Saturday, 3 August 2013

The Man Who Makes Roses

Brittany is full of special people

People who have stepped aside from the rat race, from the 9-5 routine with its emphasis on making money, acquiring material possessions, keeping up with the Jones'...

People who have chosen to walk a healthier, saner and kinder path through this life

One day I had need of someone to weld a broken piece of metal so I'd arranged to go to a nearby friend whose companion, S., is a master of metalwork

This is where they live

In an old hamlet comprising several houses and a manoir that are built around a central garden with a large pool and roses, roses everywhere

In Brittany you can buy a small village for the price of a three-bedroomed detatched in Abingdon

Well, almost....

As I arrived a strange sound filled the air

It was the community of ridiculously, unbelievably, bright green male frogs on the pond in the centre of the garden, each defending their testosterone territories with loud croaks and complaints

I scrambled through the overgrown garden to snap a picture

and then I wandered

This is the chapel...

It is a perfect place for meditation.
If you close the heavy wooden door you shut out the sunshine and light and are plunged into a dark and dreamy world of peace and reflection illuminated only by the rainbows through the tiny stained glass window

I asked to return with my mat and a candle for some periods of deep and intense reflection and spiritual healing...

"Of course, anytime, you are always welcome" was the reply

All around the central pond are rose-covered walks and little 'rooms' where painted benches invite you to sit and pause and stay a while....

It is a truly magical place

But the best surprise was, for me, discovering that the quiet and shy S. makes roses....

and once you ask him about his passion and he starts to tell you how he creates new roses, the patience required to pollinate a rose and to nurture its rose hips and how carefully you must tend the babies and how you never know what you will get and the wonder of it all, this shy man blooms as beautifully as his flowers

I was totally entranced and enthralled!
I could have stayed to listen to him forever

This is Zippy

S. actually made this rose

It's small and bright as a drop of sunshine and it smells absolutely divine!

And it is as unique as its 'father'

As S. walked me back to my car, which seemed a compliment coming from this shy and retiring man, we passed this rose growing in the hedge

He was surprised...

He'd never noticed it before

It was as if it had just bloomed today

My gift from S. is the small pink rose that he presented me with before I left...

It had no name, now it bears mine

And I feel truly honoured

A man who makes roses is a very special man indeed and a real treasure

n'est-ce pas?

I returned in a dreamy, almost meditative state.

As I was pottering around my courtyard in the warm sunshine the phone rang.

It was a prospective employer asking if I would be available in August...


  1. A different post from usual. I always find your submissions of great interest, but this one was lifting, truly lifting. Maybe it was because..... Yes, there was a meeting of something essential.

    Thank you Julia.

  2. And I forgot to wish you well with your prospective employer. Good luck!

    1. Thank you Tom. Been doing the job almost 5 years now. When I think of how many people I must have saved from computer viruses and spam trickery I think I may almost have earned time off for good behaviour. I hope so!

  3. I guess the prospective employer was the one in whose employ you now are, since this is a retrospective post?

    How wonderful to have a rose named for you. Those bright green frogs are a special kind, called pool frogs. They only seem to live in rather special places.

    1. Indeed Lucy. I often think back to that day and wonder why I agreed to come back to the corporate rat cage. Oh well, lessons have been learned and I am much wiser now.

      Yes, a rose named Julia with little pink flowers and a delicate perfume, but quite hardy and without thorns :)

  4. What a beautiful garden! The phone call from the prospective employer sounds interesting. I hope everything works out the way you want it to!

  5. I misunderstood your post! I thought you meant a new prospective employer. I am running on too little sleep and too many projects. I am practicing the word NO when asked to costume shows, in addition to working my full time job and caring for a family.

    1. :) One day I hope you'll visit me in France. I shall look after you well!

  6. What a special man and such a lovely place. It is magical, indeed. I feel lucky to have stumbled onto your blog today.


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