Thursday, 29 August 2019
It is very nearly ten years since we first arrived in Annecy. We will celebrate the day hopefully with a family gathering, but definitely with a touch of nostalgia as we are not the same family anymore. I don't mean that in any sort of outlandish, sensational way. Time does what it wants and children of 6, 9 and 12 need their parents in very different ways to children of, well, you can do the maths.
But, the maternal emotion of that memory can wait for another post.
Today, I remember instead the magic of seeing what was to be our new home for the first time. Even through the fog of tiredness brought about by the long journey across the world hot on the heels of the mammoth job of packing up our entire Australian lives, the Annecy lake sparkled; an inverted diamond in its mountain clasp.
I remember asking whether one day I would take the beauty for granted, not notice the mountains, or care not whether the light on the water was starkly reflective or announcing the cacophony of an approaching storm.
"No," was always the answer, accompanied with a look sometimes quizzical, sometimes stern.
They were right. The beauty of this lake and mountains will not fade like that of this ageing mother.
Nonetheless, like mother and child, we took time to get to know and love each other. We walked, climbed, skied, photographed, swam, water-skied...played together and the bond became stronger, even though we knew instinctively that one of us was always going to have the upper hand. As such, the climb to the top of the highest mountain around the lake, La Tournette, took on a bit of a mythical turn in my mind.
I made it this summer. And the photos of that day are the ones that I want to share with you.
Would I do it again? (am I talking of our original journey to France or the climb, I ask myself)
Yes. I know now that I can . That bit of fear that accompanied me would still be there, but it would not be the fear of the unknown, just a healthy, cautious instinct relating to my own capabilities.
Ten years, though. A reminder to just do it. As clichéd as it is, maybe this post will make you re-think a goal, a dream, a possibility...I hope so.
For the first part of our French adventure, as re-counted in 'But you are in France, Madame' (print or e-book) click here.
And, if you do click and purchase - thank-you.
Finally, I am linking today with #AllAboutFrance - another opportunity to travel vicariously, prepare for your next French holiday or just enjoy reading All About France.
Wednesday, 15 June 2016
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.
Hello to readers on Faraway Files. This is my first link-up. I hope it works!