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Finally, after all of our traveling, we are back to our new place on the beach. When we left it was still chilly and we only opened our sliding glass doors in the afternoon when it warmed up a bit. Now, France is having high temperatures well into the 80’s (doesn’t sound like much if you live in Arizona but very few places have air conditioning). We came into our apartment after being gone for over a month and it was just really hot and stuffy. We opened the doors to our terrace and our bedroom window and I turned on the fan I bought before we left. It hardly seemed to matter. I knew we wouldn’t have a/c when we built this place but I got talked out of ceiling fans and, after our first night here, I regret it. With our beautiful view of the sea, comes the evening sun as we face west and we put down our shutters but it really heats up our place.

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We have a nice couple who also live in our building and they invited us for dinner the day we returned. We walked into their apartment at seven and I was blinded by the light pouring through their windows and had to run and get my sunglasses. I saw that the table for the meal was set up outside on their terrace in the full sun and my heart sank. I’m one of those unfortunate people who don’t do well in high temperatures and I don’t sit in the sun if I can help it as my Irish skin turn quickly red. The lady of the couple was very brown and I think it was just from sitting outside and eating. Her husband turns red like me. Maurice, with his gypsy heritage, is very tan. Anyway, we had champagne and very good hors d’ouvres out on the terrace. Luckily, I sat with most of my back to the sun but I could feel the back of my arms and my neck starting to burn. It was so hot. I was just drenched. Finally, around nine, a little breeze came up and the sun started setting and, by the end of our delicious meal (wonderful salad, fish with potatoes, apricot tarte)it finally started cooling down. We got back home after 11 PM and every single article of clothing had to go straight into the washer and there is no way I will be using the dryer.

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I am debating about buying an air conditioner unit. In the morning, it is nice and fresh as soon as the doors and windows are open. Once the sun hits our terrace and then our living room, I may start doing an internet search for one. When we were in Corsica, Maurice’s family not only didn’t use the a/c unit in their bedroom, they slept with the windows closed. They also closed one sliding glass door each morning that I had opened to let in cooling breezes not liking it-many French that I know, don’t like breezes or fans. I happily turned our unit on each night and it made sleeping so much easier. I am pretty used to not living with air conditioning now but a fan is a must. We will see how I go here.

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(Update: It cooled down. Yah!)

This and That

Life is interesting on the beach. I don’t even have to leave our apartment to get photos but it’s always more fun if I do.

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There was a vide grenier (a French flea market) nearby at a school and it was mostly junk-no professionals like there usually are. I didn’t see anything I wanted but this pink seltzer bottle but the seller wanted too much money. He would give us a special deal if we bought the blue one too. I don’t think I would gave done it but Maurice, unlike himself, handed over the cash so now I have both. I may give the blue one to someone as a gift but I sort of like it now.

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Look at this wisteria! We were in a car with Maurice’s sister looking for the vide grenier when I spotted it and had her stop the car. I”ve seen photos of this variety before but never in person. So beautiful.

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We saw this on a bike ride the other day. I loved the yellow flowers reflected in the water.

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There are fences separating parts of the beach from some protected sand dunes and I saw this lady sunbathing probably hoping for privacy. I thought she looked rather artistic, like someone in a painting.

Before and After

This last Sunday, a perfect sunny day, I noticed a huge class of tiny sail boats head out into the water. They were gone for hours-they must have had lunch on board at some point. I would loved to have had a class like this when I was young. Anyway, some photos from that day.

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Taken from our terrace when they first headed out.

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Hours later, when they returned, I walked down to the shore to get a look. It was bedlam. As soon as their boats hit the shore, they madly dashed up to carts with wheels to move the boats out of the water so the next batch could do the same.

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Getting the boat on the carrier.

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Trying to show how many there were.

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The last group making their way to shore.

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In the meantime, there was this couple with their little dog, oblivious to it all. The kids had to pull their boats around them to get them to their destination


This is a look at the beach in the middle of the day full of people and then afterwards as the sun was setting. I took this video a couple of weeks ago and each day there are more and more people on the beach and I think in a month or so, it will be packed and I will get another video. When the sun is out, so are beach lovers.

Beach Days

We are still here at our beach place doing exciting things like putting in a shower door and hanging curtains. I get out just about every day and walk along the beach. I’m looking forward to summer when I won’t need a coat outside although it’s pretty mild here weather-wise due to the Gulf Stream.

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I’m fascinated by these wooden poles in the water. I think they used to tie up oyster boats here. Now they use tractors to get out to the rocky areas where the oysters are harvested-if that’s the right word.

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Two tractors on the way out to get those oysters. I saw a man pulling a long boat too which he put in the water.

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I take photos all the time of the sand and sand fences. They just look so photogenic.

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A little snack shop has these hanging in the window-so nautical. I’d love to put things like this around our place but, unfortunately, my furniture and decorations are either something to do with Provence or Texas-like, since some of my furniture came with me to France. Our place is more formal than I’d like, really, but that’s not the worst problem I could have.

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On a sadder note, Elliot, my 15 year old cat, is starting to have health problems. When we got here he started being more needy than usual, meowed a whole lot and seemed really thirsty even going after what I was drinking, sticking his head in my glass. We took him to the vet and he has some sort of renal failure. I’m not sure if it’s reversible or not. I’m going to ask the vet when we go pick up some medicine for Elliot. She wants him to eat some new cat food too, something he normally doesn’t like. I tried an expensive cat food before and he didn’t eat it like he liked it and started looking low in energy and his coat wasn’t glossy. Back on Friskies, he perked up and looked better. To my surprise, he likes the new cat food. It’s soft and smelly so maybe, due to his age, his teeth weren’t the best. I’ve never gotten him to eat canned cat food before. Well, the circle of life. I wonder how long he has left. He came with me from Texas but will end his days here in France.

On The Beach

Still here in Chatelaillon which, by the way, is in a district of France called Charante Maritime which is south of Brittany and which gets as much sunshine as the Cote d’Azur. We just don’t have that beautiful blue water but, then again, we don’t have the crowds of people and things are more affordable. We now have everything unpacked and are still in the process of hanging pictures and putting in light fixtures-just taking our time. We’ve had a couple of days of pouring rain here and, even then, it was still wonderful to look out our big window at the beach. Kite surfers love big windy storms and they come to catch the wind and we love watching them. It turns out that our end of the beach is the only place they let them surf to protect swimmers on the other end. There is usually at least one guy on the packed sand with a sail and a type of skate board wizzing along and sometimes a little vehicle with three wheels and a sail. I’ve tried wind surfing before and never really mastered it so don’t think I will be trying anything I’ve seen, especially when I saw how long it takes to get those sails all folded away again at the end.

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Here are two guys with the kite sails after being out on the water. They walk back to the car with the sails behind them and then fold them. I guess it’s easier that way. When the tide goes way out, there is a very long walk out to the water. Looks like a lot of work.

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I like these little fences in the sand which I think are to keep the sand back during winds and storms.

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Shy little birds (killdeer?) that run behind waves as they retreat. I’d like to get closer for photos but they always fly away. They fly in interesting formations, all in a group, moving as one like a school of fish. If the sun is shining, their white bellies look like flashes of silver. I can’t manage to get that on camera either. I need my good camera which is back in Paris with a good lens instead of my little point and shoot.
I haven’t taken any photos of the interior of our place yet but plan to when it looks more settled. There are a few things I don’t like, such as the exterior color of our section of the apartment building. It’s a horrible mustard color that I haven’t seen anywhere else in the whole of our village. Hopefully, it will fade with time. I don’t like the room where the toilet is as they stuck it in with the washer and dryer and water heater. I guess we will have to add a door as it seems very strange. It was hard to pick that up when looking at a floor plan. It’s really hard to get the car out of the garage-we have already scraped a fender-and I think they will have to take down a wall or two at the exit. Other than that, I love our place. I think we will have many happy times here.

Starting Again

Finally, Maurice and I were able to go to Chatelaillon, on the beach, to approve our new place and move in. Our furniture has been in storage for almost two years. Our place, one of fourteen in the building, was supposed to be ready in October but, for many reasons including some bad weather, January turned out to be the finishing date. It turns out, that while our apartment was ready to move in to, the rest of the building is still being worked on. There are workmen here everyday doing various things. The worst thing is that there is a leak in the basement/garage area with some serious water on the floor and, in the week that we’ve been here, hasn’t been fixed. We would have been in a week earlier if the kitchen people hadn’t double booked. Because we moved in a week later than planned, our move-in day occurred during what looked like a gale to me. The wind howled and there were periods of extremely heavy rainfall. Somehow we got everything moved in with just a soggy box here and there. In France-I’m not sure about the rest of Europe-the kitchen is not included in the cost of a new place. You have to go to a kitchen store, pick out what you want, and have it installed. It adds to final costs as you might imagine. Also, there are only bare bulbs in the ceiling and light fixtures have to be bought, along with towel racks and toilet paper holders. Money-ours-is flowing.
Even so, we love our new place, our second home (we will still keep our Paris place) and even though it’s still winter have enjoyed our little village and just sitting looking at the view. We will be here a week or so more and then go back to Paris until late Spring sometime. I really look forward to being here this Summer. I think it will be great. I’ve always wanted to live by the ocean and, finally, here I am taking a photo of a sunrise or sunset just about every day.

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A soft sunrise.

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A nice sky seen from our balcony.

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This is a huge area for oyster harvesting and when the tide goes out, and it goes waaaay out, you can see rocky areas where, I’m assuming, oysters once grew naturally. Now I think there is a type of growing them inside baskets. This photo shows an area where the tide has gone out. I liked the reflections of the clouds in the water left behind.

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Oyster shells by the thousands found on the sand after a storm.

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I love the foam left behind as a wave retreats.
So, more photos around our new place to come and then a return to Paris.