13 July 2009


The view from the lane behind the château at Le Grand Pressigny.
So lovely to see the sunflowers in full bloom.

For most of my life I have found the concept of time puzzling. How come sometimes time would whiz by and other times it would drag ?

A view of the renovations, almost finished, due to reopen in September.

When I was a little girl a day lasted a very long time. Somehow we always managed to fit an awful lot of things into just one day. School holidays lasted forever (and the weather was always fantastic). Waiting five minutes for the bus to anywhere took ages, then suddenly the bus would arrive and a twenty minute ride would fly by. Christmas was always eons away but when it came, although it was gone in a flash, we always did loads of things and had a huge amount of fun. I can remember little details of almost every Christmas between the ages of about 6 and 16.

We visited the village of Bridoré, where a "brocante" was going on.

Now that I am no longer a spring chicken (to quote my mum) but something of an old boiler (to quote my dad, rather unkindly, I feel) time seems to be completely different. It stops and starts a lot, all the time.

The "Paysages Nocturnes" had just started in the village.

When I am at work time generally passes steadily and quickly enough. The evenings, however, hurtle by and with each year we manage to get less and less done after work. The knock-on effect of this is that by the weekend we have done fewer chores than we planned and still have things to get done before we feel we can relax and just enjoy the two days off as we should. Working alternate Saturday mornings doesn't help but even so, we are no sooner having the thank God it's Friday moment, than my dad is turning up for his dinner on Sunday evening. When I was younger, if we had guests for the weekend, it would last ages and we would manage to fit an awful lot of things in, including shopping, sight-seeing, cooking and generally having a great time.
These days, I sometimes can't remember doing anything useful all weekend, I just know I was busy and it whooshed by in a blur.

A lot of it seemed quite high brow but the brass band in front of the church on Saturday evening was fun. We listened while waiting for our pizza.

Now that we have our little place in France, time seems to have become even more peculiar. Our visits are spaced roughly 5 weeks apart. When we get home after a visit, such as now, I will feel at first that I have a huge amount of time in front of me to do the things I need to do. Such as, unpack and wash our luggage, tidy up the garden, tidy up the house, catch up on the jobs and chores we didn't complete before setting off for the last visit. As the weeks go by and the next visit approaches, time speeds up. Catching up on the left-over jobs means short-changing on the regular jobs and by the last week, with packing to do again, I am usually in headless chicken mode with no hope of having time to empty the fridge and reprogramme the heating. We usually leave in a whirl of chaos and resolve to sort it all out properly when we get back, never leaving in such a mess again. Of this there is no chance.

We played a game of "Championship du Monde".

Double points for words in French.

Before this last visit, things were even more chaotic than usual as the half-day I had taken off work to do stuff (hair appointment, ironing, etc.) had to be sacrificed to go to a funeral. This was for my dad's best friend and he was more of an uncle to me than some of my uncles so I was glad to be able to go and say goodbye to him. But it left our pre-holiday schedule a total shambles.

We had dinner at Chez Grand'Ma.

Then, when we get to Le Grand Pressigny, something very strange always happens. Time becomes normal. Days last a whole day. Even if we sleep in late we always have time to go for some croissants at the boulangerie and they are rarely sold out. After breakfast we have time to plan what we want to do for the day and enough time to actually do it. Afternoons seem to last forever. We can get huge amounts of things done, if we want to, or take an afternoon off to go fishing (Nick) or reading (me), which lasts hours and hours, leaving us refreshed and fulfilled. A welcome change from fraught and frazzled, our usual state when at home in UK.

Sunset behind the château

This return from holiday has not got off to a good start. We were enjoying ourselves so much just doing nothing that we decided to squeeze every last moment out of our stay and do the return journey all in one hit. That meant 8 hours and 465 miles on the motorcycles plus the ferry crossing. We left Le G P at 10.00 am French time on Sunday and got home at 1.30 am UK time on Monday morning, cold and completely exhausted. Bits of me ached that had never ached before. We needed hot water bottles to warm us up - but I was too tired to do them. Then, Nick had to be up early to pack a hasty suitcase and I had to drive him to the station at 7.00 am so he could be in London for an "important meeting" before lunchtime - something that came up after we set off on holiday.

A favourite walk down by the river.

The upshot of all this is that the concept of time now has me totally and utterly confused. Mostly I do not know what day it is, except that it's a work day or a weekend, before a holiday or after a holiday. Birthdays and appointments get completely forgotten - apologies to all - nothing personal. Comme d'habitude, I tend to start speaking in French to the first few people I meet when I get back.

There's no immediate solution. Life is just stop-start on the helter skelter at the moment. And I wouldn't have it any other way. Whilst sitting outside the PreHisto with our customary apéritif, I just realised we are very lucky people and this is what it is like to be happy.


  1. very cool blog!! keep updating and I will check it out often :)

  2. Hi Love, I'm finally home!

    One of the things I love about LGP is the sound of the clock bell chiming on the hour and half hour. If you hear a bong and you're not hungry, its half past something and if there's several you can listen out and count them in the repeat ring a minute later if you really must know which hour!