I feel very trivial posting about our trip to France after watching the news tonight. My God, I can't believe the destruction of the Gulf Coast. My heart and prayers go out to everyone touched by this horrific tragedy. A friend of mine here has not heard from her family in Mississippi yet. She has a 90-year old Aunt who didn't want to leave her beachfront property because of looters. If you're looking for a quick way to help... and they need the help quick, is the good old Red Cross. It's a quick and easy donation process:
I don't think people realize that even $5 would help. I have a total of about 206 subscribers through my two blogline feeds. If everyone of them donated just $5 that would be $1030. That's not even counting the people who read but don't subscribe. I'll sweeten the deal. If you donate, drop me an email (thescottishlamb at aol dot com). I don't need an amount and I don't believe anyone would say they donated if they didn't. Really, really bad carma. Just let me know you donated and I'll have a drawing for Latvian Mittens by Lizbeth Upitis. It's kind of serendipity because I bought two copies by accident back when Yarnharlot did the drawings for the Tsunami.
France: The only disappointment of the whole trip is that I didn't get to see Mont St. Michel. Well, okay... I got to see the the silhouette of it from the auto route for about 30 seconds. I yelled, "Look boys! There it is!" By the time they looked it was gone behind the bushes and we didn't get another glimpse. It would have cost us about another hour and a half to go see it and it was already about 6pm. We still had another couple of hours until we got to Nilda's in Brittany.
We had an interesting arrival. I'd been trying to call Nilda for about an hour or so before we arrived. Yea. Helps if you write the number down correctly. Funny what trouble being off just one little number can cause. Luckily, I knew what the place looked like where we were staying. The town takes about five min. to walk from one end to the other. Needless to say we saw our "hotel" (really, two rooms in a cottage) within a minute of our arrival in town. We were starving. Where do we choose to eat? At the Armenian drug guy's pizza place that Nilda has talked about on her blog! lol. It was two boys and the Pizza sign that made us do it. That and it was right next to our room and had a table for us. We didn't realize it was because no one else in town would eat there. No wonder the guy was so damn happy to see us. I have mentioned that my husband is a federal law enforcement agent, haven't I? You'd think he'd have a nose for that stuff. Thanks, Dan. We could have been killed in the crossfire. ;-) Nilda and I had a great guffaw over it the next day.
So we knew Nilda had a dinner to attend that night. The owner of the room we were staying in gave me the correct phone number. We left a message with the babysitter that we had arrived and were in our room. After a while the long day had caught up with us so we went to bed. I'm just about off in dreamland and I think I hear, "Jean! Jean!" I open my eyes and Daniel's face is about two inches from mine, "Mom, I think someone is calling you outside". lol. I look out the big window and down into the road and I see a flashlight. "Nilda?" Yep. Nilda. All dolled up for her dinner engagement. She looks up and loudly whispers, "I have a key and a walkie-talkie for you!" lol. I go let her in. She comes up and meets Dan while I throw some jeans on. Daniel and I go with her up through the gate to the Chateau grounds. We get to meet her girls and make arrangements to turn the walkie talkies on at 9am to get the party started.
This is our cottage where we stayed on the top floor:
That's Daniel looking down from one of the ramparts. Ours was the one with the green shutters. The window in the roof right above them is the one Nilda was calling through. That road used to be the moat for the Chateau. Wild, huh?
Right on the other side of the street from our door is the gate Nilda gave us the key to.
We arrived Saturday night and Sunday just happened to be the day the town had their procession of a statue of Mary. We processed through the town to a chapel at the beginning of a small wood. The one thing that never ceases to amaze me is that no matter where you go on this planet, Catholic Mass is always the same. Except for understanding the homily, you can follow right along. The setting was absolutely beautiful.
Here's Nilda, her DH and Dan at cocktail hour:
The town square. Beautiful, right?
And finally a little fiber-related news. Remember I told you about my little treasure? Nilda took me to one of the local Antique dealers. What did I buy?
Obviously, this tin isn't antique but it's pretty dang cute, ain't it? It also makes a great container for my little treasure. Okay... okay... here it is:
Isn't it beautiful?! The dealer says it's about 100 years old and from that area of Brittany. I swear I did a little happy dance when he brought it out to us. Nilda had seen him at the reception after the church procession and let him know we'd be coming by. He had a beautiful old wheel also. If I could have figured out how it worked, I probably would have bought it too. Of course, it would have had to ride on top of our Jeep all the way back to Germany.
I'm perfectly content with my little spindle. She's a tiny little thing. Only about 8 1/2" from tip to tip. Good thing Nilda was there or I wouldn't have been able to figure out how to anchor a leader onto it. You make a half-hitch on the bottom and then on the top and spin away.
I love holding it in my hand and thinking of the women that must have used it in all the years since it was lovingly hand carved. Thank you, Nilda. I would never have gotten it without you.
And so, our journey was a quick one but we had SO much fun. I totally plan on returning next year. Hopefully Dan will be home on his R&R from Afghanistan by then so he can join us. The boys loved it there. They got along great with Nilda's girls. We knew they would. The girls are an absolute delight and Nilda, I was only half kidding about the pre-arranged marriage idea. Think of how well dressed our grandchildren would be!! ;-) We left a couple of days early because we felt totally guilty with them trying to pack up to leave for the States. We said our farewells and headed back to Germany where we spent a couple of nights with old friends to break up the trip.
Thank you, Nilda and family (even the girls for the readings and dancing!). We had a FABulous time. Note the sweater Nilda is wearing... she designed it. Trust me. It's stunning in person.