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One Thousand Days

"L' Autre Vie" By Rae-Helen Fisenden May 17th 2022

And so- after one thousand days of Covid induced separation from our beloved France -nous sommes revenus- we have returned!

In truth it felt a little strange; as though we'd been cast in a movie and were "on set" waiting for someone to shout "ACTION".

And action was exactly what was needed once we'd arrived in Beaulieu and our lovely townhouse.

We'd made the decision to transform the one large bathroom ( with a rather antiquated bathtub ) into two modern and practical ensuite bathrooms giving visiting couples, for instance, their own private facilities.

We approached our English builder who lives in Beaulieu and who had worked with us before, and he agreed to try to complete the work by the time we arrived on May the 6th 2022.

The entire operation was conducted online over 12 months with emails showing design, products and floor coverings, winging their way through cyber space from Beaulieu to Melbourne and back.

We had quite a bit of painting and cleaning up to do, and we had exactly four days before our first guests were to arrive. The pressure was on!

You might agree the result is quite nice. Neil and I work together well as a team, but it had been a little while since we'd donned our painting gear and exercised that infamous rolling action. :)

On the first day we managed to apply the primer to the back bathroom by lunch time and, needing a break and something to revive us, we stopped to eat. ( We live in a small apartment of our own underneath the big house, and I made an omelette with ham and cheese which we wolfed down appreciatively.)

On entering the main house to begin work again, we were greeted by the sound of gushing water and on investigating the next level, we discovered water pouring through the ceiling onto the floor of the dining room. This was NOT a water feature we'd planned on! Something had gone awfully wrong. We grabbed buckets and towels and looked at each other in bewilderment.

We alerted our builder who dropped everything and came to our aid. Within an hour or so he'd located the problem....a faulty pipe, which was duly replaced. We were so relieved and in fact, so was our builder.

It so happened that during the time we were busy painting- the Strawberry Festival ( "La Fête de la Fraise " ) was to be held. On Sunday the 8th of May to be exact. Interestingly, Mother's Day in Australia, but not here in France.

I have mentioned the Strawberry Festival in a previous blog but it bears repeating because, due to Covid, it had been cancelled for two years.

The day in question was a blue sky, 28 degree glorious day, and people flocked to the town in their thousands and, it may be of interest to add, there was not one mask in sight!

The whole town comes alive and the strawberry is indeed celebrated with great fervour and delight.


A huge strawberry tarte is made and at the end of the day, everyone in the town is given a slice.

The strawberries come in many different varieties and we have been living on them daily. They are plentiful, and very simply-an explosion of delightfulness in your mouth!

Asparagus is in season at the moment too and we had the pleasure of experiencing both asperge blanches et vertes ( white and green ) at a beautiful restaurant set high in the hills not far from Beaulieu. It was French cuisine at its best and something we have missed so very much for three years. I think a picture paints a thousand words don't you?

When you consider travelling again, consider France, and particularly this beautiful place. Beaulieu sur Dordogne. Photo Neil took yesterday. Beautiful place by the river.

Just don't wait one thousand days...

A bientöt! Rae-Helen

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