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France 2011 Week 1

Monday, May 30, 2011   Sheep in Road_1 It’s been quite a week already, and we’ve only been here 5 days.  Air travel with 2 cats was a breeze!  Nobody ever checked our papers for them, and they were completely quite the entire trip…perfect travelers!  Had quite a bit of cleaning to do with the house, and then (why not?) we pulled out the jute carpet from the loft and painted the wood floor a gleaming soft white.  Just enough paint left over to also paint the WC – Voila!  Home ownership a la distance has challenges, but things are now in order. First major challenge was with the cell phone.  After 8 very helpful people at the Tabac and a local store all disucced, at length, the possibilities why we could not recharge minutes to our French phone, the Ah Ha moment was reached…after 6 months of non-use the SIM card is killed, so a new one needed to be purchased.  But they can’t do it in Axat, or Quillan…we must go to Limoux.  So the day turned into a scavenger hunt through the beautiful countryside to Limoux.  New SIM, new number, all is set 🙂 Friday night we were sharing a small aperitif (aka endless wine and snacks)  with neighbors around 9:30, which had been going on since around 6pm for most of them and continued on past 11:00, when I heard the sound of bells in the hills…which turned into a group of shepherds herding their sheep from one mountain to another…YES! right through the village, past our house,  down the main street!  Hundreds of sheep at 10:30 at night all clanking bells and bleeting and running…and shitting everywhere!  Oh how we all laughed!!  This is truly country living. We’ve eaten amazing food every day, either out or at home it is all so fresh.  Heath, Reiner, and Christian…bloc fois gras my friends…bloc fois gras!  Mmmmmmm!  Fresh trout only an hour out of the river, huge shrimp served with their heads still attached either grilled or sautéd, simple sandwiches on fresh baguette with meat freshly sliced from the local butcher and mountain cheese.  And wine, wine, wine.  Cherries are in season, trees are loaded all over the region.  I need to get out and do more hiking to offset all of the rich foods!  We’ve only had time (and sunshine) a few of the days for hiking so far, but will get out more this week. Sheep in Road_2 Today is “government day” for me: told the post office that we are here June & July so we receive mail (23 Rue du Bouchet 11140 Axat FRANCE…my birthday IS coming up soon), paying the yearly trash bill to keep in good standing here, getting a tag to take the jute carpet to the dump, and inquiring about our options to have internet at the house…seems there is quite the local debate on how that is to be accomplished (since we’re nestled in the mountains dish is OUT).  So, we’ll check in from time to time using free WiFi at the restaurant or the gov’t building until we’ve got it at home. Stay tuned 🙂

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