Advent day twenty-four
Happy Christmas Eve and thank you for being a part of our French village life for another year.
I just love this silly selfie we took on yesterday’s bike ride. It just about sums up our cycling year, smiles, blue skies, sunshine and rain. All being well, tomorrow will see me going over the 6000km mark on my Brompton (since 1st January 2023) and it's been a blast.
Our Christmas Eve began with a bike ride – how I wish I could say that about every day of the year. It was just a short 16km round trip into Chef-Boutonne to ensure we had a lovely, seeded baguette for our picnic lunch tomorrow, and wouldn’t run out of dog food. For a Sunday morning, the small town of Chef-Boutonne was buzzing! There were queues at the butchers, the oyster stall was busy and by the time I came out of the boulangerie, the queue had spread across the pavement. I’d got chatting to a British couple in the queue, his opening comment being “you look so happy and excited”. Now, I’m not the most Christmassy of people, our decorations and celebrations are rather low key when compared to many households, and I had no idea how much happiness was radiating from me, but I’m glad it was. I think the lesson here is to never underestimate the power of a bike ride, however short or routine, to put you in a good mood.
I hope you have enjoyed my Advent postcards, highlighting some of the interesting, remarkable, arty, or historical loveliness we’ve discovered in 2023 on our cycling adventures. I’ve certainly loved revisiting them when writing the posts. Some of these places are local to the Deux-Sèvres, some a long way from home. Some are places we’ve stumbled on as part of day trips, others on our cycle touring adventures to celebrate our twenty-fifth wedding anniversary year. Despite staying away in twelve different towns or cities (ten of which were in France), I purposely only included the villages or small towns we’ve visited in my postcards. It seemed more fitting for a blog called French Village Diaries. I think they have proven that slow travel on the lesser pedalled roads is incredibly rewarding. I do hope some of them have sparked an interest and inspire you to stop and explore next time you are on the road in France.