Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Getting away...

Sitting around the apartment stewing over things I can't change and fuming over people I can't influence yields nothing.

Donnemarie Dontilly ~ Cloitre XIII-XV

So it was a pleasure to get out and participate in the kind of life we moved here to enjoy in the first place.  Our friends Jacky and Michèle invited us to la maison dans la compagne.

For us it was up at the Crack of Dawn and hustle over to the Translien toward Provins out of la gare de l'Est.  We thought we were plenty early to grab a seat to enjoy a peaceful ride through the lush green isle de France countryside.  But as we walked toward our train we realized this was the weekend of the huge medieval festival.  Tout le monde was dressed in medieval attire.  Corsets, bustiers, cloaks, capes, leather boots and replicas of ancient weapons abounded.

Nangis ~ French countryside

Jude and I knew well our duty and we instantly laid siege to the train.  With shoulder and knee, with hand and foot, with sharp elbow and quick shove, and with strong, vigourous and, dare I say, courageuse action we stormed une grande porte de chateau, er, train, and won our vainglorious right to be braced, literally, cheek by jowl and, in my case, rump against very ample jiggly clearly overweight Americaine rump with the not yet drunken revelers bound for Provins.

Trying Times, these.  Once our Right of Place was gained we all too quickly realized we were required to wage on-going hand to hand, foot on foot, rump shoving ample rump close quarters combat.  There wasn't enough room in the train for the hordes.  It was nearly too much.  Not only this but the air conditioning was doing it's best to behave like old fashioned of the period medieval air conditioners would.  That is to say, AC was yet to be invented and we suffered the heat of a thousand humans in constant skirmish to win a few centimeters of space.

Nangis ~ French countryside

The spell was broken when Jude and I started a conversation with a woman who worked in Paris during the week but has her home in Provins.  She told us about how it is to live in a small, normally sleepy village and to have a vast feting horde lay siege to the upper part of town.  She tried not to grumble about it, but it was clear these were Trying Times for more than just Jude and I.

After a 45minute ride, er, running battle with the Time Travelers in the Way Back Machine (our Translien) Jude and I happily bounded out the door to breathe the wonderfully fresh air in Nangis.  The Future Drunken Revelers carried on to Provins, wine, fete, and combat against dragons of a by-gone era.  We bid them a fond(?) adieu.

What unfolded next was to prove our wisdom in having moved to France.

Nangis ~ French countryside

Our friends met us quai-side and drove us to their country home.  They showed us around their property and home.  They showed us their apple trees.  Those would be the ones that produce apples that, in turn, produce tasty cidre after the Fall harvest.  We shared an amazing wonderful delicious three hour lunch.  The table was set on the lawn under a cherry tree.  Under which we enjoyed the shade from a sun that shone brightly against the kind of azure blue that I thought only Montana could deliver.

Jacky insisted that I help him by drinking his allotment of wine.  He was our driver and he didn't want to be collared by The Authorities.  What?  No wine for le chauffeur?  Either this is not France or times have severely changed.

We went for a walk in a forest to visit an ancient, massive, though now dead, oak.  The forest smells are what Jude and I sometimes miss.  They can be delicious.  We visited a cloitre in a small village.  The grounds-keeper is a wonderful woman who showed us the medieval gardens, showed us around the church, and she opened the gates for us to enter the chapel.  It was through this chapel that passed the village's dead to (not) hear the mass said for them before they made their way to be buried.  We walked quietly to the gates of a medieval farm to look at the outline of a destroyed church.  We traded curious looks with race horses as they leaned out of their paddocks.

Nangis ~ French countryside

After so much fun we were running rather low on energy.  It'd been a full, long day.  After a quick drive back to the station we saw we had a 30 minute wait.  So we sat down and talked and traded more stories.  Our friends are very kind, cordial, and generous.  As we heard our Translien approach Jacky and Michele said goodbye.  We boarded our train for home.

It's hard to imagine a better tonique against stewing over unchanging things than a day out.  It's hard to imagine a better day than this.

Donnemarie Dontilly ~ Cloitre XIII-XV

No comments:

Post a Comment