Been a while….I have excuses!

Seems and age since I posted how life is going…..SO very sorry!  How are you all?

Life has been busy but the good news is that after eight months of too’ing and fro’ing, the simple sentence said by the lady at the French Embassy in Cape Town…”Now just go within three months to the Prefecteur and get this stamped and they will issue you with a Carte-de-Sejour (like a residency permit )”…has finally come true!  Eight months!!

My last visit was an interesting one.  We were shown to a booth at the Prefecteur (Home Affairs) and the French lady behind the counter…they all look scarily efficient and distant…was a deep coffee colour and didn’t speak much English…but enough to start.  She took my passport and the ton of papers you need to prove that you’re a standing breathing person (the fact that you’re standing there breathing doesn’t help), then she glanced at me…then back at the passport…..then stated in French,

“Afrika de Sud?”
I said, “Oui”
And she said in French “But you’re not black!”
And in my best french I said,
And she said, “Oui”
And I said in French “But you’re not white!”
And we had a good laugh and she actually wanted to help… with a smile on her face!  I had all the papers except that my birth certificate, marriage certificate and income certificate needed to be translated by a professional Court Translator at EUR50.00 a sheet!  So I said okey dokey I would do that and she said she would start the ball rolling and I must just deliver the papers to the receptionist.

It took longer because I had to get my vault copy Birth Cert from SA and my poor sister had to do the run-around to get it so we thought we’d get them all translated when it arrived.  Two months later I get a little slip in the post to tell me to appear, standing and breathing, at the Prefecteur.  I thought I would have to start all over again because I’d left it so long waiting for the Birth Cert, the Dear One decided I would be deported (and looked quite perky at the prospect).  But it wasn’t to be, they handed me my Carte-de-Sejour and that was that.  For some reason, it was all done without the translated papers or birth certificate.  I celebrated by buying more art paper online from the UK…..and the husband assured me he would have missed me….

Huge chaos for the Tour de France with banners going up and barricades placed all over the place.  We had just had a wonderful week of going all over Brittany with friends from Cape Town.  It was fantastic to see them and even better seeing it all through someone else s eyes.  We went to Concale, the home of wild oyster farming,  sat on the wall outside the farm where little kiosks of oysters and lemons are sold and the Husband bought 12 oysters.  I had tried one ages ago and really wasn’t keen but when in Rome….so I wrinkled my nose, held my breath and tipped the slimy, slightly translucent, RAW, jelly-like thing into my mouth.  Oh my word the texture! My imagination went into overdrive and it was hard not to spit it out but I had been given instructions to bite at least twice so I did and then swallowed.  And here’s the weird thing….
If you love walking by the sea, if you love the tang in the air, the salt on your face, the cool breeze and the taste of the spray, then that’s what they taste like and the aftertaste lingers for about 15 minutes.

I had another one…..

But I’m not sure if I would have more….

But after they had gone and the hole had covered over slightly, we um’d and ah’d about going to see the cycles pass and the heatwave hit and the cool cottage, a beer shandy and the TV called and we watched our surrounds from a helicopter flying over the race and we discovered Chateaus and lakes we never knew existed round the corner.  We’ll have to have another day of exploring.

We walked through the forest the other day, damp leaves and that wonderful smell of mold and old rotting matter, bright green leaves overhead and bird calls that echo around the forest and bounce off the trees.  The peace and tranquility is amazing.  Old trees lay on the floor covered in moss and when you touch them, they just fall apart into nothing and it struck me how much carries on around us with no interference, no noise, no machinery, just the growing, falling, decaying beauty that adds to the circle of life.   New leaves had come out on the Fir Trees, pale compared to the older ones and it looked like the tree was holding out it’s hands with newly painted nails.

I’ve read that someone felt that being among trees was like being in a church and I have to agree, just on a grander scale, more like a Cathedral with towering walls, stained glass windows of shadows and iridescent green glass and a thick noiseless carpet of rich brown and gold.  I felt so small, so humbled by the silent work going on around me with no praise given, no acknowledgement, no payment, no “well done, good job”, just nature at work.

When we went into Rennes to the Prefecteur I was amazed at the change in us, the noise, the cars, the “stuff” being advertised with bright adverts and scrolling banners, how much people seem to “need” to survive in the concrete jungle.

It’s funny how bit by bit, you adapt to a world and wonder how you lived before..or whether you were actually alive then….I’ve found more life and learned so much more in this tiny little cottage in the middle of nowhere in France than ever before.  I feel honoured.

A la prochaine, bonjournay


About M

I am at heart and artist...which spills over into other areas apart from the pastels, pencils, paintbrush and paper. I love cooking, I love gardening and I love nature. Leaving South Africa to come to France was difficult, but an adventurous challenge and together with my husband and two furry friends, I manage to do all that I love and more while I walk the 'Footpath to France'.
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9 Responses to Been a while….I have excuses!

  1. Tony Henfrey says:

    So the Hardings have come and gone….I believe Brian hopped over the Atlantic and his two girls came home. I am glad that you and Mark enjoyed their visit. Hope that they brought you some good Cape vin? We travelled with Mark, Bo and their girls to Sunderland to see the biggest telescope in the world…very enjoyable trip…got back yesterday. Wendy has been told to collect her SA passport but Irish passport still in the works. We still hope to be able to make a trip to your neck of the woods if I can defray costs by visiting a supplier in Germany. Will keep in touch. Love to you both from both of us.


  2. valerie dunne says:

    I so loved your word choice Moraig. It all sounds so beautiful ! Little confused about permits —-does that mean you will stay ? Lots of love. Xxxxx


  3. Dawn Haupt says:

    Hi M +M
    So nice to hear what’s happening in your world… Moraig you really should sell your pictures with a story as you have the ability to hold us spellbound!!
    We miss you guys – Nicky and Shawn still happy at Bethel. She has just been assigned to the accounting/Auditing dept – says its very, very busy but enjoys the fact that time passes quickly. I suppose you do hear from her! We miss them very much – phone and Skype help a little !!!

    If you have time please email a note via me to print out for Ntutu – she misses you all the time!! she went back home and will continue her study when she gets back..
    Love to you and Mark -( tell him Andre misses his email jokes as his computer is often problematic) Keep the posts going – very interesting and entertaining xx.


  4. Be says:

    Your descriptions leave one no choice but to want to experience it oneself! Hugs and kisses Bev


  5. Karin Duncker says:

    oh my, you make it sound out of this world wonderful. And I too would like to know, does this mean you are planning on staying. That photo of Teddy? at the window is gorgeous. Hugs K


  6. jeannette says:

    I was looking for blogs in English and I am happy to find yours:-))) Best wishes


  7. jeannette says:

    Thank you very much:-))) Of course I will come back here.


  8. Frances says:

    Hi Moraig

    A message from Jen. She said she is counting the sleeps until you come back to South Africa. She also doesn’t want to hear about the “skirt in the pantihose” or any other escapades because she misses you alot. Jen sends her love and listens to your voice mail message when she feels lonely. Please tell Mark that Maggie so much wants to go to a pub with hem. She no longer has a pub friend. Love of to both of you. XXXXXXX

    From Jen and Frances

    I love the pics!!


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