I started this post in April 2021, but I'm not great at blogging so it sat around for far too long. In the spirit of "Done is better than perfect", I publish it here with minimal changes and somewhat unfinished photos.
Time flies! It's been more than a year since we left Auvergne. Let me recap the most exciting moments of the 6 weeks in Chemenet.
First of all, it's the people. Living in a big house with friends is great! Especially in these strange times, being able to safely see a human being, without a mask, every day was amazing. Thank you to Linas and Pauline who invited us, and to everyone who came and went through Chemenet while we were there: Adeline, Gabriel, Diane, Max, and Sisi. Without you, living in the middle of nowhere would not had been so fun! And a special thanks to the British neighbours - Bernie and Naomi, a lovely couple of musicians enjoying their retirement in the French countryside, and their friend Nadia.
Second of all, it's the nature. We could go on a walk anytime, any day. No curfew. No masks. No cars, no noise, just you and the nature. I walked on the morning dew, or while the lunch was being cooked, I climbed the nearby hill to watch the sunset, or I wandered out at night under the crazy light of the full moon; and on weekends we enjoyed long hikes on the empty trails.
Finally, it's the quiet. No cars, no people, no window shops trying to seduce you into buying something, no fancy clothes. Almost no noise — though there were some jets buzzing in the sky from time to time, or an occasional tractor in the field, it's nothing like Paris. No light pollution either. Even though I worked full time, my spirit rested like it would on vacation.
So what did my typical day look like? Almost every morning I started my day by going outside and checking out the weather. Which, by the way, was phenomenal for Auvergne in February. I made some coffee, and we ate our breakfast at a long table by the window, passing sliced brioche to the designated Toaster Operator (usually Pauline). I then worked for a few hours in my office upstairs.
Around noon, somebody went down to prepare lunch — we all helped each other with the cooking — and then we ate. Believe it or not, we even had a few lunches outside, two of them in T-shirts! We had coffee (we could even get some good beans delivered. Thanks for the awesome logistics, France!) and some chocolate, then we worked some more.
Another nice thing to do midday was to do a few sets of exercises on the rings, or have some fun on the jump rope.
It is after lunch that the office atmosphere was the strongest. Everyone sat in their rooms, typing away, joining the video calls, and being productive. The work continued until a late hour with few interruptions; however Anna and I just couldn't bare watching such wonderful weather go by and so we had many a walk in the hills around us in the sunset hours.
When the work was done for the day, one by one we did some yoga and joined the dinner cooking party. For such a big group, it was always a process, and the food was always delicious. It was a pleasure to discover everyone's favourite recipes, such as the Lithuanian Salad, or the countless tartes and quiches.
A few times Anna and I embarked on the tedious journey of cooking the Medovik. It was a bit challenging to figure out the oven, but otherwise it was a hugely rewarding exercise in team work.
With our bellies full, we sat by the fireplace, played guitars and sang. We also watched a bunch of movies, notably the entire Harry Potter series.
Very often we also had a small walk under the bright stars in the unpolluted skies of Auvergne before retiring to our bedrooms.