I’m a city girl living in the country for the first time, so bear with me on this post, which is about creepy critters.
I was reminded of the story I’m about to tell you when I read Susan Vieth’s excellent post today, “Changing Rhythms” on her blog, A Small Village in France. It’s about returning to the French countryside after a long trip to the states. Her post about the small town French country lifestyle was sweet, and right on target.
She mentioned that no one in France has screens. “There are no screens in the Old World,” she says. “Yes, there are bugs, but they just come and go as they like. Yes, even flies. They haven’t killed us yet. We are seldom worried by mosquitoes…. I bet you couldn’t find a screen in a window for 100 miles around us - maybe 300 miles - and then only in windows of second homes owned by Americans.”
So true. And Susan, about 300 miles away from you there are indeed Americans with screens, and that would be us. But only on our bedroom window. Here is why.
When we first came here, Ron and I had a little nightly dispute over the bedroom window. He wanted to open it wide, and I wanted to just crack it a bit. “There are bats flying around the courtyard at night,” I said, “and they’ll come right in if the window’s wide open.”
If you have a husband of your own, you may be familiar with the eye-roll and the sarcastic scoff. “What a wimp!” those eyes said. And so went our nightly conflict.
Finally, I relented. And that very night, when I got up in the dark to hit les toilettes, I felt something brush across my face.
Surely it couldn’t be. I turned on the light to be sure the coast was clear.
No, there was not a bat. There was a veritable bat fête going on. At least four bats (I didn’t stop for a precise count) were twirling around madly under the beams above our bed.
Needless to say, the wimp dived under the covers, screaming, while monsieur of the rolling eyes grabbed the broom for the chase.
And now, in a happy marital compromise, we have screens on our bedroom window.
In the COMMENTS: The post on dogs elicited many very interesting comments—from dog owners like Natalia (two Yorkies) and Heather of Unexcused Absenses, who has a French dog story of her own. Caterina, I think ‘reserved’ is how I would describe the French, they are traditionally not openly friendly with strangers, as Americans (and their dogs) are. Christine of Pen at the Ready points out the amazing discipline of dogs in restaurants in France, I don’t think you would see that in the states. Lots of interesting viewpoints this week, merci!
By email, Laura Robbins says she visited Charleston and bought one of Rhett Thurman's beautful paintings of France. She rented a house in Charleston with friends that she really liked, and kindly gave me permission to pass it on to other Charleston travelers. The link is here. In other travel news, Lee and Maureen discovered a fabulous 10th century castle, now a hotel and restaurant, two hours north of Nice. It's called Château Trigance, and it's now on my (impossibly long) travel list.
Favorite Reads: We told you recently about Heather Thomas' new ebook, A Practical Guide for European Canal Boat Charters, now it's out in paperback, for any of you who are contemplating a canal trip through France. Also Virginia recommends a book related to last week's post:The French Cat by Rachel Hale McKenna, who is a noted photographer of animals.
And for language/Paris lovers, here's a fun article Ron found on The Cut: How Much French Do You Need To Speak to Live in Paris?, inspired by Scarlett Johansson's recent rants about Parisians. By the way the 'defunct blog' he mentions, Stuff Parisians Like: Discovering the Quoi in the Je Ne Sais Quoi is now out as a witty and entertaining book, for anyone who knows Paris even a little bit.