At this time of year as I slowly work my way around our garden with my hedge trimmer I always think of those hard working gardeners at the Chateau de Villandry in the departement of Indre-et Loire, France.
We enjoyed a lovely day at the chateau in May 2005. May is the northern hemisphere equivalent of our November so I have been trimming our plantings at the same stage of the season as this gardener was back then. This was a fine hot day in country France, swarming with insects in the hot dozy air (so I wrote in my journal!).
Of course this hedge trimmer has a much more challenging job than I have trimming my garden's drought proof diosmas and Japanese box. He has to maintain the love knot garden (which looks like an outdoor textile viewed from the window of the chateau interior).
Today, as I am trying to sculpt my mounded organic garden shapes with my trusty hedge trimmer I also think of the stunning English box garden at the Chateau de Marqueyssac in the Dordogne - which we visited a few days later, back in 2005 - with the L family. This garden was more inspiring for me here in dry old Canberra than the aristocratic gardens of the Loire Valley.
We're doing a lot of planning for our 2013 OS trip now. This makes me think a lot about France too as we will have a few days there (in Paris) at the end of the trip while we show Ros and Pete all our favourite places in this wonderful city.
We've seen four films over 10 days this month - thanks to the Canberra International Film Festival and a screening of the Intouchables at the Randwick Ritz. Three of the four films have been French with Rust and Bone being the most memorable. The incomparable Marion Cotillard plays an orca trainer at Marineland in Antibes, France who loses both her legs from the knee down in a freak accident with one of the killer whales. She becomes involved with a struggling single father and former boxer (and budding psychopath). It was all probably a bit too visceral for me at the time (especially the fight scenes) but it's a movie I have found myself thinking a lot about in the days after. If nothing else it showed there is a significantly large group of poverty stricken, desperate people in France - even on the French Riviera.