Last weekend E and I visited France with my parents so I could introduce them to the wonderful region of Normandy where I dream of one day owning my own spiritual retreat centre.
I have said it before but there is something about Normandy that I find incredibly special, uplifting and energising. It is something to do with the light and the sense of space, plus of the course the fact you are literally surrounded by nature - trees, fields, animals, flowers, plants, birds - essentially it is farming land and clearly something about farming land resonates with me.
We spent the first night in Ducey, this really pretty town about a forty five minute drive from St Malo, where there is this really pretty river and the hotel was set along its banks so after a wonderful meal at one of the local restaurants, we were soothed to sleep by the sound of a weir. I haven't slept so well in ages - in fact there is something about Normandy that just soothes all the stress away and makes me feel incredibly tired and take everything at a very slow pace and sleep, lots of sleeping!
On the Saturday the four of us went for a lovely walk along the river side and through the forest in a 6km loop. The walk was stunning. So tranquil with only us on the trail the whole time. This is nature at its best. A lovely gently flowing river, a reminder to go with the flow, and river banks laden with trees and flowers and blackberries and slow bushes. We were treated to Peacock butterflies and dragonflies, goats, cows and even an otter although Mum was the only one who saw it before it got scared away.
It was just green everywhere, and the sun would shine through the clouds from time to time brightening the whole scene, stunning absolutely stunning. We followed the path away from the river and inland in to a forest full of oak and beech trees, where there were also loads of mushrooms and slugs. There is something really uplifting about forests, I am not sure whether it is their grounding nature, or the fact they are so alive with tree energy, but I love them, so cool, and we collected some beech and oak tree cuttings to plant back at home so we will always have a reminder of the walk and our special Normandy weekend.
After a lovely picnic lunch at this wonderful spot that E found quite by chance, we drove to our Carl and Tessa's farm where E and I were staying for the night while my parents returned to Ducey and had some peace and quiet!
I love the farm. It is set in such a beautiful location, and Carl and Tessa have given it their own magical energy, living their dream with their lovely children Ollie and Evie. Some of the sheep have been sold since we last visited and now there are 5 ducklings and a wonderful goat called Deborah who provides all their milk. There are still some sheep plus lots of cows and free roaming chickens, bee hives, the cats, horses, dogs and guinea pig. There is never a dull moment on the farm, I can just sit watching it all unfold around me for hours.
That evening we sat and watched the swallows swooping around the land, and a flock of gulls flying over head, and butterflies fluttering around. The clouds finally cleared so that the stars were shining brightly over head. That is the joy of this place, there is such little light pollution so the stars can be incredibly bright.
I slept so well that I really didn't want to get up the next morning, but was encouraged to do so so I could have a try of milking Deborah. My gosh Tessa makes it look so easy but really it is quite a skill, which I don't yet have! It is actually rather mesmerising watching Tessa milk away. E had a go too, but he was equally as useless as me!!
I managed to practice before a long lazy brunch, where I took great delight in eating a couple of the eggs from the chickens on the farm, which have the most amazingly yellow yokes and now make it very difficult for me to eat any eggs, which have not been laid by such well loved and free roaming chickens. I don't care what anyone says, it really does make a difference to the taste and the energy of the egg.
Early afternoon and with my folks lazing in Ducey and rather happy about it too, the rest of us headed to Domfrom, this medieval town close to where Tessa and Carl live. It is a lovely town with the remains of this beautiful old castle on top of the hill, offering fantastic views across the lower land. I could have wandered around for a while but we were due to meet my parents at the farm and didn't have very much time, but it certainly somewhere to investigate if you are ever passing.
After saying goodbye to the Masons again - I always find it really sad leaving the farm, I just love it there, but I know we will be back again sometime this year - we headed back to Ducey where E and I pottered around the town looking at all the beautiful flowers and views of the river, before enjoying another wonderful outdoor meal with the folks - very civilised!!
After another restful night's sleep we headed back to St Malo for some last minute French shopping before getting the boat back home.
A huge thank you to Mum and Dad, we thoroughly enjoyed the weekend with you both, and a big thank you to Tessa, Carl, Ollie and Evie for putting up with us again!!