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Sleepy Villages are Never Boring!

Sleepy Villages are Never Boring!

Sleepy Villages are Never Boring!

A lot people who move to France arm themselves with a long list off idyls.
Where they want to live, what they want to live in, what they want to do, the list is endless.

Most people look for a rural village setting with acres of fields surrounding their property, crops that look vibrant and healthy, happy animals munching on green grass and beret wearing farmers chugging down the lane in their beaten up but still workable1920's Lamborghini tractor (they do exist, honest). 
The village, like many others, will have the mandatory village square, maybe with a bar and a bakers and of course the local Mayor's office with all it's finest regalia - the French flag, at full mast. Just like you see on tv shows.

I've just described where I live, except that there's no bar or bread shop. No wait, there's a take away pizza joint. How we would ever exist without France's "almost national" dish, the pizza? I am beyond words when it comes to how much pizza is eaten in France.
The village where I live is no different than where a ton of expats in France, Italy and Spain live and I love it.
It's rural, it's quiet, crime is almost nonexistent, people are friendly in a small village kind of way and it's a very healthy almost organic kind of lifestyle. 

Sleepy Villages are Never Boring

People who come to stay with us, invariably always we're ask "What do you do with your time? It's so quiet here." What they really mean is "You are so lucky to live such a lazy ass lifestyle but nothing happens here, you must be bored rigid".
Well we do run a B&B which IS work despite what most people think but that aside life is never, ever boring in our quiet little village.

June, July and August are the busiest months for a B&B in Southern France.
We have 5 rooms and if we're not full we at least have 2 - 3 rooms in-house.
That's 7 days a week, 24 hours a day. We serve breakfast (of course) and dinner.
The time in between is spent working around the property, cleaning rooms, laundry, cutting grass, pool cleaning, shopping etc etc.

I begin to answer the "lazy ass" questions by using an example of what happened over 3 months last summer.
Here's what happened:

Sleepy Villages are Never Boring

Sitting enjoying a quiet lunch one day I hear the neighbours chickens in distress.
I'm a bit protective of my neighbours chickens, she's an old lady who makes her income from selling eggs and chickens at the local market.
I don't see her often but I do protect her chickens from the odd stray dog looking for a chicken to chase. 

This day I looked up to see a ratty old dog chasing a couple of the slower chooks around.
Off I went, running the gate in full summer regalia, shorts, T-shirt and flip flops. 

It wasn't until I got part way down the track that I realised that the ratty old dog was in fact a wild boar, a male, with tusks, he was big and he was dangerous.
But instead of doing the right thing which was to turn around and leg it, I grabbed the nearest stick and kept going.
I should point out at that I spent 13 years living in the Canadian Rockies with bears in our back yard so I really do know better.

Needless to say the boar and I had a battle of wills with me making as much noise as I could banging my stick on a piece of corrugated sheeting and he, head down scratching and grunting, threatening to charge.
He ran off after a couple of false charges and then I quickly retreated back down the lane, heart beating and realising what an incredibly stupid woman I was. 

The long and short of that story was that the boar was around for another few days and then it disappeared.
It was out of hunting season so he couldn't be shot, but there were many people out there with pitch forks.
I watched from a distance and I wouldn't doubt that he ended up as someone's dinner!

How many people get to say that they had a tete-a-tete with a wild boar?

Sleepy Villages are Never Boring

Exactly one month later my husband and I went into town for dinner.
When we came back we could hear thunder in the distance and the sky was turning a nasty shade of black.
We paid no attention to it as summer storms happen all the time.

About 30 minutes later and from out of no where it was as if the house had been hit by a truck. 
Boom! Water came in sideways, along the wooden beams leaving puddles in the middle of the room where no water has ever been seen before.
There were huge cracks of thunder and flashes of lightening right above us, the house wa shaking and the wind was threatening to blow the windows in. 

When I looked outside it was as if I was seeing footage of a tornado from the Weather Channel.
It was almost black outside; Leaves, branches and whatever wasn't tied down were blowing sideways down the street past the house.
Our trees were leaning at 45 degrees threatening to come down and the noise, it was a roar, it was really frightening. 

It lasted about 30 minutes and we were really keen to check out our property for damage but couldn't go outside due to the intense lightening.
We had to wait for it to pass but by that time it was dark outside and we had to wait for daylight to see the damage.

Turned out it was a localised tornado that hit our house and a few others in the village, took out many established trees, spoiled crops and ruined greenhouses. Some farmers lost their whole summer harvest.
It was carnage but we only lost a few trees, roof tiles and most of the vegetable garden.
The pool was full, furniture had to be fished out along with what seemed like a whole forest of leaves.
Some summer storm, it was like someone had ploughed a landing strip through the village fields!

Sleepy Villages are Never Boring

The end of our summer was marked with an event that I wished hadn't happened and made me wish my life in a quiet little village was just that, quiet and uneventful.

Husband and I took off down the lane on our bikes to the boulangerie in the next village as we needed bread for dinner that night.
We were gone about 20 minutes and it was a dead quiet Saturday lunchtime with no one on the road, beautiful.

When we came back near our house we heard our neighbours tractor (they all have their own sounds) coming down a small side track.
We looked up the track to say "bonjour" but we saw the tractor upside down with the farmer (who was 89) underneath. It wasn't pretty.

Quickly we ran up (my husband was a paramedic before) and we did what we had to do, i'll spare you the details.
Needless to say he was still alive and I think we kept him that way until the Pompier's (fire dept - 1st responders) and Samu (emergency Dr's team) showed up.
It was all pretty stressful and I think every car in the village passed by when we were standing there.

It was tough to act "normal" when our guests arrived at the house shortly after but we had to carry on regardless.
Unfortunately the neighbour didn't make it through the night.
We had to go and give a statement to the Gendarmes (Police) and then, shortly after, attend our 1st French funeral which was a learning curve as the whole village was there eyeing us up cautiously.

Sleepy Villages are Never Boring

To be honest I hope never to relive any of those 3 experiences.
I'd much prefer to be invited to a wedding or a BBQ in our sleepy little village.

The winter is quieter, it's when we tackle our exhaustive maintenance list, we only work 4 days a week unless it's sunny and then we go cycling - lazy ass indeed! 
Granted, it's not city life but if you think living in a sleepy village is boring, think again: Sleepy Villages are Never Boring!

Lou Messugo

Comments

Wow, you guys have been through a lot! I hope you never have to repeat any of those situations again, either...

How sad that you lost your neighbour like this, certainly not something to wish to be repeated. The tornado sounds crazy and frightening but the boar incident is something I can relate to. We get plenty of wild boar in our urban garden and they wreak untold damage. Last summer my then 9 year old came face to face with a large boar in the middle of the day which was a first, as until then they'd only been around in the evening and night. It was just a week or so off hunting season and the local hunt got special dispensation to shoot it before the season began as it was causing such damage. It turned out to weigh 104 kg (my son weighed 30 - not an equal match)and we ate it in a daube at this year's fête des voisins!! Your quiet rural idyll sounds full of life and very busy to me. I know how much work is involved in a B&B (much more than my gîte!)Thanks for linking up to #AllAboutFrance again.

di's picture

Thanks Phoebe - what a place we live in!

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