Tuesday, 4 October 2016

Tales from Charente Maritime - My Terra Cotta Floor

I went to the local abbey at Sablonceaux yesterday.  Got there at just after two and read the notice on the door.  Beautiful hobbit door.  The shop would open at three.

Time to look around - it's a nice place.  Very tranquil and open to people with picnics in the summer. Today, there were a few people gathered at the archway, presumably on a visit.  I said hello then took some pics of the pretty bits of the abbey and the river.  I love rivers.

It was still early and so I strolled into the village, feeling as though I were the only person on the road.  I counted my steps, even though I told myself not to.  And when a vehicle passed by I told myself that the driver was not on the lookout for stray dozy tourists wearing silver sandals and garish nail varnish in October.

The village was deserted.  I wondered where everyone was - I often wonder that in France.  But it was relaxing to listen to the birds and the breeze in the trees and to look at the beautiful white stone buildings - the school, the mairie, the few houses.  What quiet lives the people here must live.

Back at the abbey, the shop was open.  I always think I won't be interested in gift shops - but I found myself paying attention to the biscuits and the herbal teas, then I saw a very beautiful figure of an alternative Jesus on the cross - he looked like a character out of Chaucer's Canterbury Tales, wearing a long robe - his bare feet beautifully carved, his bearded face serene.  The price was reasonable, but I don't have that kind of money to spend on religious artefacts.  I was too polite to take a picture, but it was similar in style to this one, although far nicer:

I made my way around the shop, listening to a man humming hymns, apparently oblivious to how well his voice carried inside the vaulted building.

I found what I'd come for and took my purchase up to the lady at the counter.  She told me what I already knew about the wax I was about to buy.  I let her tell me, even asking questions to which I knew the answers.  It was a pleasant thing to do.

Home again and on my hands and knees to wax the grouting between my terra cotta tiles.  Whoever would have said I would be doing this one day?   I had doubts about whether the whole idea of waxing a kitchen floor would work.  After all, it was largely guesswork, based on a quick experiment - give a single tile three coats then pour red wine over it, leave in the garden for twenty minutes and see if it leaves a stain.  It didn't.

So now I have a terra cotta kitchen floor that shines and smells of wax made by the monks of Sablonceaux.

Happy Days