Encore!

Photo by Wil Stewart on Unsplash

Encore is one of those words that we borrow from French to mean one specific thing in English: a repeated or additional performance at the end of a concert, as called for by an audience, or a curtain call.

As with many things, in French it is so much more. ‘Encore’ can be used to say again, another, more, even or still. I used to get it mixed up with ‘toujours’ which means always or still. I suppose the meanings sort of overlap — if you still want more of something it is as if you want it always.

I was thinking about the things that I still and always want more of. I am grateful for these things, big and small, that get me out of bed early in the day. For the past few months I’d been feeling a bit rudderless, disoriented, lacking a sense of purpose. And then, a few days ago it returned. My get up and go came back for an encore. And this makes me very happy indeed.

So here I go with a little post about some of the little things in life that I can’t get enough of. Not all of them are French. But thankfully all are available to me here.

Here they are…in no particular order or hierarchy (seriously, beer and nature in the same list? Obviously one is far more important!)

La bière

Preferably draft but I’ll take bottled as long as it’s cold. My French favourite is 1664, colloquially called just ‘Seize’. But I’m not fussy. The Moretti at our local pizza place is great. I loved the Sagrès beer in Portugal. It is a bit of a faux pas in France but I have been known to turn down champagne at family gatherings and ask for beer instead. And when it comes to me and my hops, “Encore une?” or “Another?” is usually a rhetorical question.

Les séries télévisées

With the advent of Netflix, Amazon Prime and various other sources of online content, I have no lack of access to worldwide entertainment chez moi. Funnily enough, this has opened my eyes to French TV series that I would have otherwise missed on live broadcast, like my much-loved ‘Dix pour cent’ — Call My Agent in English. This week I’ve switched gears from dramedy and am watching a riveting US cop drama called Seven Seconds. Next week a rare treat: the new season of a hilarious Canadian show called Working Moms.

La lecture

I am a lifelong bookworm and always have at least one novel on the go. Thankfully I have a couple of wonderful friends near enough to share books and who help keep me supplied in a wonderful line-up of fiction. (Merci Anna et Rodica!) Above are the ones currently on my night table. The one about plot (which I got online) is the best book I’ve read yet on how to construct great stories.

L’écriture

I have worked as a writer most of my life, but I am still learning. Lately I’ve been struggling to structure a novel. Hence the above book. Storytelling is a subject of endless learning and I am truly excited about what I have recently learned. Now to put it into practice. Hopefully one of these days I will have a book to share with you. A suivre!

Creative Commons

Le pain

I’ve posted before about my love of bread, here and here. Lucky for me I live in a country of bakers. I do try to watch my carbs but there are no paleo diets in this Frenchwoman’s future.

Le fromage

Lucky for me I also live in a country of cheese makers! I could live happily enough as a vegetarian but not as a vegan. Cheese is just too, too wonderful. My favourites are creamy goat’s cheese and the cow’s milk ones, ‘à pâte dure’, aka hard cheeses: Comté, Gruyère, Beaufort.

Les oeufs

Eggs to me are the perfect food. They are so versatile, so practical, and they marry so well with le fromage.

Le chocolat

What can I say? Life is short. I’ve developed a mild addiction to this stuff. Dark but with a sweet side and those little flecks of sea salt!

Le sport

Fortunately for my cholesterol count, I actually like to work out. No marathons, I hasten to add. Or even 10k’s. But I do like to work up a sweat doing some form of cardio or weight training a few times a week. I also love to walk and swim. I also hit the yoga mat (although you will never see me in one of those impossible gazelle-like poses). When it comes to exercise, I do a little a lot, mostly because it makes me feel good.

La nature

Like many French people, I can’t imagine a life that doesn’t involve getting outside each day, preferably walking near woods and fields and with a lake not too far. The skies and the changing seasons are a constant source of inspiration. We are fortunate to live in a place where nature is never very far. Let’s hope that we continue to be able to enjoy for generations to come.

L’eau

If I had to choose a favourite element or a geographical feature, it would be water. We live near mountains, which are beautiful, but there is nothing as calming for me as looking out at water. There is also nothing like swimming in a lake, even if it’s a bit cool. I also love to drink water, even just plain old tap water. J’ai soif!

Orsay clock

Le temps

By this I do not mean the weather, although ‘le temps’ also means that. I mean time. Ah, precious time. Managing it, making the most of it, wasting it…time is my personal bugbear. I can never get enough of it and I haven’t yet found the secret to making it my friend. But I’m working on it.

Encore!

What do you want more of?

22 thoughts on “Encore!

  1. You know, in concerts French audience never ask “Encore!” but traditionally shout “Une autre, une autre !”
    Speaking of series, a species I only discovered in the last decade, two French series are over the top for me . One is “Un village français”, in a small town not far from Lyon between 1940 and 1945, the other is “Le bureau des légendes”, in the world of secret services, la DGSE, totally actual and utterly realistic . Both are rather far from US series, they are intended for adult minds, and for many people they are exceptional .

    I was wondering, are you related to Mel Lewis, the fabulous West Coast Jazz drummer, who created the Thad Jones/Mel Lewis Orchestra in 65 ? Guys like him are one of the reasons that make me still like the USA …encore .

    1. I wish! Discovering the fabulous jazz man some years ago made me proud to have changed my name (due to an accident of my initials ie Mary Ellen Lewis), but I can claim no relation. Thanks for the tip on ‘encore’ at French concerts — I did not know that. Probably because I so rarely go…due to my advanced age and the unfortunate tendency in France to put the volume at a ridiculous level, and have everyone pack on the floor with no seats. My idea of heaven is a jazz concert in a bar, with drinks served as you enjoy the music! Will check out your series, although have a doubt that my mind is adult enough. 😂

    1. Don’t they just? Time is a weird dimension indeed, shrinking when we we want more of it, stretching when we want it to hurry up. But somehow there is just never enough!

    1. And the best part is that dark chocolate is supposed to be good for you! Hope you get a chance to put these phrases into practice soon. Speedy recovery!

  2. A wonderful list. In the heat wave, i’ve been binge-watching La Casa del Papel (Money Heist in English). Fantastic.
    Tell me more about the plot book when you’ve finished!

    1. Glad you’ve found a worthy distraction from the heat! The plot book is filled with tips and examples from everything from Shakespeare to commercial fiction that demonstrate how to construct the narrative structure everyone is always talking about in the abstract. I found it incredibly helpful!

  3. I like your list, although I admit beer isn’t often my drink of choice. Cheese? absolutely! I have favourites but all cheese is good. Everything is better with cheese 🙂 … and French bread? Incomparable. To have access to good French bread everyday would be bliss.

    The one thing I would want more of would be sleep. I’m a bad sleeper and have always been, so getting a good night’s sleep is a thing of beauty. I am grateful for each one I get.

    1. I know what you mean about sleep, Joanne. I also suffer from bouts of insomnia, middle-of-the-night anxiety attacks and generally disturbed sleep patterns. To get an uninterrupted 7 hours is heaven when it (rarely) happens. A thing of beauty indeed! Here’s to cheese and sweet dreams!

  4. Check, check, check … that was me agreeing with your entire list of likes. And to that list I’d have to add photography, of which I can never get enough, and especially the free time to enjoy all of these pursuits.

    1. And we can never get enough of your photos, Heide! 🙂
      I think creative expression of any kind is so important to a balanced life. Thanks for adding your two cents to my list — and wishing you plenty of time to pursue your likes!

      1. Merci infiniment, dear M. Time is my most precious commodity these days, and also the most rare — but one of these days I’ll carve out a few hours to sort through the photos from my last trip, at least. Thank you again for yet another informative and entertaining read! I do love your blog. 🙂

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