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Christine – My French Connection

By June 12, 2017 France - Provence, Travel

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!

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At last – time for travel – Going to France!

By June 8, 2017 Travel

Leaving my bushland in Australia, despite it’s own unique appeal, (like this big huntsman spider for one) for Provence in France for a 6 week holiday was a no brainer.  My sister in law Christine is (above left), French and has been begging us to visit her on her father’s vineyard.  This is obviously an opportunity too good to miss.

Travelling when you are over 55!

I am taking the opportunity here to chat about travelling when you are over 55.  I picked this age because that is when your kids have flown the nest (hopefully) to start their new phase of their lives.  You have settled, somewhat, into your new life without them. You may have even rediscovered yourself and KNOW what you want to do now with the second half of your life – albeit one a little bit slower, stiffer and heavier (I’m working of this – turning back the clock.)

You may have even rediscovered your partner in a new light.   You’ll notice I have said ‘maybe’.  Of course, that’s because your life depends on you and how you feel.

What I felt was a sense of loss. I’d just spent the last twenty or so years totally dedicated to being an ‘awesome’ (okay, slightly unhinged at times) mother. When my two gorgeous girls became independent with their own lives flowing nicely,

I realized I didn’t know who I was anymore… somewhere along those years, I HAD LOST MY IDENTITY!  Yep, gone, kaput.   Sure, I worked in my own business during those , but my purpose was always to contribute to their well being and provisions (in sport, music, school, clothing blah blah blah).

It took quite a few years of trialling new things to rediscover myself.  At every turn I always came back to something arty.  I am a graphic designer so I suppose this made sense.  I took sculpture classes and fell in love (so much so I now sculpture full time now have even started a whimsical website called Wombat Thoughts

How does all of this relate to travelling though I hear you say.  Even though I had discovered my new found passion I realised I didn’t feel too confident about travelling.  I had a husband who was still engrossed in his work and didn’t see the need to do much travel.  He was prepared to do it when we were ‘older’.  Trouble is, as a woman, I am more realistic.  How much time do we have left in our reasonably fit states so we can REALLY enjoy an adventure.

Luckily the universe intervened in the form of my French sister in law Christine.

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