Probably because we have moved a lot (it’s a wine making thing), I got to thinking what items are particularly special to me, items I know will go with us in a move, items I couldn’t, wouldn’t be without. You know that, ‘you are allowed X items, what would you take to a desert island?’ question.
How many items can you take to a Desert Island?
We don’t own many ‘things’. We’ve accumulated stuff, but little is of importance. It comes from getting our life in 3 suitcases before coming to live in France. The few items we do keep are truly special to us. They’ve generally come from loved ones, so are tied to memories, but they also all have a practical use. We discovered, the hard way, sentimentality can’t win over practicality when you move a lot.
That’s not to say we can’t be a little quirky. There is my grandfather’s oak and leather chair. It weighs a ton and needs a lot of TLC now, but still it has made it to France. Our Prohibition Bar (a bar hidden behind a picture) is another eclectic necessary, sentimental, but also simply makes us smile. And of course we can make a nice whiskey toddy for the odd time we are feeling under the weather.
But what would be my first item, it I was only allowed one? A Kindle. Without a doubt. And for very, very good reasons. My kindle (Amazon aff link), complete with favourite orange coloured cover, joined me in New Zealand as a birthday present from Pumpjack. New Zealand came after Spain, where I was beg, borrowing and, well, maybe not stealing, books in English from anyone I could get hold of. There was no library (I am a great fan of them) in the town we lived in, but then my Spanish ability would have led me to the children’s section anyway. So for something meatier, more entertaining to my age, I ended up watching old movies on YouTube much of the time. It didn’t quite cut it.
I just love books. I love to read. I read lots, and am always on the search for new books/authors. (That’s why we have a book club on our blog.) So to find myself with a distinct lack of reading material was very disheartening. I poo-poo’d a kindle as I had a laptop. But. I shared it with Pumpjack, one of our downsizing mistakes, who commandeered it when he came home from work. But when he was at work, I could read on the (large and heavy) laptop, couldn’t I? But I didn’t.
Pumpjack to the Rescue
In New Zealand I had access to not 1, but 2 well stocked libraries. Heaven. Then, just before my birthday Pumpjack was offered work in France for the next harvest, a couple months away. He decided I should be able to access books wherever we went, so he bought me a kindle. Whether I wanted one or not.
At first I barely used it, and then I discovered I could access even more books from the libraries I had joined and download to my new Kindle. The world had suddenly opened up for me, even though we next moved to California instead. However, in the traveling there, as the US airlines limit you to 2 cases, any books I may have wanted to keep had to go and we moved to my kindle. Then, I joined the local library again and it dawned on me I had access to books from many sources (purchased or borrowed). Not only were there millions of books for me to read, they all, well maybe not quite all, could be on my one little, lightweight thingy. That was when I fell truly in love (sorry Pumpjack) and it has been with me everywhere, ever since.
Can I consider ‘The Country’ a ‘Desert Island’?
And now, here we are in France (you see, we did get here in the end), but more specifically the countryside of France. We’re 30 minutes from the nearest library, but the books are all in, well, French. Go figure. So my kindle is used more than ever. That’s the thing about living, rather isolated in the country, you can’t just go out to the cinema or walk to a café. Rather, you have to take your entertainment where you can, and ours is through TV/films on our laptops (note there are now 2, a his and hers), and a plethora of books via my kindle. It just goes to show, you can learn and appreciate something new at any age.
My French is improving every day, but not quite there yet for reading (good) books, at least regularly and in depth. Still, I have downloaded a few, small, books in French to have a go, not to mention a dictionary. Oh, and a cookbook of French recipes (though this is in English), but still, when in France…
If you could only bring 1 item to your Desert Island, what would it be?
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