Sunday, 3 April 2011

Getting back to my 'roots'

Another lovely weekend with Jean-Claude which included the mundane as well as giving me the craved opportunity to get back to my beloved gardening- even if it's in the most modest way.

We kicked things off by doing our grocery shopping together. This was to help me as shopping is hard work and limited without transport. We went to Carrefour supermarket outside Cafeolait which is in a different suburb to where I live.

It was interesting doing the shopping together and sharing a trolley but it took twice as long. JC looks for stuff on his list and goes hither and yon and back and forth until he has it but leaves the chilled goods til last. My strategy is to go up and down each aisle only once and collect the stuff on my list as I come to it. We did things JC's way but we did end up with what we each needed and I learnt a bit about some products and what JC likes to buy. Then we popped my stuff in my fridge and he measured up my windows.

JC is so kind and thoughtful; he has given me some of his spare planter boxes and plants to get my wee garden started off. He brought his drill and some wire and has anchored the planters so they are stable.

I have popped the plants in and it was wonderful to do that after 6 months with no garden/no hobby of that kind. I now have two boxes of geraniums (a bit risky this early in the season) and the beginnings of a herb garden. I just need to get some parsley, basil and chives and I'm set. The self-sown hollyhocks are starting to burst forth amongst the cobbles, how romantic. They seem to choose my studio to flower outside. The planters that JC has given me have water compartments under the soil so I'll be interested to see how they perform.

JC has bought plants for his garden too and he asked my advice on how to arrange them aesthetically. So I arranged things and asked him what he thought. He didn't like it and changed it. I said it wasn't aesthetic so we discussed what he likes and what I think is reasonable for effect and we've come up with a good compromise for the front and back gardens. He likes to use plastic cloth and plant through that. I hate that and prefer the bare earth covered in plants- each to his own. It was rather fun working it out and seeing how we interacted. I wonder if he will change the arrangement again (laugh).

This past weekend I got to see two garden nurseries, my first in France. They are large and contain items you wouldn't normally see in NZ ones. They are rather like giant supermarkets of anything garden/design/animal. Animalia or pet shops are included in them, lawnmowers. Oh that took me back to when I was a pet owner-sigh, nostalgia, but my current lifestyle makes that idea impossible.

The barbecues were interesting. Naturally there were the monster gas barbecues for the poor old macho lads, but there was a surprising choice in charcoal burners too, some quite substantial in design. Not those flimsy things we used to have to manage with in the wind before gas burners came along.

The other surprising and interesting thing of note this weekend were the french prostitutes.

Yes, puts a new meaning on 'takeaways'. Prostitution is illegal in France but the authorities turn a blind eye so long as it's not too 'in your face'. JC pointed out the vans. Mobile mini brothels for the self-employed. They were dotted all along the roadsides between JC's village and the road to Chartres. Amazing. I whipped off a photo as we drove past one. Half dressed women waiting in the cabs of their vans for clients. A motorcyclist or motorists would pull up alongside and 'well, you know the rest'. I must have counted 10 just on the roads we drove along, in full view, rather obvious. The only other things of note alongside the road to Chartres are the markers. These concrete markers are to be found every 2kms. They mark the progress made by the allies in liberating Paris at the end of WWII. How cool, but some are lost because the roads have changed in more than 65 years. Couldn't get off a photo quick enough. That'll have to wait.
Photos show my garden, garden centres, a prostitutes van.

Yep- that was a weekend and a half. The next one could be interesting from a different perspective. Stick with me.


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