Tuesday, 8 October 2019

Words (and friends) in a French life

La Plage du Mugel

A couple of years before we took off on our much-talked-about French adventure, a friend sent me a present. I love happy mail. This was amongst the happiest - a book from a special person. It came wrapped and openable (and not just at the click of a button), it promised lots of precious, quiet moments and it was about life in France. But, and here was the icing on the cake, not only was it a series of little French family anecdotes, for the language teacher such as I, it had the added bonus of exciting little linguistic forays at the end of each chapter.

At the time, I noted that the author had a blog but, knowing very little about such things, didn't look it up, and when it was suggested that a blog of my own would be a good way to keep in touch once we were in France, I gave that a pass too. After all, I was a private person, with lots of stories to tell that I thought would be of little interest to most.

Arriving in France, I did write, but they were not creative moments. The short bursts in front of my computer were haphazard and, with very little available time, my goal was simply to create a record, something that would help us all to not forget.

Somewhere in the ether, it had been predetermined that our French adventure was to be tinged with the sadness of a personal health struggle. I mention this only because if there was any good to come from my sickness (and I remain unconvinced), it was that after treatment, I started to write differently. Personally. Reflectively. And years later, many of these creative moments made their way into the complete story of our French living in my book 'But you are in France, Madame'.

At the time of publication of my book, I concluded that I needed to toughen up and hop onto the social media platforms. Having published a memoir, it might seem strange that this was difficult to do, but it was, and I vividly recall my extreme hesitation before publishing my first blog entry.

Hats off

In a wonderfully serendipitous way, the risk was one worth taking as this is how I met Kristi, the author of my past present, 'Words in a French Life'

We caught up last summer and shared a few hours together. Yes, we talked about words and writing but my old friend gave me so much more all those years ago -the gift of a new friend.

Hats on
On Kristi's recommendation, we headed down the coast from La Ciotat to La Plage du Mugel for lunch. Right on the beach, we were lucky to get a table without a reservation. My son chose 'moules frites' (his favourite), a 'salade niçoise' was my not-very-adventurous choice and my husband selected the fish of the day, straight off the boats. Keen to show off his de-boning skills, the waiter was surprised, even vaguely upset, when my husband said that he'd be ok to do it himself.

After lunch, what does one do when one is right on the beach? Why swim, of course. 

Just one more beautiful day in a French life.

moules frites
salade niçoise

loup de mer or sea bass
la plage du mugel