Cute Cottage in Caunes

Trip Start Jul 09, 2011
Trip End Aug 11, 2011

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Flag of France  , Languedoc-Roussillon,
Saturday, July 30, 2011

We are here in our cottage having trained from Lyon to Narbonne and then picked up a car. About an hour drive so we picked up some groceries on the way.  As I writing this, the bell from the Abbey down the road chimes.  The streets are so narrow that you can't drive to your accommodation so you park in the grounds of the Abbey and walk up.  Le Savetier (our cottage) is in a medieval village and it has been restored using furniture and pieces that bring the place to life. Kate, you would love the décor, French provincial with loads of lamps, floral curtains, chandeliers (even in the toilet), old tapestries, paintings and exposed beams everywhere.  I will try and get some photos but there are many photos that can never capture the real story. The small courtyard was probably a room that now has no roof and it’s complete with its only well.  I can see Pete and I seating there late into the evenings, as darkness does not fall until after 9.30pm.  All the walls are thick stone and the windows are complete with shutters.  A steep staircase again – calves will get a bit more of a workout.  Not that that will help as the Languedoc area is best known for its wines.  We passed hectares of vineyards on our way here. Will no doubt sample a few over the next week.  Lots to see and do here but we will also rest and absorb the ambiance of this area.  

As I think about the last 3 weeks I am struck by a number of things that might be worth sharing with those of you still reading the blogs.  Firstly, the buildings, the churches and the houses that we have visited and stayed in, their beauty is complete and they have lasted the test of time.  I try and reflect on today’s architecture and think what are we building today that will take people’s breath away in a 100 or a 1000 year’s time?  I think about what we now have at our disposal and the education and sophistication that we have and wonder, has there really been progress or just expedient decision making and a focus on value for the present?  Secondly, I am constantly reminded that we all lead quite frantic lives and the people in rural Europe don’t seem so concerned about opening on time (which is usually not before 10am), getting everything done quickly (although the motorway might be the exception) or worried about having another coffee or wine.  Cooking is simple, two or three good ingredients are sufficient and eating anytime is fine.  The clock is not the dictator, except for siesta or closing at lunch.  I can’t imagine how it would be if O’Connor Law closed from 12 noon to 2pm everyday but that is what businesses do here.  Girls, best not introduce this until Pete gets back, still got to pay for the holiday!  People walk or cycle lots of places, it might be slower but they don’t seem concerned.  They will have a wine when they get there – doesn’t matter what time of day.

 Finally, my last thought for today, I think we have become governed by rules and concerned so much with litigation that we have forgotten to live.  A couple of days ago I saw guys renovating the roof of a synagogue, no bracing, no structure, all smoking, chatting and sending down a bucket for the guy below to file with mortar.  Trying to imagine our construction trainers, auditors or WH&S people not gasping at the thought!  Dogs go everywhere with their owners – no rules, it appears.  I haven’t seen any more "dog deposits" here than in Oz.  People smoke in restaurants and most other places.  Cobble stone roads and paths are not replaced for something less likely to cause a claim for a twisted ankle.  I am not saying all these things are good but the level of stress and agitation is just not there, people are “matter fact” about things.  Must look up the level of heart disease in Europe when I get back!  Perhaps, rural Europe every year would mean I could go off the blood pressure meds.  Anyway, in the interests of consuming some other anti-stress medication (red wine) I am off for a medieval shower and then to dinner at d’Alibert.  Federic the owner of the restaurant  is apparently eccentric and everyone loves him.  His restaurant is well known and the visitor’s book would suggest he serves great food, however, not before 8pm (no good for you Mum).

Cheers all and thanks for the emails.  Happy birthday Shayne and Jack Marlow. Love D-M  xx
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kateandsam on

Hi Mum, great entry, I think maybe my favourite one yet. The things you're mentioning are really something I noticed in Vietnam as well, although I think you've articulated it better than I did at the time. People seem to do just what they need to do to get by, they don't work themselves into the ground trying to achieve more and more and just making themselves unhappy. I think the challenge with learning things like this from other people in other places is trying to implement it a little bit in your own life when you get home. Very hard to do when you're back!

Excited for the shoes, thanks for thinking of me. I went shoe shopping yesterday as well, my black boots Dad got me last year/year before are all wrecked - I learned my lesson with these ones and spent a bit more money this time to get lovely leather boots that will last forever instead of cheapy synthetic. Broke the bank a bit, but at least they're good quality. After all the customer service training I've done this week I was appalled at the standard of service everywhere we went - the girl at Clinique pretty much refused to serve me, telling me to come back next week! Everyone's complaining the the retail industry is stuffed, but the few staff who are actually there do nothing about it.

Anyway, I've written a blog entry myself here it would seem! Hope you have a relaxing week - this is your shoe makers cottage right? Sounds like I would love the house - makes me want to go and do a "Under the Tuscan Sun" and buy a house in Europe. Travel bug has hit me particularly hard this week, I keep dreaming about travel.

Love you both,


joannandlen on

DM it sounds like we need to get the job share option under way!!!!! Six months in Oz and six months in Tuscany or SIcily or South of France!!!!!!!!!!!! Alternatively I will work on the siesta closing at TAFE. Can't see Julie going for it, but will give it a go! Very Jealous of the shoe shopping in Lyon. But DM those days are behind me now, we have bought a house for more than we can afford! So no more excessive shopping for me!!! (note the qualified commitment to that promise- it's all definitional). Miss you heaps but don't wish the end of the holiday on you at all. Enjoy your break and bring lots of photos and stories back to keep us going. BTW, training awards last night were great, Nigel Vogel (Fashion student of Melbourne cup fame) won vocational student of the year,
Eugene Dorante won aboriginal and Torres strait islander student of the year, one of the female electrical students won apprentice of the year and Myra Sessions won teacher of the year. The state awards are in Brisbane on the same weekend an amateurs :-(. Anyway, we are loving the blog, you guys are doing a great job, we feel like we are there. Keep 'em comin Brenda Star!!!!!

dmandpeter on

Jo, congratulations on the new house. I look forward to hearing about the details. I think this is a great decision and will be great for you. Pleased to hear that you are still keen about the job share, maybe in a couple of years time! Sounds like TNQT did extremely well at the training awards - always great to read good news. Hope all is going well day to day. cheers for now D-M

trish mulligan on

Hi Guys - I have just caught up on your recent blogs. You are definitely in the wrong trade - travel blogging is your true vocation. I can smell the scents, hear the sound and feel every vibe that you write about. What a wonderful holiday. Glad to hear that you will be enjoying the ambience this week as it has been full on for you.
It makes my trip to Perth, Fremantle and Margaret River on Wednesday sound rather boring.
Rob & I enjoyed a bianca vino from Italy last night and of course managed to finish the bottle at a great pace.
Travel safe
Keep well & keep blogging
love to you both Trish & co x x

Toddy, on

Jo forgot to mention that Jessie Meek (Girl with Spark) won the best apprentice. We didn't nominate her but will claim her anyway. Have a great time. Cheers

Sandie on

Love this blog... perspective and life balance (notice the absence of the word work! I still keep the Red Rooster scenario in mind!) Tomorrow is the last day of the first residential in my Public Sector Management Program... has been a great week but when you consider the assignment topic is to pick a case study of federalism in our workplace... coordination between and within levels of government and diffusion of power between Commonwealth and other levels of government... with one of the required readings being the Constitution... I am sorely tempted to find a hut in some isolated place where carting water would consume half of my day and we sleep and rise with the sun.

dmandpeter on

Hi Sandie, thanks for your responses. I couldn't agree more about that assignment topic. My immediate response was "who cares". We know that the state/federal interface is surely about job creation rather than outcome expediency! I did the PSM course years ago and loved it, mainly because of the contacts that I made. I tend to agree that there are probably some better ways to spend our time. Walking up and down hilltop öld towns comes to mind. Hope all is great with you. See you in a week. cheers D-M

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