Veinard, charrier, bienveillance: A colorful story by Cécile about the traditional carénage, or boat maintenance
To flip somebody off in French

L'Herisson and... A Childrens Book?

Chateau Rochefaucauld
July 6th - 13th. Paint in the Charente - 30% off.

Paint Provence with Tess welcomes you to Limetree House in Montemboeuf, a beautiful village in the Charente near to Lakes, Chateaux, Bordeaux, rolling hills and vineyards this is a perfect time to holiday away from the heat of the South of France. Reserve here.

Book Update:
Jean-Marc and I will soon publish Chapter 4 of The Lost Gardens--a memoir of 10 passionate years on two vineyards in Provence. If you have not purchased our book-in-progress, now's the one of us is about the have a Come-to-Jesus moment in Chapter 5! Pray that the writing comes together! Click here for a sample chapter and purchasing instructions.

Today's Word: le hérisson

    : hedgehog
    : a person who is easily irritated

hérissé = stand on end (hair)
le hérisson de mer = sea urchin

Click here to listen to the French words below

The sea urchin is a marine animal that is commonly called "sea hedgehog" because of its body covered with quills.
L'oursin est un animal marin que l'on appelle couramment « hérisson de mer » à cause de son corps recouvert de piquants. -Madame Figaro

In books: Don't miss The Elegance of The Hedgehog. Click here.

A DAY IN A FRENCH LIFE by Kristi Espinasse

On May 17th, in the wee hours of the night--around the time our neighborhood baker fired up his four and just as the first fishing boats headed out to sea.... Our golden retriever began barking wildly.

The commotion caused my Mom to stir, there in her studio where she slept surrounded by giant leopard pillows. Peeking out from under her warm gray beret, Jules saw an object on the other side of the Arcadia windows.

Joining Smokey at la baie vitrée, Mom peered down at what looked like a football. But by the time she rubbed her eyes awake, the mysterious visitor had disappeared.

Sliding open the glass door, and following Smokey, Jules ventured out into the night, guided by the light of the moon, its rays shining down through a canopy of parasol pines trees...

"Smokey, just look at those spikes! Those are hedgehogs," Mom explained to her camarade de chambre, whose barking was overcome by sniffing curiosity. The four nightcrawlers studied one another with the help of the Gallic moon.

Scampering past the woodpile and the sleepy beehives that line our back fence, one prickly hérisson darted towards the clothesline.

Smokey and Jules having caught up, the little hedge pig now scurried to the east fence, toward the néflier tree, and on to the amandier, where it stalled among a rug of freshly fallen nuts...quel dilemme!....only to remember its pursuers.

But where was that ball of quills headed now? Farther up there was the little fountain-pond with its 7 goldfish (whom we haven't seen in while as the pond has turned a mucky-muck green...what to do? what to do?)

Stay on track with our story! That's what to do! But, having lost track of our fleeing oursin, Smokey and Jules headed back inside--to chop up an apple and fill a shallow bowl with water which they left at the foot of bay leaf tree.

At 4 a.m. Jules woke with a start... Ça y est! J'ai une idée... 


Herisson hedgehog (2)

Did you like the beginning of this story? I would like to continue writing it as a childrens book with my Mom's paintings as illustrations. But first things first, finish the current manuscript (we are on page 21, and have a ways to go...just like the little hedgehog in our garden!) 

The hedghog and a painting of Mom's in the background. I will be putting up more photos and a video on Instagram. Please follow me over there to see them.


le hérisson = hedgehog

le four = oven

le camarade de chambre = roommate

le néflier = loquat, Japanese medlar

un oursin = sea urchin, synonym for hedgehog (for their spikey resemblance)

Ça y est = that's it

j'ai une idée = I have an idea

Limetree house Montemboeuf

Be sure to check out my dear friend Tessa's next tour. She is offering 30 percent off! You'll stay at the historic Limetree House where you will have beautiful bedrooms and wonderful home cooked food from our hosts Janet and Tom. Contact Tess at 

A Message from KristiFor twenty years now, support from readers like you has been an encouragement and a means to carve out a career in writing. If my work has touched you in any way, please consider a donation. Your gift keeps me going! Thank you very much.

Ways to contribute:
1. Send a check (to this new address)
2. Paypal or credit card
3. A bank transfer via Zelle, a great way to send your donation as there are no transaction fees.

Or purchase my book for a friend, and so help spread the French word.
For more online reading: The Lost Gardens: A Story of Two Vineyards and a Sobriety