Difficult to believe it is nearly 15 months since we left Great Coxwell and yet it feels like we have been here forever.
Amongst other activities, we continue to enjoy our weekly Qi Gong and French classes and Gill is very pleased that a regular Catalan Skittles session is happening in the village. Other new developments locally include the opening of a Médiatheque (like a library but also with computer access) and the space is also used for various meetings and film shows. Other events we have enjoyed were the annual Carnival and at Easter there was a Concert by a local choir followed by a procession of the singers around the streets collecting eggs for an omelette supper later that day. During the meal the singers spontaneously sang a number of Catalan songs, straight from their hearts....one didn't need to understand the language, it was so powerful and moving.
Wildlife spotting during our morning walks is a constant joy.....butterflies all winter, bees on almond blossom in january, frogs croaking, crickets chirping, wild boar sightings, the return of cuckoos, martins, swallows and swifts in march, nightingales singing everywhere! Identifying native flowers is another favourite pastime when we do more leisurely walks at the weekends.
When a friend was staying last week we were delighted to see both a Short Toed Eagle flying over a nearby Roman Aquaduct and 6 !!! Booted Eagles circling over our heads at a dramatic river gorge......awesome. Tosca, the canine member of our family is so happy too, she loves the freedom here and has learnt many words in french.
Foraging is also great fun here, we have gathered wild asparagus, thyme and rocket and soon it will be cherry time. Our « garden » of pots and window boxes are both beautiful and also supply us with other herbs for the kitchen.
Supporting and participating in politics continues to be an important part of our lives, with Amnesty International, Anti Nuclear organisation, Médecines Sans Frontière keeping us engaged. Locally we have helped friends with english translation work for literature for a European Volunteer Project (which works with countries like Libya, Syria, Turkey, Palestine etc etc) and also for a Memorial Museum which has been opened at a former internment camp (see Wikipedia Camp de Rivesaltes if you want to know more), all subjects very dear to us !
France is experiencing strikes against the employment law changes and some of you may have read about the Nuit Debout movement which started in Paris and has spread throughout France and now into other European countries including the UK, we live in interesting times! Not least with the UK referendum coming up.....
Looking to the near future, we are travelling to the UK in June for the marriage of our lovely friends Sophie and Rich and we are also hoping to catch up with our friends and family in the Great Coxwell area and further afield.
With love from Trish Gill and Tosca xxx