As I wrote earlier, I am now in cold, cold France. I am not really sure what happened but for the past five days, the temperature has not managed to climb above 20 centigrade. It is cold. Really cold! I arrived last Monday and went directly to Tours and the Loire Valley where E had rented a house for her birthday and invited all her friends. Or in fairness, it was J who arranged it all and the house was in fact an old monastery dating back to the 12th century. It was beautiful and very relaxing, and I spent five wonderful days there. E (who I know from Rome but who has lived in New York for the past years) is without doubt one of my most inspiring friends and it was nice to get to know her friends from other periods of her life better (all very nice of course!).
After five days in Loire I continued to Saint Jean d’Angely in the Cognac region, where my brother in law’s parents have a house. I have been here before but I am still amazed by their very peculiar house, which dates back to the 1840s. Saint Jean d’Angely is also a lovely little town, and only an hour from Bordeaux and an hour from La Rochelle. So everything is kind of perfect except that it is so very cold this year! But we try to make day excursions instead, and when we are home, we spend a lot of time eating, reading, and just talking. I haven’t seen my sister and her family in over a year so there is a lot of catching up to do. And so despite the weather, it is kind of nice anyway!