News from the Sunshine Coast
First of all news about Missy. She is now a seasoned Jet-setter, at home in her new environment. Where she used to look after me, she has become a family cat now and she waits for everyone to come down from the first floor in the mornings. The two of us have our own wing on the ground floor. I can hardly believe how she is wandering around to explore her new world. She even walks around in the rain outside.
The place David has rented for us is enormous; the house as well as the grounds. It is situated high up in the mountains outside Eumundi with Cooroy a few kilometres further on. It is picturesquely beautiful. The first evening here the sunset was something to behold. Further down, just below the house, we suddenly saw a Wallaby which was standing and eyeing us with curiosity.
You probably saw on the news about the rain event, which sounds like an historical occurrence. I have never in my life seen so much rain. David has had to reduce the water in the pool twice as it lies level with the ground.
We are learning at great speed what it is like to live on “a farm”. There has been a power cut since yesterday morning and it should be fixed again by this afternoon. But that meant that the toilets don’t work, that the taps are dry in spite of the fact that all the tanks are full, because it works with a booster pump.
Carin had a piece of lamb leg in the freezer and last night we had dinner by candle-light, thanks to the gas-stove and the fact that Ouma knew how to make a potroast.
We are calling this the “Kindyfarm” and we have started a book with notes about things we should look out for. The doors of the garage are electronically operated and there is no outside door. Carin’s car is inside and she can’t get to it. Fortunately, David left his jeep outside because they are undertaking the move from the other house by themselves and so most of the stuff is being downloaded into the garage. It is quite an adventure and we are in the process of learning how to all live together.
My things should be here by the middle of February, but we are going to unpack selectively because eventually there will be another move once the dream farm has been found.
Much love to St Aidans
La Vie au Château
Bonjour les amis de St Aidans. Hello friends at St Aidans.
David and I are still enjoying our French adventure although things have been reasonably quiet for us for the past couple of months. It is winter here of course and so more time is spent indoors that out. However David is busy, as always, doing his DIY magic around the château. He seems to have a never-ending list of things he thinks need doing. However we have been out and about when the weather has been good. We have visited nearby cities and towns – Narbonne, Montpellier and Toulouse as well as participating in more local events. David has been to watch the local rugby team, Carcassonne, play. Not quite like the All Blacks or Les Bleus (although the latter are not doing very well at all in the current Six Nations series!) but he enjoyed it nevertheless, although it was cold. He found it good practice for his French and he now knows some Rugby terms en français.
We have also been to la fête du cochon (festival of the pig) at the hall in the village. This is an old tradition where a pig is slaughtered (nowadays off site) and a big meal is prepared for all to enjoy. We went to help with the preparations at 7am (still dark and cold) and had a little insight into how a small community works together. Our meal at lunchtime was a stew of pork and white beans with sausage – all made that morning. Very simple in presentation but so yummy and so filling – we didn’t need to eat anything that night. The next day’s meal was barbequed pork. We didn’t go to this one as the lunch was followed by an afternoon of dancing….and that is not something in our comfort zone! I think David had thoughts of having to dance with the older ladies of the village.
We are still working hard at improving our French. We are becoming more confident and are beginning to have conversations (of sorts) with other people. It is such a ‘buzz’ for us when we have managed to express ourselves and to have been understood!
At the time of writing this, we are looking forward to Alf’s visit. No doubt he will report on his time at the Château in due course. Meanwhile if you want to read more of what we are doing in France, please visit our blog on www.chateauchatter.blogspot.co.nz
Until the next time, take care everyone.
Liz & David
Camino de Santiago or The Way of Saint James
Many St Aidans people know that Colin & Pat first walked the ancient pilgrimage called the Camino de Santiago in Spain in 2001, following in the footsteps of their friend Howard in 2000. Walking every day for several weeks for an average distance of 20 kilometres was a new venture and Colin & Pat did not have confidence that they would be able to complete the walk of 780 kilometres to reach Santiago de Compostella. However 37 days later they did arrive in Santiago, having made many friendships of people from innumerable countries along the way.
Since that time Colin & Pat have walked other routes of pilgrimage in France, Spain and Portugal, all leading to the destination of Santiago. It is difficult to put into words the reasons why they continue to be drawn back to the Camino, so it was with some interest that they found these words recently, written by a Frenchman called Jacques Rouyre and quoted in his Obituary:
“The main reason that so many of us take an interest in the Way of Saint James is because it is a place of encounter. Its life lies in those who follow it, who have followed it, and will do so; in those who speak about it, who study it, who are drawn to its history, who love its monuments, who work for it.
“It has lived for more than a thousand years because, as a place of encounter, it provides more than walks, visits, or study; it generates a sense of community and of spiritual depth. These are not simply ‘places of memory’, but places of living memory.”
Pat and Colin