A couple of days ago, my husband was out walking in the mountains behind our house late in the afternoon when he heard the gentle clanging of cow bells. Instinctively, he looked for his phone. No, not to take a photo - he did that later, but to turn off his alarm clock. I had to laugh when he recounted the story to me. To explain...when returning to Australia after living in France and looking for a more pleasant wake-up sound than a jarring 'beep, beep, beep', he took a sound bite of cow bells and set it as his morning alarm. Even in sight of the large beasts, his sub-conscious did a jolt to another time and response and nearly tricked him into hitting the 'slumber' button.
Back home and tidying up in the garden, he stripped some ivy off one of the verandah posts and uncovered a cow bell that we had hung there and which, over time, had been completely hidden from view. It seemed like the house was offering us a little 'welcome back to France' present.
The cows had been a part of our French adventure from the very beginning. Stumbling into an October "Descente des Alpages', in our first year there, we had watched the slowly moving creatures, weighed down by their enormous bells, parade through the streets of Annecy, alongside highly excited geese, necks proudly stretched upright to allow us better viewing of their beautiful bows, groups of disorderly goats reminiscent of the cheeky but loveable souls that can always be found in any school class and pretty donkeys wearing straw hats and flowers. It had been a lucky mistake to be in the middle of it all and, thereafter, the sound of the cows and their bells, which woke us in the mornings and accompanied myself and the children on our daily walks to school, claimed a high ranking in our favourite sounds of the French Alps.
To read more of my family's French adventures, please click here to get your copy of 'But you are in France, Madame'. A Kindle Countdown deal for Amazon UK and USA account holders has just begun.
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