|September 1, Sunday
We had our last breakfast looking over the panoramic view from the hotel. The trip to the house of our exchange host, Marie-France, was uneventful and lasted about two hours. The house is in a well-kept neighbourhood on the edge of farmland. From the terrace of the house, we can watch cattle grazing on a hillside; every once in a while a cow bawls loudly and very faintly there have been the crows of a rooster. Other than that it is a quiet setting. The house itself is one story, with two bedrooms, two bathrooms, a rather small kitchen, dining room, sitting room and a little sunroom. Above the garage is another large room that provides storage and a guest bedroom. Behind the house is a lawn surrounded by a hedge, so it is very private. The furnishings are very eclectic, a mix of old and new, and everywhere is artwork (some of it signed by Marie-France), large framed pictures of the human body artfully photographed and interesting objects that were probably collected by Marie-France in her travels. I think the house reflects her interests and personality.
There are two cats who roam freely, and our only responsibility is to put out food twice a day. One apparently might be open to petting, but the other is skittish and unlikely to be approachable. So far we’ve only had two glimpses of them.
We were greeted by two friends of Marie-France. Monique lives close by. She cares for the cats in Marie-France’s absence, so she instructed Pam in the art of cat feeding. She then took Pam to her house, so we would know where she lived. In the meantime, Georgette, who arrive not long after Monique, gave the rest of us a tour of the house and information Marie-France had asked her to pass on to us. Both were very friendly. Georgette’s English is better than Monique’s, but both managed to communicate what was necessary. We appreciated their efforts on our behalf. Georgette asked if we could come to dinner sometime next week; this week, the first week of school, she is busy driving grandchildren around. Georgette offered to show us where a supermarket was so we could pick up some groceries. We followed her there, then said thank you and goodbye for the time being. The store was smaller than most of our supermarkets, but offered everything we needed. We left with four bags of groceries that cost about one hundred sixty euros, but we should be set for a few days. Of course, we bought, among other things, a baguette, cheese, wine and beer, all products of the terroir (country).
Back “home”, we unpacked, did laundry and had something to eat. Then we were ready to do not much of anything, which we did until supper, which was a barbecue chicken, potatoes, salad and bread - quick and easy, but tasty.