Lost and found in Cinais

Dear Mum,

Storm clouds over Cinais
Storm clouds over Cinais

You’re turning into a night owl. Damn that stupid Melbourne weather! Wish I was having some of it. I accidentally had the Melbourne weather on my weather app and got quite excited at the thought of 16 degrees and partly cloudly. That gives you some idea of the conditions at Cinais at the moment.

It has rained every day for the past 5 or so days but Toby and I don’t care. My runners need to be stuffed with newspaper and placed on the heating panels whenever we return. I have to throw a towel over him and clean him before he enters the house (he does NOT enjoy that part) but it’s great writing weather. I’ll be honest-I only got out the manuscript yesterday for the first time but I’m heartened by the fact that I still like reading it. I got stuck in and made serious inroads so it may not take the full 6 months after all. That would be grand – there’s LOTS of other stuff to do.

L'Ecrin
L’Ecrin

Yesterday I met my second house sit hostess. Another like-minded soul. We sat and chatted for over 2 hours. She has just returned from a 10 day ‘hike’ on horseback in Italy. She has a multicultural drop in centre in Chinon, the next large(ish) town. She has invited me to go to an English speaking get-together on Wednesday afternoon. It will be for the benefit of assorted French and Spanish people who want to improve their English. I think my role is to be the Antipodean light relief – it won’t be the first time I’ve played that part. Elizabeth will pick me up at 1 and take me back to her place for lunch and a get-to-know (she’s only got 2 cats – how hard can that be?) but I will be able to check out the self-contained flat where I will most likely spend the next almost 2 months. I considered applying for other house sits during that time but I now understand the time and effort spent in moving residence and learning the ropes of each new place. I love this part of France rain and all – and with luck I may be able to break the back of the re-write with minimal disruption.

After our English conversation get-together she will take me to a ‘bio co-op’ – a sort of health store/supermarket just past Chinon. This is definitely the way to get to know your neighbourhood. I can’t believe how lucky I was to discover Mind My House. Apart from anything else I’m living on the smell of an oily rag. Other than the odd foray to buy wine, bread and goat’s cheese (the essentials) I’m spending nothing!

Doggy joie de vivre
Doggy joie de vivre

There has been the odd hiccup. I’ve lost and found more objects on my walk with Toby than I care to remember (including a spare house key which spent a night out in the open and I found nestled under a carpet of dead leaves! – not an experience I care to dwell on). I now know to zip up my coat pockets whenever I go for a walk. I blame a combination of jetlag, unfamiliar surroundings and routines and new items of wardrobe (the coat!). I don’t normally lose things but now I am learning my limits. On the plus side, I think I’m beginning to find my feet!

I must away – the cleaning lady (Anita) is nearly done and we now have un cafe et conversation francaise or more likely fronglaise. It’s a tough gig but someone’s got to do it!

Much love

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