Being Grateful


(St. John’s Gate – Parthenay)

I’m sitting on the swing as I write, in a little bit of shade, it’s way too hot out there under the bright light for my pale complexion. The really surprising thing about a hot day here is how cool it is inside in the cottage. It’s almost like there’s air conditioning in there. I think it must be the thickness of the walls. Caves are like that too, so it makes them a constant temperature year round, cooler than the summer heat and warmer than the cold winter.


(Half-timber house – Parthenay)

I realised a moment ago that we will be starting our journey home in just over a week. It was starting to feel like we could stay here forever! So it makes me think about some of the things I am grateful for here… The warmth – it’s been very hot this week and I love how sparkly everything is in the sun, including the spider’s webs (some photos of those would be nice). The garden – it’s lovely to be among green growing things. The peace – it’s so quiet, not silent, there’s buzzing and I can hear some neighbours chatting. I think I hear a farm machine in the distance and every now and then a bird singing. The trestle table – it has been (and will continue to be for the next week, I hope) fantastic to be able to work outside at this big wooden table made by human hands and planks of wood.


(Very cute house – Parthenay)

The distance from a retail hub – well, this was a big surprise to me, that I could be grateful not to be near a village, town or city. How would I spend my days? How would I fill the time? Where would I get some chocolate or croissants? Where would we eat? For as long as I can remember I have lived in a town (or a city) and always very close to (either next door to or a few hundred yards/meters away from) a shop. In Cashel where I grew up as a child besides the shops there were so many amazing places to visit (really, they did seem amazing!) There was the Rock of Cashel where stone staircases led to turrets that let up to the battlements, hundreds of feet up in the air and unprotected… Any parent’s nightmare – fortunately our parents never knew we were up there! And Hoare Abbey, an old ruined monastery, protected by huge cows (I was/am afraid of cows, so I only ventured in when they were eating the grass round the back). The town of Parthenay reminded me a lot of Cashel.


(Steep, unprotected steps, at the castle – Parthenay)

So I have come to understand that having no shops and castles and monasteries next door to wander around has actually been an advantage to me. Instead, I can wander around glue and paint, paper and canvas, scissors and fabric.


(See the seashell? Symbol of Camino – Parthenay)

I am also grateful that the only cows around here are firmly behind fences, Mairead.