It's 3.30am in the morning and I have been up since 2am, posting and browsing on facebook, waiting for just a little sign to fatigue to set in. Frustrating, the more I attempt to force my self to sleep, the less success I seem to have. A first world problem, I know. Nothing much is happening outside - let's face it, Verteuil is a quiet village at the best of times, but it's absolutely comatose at this time of the morning. Wide awake now, but I know that I will pay for this wakefulness later today by dreariness.....
After a similar 3am start yesterday morning, it was a restful day here in the middle of rural France. Apparently it was the first day of summer here, but despite this there was a little chill in the air, grey and characteristic European low-hanging clouds keeping the sun at bay for most of the day. Much of the day was spent in Ruffec, doing three or four loads of washing, buying provisions from LeClerc [note to self, 1. wear warm clothes next time - it is freezing in there!... and 2. I need to write about the French obsession with the yoghurt and dessert aisles in shopping centres here some time!!] and visiting the local hardware stores for odds and ends. Even managed to give the gardening gloves and garden shears we picked up a work out in our overgrown and sorry excuse of a courtyard. Yes, I think that this will be my "project" for the next couple of weeks - make some sense out of the first-level terrace out the back. The first level of the house is built into a cliff, the second level (living room and kitchen opens onto a small courtyard, and then terraces upward, three or four terraces to St Médard, the 12th century church (and the cemetery). The terraces are terribly overgrown, accessible by crumbling stone steps. We had the terraces semi cleared last year but despite an understanding with Andy, who did the clearing for us, to keep the area maintained, this has not been done and the vegetation has taken over again. So, we will concentrate on getting the first terrace above the courtyard in reasonable shape. Andy has done some levelling work which I will need to finish, and he has planted some roses, which I will add to. I will complete the levelling and the intention is to lay some flag stones and plant out the area. We'll see how that goes.
We were invited to Pam's birthday celebration yesterday evening. The invitation came via a call from the street, Rue du Temple, through our window. We had heard of Pam and her friend Brenda from Jenny and Jan who had just stayed in our house, and also from Wendy and Mark, who stayed here last October. Regular visitors to Verteuil, these two friends are from Adelaide, and happened upon Verteuil three or four years ago. We enjoyed the hospitality and met quite a few of the local British ex-pat community ..... but after a couple of hours we could feel the jet lag rolling in and we wandered home. I expect that we will see many of them again tonight at Virginie and Benoit's La Demeure des Roses, as they are hosting a musical soirée there tonight.
So, this afternoon a nap will be necessary to counter the ongoing ravages of jet lag ........
Jim lives in Brisbane, Australia, works at The University of Queensland, and enjoys visiting, reading and learning about France.