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I woke feeling a cold draft wafting across the room. Then I let out a deep huff for the “how cold is it?” breath test.

It hung there. That frozen huff of breath. My hopes for a pretty, blue sky, flower-filled spring in Bretange was dashed! At least there was a heater and a very hot and steamy shower to look forward to as I tried to convince myself to get out of bed. Carolina and I had worked out the best roommate trade off ever – I would go turn on the heater when I would start my coffee in the morning and late at night when the room had a frigid chill she would jump out of bed to turn off the lights. That was the best trade-off between roommates that I had experienced this entire adventure!

I was in Keursten working at the famed rose garden. The village consisted of three buildings built in the late 1600’s do you get the picture as to why there was a cold draft lingering in the room? I could look through cracks in the floorboards to see the room below. This old beauty was built long before hermetically sealed rooms, insulation and double paned windows became the fashion.

I bundled up in triple layers to brave the cold and set out to explore the grounds.

Even though I saw snow on the ground three times during my stay, the flowers were blooming and the leaves were starting to bud on the rose vines. The weeds, nothing could stop the weeds from growing, including the cold. That was my morning task, to tackle the weeds that were overgrowing the beds in the garden behind the cottage.

My curiosity took hold and I wandered down in the direction of the river. I had been told in very stilted French English that the gardens encompassed more than just the ones that I could see around the village, that there was more to explore down in the woods. So I set off across the plowed up field to see what I could discover.

Winding, dodgy trails between the biggest moss covered trees filled the landscape. Little flowers peeking their heads up from under the cover of the leaves. A swiftly moving river of the coldest water. A fallen tree that gave me the perfect perch to sit there and absorb the surroundings.

It was frigid, but it was worth it!


As I walked back into the cottage, crossed the creaking floor and opened the door to my room, I was greeted with what now felted like the warmest of cocoons.

I settled in to my writing gazing at the prettiest collection of flowers that I had gathered on my walk. Bretagne had a completely different appeal to me than Bordeaux. I was falling in love with the French countryside!

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copyright 2011-2017 Loxley Browne

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