August is a month full of light and shade. The lightness of summer still seeps into every moment: holidays are relished, sights are seen and treats are devoured. Yet every day that passes brings the inevitable end of summer ever nearer. Thoughts turn to going back to school. Hitting refresh. Starting again. Don't forget to buy a new pencil case. But for now, savouring the moment is everything. For us, August has always (and I hope will always) meant a trip to France. Growing up our yearly trips to the continent (always always staying under canvas) brought with them sunburned shoulders, new friends and the inevitable trips to the stationery aisle of the hypermarche. Admittedly years on, not that much has changed. The canvas has been swapped for a pile of bricks in the beautiful Brittany countryside. The shoulders are slightly less sunburned as my obsession with pale skin and skin safety mean I favour factor 50 over a golden glow. But the trips to the hypermarche remain. The buzz of finding a new set of colour pencils is going nowhere fast.
In a celebration of our 'l'été en France', this month's styling the seasons was arranged using some treasures I found around the house. The little wooden stool is my new favourite old thing, and I'm hoping mum won't notice if it comes home with me. Bought at the local brocante for a few euros, it is so sweet and full of character. The cloth on the table is actually a little cushion cover which belonged to my great-gran. Decorated in the most delicate broderie anglaise, it brings a sense of British charm to this otherwise French arrangement. And what else to display in a jug, other than cow parsley at various stages of its life cycle? These delicate stems line all the country roads here and there is an abundance beside our house which were ripe for the picking.
While I adore colour, especially when it's adorning the countryside in all the colours of spring, there is such beauty in the golden glow of August. The maize which fills the nearby fields, sits yellow and faded by the sun, ripe for the harvest. It seems as though both man and nature are at one in taking a deep breath. A pause. A moment of calm before the new season begins again. I for one am relishing such a breather. We have a busy term approaching and I know that taking time out now to gain perspective, rest and live well will make for a happier time ahead.
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