A Little Adventure in the Pyrenees

When my son was eleven I went on the web and jut searched “accommodation for 6 months in France”. I am a widow and at the time (2004) I felt I needed to do something different and escape for a while. I borrowed all the money from the bank, $30,000 back then and rented out my house and car and left. I am going to record that time in this section of the blog. Each chapter will have a poem at the beginning.

This is one of the poems I wrote just before leaving:

Map of France
 
We are moving to France
For six months.
 
I have highlighted the place
in orange on the map. Only
twenty houses, no patisseries,
no romantic tabac, no school at
4 rue de L’Ecole, just people
and we hope, children.
 
We are moving to France
For six months.
 
Past Perpignan, Quillan and Puivert,
Where there is a castle and a café,
open in the summer and some Australians.
There is a market for the locals and La Poste.
We are going in winter.
 
We are moving to France
For six months.
 
The photograph of our converted barn
off the net is grainy and black
and white, like an image from the last war.
I see thin men in striped pyjamas.
 
We are moving to France
For six months.
 
The walls are two feet thick,
Too thick for ears,
shuttered and grey-stoned.
Silence then inside except
for soft voices. A child and
a mother speaking in Anglais,
fluent and fearful.
 
We are driving into the map
in our Renault on the wrong side of the
world, getting smaller and smaller as we zero in on Campgast.
past Quillan, Puivert and the Australians.
 
Neither of us knows a soul or any French
beyond s’il vous plait and ca va monsieur,
our exchanges timid and polite.
 
Nous allons demenager a France
Pendant six mois.
 
We don’t know any French.
our foreign tongues are tied.
 

 

 

3 thoughts on “A Little Adventure in the Pyrenees

  1. CG

    Kiwis said Kia Ora
    Alet became Bora Bora
    Your time in life
    Wasn’t without strife
    But you made the best
    In a pyrenean snowfest
    Between the Pyrenees
    Mediterranean & Atlantic seas
    We miss you both
    But you made an oath
    To return in your retirement!

    xx

    Reply
  2. Astrid

    What a wonderful poem Sue! And I never forget Sam’s little brave face in that faraway French friendly village when we , the Dutchies, visited you. Keep writing!

    Reply

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