Personal Stories

Back From Vacation in France!

Greetings to All my Tarot Friends around the World,

8 of Pentacles UprightAce of Swords Rx Page of Swords UprightThe Hanged Man Upright7 of Pentacles Upright

I have just returned from vacation in France, and whereas I had intended on taking my laptop with me to continue work under the Mediterranean sun, I realised at the last-minute I couldn’t fit it into my carry on luggage as its dimensions were too large. My old laptop used to fit fine. This left me in a bit of a panic, but to be honest, it was the best thing all round as it meant I took a complete break from being hunched over a computer for hours on end every day. It was supposed to be a vacation after all and most sane people actually use that time to switch off and relax. With no time to find an alternative bag I had to leave my laptop behind and head for the airport.  I experienced a certain degree of anxiety over this as I felt two weeks was a long time to be absent from my writing. However, my hands were tied and there was nothing for it but to step back and accept that work would have to wait.

3 of Wands Upright The Fool (0) Upright  8 of Wands UprightThe Sun UprightThe Star Upright

So with one final sigh of regret, I boarded the Perpignan bound Aer Lingus Airbus  and turned my attention to the long lazy warm days ahead in the Languedoc-Roussillon region of South West France. Thoughts of pungent coffee and croissants for breakfast, Rosé wine, salad and baguette for lunch, and then those long and lingering French evening dining marathons with cheese and gorgeous chocolate for dessert, and more wine of course, began to take over. As we safely touched down at Perpignan Airport all thoughts of my laptop evaporated in the hazy, shimmering heat which greeted me once the doors opened. I climbed down the steps onto the tarmac and made my way through the gentle sultry breeze to arrivals.

The Empres Upright4 of Cups

It is amazing how totally exhausted one becomes once the foot is taken off the accelerator. For the first few days I felt almost drugged with exhaustion and fatigue. I could barely keep my eyes open and would happily have lounged beside the pool all day if I hadn’t been encouraged by others to venture further afield to see what lay beyond the front door and around the corner. True to French form and their wonderful sun-drenched ingredients and luscious olive oil dressings, I savoured several fantastic lunches which of course were washed down with delightful Rosé or white wine from the region. I visited wonderfully colourful, bustling markets and sipped coffee at pavement cafés while overlooking the ancient walls of historical villages.

4 of Wands King of Cups UprightPage of Wands Upright10 of Pentacles Upright3_Cups_Upright9 of Cups Upright

My partner Billy flew out to spend the second week with me which was a great surprise and I was eager to show him the wonderful places I had discovered. We spent an absolutely fabulous day in the mountainous village of Castelnou which dates backs several centuries. The village is still occupied but one wonders how they manage with the extremely steep cobbled streets. Several of the houses have been converted into shops where artists, potters, jewelers and crafts-people sell their magnificent work. Other buildings have been turned into restaurants or bistros. We had a gorgeous lunch in a fine establishment overlooking the mountainside and fortress castle. The sun shone brilliantly and the wine was amazing.

After lunch we browsed through several shops where Billy eventually succumbed to the appeal of a small painting on display in an artist’s studio. The artist explained it was the view from her balcony as she happily parceled it up in protective bubble wrap. The day before we flew home we visited an olive grove where we could sample the various oils for sale before purchase. Sadly we didn’t get to do everything we had planned to do. Perhaps the next time!

8 of Pentacles Upright Queen of Pentacles UprightAce of Swords

And so I am home and slowly getting back into the work groove. I surprised myself by spending very little time on social media while I was away, often forgetting to un-mute my phone or letting its battery run down, and then leaving it charging in my room while I went off for the day. I understand now how important it is to take a complete break from everything once in a while. I have much correspondence to deal with over the next week and I promise to get back to everyone who has left comments or emails for me.

Brightest Blessings,

Vivien xxx



9 replies »

    • Ah, thank you so much. Will definitely go back to this region. To be honest I am considering buying a little property there. I lived for a year in Nice, France in 1995 and I do like the country a lot. I am debating whether to sell up my house in Ireland in favour of having a little getaway place in France. My partner has a house in Clonakilty, West Cork, Ireland, so we would have the perfect balance and the best of both worlds. Summer in Ireland and winter in France. We shall see. It is a dream at this stage but certainly not out of reach.



      Liked by 1 person

  1. Bet you took in more of the little things with your mind less congested. Sometimes just “being” is so much better than “doing”..
    Thankyou for your insights with the cards they have been most helpful xx


    • Hi Debbie,

      So true. I have had a lot of back and neck trouble recently and have been attending a spinologist who has been pushing vertebrae back into position. After the sessions I am warned to take it very easy. No exercise, stretching or fast walking with arms swinging as it will take time for the muscles around the vertebrae to settle. Otherwise I risk them popping back out again and then that means pain and loss of balance etc. So, I am normally a rapid moving individual who sees every walk as an opportunity for exercise. I am a frequent visitor to my local forest and I zip around the 5.7km circuit as fast as I can, arms pumping like mad, not happy unless I am breathless and breaking a sweat. That has all changed for me in the last few months. Now if I am able to, I have to saunter around and I find this very hard to get used to. My inclination is to push my body but I know my back is too weak at this stage, my hips too. As a result of all this enforced slowing down, I have begun to notice so much more going on around me. I have marveled at the tiny wild flowers under the great old oaks and have stopped to watch birds calling out to each other from one tree to another. It was very relaxing and whereas my body got little of a work out, my senses had an excellent one. Once I get the all clear from spinologist and physio, I will have to find a better balance.

      It was strange going through Dublin airport the day I left for France as I was taking it very easy walking to security and on to the departure gate. I walked at a snail’s pace for fear my back would give way. I was traveling alone and so had to drag my wheelie bag behind me. I was amazed how fast everyone else was moving and there seemed to be such anxiety about them all. I felt almost disconnected as people blurred past me in their frantic rush. It took me 15 minutes to reach my boarding gate which left another 40 mins before boarding commenced. I found a seat and sat down. I noticed so many around me who had rushed by me earlier on and I wondered why they thought they had so little time to get to their boarding gate. It stated quite clearly on the signs how long it would take to walk it. These people sat anxiously watching the airline staff for the merest hint of a sign that the gate was going to be opened and that boarding would commence. I had my boarding card with passport on hand in my bag and on it was clearly printed the seat number I was to occupy. I presumed everyone else had been allocated a seat too. About ten minutes before the gate opened people began to get in line at the gate and there was a little bit of pushing and shoving to get to the top. I continued to sit and watch. When the gate eventually opened the staff announced that the first to board would be families with young children and buggies. No one moved to allow this to happen. People were not prepared to give up their place in the queue. Three announcements had to be made before people moved out of the way to allow the families through. Once the families were boarded there was another frenzied rush and push towards the boarding gate. I used this time to go to the bathroom. I even went a second time as the queue moved slowly. Once I saw the last few people go through the gate I got up off my seat and took my place. I stood behind two women who suggested that everyone had gone mad. I was the very last person to board the plane, and with no fuss took my seat and was delighted to discover it was a window seat. The same type of mob mentality took over when we arrived at Perpignan Airport. Before the stairs had been wheeled out onto the tarmac, people were up out of their seats and surging forward with babes in arms and bags hanging out of them. I was one of the last to get off but there was even more chaos in arrivals as the baggage was unloaded through large doors (it was a small airport so no baggage carousel). As soon as the bags were fed in to us, people started to rush forth and were frantically grabbing at bags. I wondered if they knew something I didn’t. Was there a golden ticket to be found among the luggage? Is that what the craziness was all about? A woman and her grown son emerged triumphantly from the surging mass with, yes, their own luggage, and in their hurry to get by me, the son fell over my wheelie cabin bag. I with my bad back had to grab him before he fell to the ground. At this stage I stood back as I believed the whole scene had become dangerous. I caught the eye of the two women I had encountered while boarding as they too retreated rapidly from the out of control passengers. Once people claimed their bags, I then watched them race towards the exit doors as if their very lives depended on getting through them. It took only a few minutes before the mob began to thin out and I calmly walked to claim my own bag. I walked slowly with it because of my back and at passport control tried out my rusty French with the staff. I then walked out of the airport and saw they were all gone. The world was still turning and nothing terrible had happened. Have we all gone mad? Is this the level of stress most people operate at on a daily basis, or am I only noticing it now due to my enforced slow-motion pace? It certainly was an eye-opener.




  2. Vivian, how I love your photos and posts of where you live and of the beautiful and, most deserved, French vacation. Thank you for sharing and, for reminding us how important it is to take time away.



  3. I always enjoy your writings and wondered what you looked like. It was nice that you shared your photos….oh, and that Billy is a looker too!


    • Hi Deborah,

      So sorry the reply is late in coming. My head has been down to writing for weeks now. Gosh, all my photos are out of date now and I feel very aged. I am 55 on Saturday and really think I look it. Getting my hair cut this week and my grey roots sorted. If only the rest was as easy to sort. Billy is a fine looking man for sure and such a gentleman too. I will get new photos done soon even if it is painful. Can’t hold back the years now. Sunglasses and hats from now on!

      xxx Vivien


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