To know how to take advantage — in the good sense of the expression — of something. Yesterday started off very foggy and chilly, but we went out anyway. Predictions were that we'd have sunshine by later in the morning.
It ended up being a beautiful day, overall. We drove to and walked around in two of the villages we planned to explore. The third village — Francueil — was probably the most picturesque, but it was built on the side and top of a steep hill and I didn't think I could manage that kind of walking.
On November 1, All Saints' Day, people in France go to the cemeteries, clean up the graves and stones, and set out flowers, mostly big pots of 'mums. They had a sunny warm day for it.
In Faverolles-sur-Cher, we spent some time in the cemetery, then. One youngish woman was busy watering, dead-heading, and sprucing up pots of 'mums of all colors, which she seemed to be setting out on numerous graves. There are water spigots and dumpsters in the cemeteries to make the task easier for people like her.
A well-dressed older woman, accompanied by a woman who was probably her daughter, stood at the foot of a man's grave and cried. The 'mums were beautiful and the scene was touching. The man had died in 1991, according to the inscription on the headstone. Still the woman's tears streamed down.
You can't really take pictures of things like that without feeling like an intruder.
One of the strange things we saw in the Faverolles cemetery was a series of signs on graves all around saying that those graves were being more or less expropriated because they seemed to be abandoned. Contact the village hall if you have any questions or comments. I guess that there's a shortage of space.
Later in the morning, we went to Chenonceaux and did the river walk behind the château. The fall colors there knocked our eyes out.
Then we drove home for lunch. We stopped in our own village and took a walk around. We admired the church, the library, and the fall colors. We went to the boulangerie for bread, and we were nearly too late. There was one half a loaf of bread (un demi-pain), one salt-free baguette (une baguette sans sel), and one day-old pain (un pain d'hier) left for sale. We bought the first and the third. The day-old bread was soft and good, not hard and dry.
Did I mention that yesterday was a holiday? Bread sells like, well, petits pains — hotcakes — on mornings like yesterday's.
After lunch — melted raclette cheese with boiled potatoes, steamed broccoli, oven-roasted mushrooms, plus ham and salami — we went to Chambord. Now that's a busy day. Two major landmarks, 40 miles apart, in the space of eight hours. It was dark by the time we got home. But we had taken advantage of — nous avons su profiter de — what could be one of the last mild sunny days of 2010. Winter won't wait.
Predictions were for rain this morning, but now they seem to have pushed that out to afternoon. Good. That means we can go to the open-air market over in Valençay — another major landmark, that château — this morning and get something good for lunch. This afternoon I have an appointment at the radiology lab to get my ankle x-rayed. It's feeling a lot better in spite of all the walking I did yesterday.