(the misadventures of an expatriate corporate dropout)
Saturday, September 6, 2008
I've been remiss this week. Not only are we back to full steam in the house renovation area ... but I had a visitor from America. briefly, but still.
The weather has been rainy (as mentioned) off and on but also curiously humid. So humid, in fact, that the mortar for the stones in my bedroom has taken a long time to dry. J-Y has been quite irked because it looks dark and he hasn't decided if there was something wrong with the sand or he mixed it wrong or what. I (being the expert that I am... lol) blamed it on the humidity.
guess what. I think I was RIGHT! won't he be doubly-irked on Monday when he comes and sees the mortar has lightened up because it is drying more. I LOVE it when I am more right than a fellow. what can I say. I'm nothing if not childish. and immature! the best part will be on Monday when he arrives and I can point out my rightness. in person. ha.
We also spent a full day priming the remaining 3 walls in my room. That is after J-Y spent several hours sanding the walls. The old paint has been murder to deal with. There must be 4 different colors, in layers. and it rubs off on your hands, in a powdery fluff. He has sanded and sanded and SANDED. And then, when we began painting, there were still areas that either flaked or bubbled. We soldiered on, and the day after it looks pretty good. He will still have to go back and sand areas and reprime before we begin putting the colored paint on.
Friday, no work - I had my company and he was 'malade'. Personally I think it is the culmination of breathing in all of the dust etc. He says it is 'un rhum'. maybe we are both right? (darnit.)
It was fun having Christie here. She arrived Thursday evening, having driven down from Paris. We had a nice visit over dinner and a stroll through the village. Friday we got up and perused the market, then parked ourselves at one of the best tables in town for market day ... it sits up on a 2nd level and overlooks several patios of people and vendors. We indulged in 2 Kir Petillons (EACH- Gasp!) and it wasn't even lunch yet! then we walked to another restaurant and met my friends Marjo et Rodolphe for a leisurely lunch. The 3 of them are all in the real estate trade, so they had a jolly time swapping stories. After a couple of hours we finished and strolled some more.
We played 'tourist' and walked up to the monastery for a tour of the building and the caves where the monastics first gathered. My village has its first mention in 812 in old French documents ... so the history is immense. We also went in to l'eglise and poked around (beautiful); it is in possession of important reliquaries gifted by Charlemagne, the relic of St. Sicarius (a child massacred by Herod - Sicarius means "little cut throat!") being one.
The abbey has endured many onslaughts. It was founded in 769 by Charlemagne. It was destroyed by Vikings and then rebuilt in the 10th century. Having survived the Norman destructions, Brantôme was occupied three times by the English during the Hundred Years War. The bell tower survives and is noted to be the oldest in all of France. Behind the abbey building are the original caves of worship, which house the fantastic carvings of the Last Judgement. It is difficult to explain how remarkable these are. I have just learned that there are sometimes concerts conducted in these caves, I can hardly wait to attend.
These cave dwellers are referred to as "trogolodytes" and there remain some cottages half-built in caves that are occupied today.
I had been saving this tour to do with Christie, as it is the kind of thing she and I have enjoyed doing in previous trips together. It was quite enjoyable and I intend to go again.
We also discovered Brantôme's own petite museum where an exhibit of Fernand Desmoulins was in full swing. Desmoulins was born in the Perigord, so I guess that is how Brantôme scored the Musée Desmoulins. Desmoulins and Breton were quite the characters. They were heavily into the occult and were known to experiment combining seances with their artistry. They'd enter a 'trance' of some sort and perform 'automatic drawing', just holding a pencil and awaiting a spirit to guide their work. The results were beautiful and suspiciously unautomatic.
This was really my first touristy day in the village and it was very fun! We also indulged in some shopping (shhh! don't tell Riana!) at a boutique I first visited last year. Speaking of characters Sonja, the proprietaire, fits the bill. She's 58 in a Brigitte Bardot sort of way ... and in addition to her fabulous boutique filled with clothes that are also works of art, she creates repainted furniture and décor pieces. She is also a sculpteur with many of her bronzes on display in her boutique. I reminded her of our meeting last year and shared that I now live in Brantôme. Well, we will be having a dinner and she will be introducing me to some people in Brantôme! yay for me as she is a wild woman, I can tell. We bumped into her the night before at the bar where she was regaling 4 or 5 fellows with stories! heh heh.
It has been a busy week, but at the same time, a week of introspection. I'm getting more comfortable. I'm noticing more 'feelings', feelings of being drawn certain directions and in fact, towards certain people. Until they're sorted out though, I think its best to keep the feelings on the down low.
and way low.