News from France
Bonjour nos amis,
Several years ago while holidaying in the Emerald Isles, our B&B host told us as we left for another day’s exploring that we would see “terty shades of green”. And so we did and again we are seeing many shades of green as the countryside around us leafs up. Spring is certainly the most amazing season of change. The weather blows hot and cold but the foliage just keeps getting more and more lush….and green. It’s not just the trees. The wheat in the fields is growing taller, still vibrant green with shimmering waves when the wind blows and they ‘talk’ when you walk along the edge of the fields.
April has seen us busy with visits from friends and family. We no sooner returned from our visit to the Dordogne region, which was everything we expected. and more to have the Chateau full again. We took this opportunity to travel further afield with my brother and sister-in-law. As we are reasonably close to Spain we had an overnight trip to Cadequés on the Costa Brava. This is a lovely village on the coast just over the border from France. It is in a National Park so not overly developed. It’s main claim to fame is that it was home to Salvador Dali for over 30 years. His home, which is as he left it following the death of Gala his wife, is amazing, bizarre, fascinating ….The studio has his unfinished paintings and his palette left untouched. It was a little insight into the life of a unique artist.
We also had another ‘road trip’ east to Nîmes, Pont du Gard, Avignon, Arles, the Carmargue and Aigues-Morte. All great places to visit, to see history and to experience natural beauty. Highlights were probably the Pont du Gard – another feat of Roman engineering and the Palais des Papes (The Palace of the Popes) in Avignon. The wealth and the power of the Papacy….incredible! We also danced ‘sur le pont d’Avignon’!
A great time away and even more special when sharing the experience with people you love.
Now we are back to ‘nous deux’ and busy preparing the Chateau for the coming of summer. Outdoor furniture to be painted, the swimming pool to get ready, flowers to go in the garden etc.
However we have one more adventure before we leave this amazing place in June. We are following in the footsteps of Pat and Colin and will start walking the Camino, le chemin de St Jacques, the St James Walk, at the end of April. We will be doing the section from St Jean Pied de Porte to Burgos (leave you to find it on Google or in your atlas). We have been ‘training’ and I hope we will be able to relate a little of what we experience in the next newsletter.
Liz and David
News from Sedona, Arizona (USA)
Hello “all of our NZ family”.
News comes from Sedona, Arizona; now the home of John and Jean Biggers, who visited us as interim and substitute minister at St. Aidan’s on two occasions, for nine months in 1982-3, and for four months in 2007 (when Rinny Westra was on a study leave).
They were living in Tucson, Arizona, when they made their journeys to the North Shore, but decided to make the move Sedona in 2011. After just four days in their Sedona home in October, 2011, their home sustained severe damage by fire. Fortunately they were in Tucson at the time. The restoration took several months to complete, and now the home is virtually a totally new place.
While the restoration was being done they had temporary housing in an area nearby, called Oak Creek Village. During this time, Rinny and Barbara visited John and Jean, and one of the highlights of their visit was to go on a “jeep tour” (at times the vehicle almost was ‘standing straight up’) among the beautiful red rocks of that area, considered by many as one of America’s most beautiful spots.
It is a very active tourist destination, and the unusual mountain backdrops have been used in numerous movies. John and Jean are active in their local church, called Church of the Red Rocks, a congregation of the United Church of Christ. This denomination was known in the past as the Congregational Church, which is considered as the modern extension of the Pilgrims who left England for America in the 1600s. John and Jean do keep up to date with St. Aidan’s, with frequent correspondence from some of our members, and in a note to accompany this newsletter they said, “We will never forget the visits to St. Aidan’s; our friendships and many wonderful experiences with all you will be among our fondest memories – ever!”
John and Jean