Lost in France

Bonjour me amis!

Two weeks since I last blogged and I think I still remember how to do it, which is a relief! I hope this finds you all well and enjoying your summer? Judging by the 1,000 plus emails I’ve come home to (and no, I am not that popular, believe me – only one or two were personal messages), you’re all still here, busily blogging away. Thank goodness!

Geranium on stone wall, village in France (c) Sherri Matthews 2014

Geranium on stone wall, village in France
(c) Sherri Matthews 2014

Having just returned from a lovely, lazy week away in France, I am reminded of two things: the beauty of the French countryside and how appalling my French is, despite having studied it for several years at school.

My excuse? I remain convinced that the only way to learn a language, really learn it, is to live in the country and become totally immersed in the culture.  Text book languages just don’t do it, at least not for me.  Still, I had fun trying…

I remember when I was about eleven going on a school trip to France.  We crossed the channel on a hovercraft direct from Dover to Calais, there being no ‘Chunnel‘ back then in the 1970’s.

The long bus drive from Suffolk to Dover leaving at sparrow’s fart the crack of dawn was the worst part.  I loved the hovercraft ride despite having to witness one of the kids being sick all over the floor, but Calais did nothing for me. Fish markets weren’t my idea of fun at eleven and not much better now.

Still, we did get to practice our French which was the idea, apparently.  I remember waiting in the queue to buy a souvenir for my mum: it was a wooden egg cup with a little picture of a boat and the word ‘Calais’ (of course) hand-painted on the side. I was very nervous about having to talk to the lady at the till in French.

I needn’t have bothered because the minute I opened my mouth, with an exasperated wave of her hand she exclaimed:

“It’s okay, I speak English!” And she did. Very well.

It would be another thirty years or so before I returned to France, when, unexpectedly, Hubby and I were given the opportunity to experience the beauty of what I like to think is the ‘real’ France, far away from the cold, grey skies of Calais.

The first time Hubby and I were kindly invited by friends to stay at their beautifully rustic home we flew, courtesy of a budget airline.

Nestled in a tiny hamlet between two villages some 30 or so kilometers from the town of Perigueux somewhere in the Dordogne region of south-west France, the location couldn’t be better for lending itself to a holiday saturated with rest and relaxation.

The next time (and yes, we must have behaved because we were invited back) we decided to drive, taking our car across by train via the Chunnel which was the easy bit.  The drive down through France proved to be much more of a challenge: what should have taken eight hours took us twelve.

In the middle of nowhere late of an August Sunday evening, no signal enabled on Hubby’s mobile phone and mine having died, we were well and truly lost in France. At one point, having pulled over to the side of a road after a minor…?…. disagreement (naturally), we decided that it would be better if Hubby read the map and I drove.

Zipping through deserted country lanes, our grumpy mood quickly dissipated into the warm, evening air as the experience and freedom of the moment took over: we were entranced by the tiny villages we  came across, filled as they were with brightly coloured bunting fluttering high above the narrow streets as it criss-crossed from building to building.

These same buildings were decorated from head to foot with paper flowers for summer festivals, yet where earlier in the day the streets had bustled with locals and tourists alike, not a soul was to be seen;  huge, stone houses shut up tight with metal gates and wooden shutters as we travelled through, fleeting visitors in the shadows of deserted communities.

Village house in France (c) Sherri Matthews 2014

Village house in France
(c) Sherri Matthews 2014

It was one of the most surreal moments of my life.

Despite the wonderful sense of adventure of two years ago, this time we played safe, taking advantage of a budget airline and we didn’t get lost once!

Now my memories of France are no longer of looking around fish markets:  I think of balmy summer days and evenings, walking along peaceful paths surrounded by open fields brimming with smiling sunflowers and ripening corn. I remember cycling (fitter than I thought!) to the local village on late afternoons along quiet roads painted only with the falling shadows of tall, roadside trees.

Sunflower fields - France (c) Sherri Matthews 2014

Sunflower fields – France
(c) Sherri Matthews 2014

Village road - France (c) Sherri Matthews 2014

Village road – France
(c) Sherri Matthews 2014

Field in France (c) Sherri Matthews 2014

Field of corn in France
(c) Sherri Matthews 2014

Of open-air jazz evenings eating rabbit with prunes (it was delicious, tasted like chicken, it’s true, and I don’t even like prunes!) and of a soiree which ended at midnight with a firework ‘spectaculaire’ to the music of ‘O Fortuna’.  As dramatic as that sounds, it was indeed magical.

Open-air jazz evening at the back of a bar - France (c) Sherri Matthews 2014

Open-air jazz evening at the back of a bar in Douchapt – France
(c) Sherri Matthews 2014

The history, beauty and glorious mystique of France has grabbed me forever, not to mention some of the more bizarre sightings such as a stuffed dog (or possibly a fox without its tail, see what you think) with a pin wheel sticking out of its head oddly placed in someone’s front yard.  I kid you not.

Stuffed dog/fox with a pinwheel stuck to its head...bizarre! (c) Sherri Matthews 2014

Stuffed dog/fox with a pin wheel stuck to its head…bizarre!
(c) Sherri Matthews 2014

Wrapping up then, I’ll  leave you with a ‘snapshot’ of my time in France to the music of ‘O Fortuna’ which seems the perfect choice to me (although ‘Lost in France’ by Bonnie Tyler would seem to be the more obvious one but I just can’t stand that song, sorry!).

Meanwhile, thank you all so much for your lovely messages left while I was away, really does warm my heart (great to know that  ‘A Horse With No Name’ is also a favourite for one or two of you!) and I’ll be over to you as soon as I can to catch up and say ‘Hi’.  I’ve missed you!

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Finally, how about these little cuties?

French Rabbits (not for eating I hope :-( ) (c) Sherri Matthews 2014

Village bunnies
(c) Sherri Matthews 2014

 

Village cat (of many!) (c) Sherri Matthews 2014

Village cat (of many!)
(c) Sherri Matthews 2014

Back to normal blogging next week – see you soon 🙂

Love Sherri x

About Sherri Matthews

Sherri has been writing full time since 2011. Currently working on her memoir, 'Stranger in a White Dress', she has been published in a variety of national magazines, websites and three anthologies. Sherri raised her three, now adult children, in California for twenty years and today, lives in England’s West Country with her hubby, Aspie youngest, two cats, a grumpy bunny and a family of Chinese Button Quails. She keeps out of mischief blogging, gardening, walking by the sea and snapping endless photographs. Her garden robin muse vists regularly.
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111 Responses to Lost in France

  1. Sherri, I missed you! I’m so glad you had such a nice time! It looks like a beautiful place to visit. Your photos are gorgeous. I love the shots with the sun shining on the water and the animals at the end! 🙂 They are all lovely.

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    • Sherri says:

      Hi Patsy, and that’s so sweet of you, thank you and I missed you too! Glad you enjoyed the photos. The river is a short walk down through the village where we were staying. I wanted to try to capture the sunlight on it, so I’m really glad you caught that! It’s good to be back 🙂

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      • It’s good to have you back, Sherri! Today I just decided to take the dog for a short walk around the fish hatchery where we live. My feet might be paying for it later, but I said, “To hell with that! I’m getting out in this 60 degree weather this morning!” The 80’s to 100’s have just been stifling! Our dog Brownie needed it, too! 🙂

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      • Sherri says:

        Nothing like a good walk in the cool, fresh air is there? 🙂

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  2. Lovely pics, Sherri. I’m trying to persuade husband we should try the countryside when we move next.

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  3. jennypellett says:

    Hi Sherri – I think we were probably following you around as we were staying pretty near Brantome, drove through Bourdeilles on the route touristique and passed by millions of sunflowers. What a lovely part of the world. We didn’t have the best of weather – no lounging by the pool – but made up for it by sightseeing around the area. Our sat nav gave up the ghost just south of Angouleme so for a while we were lost too. Glad you had a good time, back to blogging in earnest now!

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    • Sherri says:

      Hi again Jenny! What another coincidence, I wonder if we did see each other in Bourdeilles or Brantome and didn’t realise it? Did you go to the caves in Brantome? The sunflowers were bigger and better than ever weren’t they? A really wonderful part of the world, so lovely to drive through and take it all in. The weather wasn’t great, we did have a couple of days when it reached 30 but we also had a good couple of days when it rained heavily and thundered too. Definitely not pool-lounging weather was it? Our friends who are still there said it turned worse after we left with more rain and storms and they had to eat inside last night for the first time…I hope it improves for them!
      Funny you mention Angouleme as that is just where things started to go wrong for us when we were driving down a couple of years ago. We didn’t have a sat nav either.
      Glad you weren’t lost for long though and enjoyed your break too. Enjoy the rest of your summer Jenny and here’s to ‘blogging in earnest’!! 😀

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      • jennypellett says:

        We did go to the caves near Brantome, if you mean the Grotte de Villars. Very interesting – we are a bit partial to pre-history, we’ve done several caves in the past. I love the magical quality of the stalagmites and titles as much as the prehistoric paintings.

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      • Sherri says:

        Yes…fascinating aren’t they? I thought you might have gone there… 😉

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  4. tieshka says:

    Hey Sherri- Being lost in France…. you know… that is my dream! I have been away from blogging the last two weeks as well and am trying to put a post together for tomorrow… there is so much to write about, but just finding the time is the challenge.

    So funny you’d write that to really know a language you really need to live in the country – I totally agree. In high school we took a field trip to a fancy French restaurant in Chicago and ordered everything in French- plus we took a trip to the art museum to check out French Impressionism… I just started practicing my French again last week with a French native at work… but we’ll just need to pick up and move to France for me to put it all together!

    Looks like your trip was excellent!! Glad you had a break away from it all and hopefully you’ll be invited back again soon.

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    • Sherri says:

      Hi Tieshka! Yes, haha, I did think of you when I wrote that! I honestly can’t imagine being able to speak French properly unless I lived there…but meanwhile, yes, let’s hope we do get invited back, lol 😛
      We did have a great time, thank you, great to switch off and totally relax. I’m glad to hear that you’ve had a break too and I know just what you mean about finding the time…so hard! I’ll catch up with you as soon as I can, look forward to reading about all your adventures as I’m sure you’ve had a few with lots of fun places to visit and explore 😀

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  5. JF says:

    Wonderful post and photos! Thanks for sharing.

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  6. So many fabulous pictures, Sherri. Wonderful examples of the countryside and the town to share with us. Thank you. Your holiday sounds divine. You made no mention of bad weather so I assume it co-operated for the duration. Reading about your holiday is giving me itchy feet again. Glad to have you back, Sherri. ~(=_=)~~

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    • Sherri says:

      Hi Tess! Oh I’m so glad to be able to share the pics but of course I took a ton of them and the problem was trying to pick out the best ones and which to crop etc. Rural France is indeed a beautiful place, life already seems so much faster over here! The weather was not as hot as it has been in the past, in fact we had some rain and thunder for a couple of days, but it was still very pleasant so that we ate our lunches and dinners outside every day, and of course cups of coffee at little roadside cafes. Ahh…you have the travel bug eh Tess? Talking of which, I will catch up with the installments of your Bejing trip as soon as I can and of course will be working on my ‘meme’ post for tomorrow…meanwhile, it’s good to be back and so lovely to be welcomed by you and your beautiful smiling face… ~(* _ *)~ 😀

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  7. Heyjude says:

    So glad you had a good holiday Sherri. Lovely photos (except for that weird fox/dog – what on earth is all that about?) though when I saw the cute bunnies I immediately thought about prunes 😉
    Jude xx

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    • Sherri says:

      Hi Jude! Thank so much and we did have a lovely time just chilling and unwinding, just what we both needed. But yes, what on earth is with that stuffed dog/fox? Isn’t it so weird? It gave me the creeps…but of course, I had to sneak a photo of it… 😛
      Haha…oh no, don’t! I was worried about the sweet little bunnies as often they are kept for food so I admit to thinking just the same as you…but I have to think of them as pets in this case… 😉
      Good to be back, hope all is well and I’ll be over to you shortly to see all that I’ve been missing … 😀

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  8. Steve Rebus says:

    Sherri, fantastic to have you back from your great adventure around France! I love all of your photos and i’m so pleased you had a lovely time! 🙂

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    • Sherri says:

      Ahh, thanks so much Steve! It’s good to be back and I’m so glad you enjoyed all the pics! We did have a great time, just what we needed to get away for some great chilling time! I’m still so excited about your news too my friend 😀

      Liked by 1 person

      • Steve Rebus says:

        So pleased you’re back, refreshed and ready to continue blessing us with your amazing posts! 🙂
        I’m a little excited too, and can’t wait to travel to Florence & Piza! I hope i’ll get some good photos too! 😀

        Liked by 1 person

        • Sherri says:

          That’s so sweet, thanks Steve! And, you must be over the moon, I’ve always wanted to visit both those places so make sure to take a ton of photos as I want to see every single one, lol 😀

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  9. What a wonderful & glorious trip! Thank you for sharing-Yes my friend I am living vicariously through you & enjoying it immensely! Loved the great photos of the lovely countryside & the intriguing house . Of course la piece de resistance was the stuffed canine! I always wanted Casey stuffed & put in that crazy restaurant in Rio Vista, remember? Once again thank you for a great read! ❤

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    • Sherri says:

      Hi Diane! So now you’ve seen the stuffed dog/fox and I exploded in laughter when I read about Casey as yes I do remember you saying that! I actually can honestly say that as surreal as some of my times have been in France, the most surreal ever was our time with you near Rio Vista and that town and that restaurant with all those stuffed animals! Will definitely have to write about that one day!!!!! Still, we had the best Chinese meal I’ve ever had there 😛 Never forgotten…such great memories 😀
      So glad you enjoyed all the pics, I’ll have to put them on FB too. That house is like something out of New Orleans isn’t it? Actually, reminded me of the Haunted Mansion at Disneyland with the style. It’s just down the road in the village where we stayed and all the houses are like that. They sure do keep cool in the summer though, no air conditioning, they just use the shutters and the stone walls and flooring work like a charm. Cold in the winter though, but of course they have wood burning stoves…
      I’m still laughing…thanks my friend 😀 ❤ xoxo

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      • Memories my friend! I’ll never forget you jumping back and shrieking at the top of your lungs when the mystery door opened as we walked by & a man (or 2) suddenly appeared. Isla Vista was spooky! Remember the poor pigeon, much like your french doggie (RIP), hanging in the netting in the rafters across the street and the bats! It is also happens to be one of the favorite haunts (pun intended) of bikers as well. When can we go back!!! 🙂
        And I still think Casey would have looked splendid in the front window of Foster’s Big Horn restaurant. Those were the days my friend!! ❤

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      • Sherri says:

        Ahh yes, and still laughing, Isla Vista, I was trying to remember the name, how can we ever forget that night haha!! I do remember that pigeon and the biker bar (murder, anyone, hello??). Casey would have been the star of the show with her one blue eye 😉 What an adventure that was – let’s go again my friend, and soon 🙂 xo

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  10. Thanks for sharing your gorgeous photos with us of your trip to France. Lovely! I especially liked the animal photos at the end! Welcome home!

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    • Sherri says:

      Hi Bev! Thanks so much, it’s good to be back and I’m so glad you enjoyed the pics. I knew you would enjoy the animal pics, especially the one of the cat at the end…and I will be doing a cat post especially for you shortly 😀 Hope all is well and I’ll catch up with you very shortly… 😀

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  11. Obviously, there can be no better place to be stranded without cell phone service or other distractions, Sherri. What wonderful pictures and details, but it’s so nice to have your “home” again!

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    • Sherri says:

      Hi Marylin! Ahh…thanks so much, it’s great to be back again even though if there was one place where I would want to be lost it would be there lol 😉 Glad you enjoyed the pics. Hope things are well with you my friend and you are enjoying your summer. I’ll be over to your pad very shortly as I don’t want to miss out on anything 😀

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  12. Imelda says:

    I will be back to read. 🙂 Welcome back.

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  13. Welcome home, Sherri! I miss you so much! Only you could write such a lovely post and include your beautiful photos, so soon after a two week trip. 🙂
    I love the photo of the field of sunflowers and those donkeys…they look so friendly! I’m glad you had a nice trip.

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    • Sherri says:

      Hi Jill!! Ahh…and I missed you so much too! Thank you, glad you enjoyed the pics (and those donkeys were so friendly, they came right up to the fence from across their field as soon as they saw me taking their photo, very accommodating they were!). We did have a lovely break away but it is good to be back and now trying to get back into the swing of things again! I will be over to catch up with your Summer Spotlight posts as I don’t want to miss out on any 🙂 Hope all is well with you and DFD and you are having a wonderful summer. See you soon 😀 xoxo

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  14. A gorgeous, sunkissed post Sherri. Beautiful photos and great memories. I learned a little French at school, long forgotten and though I did study Italian for a while and some Arabic, lack of use means that I’ve forgotten so much of it now – I always wanted to live in Italy for a while and use the language.

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    • Sherri says:

      Hi Andrea! Great to see you again and I’m so glad you enjoyed this post, thank you!! Wow, you must be good at languages to have taken all those! Maybe one of these days you will get to live in Italy, even if for a short time. You just never know… 😉 I look forward to catching up with you over at your place to read the latest and hope all is well with you… see you soon 😀

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  15. Amy says:

    How beautiful! Thank you so much for taking us there, Sherri! Love these photos 🙂

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  17. jenniferkmarsh says:

    Welcome back, Sherri P! 🙂 Glad you haven’t forgotten how to blog 😉 Can’t believe it’s been two weeks, though.. Really? Where has that gone? I hope your time away has refreshed you and you’re now ready to take on the world! We expect no less, with your devious goings-on in your summerhouse and all 😉

    Love your pictures of the animals. That cat looks like it’s about to kill someone, though. Whatever did you do to it to make it so angry, Sherri? 😛

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    • Sherri says:

      Hi Jenny Jen Jen! Ahh…thank you, it’s good to be back! I hope things are well with you ,I’ll be by to catch up with you very shortly to read the latest…but meanwhile, it’s great to know you are still ‘here’ and I’ve remembered how to blog, haha!! Two weeks since I blogged, I know, can you believe it? Where does the time go? I do feel refreshed in some ways but in other ways I feel exhausted. I wonder if that’s all part of that whole R&R thing…once you stop and just chill for a few days, you find it hard to get back to full throttle, so to speak? I hope I don’t disappoint you but I don’t have the energy for any devious goings-on…think I got a little too relaxed 😉
      I’ve got some more cat pics to post which I’ll do shortly but had to share this one here. This photo is cropped to bring the image of the cat even closer as it was hard to see sitting there as if keeping guard. It certainly looked very surly didn’t it? Nothing I did…moi? Haha 😀 Just after this pose, it turned it’s back to me as if in disgust so I was lucky to get this photo at all! I was behind a closed gate to take this. Honestly, the things I do for blogging!! 😛

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      • jenniferkmarsh says:

        I haven’t been very good actually, Sherri! Been nastily ill :/ But you know, I’m better than I was, so we can’t complain.

        Haha, the things you do for blogging indeed. That cat was clearing posing, then, getting its five minutes in the limelight 😉

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      • Sherri says:

        So sorry to hear that, I’ve left you a message which hopefully you’ve read by now but so glad you are feeling a bit better …and yes, that cat got his 5 minutes so it was all worth it 🙂 xx

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  18. Rachel M says:

    Great photos. It sounds like a perfect holiday: lovely scenery, live music, good food, and great company.

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    • Sherri says:

      Hi Rachel! Thanks so much, glad you enjoyed the pics, it was a great time, a really lovely holiday. Now I just need to get back into the swing of things here…and I’ll be over to you soon! Hope you and your family are having a super summer 😀

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  19. cardamone5 says:

    You gave me my first laugh of the day with the pic of the dog lawn ornament (too big to be a fox…I think!) Lovely pics and prose, as usual. Thanks.

    Fondly,
    Elizabeth

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  20. Oh Sherri, I’m so happy that you like my native land! I’m also glad that you still know how to blog since I am very happy to read you again and admire your gorgeous photos. Merci mon amie.

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  21. Welcome back, sweet woman! I so appreciate you checking in with me and sending me a note.

    This trip looks fabulous with beautiful vistas, delicious peculiar foods and plenty of R & R. Settle back in slowly and enjoy the rest of the summer. xo

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    • Sherri says:

      Ahh…thanks so much Maria, can’t tell you enough how relieved I am to see you here…what a nightmare journey you’ve been on while I’ve been chilling in France….had no idea. I’m glad that you got to enjoy your holiday for the most part before, well, you know…and we did have a lovely break, thank you. Methinks you will be needing another holiday again soon mon amie… 🙂 xo

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  22. Denise says:

    Beautiful pictures of France, Sherri.  They look so peaceful.  And I love the way you bring so much wonder to all your travel posts.

    If you don’t like fish markets, it’s a good thing you didn’t marry David Cameron!

    http://i100.independent.co.uk/article/david-cameron-really-really-likes-looking-at-fish–gyNUIlTOze

    ________________________________

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    • Sherri says:

      Thanks Denise, glad you liked them 🙂
      Haha…that’s hilarious, and what a good job indeed! What it is with David Cameron and fish markets? And yes, I’m so glad I didn’t marry him…(although an ex went on to become the mayor of Stowmarket, does that count?) 😉

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  23. Fabulous photos, Sherri. I loved reading your memories of visits to France years ago. I so agree with you about trying to learn a language from books and then having to write exams. I did ‘A level’ French, but definitely never learned, or had the confidence to speak it. 😦 I can just imagine you cycling though that beautifully peaceful countryside, stopping now and then to take pics of the sweet animals along the way. What a great way to spend a relaxing week. The ‘O Fortuna’ clip is far more exciting, definitely better than Bonnie Tyler singing about being lost in France. 🙂 xx

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    • Sherri says:

      Thanks so much Sylvia, really glad you enjoyed reading and also the pics. You did better than me, I went as far as ‘O’ Level French but it is all about having the confidence isn’t it? Yes, it was just as you describe, except having not ridden a bicycle for a while my stops weren’t always very pretty, haha!!
      So glad you agree with the choice of ‘O Fortuna’..much more dramatic 🙂 xx

      Liked by 1 person

  24. Oh what a lovely holiday you had, and now I yearn for France …

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  25. Heureux d’entendre que vous aviez un temps merveilleux en France. Have yet to visit the Dordogne region, but it looks as serenely lovely as the rest of the French countryside. I also have to agree with you, learning a language at school, through books, or via tape is never the same as being immersed in it and having to understand and speak to locals!

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    • Sherri says:

      Ahh oui!! J’ai eu un grande temps en France! There are so many other parts of France I would love to visit and I do hope you get to visit the Dordogne region, it really is beautiful (providing you keep away from all those touristy areas with all those noisy Brits, haha!!). I would love to live there for a year just to learn the language fluently! I so so admire people who are bi-lingual. Merci boucoup mon amie 😀

      Liked by 1 person

  26. mariekeates says:

    Glad you’re back safely. We have spent many happy holidays in Normandy. Thankfully my French isn’t too bad so we always get by. Your lovely photos have made me want to go back. It’s been way too long!

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    • Sherri says:

      Hi Marie, thanks for the welcome and glad to be back too. It does help to have some knowledge of French that’s for sure and I just about got by with the basics but I would love to speak more over there! Glad you enjoyed the photos and I do hope you get to go back again soon 🙂

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  27. Pat says:

    It’s so good to see your happy face, Sherri, and — oh — love the photos of France. I sure wouldn’t mind getting lost there. 🙂

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  28. Imelda says:

    Sherri, I don’t think I will ever be in France. So I appreciate your photos a lot. They capture the charm and beauty of the France that I imagine it to be. And I think what you showed us here is much prettier that Paris and its Eiffel tower. I will dream about those sunflower fields and the beautiful countryside.

    Let me just note, the scene of you and your husband in the car, lost, reminds me of a more familiar turf. I know, if my husband and I travel by car, we will inadvertently get lost and bicker like little children.

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    • Sherri says:

      I’m so glad you enjoyed the photos Imelda. I was enamoured with the charm of the French way of life the first time I experienced it some years ago and was very glad to erase my memories of cold, grey Calais from my mind, that’s for sure! I’ve not been disappointed since. Paris is nice but I do prefer rural France most definitely, although the two are like different countries.
      ‘Bicker like little children’…yes, isn’t that just the way of it? One blaming the other…never fails does it? Thank you Imelda as always for your lovely comment and sharing your thoughts… 🙂

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  29. Ste J says:

    Ooo, I love some apocalyptic O Fortuna…that is the way classical music should be! Welcome back my friend, I have missed you like a Bruce Willis missed his shoes in that scene in Die Hard when there’s all the glass on the floor…I wonder if you have missed my convolutedness. I am in full agreement about the language thing, that is why I went to America to pass on my language skills, in a small part of WA the sky is black over Bill’s mothers, thanks to me.

    France looked great and I would love to experience it more than just watching the Tour de France, I love the stuffed dog…I want one now!

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    • Sherri says:

      Me too, so very dramatic isn’t it? As the fireworks were going off (and it was a great display) there was a play going on, all in the middle of a huge field! Last time, it was to a Western theme and a guy dressed as a US Cavalry solider rode around the edge of the field on a white horse while holding a flag high in the air with the fireworks exploding all around him. The horse didn’t bat an eyelid, I was astounded.
      Oh Ste, you do make my day with your wonderful words…and I happen to be a huge fan of Bruce Willis 😉 Of course, I first came to know of him in ‘Moonlighting’…now if that isn’t dating me, I don’t know what is!
      I do have a little confession though…if you really missed me that much, I am actually really glad (and thank you for that!) but hopefully you didn’t get a few nasty cuts while I was away…and yes, I have missed your ‘convelutedeness’; very much my friend (what a great word that is!). BTW, I was trying to think of a name of a Bruce Willis film the other day and got rather confused calling it ‘Die Hard and fast in Little Tokyo’ which of course is nothing like the Vin Diesel film, right? You can see that I do get my action films a little mixed up 😉
      Bill’s mothers? What did you say Ste? Do tell…
      As for the stuffed dog, you crack me up. My daughter (she is 22 on Saturday) thought it was hilarious and shared the pic on her blogs on Tumblr and her friends love it too…do you think it could go viral? If I’d known you would like it so much I would have brought it back for you…but I got hand-searched in France as it was, setting off the buzzer at security and not a piece of metal on me… 😉

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      • Ste J says:

        I have feet of steel, which is a shame as they get rusty when I come out of the bath…I really need to sort that operation out. Putting my feet up does break coffee tables as well. Never mind, I will persevere and get on with life.

        I am not much of a film buff but I did enjoy Showdown in Little Tokyo if only for Dolph Lundgren doing a mincing run. I think the doggie could go viral, I hope it does. I hear that those detectors just randomly beep sometimes just because…which is stupid and a waste of time. Still as long as you managed to get those contraband M&M’s through then you are alright haha.

        Like

      • Sherri says:

        Haha…Dolph Lundgren mincing? Now I would pay money to see that. Oh but wait, that’s what film goers do isn’t it? Now, as for your feet of steel I am beginning to wonder about you Ste..dare I ask, are you really a robot? Or a computer even? I would love to know…. 😉

        Like

  30. Luanne says:

    Sherri, this is the closest I’m coming to a vacation this year. So absolutely lovely. So glad you were able to go on such a beautiful holiday.

    Like

    • Sherri says:

      Ahh…thank you so much Luanne. This was a planned-late-in-the-day break as we didn’t think we were going to manage to get away either. It’s only because of the generosity of our friends inviting us to stay at their place that we were able to go and we are so grateful for that. I’m so glad that you got to come along and enjoy the pics 🙂

      Like

  31. Sooo glad to see you back! Those photographs are beautiful and the village cat wins the prize! I can surely relate to the lost without directions in a strange place with the hubby. Definitely “been there” but surrounded by such beauty who can stay mad for long? I enjoyed my visit to France this morning. Maybe one day I’ll get there. Peace and Love to you! 🙂

    Like

    • Sherri says:

      Ahh…thanks so much Lilka, lovely to see you again! So glad you enjoyed the photos, I’m thinking of doing a blog just for cat photos soon as I always seem to be taking photos of them when on holiday, lol 😉 Haha…yes, with the beautiful surroundings it isn’t easy to stay mad for long! Wonderful to have you along for this little visit and see you soon. Peace and love to you too ❤

      Like

  32. Tom Merriman says:

    Welcome back, Sherri!
    I must say that it was a very nice gesture of you at age 11 to help that French woman with her English.
    That stuffed dog’s a bit strange, isn’t it? Maybe its there to keep the cats at bay.
    I like the sound of the lazy, restful and relaxing life, and you’ve once again posted some amazing photos… for some reason, I never expected France to look like that (I don’t know why though – it isn’t exactly a thousand miles away, is it?)
    And live firework displays always add a magical end to the day.
    Fabulous post once more.

    Like

    • Sherri says:

      Hi Tom, thanks so much for the lovely welcome, really appreciate it!
      Haha…yes, wasn’t that good of me 😉
      Very bizarre to say the least…there some very odd things in that garden, as well as some shells and a plastic dinosaur on the letter box…hmmmm….but yes, maybe it was to keep the cats away, who knows?! My daughter thought it was hilarious 😉
      Ahh…that’s so nice of you to say about the photos Tom, thanks so much. You know, I do get exactly what you are saying because I felt just the same way about France until I first visited the rural parts of it a few years ago (this is the third time we’ve been now). As you know, the fish markets of Calais put me right off and I honestly had no desire to revisit so I was certainly in for a big surprise. Just goes to show you doesn’t it what travel opens up?
      What I love about the summers over there is that there is always something going on and either for free or very cheaply, the fireworks being no exception. There is such a strong sense of community, something we seem to have lost here in Blighty sadly…but then I don’t live in a village so maybe it’s different again…
      See you soon 🙂

      Like

  33. thirdhandart says:

    Gorgeous photos of rural France Sherri! The stuffed dog is a little weird, but very intriguing. Sure glad that you had a lovely time. Welcome back!

    Like

    • Sherri says:

      Hi Theresa! So glad you enjoyed the pics and yes, that stuffed dog is so weird isn’t it? I had to take the photo just to show everyone as nobody would believe it! And with a pinwheel stuck on its head? What’s with that? As Tom said, maybe it’s there to scare cats away…who knows! Thanks so much for the lovely welcome, it’s good to be back 😀

      Like

  34. I’m so glad you had such a wonderful holiday. Your photos are just wonderful. Makes me wish that we could again visit. I’m impressed by your bike riding and that field of sun flowers really makes me think of summer fun. The jazz sounded enjoyable also. Now you will have lovely memories to tide you over as you head into winter (I’m just gloating as we are heading into summer). Glad to have you back home writing from your summerhouse. Love and cheers Irene 🙂

    Like

    • Sherri says:

      Thanks so much Irene, we did indeed have a wonderful holiday, but already it seems so far away! The sunflowers are just beautiful. I grew them once in California and they always remind me of my daughter playing in the garden in her paddling pool, and especially since it is her birthday on Saturday, being a summer baby 🙂 Yes, lovely memories indeed of summer (but I did see blackberries already ripening which seems very early to me, usually not until the end of August at least). You must be relishing the thought of summer fast approaching! I can only hazard a wild guess at what kind of a winter we’ll be in for with the way the weather is going lately…
      Lovely to hear from you my friend, love and cheers to you too 🙂

      Like

      • Happy birthday to your daughter for Saturday. Hope you all have a lovely day. Ours is predicted to be raining so I think it could be indoors for me. 🙂

        Like

      • Sherri says:

        Thanks so much Irene, I’ve just baked the cake and now quickly blogging again 🙂 I hope you had a super week with your friends, sorry I didn’t get to email you back as I said I would, but I will do as soon as I can. I loved your koala photo 🙂 You have a lovely weekend too, rain or no rain, as I’m sure you will and see you soon my friend 🙂 ❤

        Like

  35. Steven says:

    Sherri Poppins and the Summerhouse Crew are back! Wahey! You and your brolly have been much, much missed, not least because of the recent wet weather. You will see that Jennifer, Patsy and I have left the Summerhouse of Secrets exactly as you left it.

    That dog/fox and windmill concoction. I am… I just… I can’t even… why…? What a bizarre thing to choose to have in your garden. What a lovely place, though! I too think of France being quite different from this. I too often think of just Paris when I think of France. Not that I’m saying Paris is ugly, far from it – just I forget the beautiful rural areas like this. I want to live here!

    What a marvellously sinister looking French cat there, too. He’s up to ‘le mischief’, I’m sure. Mon Francais, there.

    It’s fitting you included ‘O Fortuna’ in this post, as it’s what played in my head when it dawned on me that you had returned… 😉 but it’s great to have yer back, mu.. er Sherri!

    Like

    • Sherri says:

      Yay! And yay again! Oh JG, it’s so great to see you back here, now the Summerhouse Crew is complete and raring to go once again, and thanks so much to you, Jenny Jen Jen and Patsy for keeping an eye on things. I must say, I was very impressed, everything looked as neat as a pin and perfectly in place as I would expect…haha!
      Isn’t that stuffed dog/fox wild? I thought of you actually (oh dear, that sounds awful, but you know what I mean) when I took the shot as I just knew you would be as perplexed about it as I am. Aspie D of course thought it was hilarious and posted it on her Tumblr blog and all her friends loved it! Ha, go figure.. 😉
      I’m with you about France, until I visited the countryside I had no idea. As you know, I finally went to Paris a few years ago but, while a wonderful place to visit, is so different to rural France. You would really love it there, the peace and quiet is second to none.
      Haha…yes, that cat! Jenny wondered what I had done to it to make it so angry, as if…!! That darn cat, I’m lucky to get a photo of it at all, as a mere second after I took the shot it turned it’s back on me and started cleaning it’s, well, you know….
      I love that… ‘marvellously sinister’…what a great description. Meet my Marvellously Sinister French Cat’. Sure there could be a children’s story hidden in there somewhere perhaps…?
      The explosions of ‘O Fortuna’ exploding all over blogland to announce my return, ha! Well, if that doesn’t make my diva-ish ways go overboard, I don’t know what will!
      Seriously though, thanks so much for your lovely welcome JG and it is great to be back, magical brolly and all 🙂
      PS I almost signed it ‘Love Mum’… 😉

      Like

  36. Seyi sandra says:

    My sweet dear Sherri, I’m really happy that you had a fabulous time! We all need that time away don’t we? 🙂 Judging by your pictures, you needn’t have bothered about your French. The fact is, life is for the living and you are living it with people you love. Welcome back my friend!
    Much love to you!!! 🙂 🙂

    Like

    • Sherri says:

      Ahh…and my dear sweet Seyi, how lovely to see you again, I’m looking forward to coming over to you shortly, I’ve missed you 🙂 We did indeed have a wonderful time, thank you so much and also for your lovely welcome, and yes, it was just the break we needed. It certainly is about the people we spend time with, most definitely! I hope you are enjoying your summer and no doubt getting ready for the back to school fun and games, of which I remember so very well!
      See you soon and much love to you too 🙂 ❤

      Like

  37. mijo1947 says:

    Lovely photos! It reminds me that I take where we live here for granted now after a decade or so… and don’t take any photos unless we go away. Will rectify that – spurred on by you!

    Like

    • Sherri says:

      Thanks so much, really glad you enjoyed them! So glad to have encouraged you to take more photos for yourself! I’ve always taken lots for some reason but of course it’s easier and cheaper now with digital cameras! Lovely to see you again, have a great weekend 🙂

      Like

  38. Marko says:

    I warmly welcome and invite you to watch a new photo album “Lilies”
    Good weekend!

    Like

  39. Charli Mills says:

    Stunning, Sherri, absolutely stunning! That’s the kind of French trip I’d love–good friends, good scenery, good food, good times! So happy you could redeem your first experience in France! Thank you for sharing your adventures with us and welcome back!

    Like

    • Sherri says:

      So glad you enjoyed this little visit to France Charli 🙂 Not a snake in sight but yes, plenty of all that you describe. It was very relaxing and certainly put paid to any memories of cold fish markets! Thanks so much for your lovely welcome back…it’s good to be here 🙂

      Like

  40. restlessjo says:

    It all looks wonderfully peaceful, Sherri. I can see how the love affair began 🙂

    Like

    • Sherri says:

      It really is wonderfully peaceful there Jo, so quiet and calm and charming in every way. I had no idea that rural France was this way and I’m thrilled to be able to share the pics here. Now I need to come over to you and catch up with your wonderful walks and pics 🙂

      Like

  41. Magical Sherri – I love that stream especially, but it’s so cool to get your actual words about each pic from your trip. Welcome back! HUGS! ❤ XXX

    Like

    • Sherri says:

      Ahh…thank you dear Jo, so glad you enjoyed and yes, that stream is a delight. You can wade across it to the other side and it actually leads to a river through to the nearby towns where people hire out kayaks. It is beautiful there and the water crystal clear… 🙂
      What a lovely welcome and I will catch up with you, yet here I am days late just keeping up with things since returning almost 3 weeks ago…help, what’s wrong with me??!!! Love & hugs to you…you make it so good to be back… 😀 ❤ xxxxxxxxxxxx

      Like

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