Madame McIntosh, en la Charite sur Loire


“Come away fair human child, with the fairy’s hand in hand.  For the world’s more worrying, than you can understand.”          

~ William Butler Yeats

I have decided that I know and love too many people. In the years I have been visiting this village, I have come to know and care for many. But it is nothing like the hundreds of you in Vancouver and other places. I think of you all often, with pleasure.

I have been in France for six weeks.  In many ways, the work and life I have been living and breathing these many years feels very far away. Even with the telephone, the internet, I am truly living in the moment of where I am.  Even with the globalization of our world at large, I am observing folk that feel and think very differently. And not just because they are French, but because they choose to.

Life in the village is quiet, yet there is so much to do. For instance, today I went to a stylish café, owned and operated by a former professional tennis player.  He teaches me French and I teach him English. He loves music - so much of the music I also love and played in my Vancouver flat and shop. One day he was playing Diana Krall, oh how he adores her. He was at one of her performances in Paris. Of course, I told him I had met her. He makes a beautiful chocolat chaud, and cappuccino. His chai rooibus latte is served in a delicate china cup, and all of his tisanes are first rate. Every visit with Francis in his salon du the is a long visit.  I always leave content.  

After today’s visit, I went to see Roger, the English bookseller. He has new teeth, and they are lovely.  Today, instead of drinking our café in his bookshop, or going to the bar tabac next door, he invited me up the stairs into his home for café.

After our visit I returned to la maison and prepared dejeuner.   Then, a friend called and came over for tea.    After he left, I sauntered down the Grand Rue to pick up a few items from the shops. When I returned to la maison, I made dinner.  Then, I went for a very long walk along the Loire, flaneuring through the lees of Linden trees, with a stir in my step.  The calm walk changes as I carry on the path, under the rookery, where the crows caw about their days doings while guarding their bairns from a long fall from the nest to the mossy path below.

So as you read, indeed, life in the village is quiet, but the days are full of intrigue and joy.   Other days there have been excursions into other villages for the brocantes.  Into Pouilly to taste and purchase wine, walks along the many footpaths, stopping into the many shops; book shops, art galleries, florists, chocolate, patisseries, boulangeries, butchers, wine,  hair salons, shoes, clothes, bars, real estate, wood turning, book making……  Sometimes I go to church on Sunday; the Cathedral is 800 years old.  It is big, it is cold and it is lovely to observe the village folk from here and other villages quietly take their pew and mark the passing week with a religious beginning to the next week.

As today is coming to a close, I hear the bird song turn into a whispering lullaby.  The village becomes still, the shutters begin to close, and soon the lights of the village will go dark.  

I will prepare to retire, change into the antique nightdress I purchased for 10 euro: off white linen, with embroidered red initials: MB.  As the French write the surname first, this dress to dream in was meant for me.

Bon nuit mes amies.

Madame McIntosh, en la Charite sur Loire