“Although it is only 7 am, the breeze coming in our bedroom window is already steamy  hot.  The sounds of the village awakening are familiar to me, birds chirping, cars taking our neighbors to work, and people greeting each other on their way to the boulangerie.  “Bonjour Madame, ça va?”  “Tres bien Monsieur”.

I dress quickly and head to the bakery myself to pick up a baguette while John makes coffee.  I amble through the cobblestone streets.  The sounds of quiet French conversations drift from open windows.  The aroma of strong coffee fills the air.  Old women in flowered cotton dresses stand in their windows gossiping with their neighbors.

Angel, my little geriatric poodle, accompanies me.  She has made three transcontinental flights with me to France in as many years.  She’s now so used to long distance air travel, as soon as I put her in her carrier at the airport she goes into suspended animation and sleeps for the next 12 hours.  She never makes a sound as she sleeps under the seat in front of me on the plane.   None of the other passengers are aware of her presence until we exit at Charles DeGaulle.

As we walk through the village Angel is greeted by a number of dogs.  I have learned the French here don’t “fix” their dogs so as my elderly bitch and I walk along we are joined by a parade of very horny male dogs.  They are large and small, well groomed or bedraggeled.  Angel prefers the small ones.  Dafou, a small scruffy terrier who lives up our street, is her personal favorite.  When he arrives at her side she jumps and spins, sticking her rear in the air.  Dafou is very romantically inclined so I have to pick Angel up and carry her.

The boulangerie smells of yeast, vanilla, and sugar.  The short  stocky proprietress hands me a flute, a loaf slightly larger than a baguette, before I ask for it.  She knows that is what I order each day. It is wrapped with light white paper in the middle so that one can carry it without placing your fingers directly on the loaf.  I give her a one euro coin.  The freshly baked bread is still warm in my hand as I walk home.

We have breakfast of toasted bread and marmalade in the garden under an umbrella.  For her breakfast Angel has developed a taste for toast spread with Bovril, a very thick and salty meat extract beloved by Brits and detested by Americans.
Gayla Odle
5/9/2013 03:11:55 pm

Barbara, I can almost smell and feel your experience in this little french village! Your writing is beautiful! I love your pictures and how they match exactly what you have described in your text. You are in your element there, I can just tell. Now that is what retirement is supposed to be...... just a relaxed and fulfilling life. Thanks for sharing your experience with us! Love, Gayla

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Barbara
5/9/2013 11:49:51 pm

Thanks Gayla. Really do hope you and the big guy come to visit us. I promise not to feed him snails

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