08 June 2009

Why blog? Why not?

One of my main reasons for keeping this blog is that I know a lot of people who dream about chucking it all in and moving their lives to France. I meet them on Internet travel forums, and then in person when they travel through the Loire Valley. And I meet them because of this blog.

Did you read the article about abandoned blogs in the New York Times this weekend. The writer says that 95% of the 133 million blogs that have been started have not been updated in at least four months. That means that 125 million blogs have been abandoned and fewer than 8 million are still active. Eight million! It wouldn't do to have unrealistic expectations about what a blog will become. You either just do it because you want to, or you don't.

When I started blogging I gave myself wide latitude to write about any and all aspects of life in rural France, from the markets to the weather, cooking, wine, history, tourist attractions, and local people (without violating their privacy too flagrantly). As a result, I don't really have to search very hard to find topics. This is a blog about tout and rien. A lot of it is about photos, because I enjoy taking them.

Saturday's sunset from the bedroom window

One thing about living the life, or at least my life, in rural France is that I'm much more in tune with the weather and the seasons than I had been for many, many years. Maybe it's age. Or retirement. When you go to an office every day, be it an academic office (or classroom) or a company office, you spent most of your time inside, interacting with a computer or with other people. You ignore a lot of what is going on outside. Only when the weather somehow inconveniences you do you pay much attention.

Je parle de moi, bien sûr. Maybe you're different.

Funny how different the colors came out in this shot.

In my case, moving to France also meant going into retirement. If I had a job here, my life would be unfolding in a totally different way, of course. It's hard to tease out the aspects of this life that are specific to France and separate them from the ones that are specific to having quit the workaday world, left the city for the country, scaled life back, and tried to simplify things.

How about a piece of cherry clafoutis?

As so many retired people say, it's hard to figure out how you ever had time to work a full-time job and also keep your everyday existence on track, much less build lasting relationships with other people. Even after having chucked it all and gone into retirement, I'm busy all the time, just trying to keep life on track. Trying to enjoy it.

And life creates its own stresses. Isn't there just always something to worry about? The cost of milk or meat or bread. Or oil. The value of the dollar. A leaky roof. The dog running away. A bad cold or high blood pressure. Gaining weight. The car breaking down. Rain and wind ruining the garden. Dust and dog hair all over the house. Grass to be cut.

Roses in a neighbor's garden, after a rainshower

Here in Saint-Aignan, we've gone into another rainy period. It was a wet Saturday. And then it rained on and off, with some hard showers, yesterday afternoon. A little of this will be good. It means that we don't have to water the garden. It also means that it will be hard to get out there and do the weeding that needs to be done.

It's not enough rain to prevent us from walking the dog, because she expects it and she doesn't at all mind getting damp. So we still get out of the house and breathe fresh air.

Another one, just a bud

It has already started raining again and they say showers will continue all day. The wind blew several of our tomato plants down yesterday afternoon. Walt just tied them back up. A minute ago, the bread lady delivered a fresh baguette for the day. We have lentil salad and a ripe cantaloupe for lunch. And a lot of housework to do. La vie continue.


  1. La vie continue: and it sounds like a great life to me ;)

  2. "La vie continue" was what I thought as I finished your blog and that is what Isabelle wrote. You left the rat race for a more human life which has its inconvenience but is far more rewarding. I have been adding more blogs to "my favorites" from Egypt, India, Africa... France. I might never meet the bloggers in person but it create a bond. Some blogs are like yours, describing daily lives... others are blogs about flowers, birds and insects (le jardin de Lucie, blog vegetal...) others just photography ("Ramo Savisaar", "passion de la nature" , "faune, flore, regions"...) and the ones about food ("David Lebovitz", "Eryn et sa folle cuisine" "chez Loulou"...). And the one from "leaping Leons french fancies" whom I discovered through you. Just like food, you pick what you like and you savor the words, it enriches my life.
    So thank you for taking the time to show us your world. When I retire, I sure hope to have the kind of life you have (it was very gutsy of you to leave everything and move to another country).

  3. Ken

    I thought of both of you when I was reading that article . Quite a few of the young bloggers got into it thinking that they can make some money but most of the time things do not work out as planned and they gave up. However there is another segment, like Walt and yourself, who blogs about what is of interest or about life wherever it is and it is an informative site with no "pre-conditions" and where visitors do exchange ideas and thoughts in a very respectful way.

    So thank you for letting me have a peek into your daily life in your second "patrie" and i have learnt a lot about wine , cheese, food and gardening .

  4. here in the woods of NC for the summer, i am attuned to the weather too....it dictated what my daily activities will be.....thankfully, so far we have had decent rain, so i don't have to spend 45 min waterin ....and it's easier to weed when the soil is damp (not that i've done it all yet) I watch the sky & the radar on the laptop for my hr long walk, but sometimes i get drenched (u know how these mountain rains come up so quickly) but i no longer stress about that (i think age has something to do with it) Last nite in the middle of the nite, I heard the cat sparring with something that was squeaking, so my task today is to hunt it down.....yikes....there's always something to do!

  5. Well, just don't have a baby, and your chances of continuing are good *R*R*... when I read your comments about the NY Times article it made me think immediately of the several blogs I used to see being updated daily, until a baby came along in the blogger's life! Now, they probably have little time and even less interest in keeping up the blog :)

    Your photos add a great touch to your blog. Even if they are not specifically related to the topic of the day, the captions are all we need. Thanks for those, and for sharing so much fun information with us.


  6. Hi Ken, Your blog is still one of the best I've ever read and followed! Inspired by it and encouraged by some collegues, who over the last ten years always seemed fascinated by my Loire Valley adventures, I've started a blog of my own some three weeks ago. It's a bit of a challenge writing it in English, and I'am sure that my few (regular)readers must sometimes burst into laughter for my spelling and grammatical errors. I enjoy writing it, though, as the Loire Valley is one of my few passions (I like cooking, but I don't have a garden and I don't like sports!!!). Not living in the Loire Valley and still working 80%/time in an office, I will - at some point - probably run out of subjects to write about. I will thn become the author of one of those blogs that disappear after a few months. Who will tell. In the meantime, I'm having a fabulous time sharing my Loire Valley experience with all those interested and reading their comments. Martine

  7. I think blogging is like anything else, some people are good at it and others are not, some people are good at it because it just comes to them like with you and others may be disciplined and do it because they feel that they must.
    I am not a fan of blogs as jobs, while I do not mind advertising and am a big clicker it is nicest when someone blogs because they are meant to like you obviously are and I thank you for that.

  8. I read your blog because it obviously comes from the heart with no axe to grind other than that you love your life in France. It's entertaining and inspirational too.

  9. Judy, there's not much danger of anybody having a baby around here. Even Callie has been fixed.

    Thanks everybody for your kind words.

  10. I love your and Walt's blog to get updates on that groovy dog Callie...heehee. I found your blog from another blog I was following one blog and now I'm up to about 40! I don't check each everyday but most are pictures I enjoy seeing however yours is on that I check pretty much daily. I think your is like talking to a friend and those are my favorite. I think you and Walt do a good job and I thank you.

  11. Do continue inspiring , entertaining and educating me/us with your blogs, of course as long as your having fun doing it.
    Thanks so much... You're living one of my dreams ...


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