Can’t stop now

The last Much Love Monday of 2013, and the imminent future, is brought to you once again by the belting voice of Miss Alison Moyet with Don’t Go. 

I’m obviously on an 80s electronic vibe at the moment, since I was all about Alison two weeks ago with All Cried Out and then The Communards last week with Never Can Say Goodbye. Synthesisers have a lot to be blamed for in my life. It was all the Depeche Mode vibe I grew up with, I think. To be fair, I think it’s a Vince Clark thing as much as it is an Alison Moyet thing. I loved him right from Depeche Mode through to Erasure. The boy can do no wrong. I might love a bit of synthesiser, but Tilly doesn’t. It drives her mental and she barks like mad at it.

If you’re lucky, I’ll have got over my 80s electronic thing by next Wednesday, as Much Love Monday moves to Wednesday for the Wednesday Whoo! Mondays are being given over to a 52 Mondays photography project, which I shall also be keeping in a photo folder on Flickr.

It was tough to pick. I have favourite bits of most of my walks. And I love foresty photographs, but I don’t always go to the forest every week and often there are things that make me pick one walk or another, like if the river is flooded or if there are hunters out, or other dog walkers. That means it needed to be one of my go-to walks, my regular walks. Often, since Monday is technically my day off, I go for a longer walk, but I don’t always pick the same one. There is, however, a point I usually pass. It’s a farm path with less traffic on than the road, so I often choose this one because I can let the dogs run off lead. Plus, it’s nothing but fields and small thickets, so the potential for losing one or the other of my beasts is more limited than in the forest.

I should add at this point that Heston made off into the great wild forest last week, despite all the training we’ve been doing, at practically the same spot he chose to disappear last time. Over-exciting. Therefore, I’m afraid, boring though it is, the paths through the fields are our walks until his recall is better. I suspect it may only get worse as he now realises he can make his own way home. He doesn’t run off across the fields and although there are several smaller thickets, it’s much safer. No traffic. No cows. No deer. No wild boar. Occasional swallows. The odd hare. Another added bonus is that with less wildlife, there are fewer hunters. And because it’s through cleared land, I reckon we are less likely to get shot at. Always a bonus.

So this is the reason for my regular choice. And it is a place I have photographed before…

IMG_0026This is the place in October.

The idea of 52 Mondays is that you document the place each week throughout the year. It’s kind of in the spirit of Much Love Monday anyway, since it is supposed to be a place you love very much. And this is definitely that. I love the wide-open space. I love the curving path. I love the solitary tree. I love the tree line. The Charente department is generally a very rolling department – neither flat nor really hilly – it’s doux as the French say – mild, gentle or soft. It means sweet as well though which is kind of nice.

It was not doux today. It was brisk. That’s how we English say cold enough to freeze the balls off a brass monkey. Four layers: two thermals, two jumpers, a scarf, a hat and gloves and it was still a little nippy.

And the view was also a little dull. Reminded me to bracket next time as well.

52Mondays1Part of the aim is also to document the changes the year brings – and although not much is growing at this time of year, you can see the grain crop Monsieur Le Fermier has planted has grown a little too.

Anyway, I hope you are going to enjoy this project as much as I know I am going to. My Mondays will be all the lovelier for it. Plus, I get to have Much Love on Wednesdays, which is never a bad thing. I guess by September, my Wednesdays will be a little less busy, as all schoolchildren in France will be in school on Wednesdays. At the moment, some are still off (more so down here among the grumbling socialists, where the population take a little longer to get used to change) although many of my students are now in school on Wednesday mornings. It was part of François Hollande’s aim to stop the long days on Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday. Many schoolchildren do spend a long time in school in France – longer than in England – but this is mostly to do with the two hour lunch break most schools have. My last school in England had a 50 minute break for lunch, but I worked in others where students had 35 minutes, mainly because some headteachers were concerned that there were discipline issues once children stop eating. I’m well accustomed to the two-hour lunch break now, though, despite the fact I don’t often have one myself.

In fact, as today, I spent my lunch time walking. I figure if everyone else is eating lunch, I can have the fields to myself. I’m usually right about that.

The rest of my Monday Love goes to the coming new year. It’s always nice to think you can reset and start again a little. It renews my focus. Plus, the days are getting gradually longer, it will be planting time soon, and the winter grows ever shorter – though I know the long tail lies in front of us.

New Year’s Eve tomorrow – and 2014. That sounds like an especially space-aged number. I am getting old.



4 thoughts on “Can’t stop now

  1. Love that landscape – makes me miss my rides out, as I don’t go so far with the dog as I did on horseback.

    Wow, revolutionary that French kids will go to school on a Wednesday :o!
    In Geneva it used to be Thursday off at all state schools, so they gave us private schoolers the afternoon off, too, and when the Swissies were at school on Saturday mornings, we “internationals” used to take over the skating rink… Fond memories!
    Saturday school was killed off sometime in the mid 90s in Switzerland but our kids still get Wednesday afternoons off, and a lot of primary schools give them Thursday afternoon off, too, now that extracurricular activities have become more popular – school hours are irregular but roughly 7.25-11.45 and 1.30-3.30/4 all the way up to age 15/16, so 33-34 hours a week altogether, despite long lunch hours (where they all go home). No idea if that compares, but they seem to do ok on the lists, at least on basic skills.
    We used to envy the German kids who had school from 7.30-1pm every day incl. Saturday (well, maybe not the Saturdays!) because they had daylight hours to play, even in winter, and in summer every afternoon at the open-air pool…but more homework than we had ;o!

    Happy New Year to you and your family and pets – all the best with Heston’s recall LOL!
    Roll on 2014…

    1. All of these half days off here and there – bizarre! Many English schools now prefer the German system – though I suspect they are dropping down the league tables because they don’t really have the homework ethos. I always found it bizarre that the boys’ school across the road finished at different times during the week. It just added to my teenage frustration!

  2. The reason the Swiss have so few people on the dole has a lot to do with the fact that women are still quite a presence at home and that is very often due to the fact that you can have kids coming and going all day long – it drove me crazy. It’s nigh on impossible to work “normal” hours and there are hardly any childcare options if you don’t live in one of the bigger towns, only grannies, aunties and neighbours, like in the old days, though of course they are also increasingly working… With a lot of juggling, you can just about manage a flexible, part-time job – if you’re lucky. My daughter only manages to work while having kids because she has an enormous amount of energy and a lot of help!

    1. It’s exactly the same in France – there are many working mums who simply can’t work. Luckily the garderies are really good and even the tiny schools have them – usually open at 7am and shut at 6pm – and so cheap. You really couldn’t imagine a better system. The family is everything here though, so many grandparents take part anyway. I like that!

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