the monument, that the French never again want to experience the devastation two recent wars have wrecked on their nation and their countryside. Consequently it was a very simple and moving remembrance.
Today three of our five children and one significant other are enjoying a gorgeous late autumn day as they are here to help us celebrate our first Thanksgiving as French residents. So Tanja and the lads went for a bike ride to Duras.
The fields and forests have beckoned me to their solitude. I took the liberty to snap some photos to share the loveliness of the day.
We wish all our friends and family all the joys and peace of Thanksgiving.