I’m tired just thinking about it — but we have gone from Australia to the UK to France in the very short space of 5 weeks. Seriously — whew!
We don’t bounce back energy-wise as fast as we did 20+ years ago — so we were well into Week 2 in England at Mark’s parents’ house before we started to shed SOME of the jet-lag. But even when we first arrived in France in the 3rd week of November, we were still exhausted.
Once we had the shopping and car insurance and ferry reservations and so forth sorted out, we drove in the wind and rain to Portsmouth to take the night ferry to Caen. I had booked a cabin so we could get some sleep, but the staff hadn’t finished cleaning the rooms when we arrived, so we ended up getting very few hours of shut-eye.
Waiting in a long and very slow line to board the ferry.
Waiting for our cabin to be cleaned in the blue-light disco.
Arriving in France, we drove through persistent rain towards Caen and then south to the town of Saint-Pierre-sur-Dives and onward to the nearby village where we will be living for the next several months as Mark does a large renovation project.
The house was built over several centuries — but the oldest section is from the 1400s. And the part we are living in — the red brick section — is from the 1800s. We even have a resident mouser named (badly!) Caramel who SHOULD be named Rocky because he’s such a sturdy bruiser of a cat. However (ahem!) — he has now adopted Mark and he follows him around like a puppy. So much for the cat’s stand-offish reputation!
The Normandy renovation project.
Mark inside the renovation project.
Mark’s new playmate — the cat in residence.
The town of Saint-Pierre-sur-Dives is quite stunning and given the fact that they were occupied by the German army during World War II — a remarkable amount of truly old and lovely buildings are intact.
Every Monday morning, there is a large local market that takes place both inside the medieval market hall (another post about that coming soon!) and in the nearby street and huge parking lot. The range of fresh produce, cheese, wine, meat, seafood, and more was a wonderful surprise.
The packed Monday market in Saint-Pierre-sur-Dives.
Inside the historic medieval market hall at Saint-Pierre-sur-Dives.
Rooflines show the overlapping time periods of the town.
Leaning against a wall of the cloister, a statue awaits restoration of the abbey in Saint-Pierre-sur-Dives.
And finally — a hello from our next door neighbours on ALL sides — the lovely cows of Normandy. I’ll be back with more slices of life-in-France in the next few days. Enjoy!
The pretty cows in the fields next door.
©Deborah Harmes and ©A Wanderful Life
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