French Country

My life in France is not what I expected.

First Floor, Part Two

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Okay, okay. I can’t say I am especially proud of these rooms. They are not done yet, not by a long stretch. But I have kept you guys hanging for quite a while, now, and these rooms might not be done to my satisfaction for quite a while longer. So here they are, in all their unfinished messiness.

Above is, bet you couldn’t guess, the exercise room. As everyone promised, hefty doses of brown and blue drain the mintiness from that pink. This room is such a pleasure to be in, no matter how cold and gray outside. When you are as exercise averse as I am, that is important. The sofa is placed so that folks can watch the TV which has not yet been installed on the wall I am leaning against; thus the electrical outlets you see reflected in the mirror. There is enough space in front of it to make good use of that exercise ball, the mat that is rolled up in the corner or the massage table that is just to the left of it. The mirror is placed so that you can check yourself while you use the Pilates reformer. And, to the left, the rowing machine. On the wall is a print made by an American who lived in France at the beginning of the previous century.

Jacques and the cushions are French and the sofa is Italian. I think Cassina is Italian. The rest of it came with me from California. It would have cost twice as much to buy the reformer and rowing machine here, plus the throw my grandmother crocheted for me is irreplaceable. So, really, it may not pencil to have done this but maybe it doesn’t exactly not pencil. Maybe.


This, I swear, will make a fine library one day. It will, I mean it. We just have to glue that topless table back together and move it downstairs and reassemble it. Then we have to move the computer — a tower, so old school — the printer and all, and get it all set up. The Aeron chair, remember those, that will be great in the office.The navy blue sofa will go about where the broken table is. Stuart will build library shelves and all those hideous boxes will be emptied, their contents filling the shelves that now exist only in my imagination. This house has a storage issue which has been addressed but has yet to be resolved. And then, I don’t know. I think there is room here for some side tables, maybe another chair or two, lamps, a more suitable rug. It definitely needs a few pictures on the walls. 

I meditate — note the cushion. I think this is where I’ll set up my meditation altar. I am toying with the idea of having the guys build it a platform, so I can sit high enough to look out the window. That could be nice.

Author: Bizzy

Really, the less you know the better.

20 thoughts on “First Floor, Part Two

  1. My first thought with the top photo was: Medieval torture device!
    What is a Pilates reformer? I’ve done Pilates for three years and have never heard of this. Maybe it’s my class–very much the roots of Pilates, which was developed by Mr. Pilates while in prison, and so uses a minimum of space.

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    • Prison? I never heard that story! Spill! The story I heard was that he developed this while working in a hospital. If it was a prison hospital, they never let on. You must give details. I love the dirt.

      He developed all these devices that allowed people to exercise while still confined to their beds. Eventually he left the hospital (prison? seriously? What was he in for?) and went into the exercise thing full-time.

      The Reformer is kind of cheater’s Pilates. It takes those hospital bed devices and attaches them to the frame. When you use it, it helps hold you in place, so you maintain good form. I’m working without a teacher or spotter out here, so I need all the help I can get.

      Normally classes are done with the mat. You do all the same exercises but you depend on your muscles to hold you in place. Mat exercises are a lot less cost and space intensive and you get a better workout. But I hate exercise so much that if I have to work very hard or think very much, I just won’t. I need my Reformer and I absolutely love it.

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      • WWI, he was interned (German in the U.K.). I heard that he didn’t have much space in his cell, so the exercises mostly stay within the confines of an exercise mat.

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        • Captured. In WW1, good move. Then I guess he went native because he lived and worked in New York for a long time, right? The hospital thing must have been after the war. It makes sense that he would adapt his own exercise regime for others.

          So you never saw the machines? They all look like torture devices. There is the Cadillac, which looks like a big iron bed. Then there is this chair that you can do a lot of stuff with. You can lean back on it, bend right over. My teacher make it look easy, like a ballerina; I always felt like a whale out of water. Not shown is this little thing I have that you step on, use it to strengthen your feet and ankles. There is plenty more. I like all of it.

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          • I was doing yoga and kiné on a ball (Ecole de Dos), but I like Pilates better. It’s hard, but you can’t really judge whether you’re doing better or worse than anybody else and anyway I shut my eyes most of the time (with bifocals, I can’t see the mirror even if I try). I like the individual aspect, though a class is good because the instructor corrects us individually constantly. Plus I like the effects. Years of gym classes didn’t do as much as a few months of Pilates.

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  2. Get that dog into film and television; he could finish your house on his earnings.

    That aside, it’s crazy isn’t it how we yearn to see the finish line, then we are nearly there, then we get all our stuff out and wonder where its’ going to go? What’s your storage quandary?

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    • Jacques has gotten to the point that if he sees me taking a picture — camera, phone, ipad, it doesn’t matter — he runs to be in the middle of it. My little dog is all ham.

      The storage quandary is a lack of closet space. My closet is not fitted out at all. The guest rooms have a little space, not much. Bookshelves are minimal and almost full of cookbooks. The kitchen is crammed full. I do have enough space for towels and bedlinens. The rest is a struggle.

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      • That’s interesting when you have all that square footage.
        Of course, we all had less possessions years ago so houses didn’t need all that storarge space for all that stuff.

        I started thinking seriously about storage a couple of years back as we only have 125 sqm .
        I also started thinking about editing our stuff. It’s painful, but we are downsizing and I can’t keep everything. Neither can Trev who hates throwing anything away. When I met him he still had the boxes from all the Hifi equipment he had ever bought going back to 1969!!!!!

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  3. I can barely imagine getting to this stage of a house. You should be thrilled that after all your patience it is so close to being completed. I’m more of a yoga chick myself but I can imagine you having plenty of Pilates fun with Jacques as a spectator (he really is gorgeous)

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    • Fun, indeed. He jumps on me and licks my face while I’m trying to focus on my form. He’s okay with the board going back and forth but he hates it when I change position. I wind up repeating a few movements repeatedly, just because I hate to bother him.

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  4. My much missed dog Coco used join me when I was exercising, and whilst not exactly mirroring me, she did kind of get down with me when I was doing floor exercises .
    The only problem was when I was prone in the corpse pose, which she found pretty boring . After a few minutes of apparant inactivity on my part, she would climb onto me and breathe meaningfully in my face.

    That might be tolerable with Jacques, but Coco’s mother was a big chocolate Doberman who go out one night; she had all that inherited muscle plus all the extra bulk that qualified her for Fat Dog Clinic at the vets.

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  5. Glad that you still have projects to complete – otehrwise you might not know what to do with yourself! 🙂

    A platform to meditate could be nice, but then looking out the window could be distracting to your zazen

    g >

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    • I see your point but it could help. The view is to the old part of town. That pattern of old tile roofs, winding all around, could be nice, like the tile patterns on the dome of a mosque. Or maybe I’d just think of all the gardening that needs to be done. Who knows?

      Funny thing is, I had a nice and very simple, almost makeshift, setup in California. When guests were gone I hijacked their room, set up a little collection of photos, incense, all that. It was comfortable and very pleasant, a little dark and soothing, like the room you see in the photo. However it works, it will be nice to have that anchor in my life once again.

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  6. Library? Oh yes, yes, yes. After each tortuous exercise session you can then exercise your grey cells which seems like a real life balance. I see Jacques in big horn rimmed glasses for the purpose 😉

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    • Read a book? More likely after each session I’ll just flop on the sofa and veg, Jacques at my side if he can’t wangle his way on top of me. I do have good books, if I do say so myself. Maybe I’ll open something more intellectually demanding than the mysteries. In winter you don’t really want to go outside, after all. It’s not like California.

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      • Nope …. Not California but the seasons have their advantages including long evenings for reading! I should introduce you to a very old friend of mine who is a British Architect … You can compete on who has the best books – he often accuses me of only wanting him for his library to which I routinely retort that I don’t ‘want’ him at all, just the books!

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        • Ah, so he’s right, then. Yes, I’d love to meet him. The resident French guy has a daughter, also an architect, who lives in London. She and her husband work in Zaha Hadid’s office. I’m going to need a break from family stuff. Chances are, she will too. Let’s try to work something out.

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