“Jardin of Good and Scared!” – by Debbie Ambrous

Peonies and roses at La Maison Perrotin - my bouquet - Peonies are finally blooming!

Peonies and roses at La Maison Perrotin – my bouquet – Peonies are finally blooming! You can call me, but I won’t be answering on this antique phone.

Come on out, please.  I really want to see you.  The sun is shining, and it’s warm most of the time now.  You will be so beautiful and make me very happy.”  I said these words to coax the peonies to bloom, very quietly so no one would hear me and think I was crazy. 

I walked further examining the tiny fruit on the trees and the petite green raspberries gradually maturing in the sunshine.  The strawberries are ripening; we had a few with ice cream for dessert last night.  Further, at the back of the garden on the adjoining property in the rear, is an old stone house in ruins.  I thought of the many houses like this that I’ve seen for more than ten years on the internet for sale.  I skipped any thought of these tumbled-down houses and searched for one with a roof in good shape and functioning plumbing and electricity in place.  Dreamers like me often think that it would be easy to remodel.  I stood quietly, not coaxing the peonies for several minutes, and then moved a few steps along the stone wall.  A long object that resembled rebar (a rusty-colored metal building material) except thicker was on the rock-covered walkway.  Then I noticed the curve at the end.  Snake!!!  I was shocked at how perfectly camouflaged the snake was with the rusty-brown colored rocks blending around it.  When I regained my breath, I told my feet to move fast and I rushed to the house – this time watching the ground for more snakes!  Breathlessly, I told my snake story to Jim, and he laughed at my fright.  I don’t think that he believed a snake was in the garden, but we grabbed our cameras like good tourists and rushed to the scene of the snake-sighting.   The snake was not there!  See, I told you so!  It was a snake!” 

I searched on the internet and learned that there are only two poisonous snakes to watch for – vipers or adders – with slit-shaped pupils and grey or reddish-brown skin.   Sounds like my rebar snake, but I didn’t look him in the eyes since he seemed to be using the rock pathway as a tanning bed.  They are apparently more aggressive during the spring – mating season.  Spring!?  This is spring!  The article said the poisonous snakes are usually not deadly, but one should remain calm and head to the hospital if bitten.  Taking a picture was suggested, but one should not kill the snake since they are protected in France.  Just keeping you informed. 

Warning sign near an Alabama lake

Warning sign near an Alabama lake

I watch very carefully for snakes on our Alabama property and other outdoor areas since poisonous snakes are prevalent and deadly. 

It had not even crossed my mind here in France when I’ve wandered through the woods, by the roads, on farm property and stepped on cow, horse, sheep and chicken manure.  I only thought of the smelly stuff on my boots, not the poison potential in the area.  The good news is that a tourist will rarely even see a snake, so look at how fortunate I was!  Very special, indeed!

Painters below reminded me of Stephan, Mele and Dominika with Prime Beluskov Painting

Painters below reminded me of Stephan, Mele and Dominika with Prime Beluskov Painting

Later in the day we visited Loches and I was enjoying the view below from a high vantage point.  Painters with ladders were painting shutters a bright red color on a house below.  I was thinking about the many, many days that I worked at the main office for a major construction company and talked with subcontractors daily.  The painters reminded me of a subcontractor, Prime Beluskov Painting; they have a European background and appreciated hearing about my trips to France.  I was smiling at the workers below as I remembered my friends in Florida.  I heard Jim suddenly say, “Look out for the tree snake!  I turned quickly and saw his prank. 

NOT a snake, just a tree limb without leaves.  Sneaky Jim's trick!

NOT a snake, just a tree limb without leaves. Sneaky Jim’s trick!

 I suggested an antidote to his snake prank. “Do you want to take the fast way back to the car – head first over this wall?

We drove on to Montresor, one of the Plus Beaux Villages in France.  It was lunchtime when we arrived on a Monday with the boulangerie closed, so we couldn’t buy a sandwich.  Boulangeries close on Monday in most instances, and many are closed during the lunchtime.  We see many changes in France compared to earlier days.  Stores are open during lunch and Sunday in some instances, which was unheard of during earlier times when we visited.  Honestly, I would like to see the old ways continue.  I respect the way of life with more time for workers to be with their families and enjoy life. 

Authentic French atmosphere inside and excellent food

Authentic French atmosphere inside and excellent food – CAFE DE LA VILLE

We found only one restaurant in the village and wasn’t sure it would be very good.  We were very pleasantly surprised!  Great service and very good food! 

Just leave everything in her hands - You will feel right at home!

Just leave everything in her hands – You will feel right at home!

I had the beef and Jim had fish.  We chose from the specials of the day that included salad bar, a main dish and dessert for twelve euros.  The small dining room and porch area were filled with local people and a few other tourists.

Jim had the view of the television, and I could people-watch from my side.

Jim had the view of the television, and I could people-watch from my side.

 

The UK couple were selecting from this cheese board

The UK couple were selecting from this cheese board

Handwritten on the shirt:

Handwritten on the shirt: July 2013 plus a thank you note

Our table on one side had a Canadian in their group, and to the other side a couple from the UK was happily enjoying their meal.  It was nice to talk with them and exchange stories.  I forgot to tell them about the snake.  Maybe just as well.

Along another road, far from Montresor, I saw an artsy collection of rebar trees.  I was mouthing my lack of admiration for the rusty metal decor when Jim said, “Well, you know you gotta have a rebar forest for your rebar snakes!”

Rebar trees?  Who is head of city planning?

Rebar trees? Who is head of city planning?

A nice pathway runs along the waterway below the chateau, a  wonderful place for a walk after lunch. 

Isn't this a peaceful, lovely place?  See CHATEAU MONTRESOR

Isn’t this a peaceful, lovely place? See CHATEAU MONTRESOR

SNAKE-14Come walk with us again.  Merci!   ORDER THE BOOK “A FRENCH OPPORTUNITY” IN FRANCE EASILY, BY CLICKING HERE.

 

 

6 thoughts on ““Jardin of Good and Scared!” – by Debbie Ambrous

    • Lycina,
      We miss seeing you and all of other friends and family. You are absolutely right, our travel has been very interesting. We spent most of the day at Villandry Gardens and Chateau. The gardens cover a very large area including a large lake with swans and many flowers, trees and vegetables. We had bright sunny weather today, hopefully not too bright for my pictures. We just arrived home so I need to download them later. Take care and thanks for your comment.

    • Kristy,
      I can just imagine the construction company looking around at the end of a project when budget is to the max and saying, “Hey, let’s use these pieces of rebar for our landscaping. No maintenance and quick installation!” A rebar garden has no resemblance to a rose garden! I think the folks I work with in construction may find it to be quite funny, though.

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