Wednesday, August 24, 2016

A Very Full Month

View of Najac from the VVF
A week after my last post, I fell. We almost had to replace the mailbox, which is in the lower part of our gate, but Paul managed to pound it back into shape. I more or less plunged into it as I tripped on a flagstone! My glasses flew off after cutting my eyebrow; One of the lenses got scratched and had to be replaced and my brow needed 6 stitches. I sprained my wrist, but that was not officially diagnosed until 2 weeks later when I was wondering why it was feeling worse instead of better. I had scratched up knees and a big bruise that is still a bit tender.
I couldn't knit! Hand knitting was out because it does require a bit of wrist flexibility and machine knitting was out because pushing the carriage with my right hand hurt and even when I used my left, there are manipulations that require using my right.
Just before that, however, I won an ebay auction for a Brother 950 machine and a compatible ribber! In order to save a bit, I had it delivered to C's house and they brought it down in their car in mid-August. I have now set up the machine (just yesterday, in fact) and will work a bit on it if the room doesn't get too hot. We're expecting the temperature to get up to 37°C today. That's 98.6°F!
At the end of July, C flew into Paris with Au. She spent one night with us and then went off to a friend's birthday party and went straight back to England from there. Au stayed two weeks with us -- first time visit all on her own!
The next day, it was back to the airport to pick up K & S, on their way from Italy to Israel. We didn't really get to spend much time with them -- a shame, but the weekend plans were set: a day at
Start of the festivities at Disneyland
Disneyland Paris with the Parisian cousins, uncle and aunts, to start off. She also spent a night with the Parisian cousins and went to the aquarium with them. S. came home with us after that and spent the next night, here, with Au.  We did some high culture, too: the Musée d'Orsay and the Studio Blue Sky art exhibit; animated film art from the first pencil sketches to the finished product -- very interesting and there's some really beautiful artwork. Paul took her to the top of the Arc de Triomphe one day when I had a meeting in Paris. The second week, we stayed more at home and she helped me knit. By this time I had a brace on my wrist to prevent awkward movements. She was the motor, pushing the carriage back and forth and I was the manipulator, creating the cables. She knit herself a scarf and the two of us collaborated for the cardigan and hat. We also watched some of the Olympics. It's a shame the gymnastics were on so late, here in France. She loves gymnastics and swimming. We had a nice picnic lunch with A in the Parc Floral and Au had a nice day out - aunt and niece - in Paris. We also had a visit to see the
A full moon over Ginals
On the second Friday of her stay, we left for Najac. We arrived at E & G's in Ginals fairly early in the afternoon for a nice visit with them before heading to the hotel in Najac. They then joined us at the hotel, later, for dinner. It's become a tradition. The menu at the hotel Le Belle Rive is somewhat of a tradition, too; it doesn't change. It's still a very nice, friendly, inexpensive hotel, and it has a swimming pool and a tennis court.
Saturday, we visited Najac. First, we got the little treasure hunt booklet from the tourist office for A and then set off. We covered the whole town from the market place to the church at the other end -- down hill, up hill, down hill, up hill...., a visit to the potter for the stages of pottery making, investigating the bakery for the story of "fouace", finding the architectural elements of midieval buildings....  We did not go all the way up to the fortress. (You can read about last year's visit.) We had lunch on the way back to the tourist office and then, after Au collected her treasure, we went back to E's to wait for the rest of the Northampton family to arrive! The kittens (also mentioned in last year's posts) have grown and are very friendly. They still follow E and G around everywhere if it's close to meal time, but are very independent, otherwise. The wet, wet spring has given way to an extremely dry summer and the vegetable garden has suffered a bit, but there are still plenty of tomatoes.
The family arrived and after a short hello, we accompanied them to the VVF (Village Vacance Familiales) for their check-in, which took more than an hour. They were sent to the very last bungalow down the very steep hill. All the activities are at the top.
We had a picnic lunch at the bungalow on Sunday. It's very near the viewpoint -- a spectacular view of Najac and the setting off point for some hikes to Najac and to the St. Blaise bridge. If you believe the hiking times posted, it would take about as much time to hike over to Najac as to go up the hill to the parking lot to get the car to drive there. Same for the bridge! We stayed in Najac while we waited for the Parisian family to arrive. They had a bit of a mishap on arrival. They had parked the car temporarily while they went off to find the "gite" they had rented. Going back to the car to drive it up to the gite, it wouldn't start. It was parked at such an angle that the gas wasn't making it to the engine. What is nice about family vacations is that we were there. The gite owner lent L a couple of 5-liter recipients and Paul drove him to the gas station for more gas. In the mean time, G unloaded the car and dragged everything up the steep hill to the gite, which is right across from the church. I stayed with the kids so she could absent herself to do this. It took quite a few trips! On filling up, however, the car still wouldn't start. The gite owner got out his car and towed L's car to a flatter position, where is finally started. When he went back to the gas station to fill up, he didn't need to put in much gas. It wasn't empty when this happened, just parked at a really bad angle! The British family was already at E and G's (all my in-law children's names begin with G!) for our big family barbecue dinner, so we set off with the Parisians as soon as we could. All the Lebelle cousins together! Lots of fun with the kittens and just the freedom to run around. The evening ended with a beautiful sunset and a full moon.
St. Blaise bridge, 13th century
The next day, we picnicked at the St. Blaise bridge. Paul and I walked over from the hotel, a little over a mile along the river. We got there very early and staked out a table. I sat on the riverbank and tried to draw the bridge. There were canoe-ers out for the day; a couple of them stopped to jump into the river from the bridge. They really had to know where it was deep enough, because the river is not at all deep these days. The British family arrived. Ch sat in the same spot I had occupied and in just a few minutes had a much more reasonable drawing! We started our picnic and A arrived. She had left Paris on Saturday and spent the night a few hours from us. This made it a big family vacation. We had all our kids and grandkids more or less with us. In fact, on Monday, L & G invited us all to their gite for a full family barbecue. On Thursday, we all, minus one, visited Cordes-sur-Ciel and Albi (last year's visit). Friday, another full family barbecue lunch before A set off for Paris.  Saturday, L and G, et al, went off to the beach for the second week of their vacation and we went with the British family to St.-Cirq-Lapopie and PechMerle in the afternoon. We didn't visit the cave this year, we stayed outside with the little one while the others visited. Sunday, another picnic at the bungalow and later in the day we went to E and G's to say good-bye. We left Najac early on Monday morning.
As usual, no family pics in the blog. I've sent the links to family members.

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