Am now in phase four of my French sojourn. Lots of adventures and a few misadventures, mostly missed connections. After a wonderful week in Provence, making mosaics and exploring the countryside and the cuisine with an interesting group of people, I spent three days on my own in Avignon, a place that played a significant part in my life many years ago. More about that in a bit. Then went on to Loches in the Loire valley , chateaü country, where I visited with old friends Marie and Tim. When i say Loches, I actually mean Beauliue, a tiny village outside Loches, where they have lived for many years.
They now live in a charming house that was once part of an abbey. Once meaning in medieval times. There are now many small houses in parts of what was once the Abbey. , modernized to diferent degrees. They rent out the house where they previously to a man who raises mushrooms, and his family. I'd hoped to see his operation but we ran out of time. This area is replete with caves that were once quarries for the stone that built many of the churches, monasteries, and I assume chateaus around the area. The caves are the ideal places for growing mushrooms.
So we had several meals featuring mushrooms, along with local cheeses, eggs from a neighbor, melons, etc. Their house sits right on a canal, part of the reason they bought that house. We are most of our meals on the little terrace overlooking the canal. My room overlooked it too.
The house is a wonderful jumble of rooms and a little courtyard. They've recently renovated what was an attic storage space into a kind of guest suite. That part of the house doesn't have running water. They 've set up a toilet, the kind old people have when they can't make it to the bathroom. Good practice, I guess. It worked out just fine, and I used their bathroom during the day and to brush my teeth,etc.
Marie and Tim are both avid gardeners. She grows beautiful flowers, and he grows vegetables in a community garden plot just down the road. The garden is more than just a garden, it is interspersed with sculpture and other art made of found and repurposed items. There's a bicycle wall made of a row of rusty bicycles whose baskets, spokes, etc are planted with all types of flowers. And all kinds of innovative scarecrows. And a big sideboard in the middle of a small grove that was stocked with a number of books and a sign that said something like libraries in the woods. And many signs with poetry and sayings throughout the garden. Marie and Tim chatted with a number of neighbor gardeners while I strolled around.
I'm going to stop here and post this, although there's still tons to tell. But I'm hungry and it's time for a stroll around town. I'm going to attempt to find the area and the mural I worked on with a group of volunteers a number of years ago. I don't really expect to find it, in fact don't know if it ever got installed. But its worth a try, and a good basis for a walk in an area most visitors don't get to see. And walking is what I like best to do here anyway.
A bientot/see you later.