Wednesday, January 13, 2010


This was an amazing little find on our perambulations today. A medieval crucifix preserved and incorporated into a newer (18th century?) house, itself the subject of recent renovations (look at that smooth plaster surface!). As we process the first images we're seeing of the earthquake in Haiti, I think of the pieces that will somehow remain, of how they will re-incorporated in new houses, of how people will remember this tragedy. We're seeing lots of images of French aid workers suiting up and leaving; we've heard of search and rescue teams from California, Florida and Virginia leaving to go as well. And admiration for this first free republic of people of African descent (as of 1804 - they kicked Napoleon himself out!). Lots of praise for Obama's statements and response as well. Help is on the way, I keep thinking, just hang on.

We spent a quiet but full day: homework in the morning: absolutely surprising to me, but Oliver prefers French handwriting to the writing he's been doing - we've always had a hard time getting him to write, but there he sat this morning, looping his letters, doing extra words, and even writing out an entire sentence when the teacher had just asked for a couple of words to practice on; Iris, of course, wanted to get in on the endeavor and started doing it as well - but it slows her down too much and, as we know, the girl needs to write!; Eleanor was blissfully happy watching some Tom and Jerry cartoons. Then, haircuts: huzzah! fantastic, amazing French haircuts - all scissors, incredible precision, to my mind, truly an art form to behold. All three kids were shampooed and had their hair cut most professionally - Mac, too. I'm going to go next week, by gum, and join this good looking crowd!

The lovely owner of our local restaurant (where we had our very first meal in Josselin, in fact) took this picture. We decided to go all out: kids got kids menus, I couldn't resist a "steak, frites" and Mac got a menu, too. We felt very celebratory, yet none of us could pinpoint exactly what we were celebrating: learning French, being grateful to be together, getting to explore - Eleanor volunteered "haircuts" (and yes, those are indeed something to be grateful for). We then walked over to the side of town across the canal - hadn't done that yet!

This marvelous old house with the beautifully restored black and white façade was a shop from which the owners sold their wares to passersby - that's what the big stone bench in front of the windows is all about! We had fun making up stories about exactly what kind of wares were being sold there. :-) I was able to incorporate it into the Baby Pink Dragon and Her Friend the Little Girl story of this evening (the evil wizard Krichelieu is still eluding them and their companions: the three plucky princesses, the three brave knights, the Fisher King and the Fisher Queen, the Dungeon Keeper and the Troll King, Two Brothers, and, as of tonight, a gnome - oof!). In the morning, I've been telling Breton fairy tales that I read the night before (and may explain the wacky dreams that I've been having). I finished the book that I came with that had 14 stories in it, but bought a new book here in town yesterday: it has 50 (!) stories in it, so we ought to be well-stocked for a while. :-) The woods all around here, and the old stones of these houses have so many stories to tell - I'm always happy to be able to weave them into our own tales.


  1. Hi Anne... so glad to hear to hear that Oliver, Iris and Eleanor will have memories of bedtime stories, influenced by Breton fairies! I still know the tale of Sir Gawain and the Green Knight (as well as Brer Rabbit) only because my father would tell me these stories before I drifted off.

  2. Hi there! Well, word on the internet street is that you are the goddess of childhood memories: I've heard glorious reports of an incredible first-year book you made for monsieur A.B. - lucky little fellow! looking forward to perusing it upon me return!
    p.s. I can't help but think of the biological wonder of both of those fairy tale worlds your father shared with you - hmmmm!

  3. loving this post so much...especially the photo~ the first of the 5 of you, I says it all. I will be carrying this image in my head and next to my heart all day. Missing you, of course, but so happy at the thought of where and how you are...hugs all around

  4. hi sweet Alison,
    perfect! as I found Josselin's knitting shop today! :-) it shares a space with some serious celto-medievalalia - can't wait to show it to you both!

  5. Knitting in Brittany with you, my little models/muses, and my girl close at hand...mmmmmmmmm

  6. Oh Anne, this is one of my favorite days of yours---can one say that? It is just so evocative of those fast scissors at French salons and the confidence in it all---and Oliver making French loops, and I don't know, this just made me weep. I finally did it. Oneportaltown. Go figure. I may be the most silent of all bloggers. Love you, me