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Bon weekend from Tour de France-mad France!

Here, we are enjoying our new normal, having a drink at a bar, eating out at a restaurant, not having to wear masks outdoors unless in crowded places. People keep saying “oh I’ve missed this, I never realised how important it was, how much it makes our lives better.” I guess the things that you do on an everyday basis inevitably get taken for granted but I think it will be a while yet before we all feel that way.

I went out with Mark (my other half) and some friends for a meal for the first time since September. We went to our local auberge, it’s an old-fashioned style bar, like a French Cheers where everyone knows your name. They have a small restaurant behind the bar and it’s also a hotel.

‘I can’t kiss you’ said Jason the owner ‘but welcome back.’ Nanette, who works with him, waved to us and they both beamed from behind their masks.

‘Grand bier and kir cassis?’ Jason asked, remembering what we always have though we hadn’t been in for 9 months.

Monsieur Lafont was in the bar (we call him Monsieur Lafont of all knowledge as he thinks he knows everything) with Monsieur Dupont. They were discussing the Tour de France – pretty much everyone in France is currently eagerly watching and debating the routes, the races and the riders. They are Tour de France-mad here. In a corner Monsieur and Madame Joly sat in silence. Married for 58 years, Monsieur says they have run out of things to say. But they do sometimes talk to their dog Tippi the terrier who lays under the table. Nanette brought our drinks over and wished us good health, just as she always did. It was almost as if nothing had changed – and yet everything had changed.

Vincent Van Gogh said ‘Normality is a paved road: it’s comfortable to walk, but no flowers grow on it.’ I disagree, normality is underrated and there are flowers galore.

For the next couple of months the newsletter will be fortnightly as I focus on finishing writing my next book but it will be back to weekly in September!

Wishing you a very bon weekend.
Bisous from my little pigsty where it is sunny in between bouts of sogginess…

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Janine Marsh is Author of My Good Life in France: In Pursuit of the Rural Dream – ebook, print & audio, on Amazon everywhere & all good bookshops online, and My Four Seasons in France: A Year of the Good Life

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Recipe of the week: Moelleux au Chocolat – The base of this deliciously fabulous chocolate cake is a chocolate ganache that creates a soft liquid, lava-like center…

What to see and do in Pau – Every major city has its iconic street. The boutique-lined boulevard. The monumental avenue. Or perhaps the quaint quarter fringed with historic houses. But few can boast anything to match the elegant city of Pau…

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