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!)
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.
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.
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!
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.
Eggs to me are the perfect food. They are so versatile, so practical, and they marry so well with le fromage.
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!
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.
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.
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!
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.
What do you want more of?