It was a great weekend here in our little village of Chatelaillon. Our main street was closed to cars and a little pretend village was set up for children and costumed adults were everywhere. I saw our butchers wife dressed up like Cinderella with a blonde wig of cascading curls.
On Sunday I went for a walk and saw this:

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I wanted around a bit thinking to see something exotic.

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But I only saw horses. Later they were in the parade attached to wagons. Some of them were enormous.

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Here are two of them in the parade on Sunday that went right by our apartment building.

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I loved the figures on stilts. The parade ended with two camels. I would call that exotic.

    There are some days, here at the beach, when I do little more than cook meals, eat and look at the view but I try to get out and at least walk a bit.

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    This heavily edited photo was taken from our balcony. Maurice and I took four lessons on a hobbycat one week. I was at the front of the boat in charge of the small jib sail. I’ve never done any sailing and the first day Maurice hand to say left or right so I would know which rope to pull. I finally understood what was going on and could do my job when we changed directions. Two days it was very windy and there were pretty big waves and one of the boats in our group actually turned over but we never did that although we came close a couple of times. The first day Maurice got on the boat and grabbed his back in pain and spent the rest of the lesson on his knees. At the end of the lesson his knees looked like hamburger. In the end we enjoyed it all but I’m not sure if we will ever rent a sail boat.

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    When the tide is high and there is no wind, the water can be as smooth as a lake.

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    Big blue sky with some of that smooth water.

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    The view from my couch one evening after the sun has set. So peaceful.

Maurice decided that seeing this area by boat would add another dimension to our time here and went and got a license to drive a boat with a motor. You don’t need a licence to use a sail boat for some reason. I don’t remember needing one for any kind of boat in the States either unless things have changed. So, with license in hand we rented a boat for half a day. To begin with Maurice wanted to buy a boat but I’ve been down that road in my “former life” and I know what a hassle that can be. As some one said, “The two happiest days in your life are when you buy a boat and when you sell it”. I’ve only been on a lake in a small boat and found parts of the open water we were on pretty rough. We will have to see if it was just rough on that day or if it will always be.

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Here’s a look at the harbor we left from. It turns out that it’s (les Minimes) the largest one in France and the traffic to get into the main Channel was very heavy.

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We went on to the harbor of la Rochelle just because we could. It was neat seing it from a boat.

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Here’s Maurice at the helm. It was fun but tiring. Next time we will get a boat with shade. I don’t do sun well.

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We’ve been in our beach apartment almost three years now and I love it but things can’t always run smoothly. When we first moved in a lady who was part of the business that built the building our apartment is in told me that I couldn’t have a gas or coal burning grill on the balcony so I bought a small electric one. I love grilling in the summers, putting meat or fish on a grill, not having to turn on the oven or stand over a pan on the stove. So I have been happily grilling away all this time. Then we were informed that our neighbor had complained at the home owners association about my grill. This neighbor, and his wife, are right next to us and my grill is on the terrace right next to theirs. I haven’t thought about the smoke bothering them because they don’t live there full time. In fact, we only see them maybe once a month. He is a wealthy investor and has a place on the tony Ile de Re where real estate is very expensive as well as a home in nearby la Rochelle. I think this apartment is just an investment and I believe he even invested in the whole building. I’ve met him a few times and he seems friendly enough but not only does he not understand my French, he is also mostly deaf to boot. Anyway, the one day they were there and I grilled-and I wouldn’t have if I had realized they were there as I wouldn’t want smoke going into their place. By the way, the only way to cool our places besides using fans is to open the sliding glass doors facing the beach so I know smoke would have gone in their apartment if they were there. We saw them downstairs as they were leaving and they said goodbye, and not one word about the grill which made me mad. Why bring up the grill at an association meeting and not tell us themselves? We are waiting to hear from the powers that be but I’m not going to stop grilling unless they are next door. One reason why is the fact that our basement/garage area has been flooded or wet the whole time we have been here. We can’t put anything in our garage that will mildew or spoil. An “expert” has been doing his thing for three years with no results. A judge has been involved with no findings. I told Maurice that until they fix the problem, I will continue to grill. They can sue me to get me to stop, which is something that doesn’t seem to work well here in France. Anyway, this has really gotten me mad. A blotch on my blue skies and oceon

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Alto, I thought I would never have to pull another weed once we sold our place in Provence which had a huge yard. There are weeds in front of the wall which overlooks the beach and it just looks awful so I got out there and started pulling. I was tired of looking at them. It’s always something. I take a look at the view and take a deep breath and remember to enjoy what I have.

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Summer is almost here so we headed back to the beach on the Atlantic coast of France. We had a few days of rain at the beginning but also some great days full of sunshine and it was great to get outside. Being close to Mother Nature is very uplifting to the spirits.

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Look at that light! Isn’t it great?

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I love the pink light seen in this puffball which I think is a weed.

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A nice sunset with a beach fence which I love.

I love Monet’s home there in Giverny. It’s not huge or sophisticated, but warm and inviting.

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The house as seen from the garden.

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This room was new to me from my last visit. The walls were covered with replicas of his paintings and I believe he painted in here.

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Here was the window giving great light for painting.

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A photo of Monet himself.

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A view from upstairs overlooking the garden.

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The fireplace in the dining room. Lots of blue and yellow in the house and many Japanese prints and etchings.

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The kitchen.

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