After the travels we made before and after Christmas to Stockholm, Vienna, and other cities and countries, let's come back to the Dordogne today, and enjoy the last of the end-of-the-year decorations of The Village. Next week, they will be taken down, and there will be a lull in the activities of the small shops. Less flowers, books, trinkets bought, and savings at the butcher's and the confectioners'.
One thing will still thrive and this is The Supermarket.
You may see that The Supermarket has nothing to do with US and Canadian supermarkets or those you find in cities and towns around the world. It is far smaller that those around Périgueux, and even those of the Market Towns nearby, but we find almost everything we need here, except when we want to spend less, and then go to the discount supermarket of the next Market Town.
Today is the first day of the shopping/cleaninng lady and I have sent The Girls with her to do a large part of the weekly shopping. Can you imagine my being alone at home without The Girls? There was excitation on their part and a little unease or apprehension. But I made the shopping list with them and explained what we needed as well as telling them that they will be the lady's guide and teach her our shoppping customs and showing her the brands we buy.
The Girls were ready two hours before the appointed time! And the lady came. She is a youngish person at the end of her thirties or the beginning of her forties, neatly and gaily dressed, with blonde hair, a nice smile, and briefed by the Head of the cleaning ladies Agency about the job she is expected to hold. I have commented my shopping list with her, told her about what is important for The House and what is important for The Girls (things do not always coincide but The Girls need their important things to feel well).
And off, they have gone!
I took a deep breath. A very, very deep breath.
This is the first time since we have arrived from Paris that I am alone. I am typing without fear of being interrupted at any moment. I can listen to music as I want. Or I may choose silence. Or I may read. Or watch a DVD in English without explaining or putting the translation in French. I may make myself a cup of tea or coffee or drink some fruit juice without justification or reason why I do so. For the first time in years, I am free. Unbelievable.
And it is not even selfish as The Girls will enjoy their trip out without me. I am sure they will have lots to tell in the evening and tomorrow.
They are going to The Supermarket, of course. They have little treats to buy there - under control, of course: no folly!
Then they go at the chemist's for my prescription.
Then they will buy their magazines that are awaiting them at the newsagent's.
And back from The Village to The House. Quite an adventure, isn't it?
It is an adventure for them. I learnt from living with disabled persons, be they physically disabled like my brother who suffered from myopathy, or mentally disabled like The Girls who suffer from DownS, that they approach life with new eyes every day. Everything is fresh and valuable for them. There is not much negative attitude, but gratefulness for little things instead. They will be thankful for fresh bread and a new highlighter, for guiding the "new lady" in the aisles of the shop and for the TV magazine. They rejoiced because rain had stopped and they would not wet their paws. They awake each morning with a smile. They go to bed and fall asleep easily after having made their peace with the world and God.
Therefore, even if I took a deep breath and almost stretched in the luxury of being alone, I shall be glad to see them coming back and tell me what they have seen and done. I complain about them but I would not live without them around. They weight on me but they are also a great source of joy.
This may be less interesting than the journeys to Stockholm or Vienna, the memories of days past, the Advent Calendar or the Twelve Days of Christmas: it is a tiny pause. It is good to be at home.