20 August 2010

Thinking about the future

Breakfast time: a piece of toasted baguette with butter and some of the plum jam I made a couple of weeks ago. Which reminds me that the porteuse de pain — the bread delivery woman — is going on vacation for two full weeks, starting tomorrow. We'll be left to our own devices.

I went to the supermarket and bought two loaves of good sandwich bread. I'm hoping the tomatoes will start coming in this weekend. I have a big can of tuna, some ham, and a whole smoked chicken. Along with plenty of lettuce, eggs, mustard, and sunflower oil. I'll make mayonnaise and we'll eat a lot of sandwiches over the next two weeks.

Callie and a flower

With Walt now out of commission for a while because of his névralgie cervico-brachiale (and his neck collar), our painting job has ground to a halt for a couple of days. I need to try to get started again today. And then somebody needs to start trimming that 100-yard-long hedge we have to deal with every year in September. Not to mention the need to cut logs for the wood-burning stove.

The hamlet, with 9 houses and a population of 15,
in the Renaudière vineyard

Sometimes I tell myself this life we have built here is not sustainable. We're getting too old, and it's too much work. Well, not so much too much work, but too much hard physical labor that people of our ages find it harder and harder to do. Some days, it feels like it would be very nice to live in a townhouse or an apartment in a village or town, with no garden to worry about. And shops we could walk to.

A picturesque parcel of vines

The cat and the dog might be a problem, though, so I guess we'll wait until one of them leaves us. Ten years or so, probably. After 17 years in Saint-Aignan, where would we go if we decided to move in 2020? To an in-town place down in Saint-Aignan? Another small town like Montrichard or Loches? Or a small city like Blois? A bigger city like Tours? Bourges?

Callie enjoying her walk along the edge of the vineyard

It's something to think about. Meanwhile, breakfast is done, and it's time to go for a walk with the dog. That's the nice thing about living at La Renaudière. We can walk the dog without worrying about cars or a leash, and the cat can wander the hamlet and the vineyard without getting into too much mischief. Enough, but not too much.


  1. I somehow can't see you and Walt enjoying having no garden. I suspect you would miss having outdoor space of your own, especially in France where outdoor living is such a joy.

  2. At least, if you don't have your own garden one day, you'll still be living in the land of the outdoor marché :))

  3. Some of these jobs can be hired out. Probably not cheaply, but still, you'd save your back and neck and knees.

  4. Take heart! Once your Social Security kicks in, you'll likely be able to pay for the most onerous tasks and begin to live the life of a "gentleman farmer". You have such a beautiful house in such a beautiful place!

  5. There is a fine balance to living our lives, non?

    I hope Walt's back heals without any more problems. Maybe it's a good time for the tomatoes to ripen and for you guys to enjoy your harvest. Lewis and I are eating tomato sandwiches every day and they are yummy!

  6. Nice picture of the Queen Anne's Lace (I think that's what it is).

    I think you enjoy gardening and I know you enjoy cooking - you might miss the land to grow your own food. I think all will seem better when wcs heals. Wishing him a speedy recovery, sans chirurgie.

  7. Tom and I have thought of that too, and as we have remodeled we have made the house "old person" friendly. We would have to hire out some outside work, and we would probably just not notice if something needs painted. We will stay here as long as possible because as long as we have our minds (most of them at least) we would not be happy in town.

  8. Hi Harriett, it's not the painting, at least not long term, but the garden and yard and hedge and log-cutting. Of course the log-cutting is optional, and we may have wood fires less often this winter.

    As for making the house old-person friendly, we're now on three floors, with lots of stairs. Oh well. Let's hope the hips and knees hold out.

    I still feel like I have most of my mind too -- it's hard to remember back and be sure you still have the same mind, isn't it? -- but a couple of days ago I was dizzy all day, to the point of not being able to walk a straight line at all. I think it was my sinuses, but of course I can't be sure. Nothing like that over the last 48 hours though. It was disturbing.

  9. You're having the same thoughts as boomers all over the world. What we're doing, the way we're living, works for now, but for how long? And when it no longer works, when the knees just won't make it up all those stairs, then what?

    It's a good idea to start planning. If you're willing to do so, you can see the advantages of almost any living situation. For example, you've lived in an urban apartment before and found something that you liked about it.

    I get angry with Ray whenever he mentions moving out of this house, but have to acknowledge that there may come a time when the stairs/yard/garden/what-have-you may become too much for us.

    I rather like the approach my aunt has taken. She's 86 and still trots up and down in her three-story house. She loves her home, but she also has a place picked out for when she can't manage any more.

  10. Things we all consider. I'm a few years older than you, and my husband died nearly three years ago. I've got an acre and a half and a five bedroom house which I love. But I think I'll have to leave eventually.

    At the moment I can pay for help, but it's not totally practical!

  11. Susie, yes, the ideal is to be able to continue living in your house until you just don't want to any more. My mother sold hers five years ago (after living there for more than 50 years), and she seems to have no regrets. I have lived in apartments in cities and there is much to say for that lifestyle.

    I think that what is making me think hard about all this right now is this construction project we are trying to finish up. It started in early March, when we began moving furniture around and getting ready for the contractors to come. Here it is nearly 6 months later and we can't seem to get finished. Anyway, I did some painting this morning and I'm pretty happy with the result.

    Kristi, we could afford to hire some help, I guess, especially if the U.S. dollar holds some value. But when you don't otherwise work for a living, it feels good to do some of the work yourself. If you are able...

    Carolyn, yes, there are realities involved, aren't there...

    Bill, ha ha ha. It's not just paying to have work done, but finding somebody who's willing and able to do it. That's not easy here.

    Jean, I would hope we could find a place with at least a balcony or terrace. Some outdoor space is nice in the summer, but too much is a burden.

    Judy, oui, faire le marché à pied. Chouette.

    Diogenes, sans chirurgie, c'est le plus important. Walt va un peu mieux depuis deux jours, grâce aux médicaments et à son collier.


What's on your mind? Qu'avez-vous à me dire ?