04 September 2007

Through other eyes

Yesterday at sunrise a big bank of clouds moved over Saint-Aignan from the north. The weather report said to expect rain. We were also expecting our friend Evelyn (who regularly comments on this blog), her husband, and another couple they are traveling with. It was too bad that it was going to rain.

Clouds moving in at sunrise, 03 September 2007

Around noontime I needed to go out to the supermarket. A light drizzle was falling. It was enough to force me to turn on the windshield wipers. When I got back home, it stopped, and most of the afternoon was dry.

Evelyn and the others called from their B&B at about 4:00 and came to the house at 5:00. She and her husband have been here to see us three times now. We met on an Internet forum and we've become friends. For the other couple, who live in Tennessee, this was a first look at northern France.

Sunrise over the vines at La Renaudière

We were looking around the house and getting acquaited. Went out on the terrace to see the views from there. I noticed that very dark clouds were appearing in the northern sky. Our plan was to go for a walk in the vineyard with the dog. But then it started raining, and I mean really raining.

We sat in the living room and talked while the rain passed over. The people traveling with our friends were curious about how we had decided to come live here. They had spent the last week traveling by car from Paris, across Normandy, down into Brittany, and then up the Loire toward Tours and Saint-Aignan, just sightseeing.

Both the towers in this picture are of modern construction,
but there is something medieval-looking about the view.

It's always interesting, I think, to get a glimpse of France through the eyes of a new American visitor. "There doesn't seem to be any poverty here," Evelyn's friends said. "Driving around, you don't see the scenes of rural poverty that you see in the United States."

I remember my mother remarked on the same thing the first time she came to Saint-Aignan. I guess it's true.

The grapes don't need rain now.

The rain stopped and there was still time to go on our walk. We went all the way out to the end of the gravel road. We admired the grapes. We stepped over the puddles. And we saw at least a dozen of those big orange slugs that live around here. That's more than I've ever seen on a single walk before. They are going to take over.

Later, after dinner, I took Callie outside in the yard for a few minutes. She quickly rounded up four toads. Four of them! I put on gardening gloves and scooped them up one by one. I put them in the hedge where the dog couldn't get them. I don't want her to start eating them!

So something there is that really likes the rain. It's the slugs and the toads.


  1. Interesting about the rural poverty. Is there urban poverty in France? Are there ghettos in the cities? With the great influx of immigrants from northern Africa and other places, you'd think it couldn't be avoided.

    Sorry about the rain and more rain. Wonder where the slugs hide when it's dry...

  2. Those photos are stunning, especially the one with the dark cloud and the one with the two towers, which seems to have layers of orangy colour!
    You're doing a fantastic job with that new camera!


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