Before you embark on the French adventure with me, you must meet Christine. Apart from being part of the family (she is married to my brother in law Tim), she will be our personal tour guide in Provence:)
Just to fill you in on why you’ll love this French travel experience with Christine as our guide:
Christine was born in a little village in Provence, France. Her fathers house is smack bang in the heart of vineyard country (how exciting is that!). Although her father, (her mother has sadly passed away), no longer owns the actual vines, he owns the house and immediate land plus a flat that is next to his house. This is where we will mainly stay, with Christine, during our time in France. Her father is well into his nineties and speaks no English (Christine’s family are long livers (meaning they live a long time – but they must have good livers too – after all, this IS wine country ha ha. To prove my point, Christine’s grandmother passed away not long ago at 108 years old).
About Christine: Amazing chef. Brilliant artist. Walking encyclopaedia. Loved by everyone she meets. She is one of those rare people who radiates zinging energy. She speaks multiple languages. She is always happy and has amazing ideas.
You must be wondering by now if Christine sounds too good to be true. You can take my word for it, she is actually this wonderful. The brilliant thing is you simply do not need to compete with her which is great, and I don’t even try. Just enjoy her effervescent company and go along for the ride. (I am naturally lazy and laid back. I do hope though that I can tap into her energy source to keep up.)
Here in Australia, Christine is flamboyant and talks to everyone she meets… and they all want to help her. I would love to be like this – but alas it is not really the Australian way.
Once, for example, in Bunnings (a large hardware franchise in Australia), Christine and I were after some timber boards to do some artwork on. Christine stood in the middle of an isle and called out ‘ello, ello’ (the French do not pronounce the ‘h’ on words that actually have them.) In seconds, four Bunnings men came running – each vying for her attention. This is unheard of – usually they are as rare as a white Rhino in a supermarket. Christine charmed them just by being herself and in no time they had climbed to the highest shelf to procure the best of the timber they had!
I am eager to see Christine in her ‘natural habitat’, as David Attenborough would say. Are all the French like this? Is this just a unique Christine thing? We shall see.
Tomorrow we will be in France!