Fran is a beautiful young woman living in the French Pyrenees where she crafts a slow life, treading lightly on the earth and appreciating the little things that make up her days. She forages, sews and spins wool from local sheep. (Sounds so dreamy, doesn't it!?) Fran lives with chronic health issues and has no doubt learned a slow life is the best approach. She also exudes a grace and appreciation that I find incredibly inspiring. I think we can all benefit from embracing a slow, intentional life. Her blog is always such a treat--squishy balls of hand spun wool, baskets of local flora, beautiful scenery and wise words from a deep-hearted woman.
Who do you think you are most like in your family? If we're talking looks, I'm the spitting image of my big brother. If it's character, then I'm most like my mum. But when I think about the course of my adult life so far, then I'd say I'm most like my paternal grandmother, Marguerite. One evening back in May, when I was over the UK visiting my family, my Pa pulled out a pile of old letters. The paper was yellowing at the edges and covered on each side in tiny, neat handwriting. When we looked at the date, we saw they were over sixty years old. All the letters were written in French and addressed to my grandma, sent from her father back in Switzerland. In the late thirties, aged only eighteen, she left her family and rural village in the foothills of the Alps near Lausanne to travel to Britain and work as anau pair. She started first in London before moving to Bristol (where I was a student) and finally settling in Dorset. Just after the war, she met my granddad and they set up home together beside the sea. Although she went back to visit her family for occasional holidays, she never returned to live in Switzerland. In that hour I spent with my own dad, unraveling the curly writing of my grandma's father, I felt incredibly close to her, and to her life story. It was comforting to read between the lines of her father's talk of the weather, the harvests and other banalities of daily life, to see the strength of their connection, despite the hundreds of miles between them.
What is the most generous gift you have ever received? If you follow my blog already, you'll know that I've lived with CFS/ME and Fibromyalgia since I was eleven years old. Living with these life-limiting conditions can at times be rather trying, not only for me, but also those I am closest to. There are good days and bad days, pyjama days and bed days. Sometimes I have periods of improved health when I can do things and sometimes I can be bed bound for weeks, if not months at a time. When I first fell ill, it wasn't just my own life that ground to a standstill, but that of my immediate family too. Within weeks, I was too poorly to leave my bed to wash and dress myself, let alone go to school. So my mum gave up her work as a secretary to stay at home and look after me. For a long time after, I was riddled with guilt at her decision. But in the past few years, I've started to be able to look back on those times we spent together differently. I no loner see her actions as a sacrifice but rather as a gift, one which I will treasure forever.
Who is your role model? No one individual in particular springs to mind. But I'm forever inspired by the seemingly "small" people who overcome "big" hurdles in their lives. People I have known personally who have faced adversity or tragedy with dignity and hope, or who have followed their convictions or dreams and made them a reality, no matter what stands in their way. I'm especially inspired by the busy and often unacknowledged women all around me who juggle many things, work hard in their chosen jobs, work hard to care for and love their families and friends, contribute to their local community, and just generally get things done...while having a laugh at the same time. I hope I am growing into a woman like them...
Be sure to check out Fran’s blog.
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