‘What is it you like about living in France?’
‘Oh,’ I said ‘ its a rich mix of things, the climate, the quality of life for us retirees, the peaceful rural way of life, the escape from the bustle of life in Britain, the fact that for a large percentage of the time we can eat outdoors, and if we want to walk we don’t have to drive anywhere first - we can go in any direction direct from our front door.’
‘No, if you had to choose one thing what would be at the top of the list?’ she asked.
‘Opening the shutters first thing in the morning.’
That’s it – the physical act of pulling the small paned windows towards me and leaning out and pushing the wooden shutters open and clipping them back. It never fails to give me a frisson of pleasure. It proves that I actually do live in France, but more than that it proves that dreams can come true – ok, there may be changes along the way and compromises of one sort or another, but in my thirties when I first thought of a French rural retreat – I never believed that such a thing was really possible. Then, I called it a pipe dream, now in my sixties I call it living the dream.
The views from this little cottage are not in anyway spectacular – you have to be down in the garden for those – but what I see is typically french – wires everywhere, rooftops and the odd crumbling building – and I love it!
Opening the shutters I am filled with contentment - the prospect of a day ahead fills me with joy. I can remember sometimes in my working past when the prospect of the day ahead filled me with dread!
This is taken from the bedroom at the back - it faces south and looks over next door’s garden – our large garden, where the trees and the vegetables are, is beyond his shed. From Spring onwards the arch from our terrace is covered with Wisteria
And this one is looking down our lane and across the Loire valley. Whether its cold, wet, snowy or gloriously sunny I open the shutters and give thanks for another new day.