Thursday, 3 September 2015

Rhythms of Caunes

How can this summer be nearly over ? 

It is rentree  this week. The children of Caunes all went back to school on Tuesday, as they did all over France. My daughter, Jess, began her second year of teaching reception aged children in Liverpool, also on Tuesday, and we have started to think about putting "summer things" away. We are almost at the point of thinking about packing the house up, for our return to Yorkshire at the end of October.

I had all sorts of intentions of redirecting my blogging efforts this year. It hasn't happened. In fact, I've only written 4 blog posts since I left Yorkshire in May, and they have all been diary type posts....exactly what I was determined to move away from.

I have thought a great deal about the rhythms of life while I have been in Caunes this year. It is difficult to avoid thinking about patterns, and the regular events that have now become so familiar to us as we share our time between Yorkshire and the Minervois.

Seeing the cherries appear on the trees, and for sale by the roadside marks the start of our time here every year. I can hardly believe this is now our 4th summer here. So, the cherry conserve making takes place, and then, suddenly, apricots are in abundance and my favourite jam of the year gets made.

The marble festival in Caunes, le quatorze, Le Tour, les vendredis Classiques, les mardis in Villeneuve, our return to Yorkshire for my 4 monthly hospital check, meals at our favourite restaurant in Caunes ( La Table d'Emilie ) with friends Steve and Jane, more time walking/ cycling with Steve and Jane, what seems to have become an annual trip to Spain....with Steve and Jane, the Carcassonne festival, concerts in the quarries, the vide greniers......all these things have become important elements of our absolutely lovely life here in Caunes.

Le Quatorze
Le Tour

Trips with friends
It is great when visitors who have not visited us here before, come to stay for a while. It means we can show them around, and re-appreciate the gorgeous place in which we are lucky enough to live.

The abbey in Caunes, from our garden

Then, of course, there are the annual trips from the children and grandchildren.
Jess and Matty, who came with Matty's parents this time.

They want to go to the places they have come to love, as well as always trying to discover a few new treats. Time in the pool, the 3 bears' house, the playground in Caunes, playing on the trees by the bar, seeing the marble statues on the way to the quarry....these things have all become traditions, and will undoubtedly be things to remember for the little ones in years to come.

Liam has been driving this tractor around the pool for 4 years. The older boys could hardly reach the pedals in the first they are much too big for it...but they love it.

Izzie.....a great little swimmer at 3 years old

They get more gorgeous every day.

Visiting Carcassonne.......again......It can never get to be boring.

Now, as the days have become a little cooler, and the visitors have gone, we find we are meeting for our weekly cafe des langues, inside the bar rather than outside. Mark and I are pruning and shredding to make mulch. The vendange is under way, and the Citou onion festival is on Sunday this weekend....again, for the 4th time since we came to know Caunes.

I haven't wanted to repeat posts from previous years. Sometimes it has felt that is what I would have been doing if I had spent all summer blogging.

Some things are different. Today, new people came to the cafe des langues. The boulangerie has moved 3 doors down the street. I have taken up mosaicing ( no, I realise there is no such word ). People who we regarded as aquaintances have become dear and valued friends, and believe it or not.....our French is improving !

So, the rhythm continues. Mark and I are healthy, the children are well and seem happy. The grandchildren are growing up to be fabulous individuals, and we are wallowing in enjoying it all. real new blogging direction, yet. 

All I can produce here is just a very conscious appreciation of yet another lovely lovely period of our lives.

Jess, Mark and I

walking down into the village for a meal

Teddies waiting for children to play with.


  1. Super post - with a title like this though, I was sure you'd be sharing snippets from the amazing looking music festivals you've been to! You've done a lot this summer, even if it hasn't all been converted into blog material and the photos of your gorgeous family have been a highlight for me on Facebook! It has flown, though, hasn't it....and so strange the way the weather seems to change almost on cue to cool and fresh from the 1st September.
    I briefly flirted with the idea of a visit....but it wasn't possible this year. I shall speak to you about it at a later date. I will be visiting the UK but oh so very quickly and mainly in Oxford, in November. Must get together soon though. Axxx

    1. Well, speaking of getting together....we are definitely heading south at some stage next year. It may be in still a long way off, but there are now flights from Carcassonne direct to Alicante, and we are planning a 5/6 day trip with friends, to go to, being so close will mean a definite trip to Casa Rosales. I hope that will be ok !
      But yes, summer has flown, and I expect you are facing the coming seasons with some trepidation. I hope there are still lots of happy times ahead....xxxxxx

    2. Oh YES!!! (to the coming to Granada bit.)
      And yes, there is some trepidation in the air but we're determined to stay positive, especially as we have no reason to stress at the moment. As many trips as we can make to visit and lots of phone calls.
      Funny how summer just seems to end when we arrive at September....

  2. I enjoyed your round up....yes, there is a routine, but things do change within that - like the boulangerie moving down the road. I can just imagine all the discussion of that that there would have been when I was living in France....

    And I agree...isn't it super when visitors see what you see in a place...and want to come back. We've had returnees despite the cost of the airfares...but it was lovely to gather the family in Spain last year to meet all the youngsters who have appeared since we moved from Europe...perhaps they'll be over to see us in their turn in a few years' time...because time just seems to fly.

    I wouldn't worry about how to tune your'll come naturally in its own good time.

    1. It just seems that this year has gone by faster then ever. I could quite easily just curl up and decide to stay here......but I'm sure I will soon feel settled back in Yorkshire, and will then be moaning that our time there has passed too quickly.
      The visitors have been more spaced out this year, which has been good, although it meant the cousins didn't get to spend time with each other...but the main advantage for me was no meal times for 15 plus people !

  3. It is always nice to read and see what you are up to, Janice, and it is fun to see how your grandchildren are growing. Sometimes, the direction we are looking for is the one we are in. At least that's what I keep telling myself. Take care.

    1. That's a great philosophy Penny....We must just stop and make sure we're enjoying is certainly the best way to get by.

  4. The rhythms of Caunes are lovely to read, and it seems quite blissful there in those beautiful surroundings. The mosaicing looks beautiful - do carry on :) The idea of making fresh cherry or apricot jam, interspersed with family visits and trips to Spain is well worth blogging about - but only when you feel inclined and want to share. You will always have an appreciative audience. Hi to those cute Teddies...xoxox

    1. Thanks Patricia.... I feel bad that I havent been keeping up with blogs recently...but its so good to know you're still out there ! Jx

  5. Being too busy enjoying life to blog is obviously the problem!
    September and October can be so lovely. I love this time of year, especially in France. It's six weeks or more before you close up for the winter - lots of time to enjoy the autumn there.

    1. Yes, life is good isn't it, and you are right, this is a beautiful calmer and gentle time of year here in France.

  6. Glad you have enjoyed your summer - it was probably hot and dry like ours. For me it is the garden that reminds me of the time of year and seeing it change from day to day means there is always something new to look at. Enjoy the autumn before you leave - it can be one of the most beautiful seasons. Love your sunset photograph.

    1. The changes in the garden are certainly part of how we note the passing of time here....its so lovely anticipating each stage, and then enjoying it. The salvias are still lovely here, providing some colour. I am loving the autumn calmness too.

  7. This is such a lovely post, Janice and gives a wonderful flavour of your summer in Caunes. Yes, there are similarities with previous years, but no two summers are ever the same. I too have been very intermittent in my blog writing and reading recently, hence the fact it's taken me a month to read and comment here. Can one blush in print...? Let your blog find its own direction - that's what I keep telling myself. :)