Friday, June 27, 2014

Mont-de-Marsan; our French Home, or Where are we?

A sweet little town of 30,000 people in the southwest of France; north of Spain, south of Bordeaux. The Atlantic ocean and beach is a 45-minute drive. We've had one memorable weekend there so far.

The important people here are our family members.
There is really very little time for anyone else when we come; we see each other every few years and it is hard to fill that short time with enough memories. Of course we leave and visit elsewhere; we have cherished, good friends that we miss terribly (I'll see you soon!!!) and can't wait to spend time with too, but we have no connections in this town outside of family.

There have been some changes since our last visit; we are in the same house as before, but we have moved down a level. The grandmother who once lived here has gone, as she wished fervently every day of her life, to see the Lord. Every morning I would say, "Bonjour Madame, how are you today?" and she would tell me a variation on; "I am waiting to meet my maker. There is nothing left for me here." May she have found rest in the heaven she dreamed of.

Her son, Thierry's uncle, a man with a heart of gold, has given us the use of the house for our stay here. He could not have done it alone; my sainted mother and father in-law, and his lovely, funny wife, were organized into a gulag. For weeks before our arrival, they strove to clean out and clean up this place no one had lived in for the past two years, yet had been the family home since 1960. A lot of memories, a lot of things, a lot of work. Thank you.

I am writing from here, the bed in the wardrobe mirror:

(I've always dreamed of having a wardrobe.) (No Narnia though, just a sort of musty odor.)

We sometimes have lunch here:

Thierry cutting up Charles' food because he is not supposed to use his hand for another two months, at least, it is still in a cast for now.

Same place, different angle.

Or here:

The outside table, the backdrop is the wall to the old factory. This was where the family business was run for many years. Today that space has become a meeting place for old guys who make, fly, break and remake their model airplanes.

There is also an office, perfect! Thierry is working from home again this time, but he does not have to do it from a corner in the living room with 5 kids all over the place. They do go and sit in the chair opposite him and chat sometimes, but he can work that way. Boarding school does that to a person. 

There are 4 bedrooms. The parents were given the one big enough to contain a piano, the wardrobe, two large armchairs and a small yoga class. The kids really should have been given this room, but it is the "parental suite" and they are in the other wing of the house. French rules. What can I do but submit? We also have the kitchen and the larger bathroom over here. Unfortunately, both bathrooms have drain problems, which make either wing a wet dog that jumped into sewer water. We keep the windows open much of the time. But not at night; some people are uncomfortable with the idea that big spiders might come through the open window at night, (boo hoo), so the windows are closed then.

The way things were set up before we came; each girl was given her own tiny bedroom (they are thrilled) and the boys share the 3rd, larger room. They are pretty happy too, as it is big and they can crawl out the windows to play in the backyard. They have an "all-inclusive" bathroom; which means the commode is in the same room as the shower. They are isolated from the noises of the kitchen, which is really nice, as we rise earlier and can bang around making coffee and tea and doing laundry (the washing machine is in the "Water Closet" on this side) and they can sleep. 

Then there is the all-important living room with the sofa and tv, where we MUST watch the World Cup. (Even though most games don't start until 10pm, grumble, snort, complain and join-them-Jane.) Here is Duncan, up earlier than the others this morning, getting his i-pod ready for the gym:

Look at the time! Two kids are awake and would really like me to dash across the street for their morning chocolate bread. Poor dears. It's the least I can do. Bonne journée!


  1. Hi Angela! I thoroughly enjoyed reading your post!!

    Sara O'

  2. Thanks for stopping by, Sara! I love hearing from you! Are you enjoying the Midwest or the Pacific coast right now? See you pronto!

  3. So nice to meet your French family. How well do all your children speak French? My youngest still speaks better German than English :). Do they feel at home in France?

  4. Eva, hallo! My children speak French, with a bit of an accent and a little effort. The older ones find it easier than the younger ones from spending more time here, but they have all caught back up very quickly this time! France is, I think, another home for them. The older three miss their friends the most.


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