Pique-nique à la campagne

There was a time, long ago, when if someone had told me one day I’d find myself living just outside of Paris, have two wonderful children, and some of the best friends I could ever hope for spread across the world, the small town girl in me, would have scoffed in denial.

The friends were already there, and their list has only grown richer and deeper with the foreign experiences I’ve accrued over the past fifteen years. But, Paris, surely you jest!  Kids? That’s just outright lunacy!

Yet, something happened in my overall plan.  A plan that was never clearly defined in the first place, and here I am, near Paris, children in tow, with stories to tell, some of which need to wait, at least for now.

2010 has been a year of much contemplating and facing a future that I’m far from ready to face.  The past four months have been filled with lots of catching up with friends far and near, travelling home to Australia where precious weeks passed too quickly with people who matter so much in my life.

Upon returning to France, it was a delight to have friends and family pass through during the summer weeks, dinners and long conversations were accompanied by numerous play dates and sleepovers.  Amongst it all, I took inspiration from a fabulous ‘Old fashioned picnic’ by Sophistimom, and adapted it for a simplified version français.

Back in 1788, when my homeland was being settled by the First Fleet and convicts sent out to the new British colony by King George III, here in France, Marie Antoinette was often found to be visiting a ‘private pleasure garden’ to the west of Versailles where un-spoilt ruins remain secretly tucked away today.

The children ran amongst some of those same ruins in the company of their friends, guided by clues and maps to lead them to where ‘X’ marked the spot.  Working together as a team, they eventually found their treasure, cloths tied up as pique-nique knots, filled with crunchy fresh baguette, brownies, strawberry yoghurt ‘a boire’, and bottles  of grenade & the vert, perfect for  quenching summer  thirsts.  Once their appetites had been satisfied, they giggled and squirted each other with water pistols they’d earlier discovered in their pique-nique knots.

With the arrival of the end of August, another season has disappeared behind us. Summer managed to quietly slip out the door, never quite having the chance this year for a grand entrance. She was one friend few of us managed to spend time with and was missed at many of our pique-niques.

Hopefully we’ll catch up with her more next year.

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