Friday Fun: Country House Style

As the granddaughter (and great niece) of farmers, I spent every summer in the countryside, but our ‘maison de campagne’ (country house) style looked nothing like the beauties below!

You’ve got to have a great armoire, don’t you? From brico-bistro.com
A big clock is always appreciated. Fun fact: my parents bought a set of chairs like those (but brown) for their wedding and still have them half a century own. Do they count as antiques now? From Marie Claire.
Plenty of room for the whole family to sit and eat, from cotemaison.fr
Although not quite as much fun as my aunt’s table under the grape vines. (Sadly, no personal pictures are available, so this is from casepractice.ro).
Simple fireplace and coloured plates also spell country style, from deavita.fr
The eagle-eyed amongst you will have spotted that nearly all of the above are French, so here is an English country cottage interior, from Elegant Home Design.
That’s more like the houses I remember – traditional Romanian peasant house interior, from adelaparvu.com

Very rough drafts of poetry

Never throw out old notebooks, even with the looming threat of an overseas move. I just came across these lines of poetry. I transcribe them as they are, unpolished, but there is room for development at some later point in time.

I come from a long line of peasant women
plodding uphill on the hottest of days
tilling the soil
harvesting potatoes
lifting full metal buckets of water
dropping babies in the cornfields then back to work.
Men gone to war on fronts left and right
cattle rounded up for troops
making do with bone soup and cornmeal pap
nettle soup and pumpkin plump.

I come from a long line of stoics
who expect no respite from labour
no love everlasting
work is their curse and due and praise
and rest comes too seldom
no one owes anyone happiness.
They crawl up the mountain like a murder of crows
in their black widows’ garb
laugh with gaps in their teeth
grey plaits swung firmly under kerchiefs.
They have never dieted in their lives
food fuels their bending and plucking
running after sheep.
They can drink men under the table.
They’ve endured
and bred in me a fibre
smacks of backbone
yet fluid like a reed
when the breeze turns into storm.

Peasant women in the field, by Camil Ressu (1880-1962), a Romanian painter who often painted rural scenes
Peasant women in the field, by Camil Ressu (1880-1962), a Romanian painter who often painted rural scenes

Friday Fun: A Walk in the French/Swiss Countryside

I live in a rural area on the Franco-Swiss border, but the proximity to Geneva makes it a popular place to live, so there are always building works going on. Given the nice weather today (we have not been blessed with much sunshine this summer), I thought I’d take a walk through some traditional local villages. And document it with pictures, before they completely disappear under the weight of new blocks of flats.

Today’s walk started and ended in Grilly, a village bearing the name of a medieval lord de Grailly, who owned approximately a thousand hectares of land straddling the Versoix river (which nowadays forms the border between France and Switzerland) and controlled the trade route between Lake Geneva and the Jura mountains.

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Sunflowers with the Jura mountains in the background

 

If you turn to face the other way, you get this view over the Alps.
If you turn to face the other way, you get this view over the Alps.

Border stone: now marking the border between the cantons of Geneva and Vaud. Formerly marking the border between France and Switzerland (dates from 1808)
Border stone: now marking the border between the cantons of Geneva and Vaud. Formerly marking the border between France and Switzerland (dates from 1808)

Bridge of Grilly over the river Versoix, marking the Swiss-French border. Madame de Stael fled on this path from France to her family property in Coppet in 1792.
Bridge of Grilly over the river Versoix, marking the Swiss-French border. Madame de Stael fled on this path – formerly the trade route between the lake and the mountains – from France to her family property in Coppet in 1792.

Farmhouse in Chavanne des Bois, Switzerland.
Farmhouse in Chavanne des Bois, Switzerland.

Chateau de Chavanne - in fact, a large manor house with adjacent farms. I bought a bag of plums from the farm shop here to eat along the way.
Chateau de Chavanne – in fact, a large manor house with adjacent farms. I bought a bag of plums from the farm shop here to eat along the way.

Opposite this charming old house and garden in Sauverny (France)...
Opposite this charming old house and garden in Sauverny (France)…

...you'll find the inevitable new development.
…you’ll find the inevitable new development.

The path from the mill in Sauverny to the village of Grilly, bordered by oak trees and corn.
The path from the mill in Sauverny to the village of Grilly, bordered by oak trees and corn.

Village houses in Grilly, France.
Village houses in Grilly, France.

A refurbished barn in Grilly. What do you think: very covetable or a modernisation too far?
A refurbished barn in Grilly. What do you think: very covetable or a modernisation too far?

 

Summer Idyll

Copyright: M. Thomson, www.bbc.co.uk
Copyright: M. Thomson, http://www.bbc.co.uk

Summer at last and the heat is going to our heads over at dVerse Poets Pub.  Here is a remembrance of things past and a vision of things future.

Our summers no longer the buzz-filled lolling

in hay mounds

or stooping for details

and blow-squeak through grass stalks.

No more lifting our gaze for cloud-naming, tongue-hopping,

when laid-back wonders were open to all

and the neighbours’ cherries the sweetest by far.

 

Now lazy means each one tucked snug on our planet

in a bubble of tablets and phones,

convinced we’re connecting

enthralled to go global

we feel the roar and hum of the entire world in our palms.

 

While bees expire by installments around us…