pagaille + typography photos
What to do on Porquerolles Island? Que faire sur l'île de Porquerolles?

tergiverser + pictures of the French island of Porquerolles

pebble beach nearest the port of Porquerolles (c) Kristin Espinasse
The island of Porquerolles is only a 15-minute ferry ride from coast (near Giens and Hyères). More, in today's story column.

tergiverser (tehr-zhee-vehr-say)

    : to hem and haw, to dither

Also: to delay, to procrastinate, to put off, to dally, to shilly-shally or dawdle or linger or tarry...

Audio File: Listen to Jean-Marc pronounce tergiverser and the example sentence, below: Download MP3 or Wav file

Lorsque Jean-Marc m'a invité pour un week-end sur l'île de Porquerolles, j'ai tergiversé. Est-ce qu'on pouvait tout laisser derrière nous? When Jean-Marc invited me for a weekend on the island of Porquerolles, I wavered. Could be leave everything behind us?

A Day in a French Life... by Kristin Espinasse

When Jean-Marc suggested we escape the renovation for a night--and get away to the nearby island of Porquerolles--I hemmed and hawed, unsure about leaving the kids and the dogs behind. 

But when I learned Jackie was invited to stay the weekend at a friend's... and that Max had agreed to look after Braise and Smokey, I began to consider the break Jean-Marc was offering me. In the 7 months since moving houses--and all the decisions and disruptions involved in the process--it could be refreshing to have a change of scene. 

And, after all, I thought, Max would be comfortable in the room where Mom had stayed: it was completely independent of the partly condemned house. He could even invite a friend over for the night (a change from all the party weekends he's been enjoying, away from home).

With our teenagers' encouragements, Jean-Marc and I left just before noon on Saturday. I suggested we visit the village of Bormes les Mimosas, which wasn't too far from the Giens peninsula and La Tour-Fondue, where we would be catching the 15 minute ferry to Porquerolles.

Village of Bormes les Mimosas (c) Kristin Espinasse

In Bormes les Mimosa we had lunch at Lou Portaou, where we had eaten 18 years before, on our honeymoon. Jean-Marc must have told the waiter the story two or three times and, rather than hush my husband, it occurred to me to rejoice knowing he remembered so much about our lune de miel

After lunch, Jean-Marc followed me through the rain as I snapped pictures of one of France's most flowerful villages--only this early in April, many blossoms were still sleeping... if not all of them:

Tickling the nose of Alexandre Vigourel (c) Kristin Espinasse

On our way out of Bormes, and not 3 hours after leaving home, we were surprised by a call from our daughter.... Would it be okay if she and her girlfriends slept at the house tonight? Jackie wanted to know.

Hors de question! I growled into our car's speakerphone. But Jackie eventually sweet-talked her way into an agreement. Besides, she informed us, she and her girlfriends were already back at our house....

Noticing my agitation at the unexpected change of events, Jean-Marc suggested we not let this ruin our weekend. "The girls will be fine," he assured me. They could hang out in the safehaven and we could order pizza to be delivered to them for dinner.

Jean-Marc leaving the docks at Porquerolles, entering the village (c) Kristin Espinasse
Photo: Entering the village along Rue de la Ferme.  Jean-Marc brought his vélo but we realized, later, that it costs more to use your own bike (ferry fees) than to simply rent a bike. (Notice his beloved leather bag... I need to add this one to the sacoche gallery....)

When our boat arrived at the island of Porquerolles we rushed beneath the rain from the little port right to our hotel, less that a 5-minute walk from the dock. Our plan was to relax the first evening, have dinner at the inn, then enjoy a tour of the island on Sunday, when the clear blue skies would return.

It was peaceful to be in an uncluttered room, away from the dust and all the renovation equipment. As it was still cold and rainy out, I slipped off my shoes and got under the bedcovers to rest until dinner. We were unable to get a room facing the sea and the port, but we had a cozy view of the church and the little square.

Taking advantage of the hotel's wifi connection, I logged on to Facebook. I noticed an update from Max posted onto his timeline for his friends to see.

That's strange, I thought, studying the snapshot of Max and his friends, who seemed to be gathered at the house of one of the kids. I shared the information with Jean-Marc, who smiled. "Are you snooping?"

"No! I'm not snooping." I protested.

"You are snooping!" 

Harrumph! My attention returned to the screen, where I studied the picture of Max and his friends, who were gathered on the porch of one of the kids. I began to notice the cigarettes and the alcohol and all the girls....

"They are having a party!" I informed Jean-Marc. That turkey! He was supposed to stay home and take care of the dogs. Instead, he is out somewhere having a party!

I strained my eyes, searching the photo, when a pot of flowers came into view. It seemed the friend's mom had planted the very same trio of purple, white, and yellow primaveras that I had planted...

...and in the same unmistakable cracked pot! 

Post note: Returning from the island I found those purple and yellow and white primaveras at the other end of our garden, root side up.  As for the pot, it had disappeared.

As I inspected the front porch and the house, I complained to my daughter. "Well. If I were your brother and I had had a party when my parents were away, I would have done a much better job cleaning up the evidence!"

"But Mom," Jackie complained. "We scrubbed the floors!"



As for Max's punishment he might pack his toothbrush and join me for the spring cleaning of the Paris catacombs

French Vocabulary

la lune de miel = honeymoon

hors de question = out of the question

le vélo = bike 

  Doves and church in village of Porquerolles (c) Kristin Espinasse
Our hotel room faced the Église Sainte-Anne de Porquerolles. Jean-Marc gave the rest of the morning croissants to the friendly doves... (re the hotel, we stayed at L'Oustau)

Port in Porquerolles

The Quai des Pecheurs or Fishermen's dock.

  fishing boat on Porquerolles
Classic wooden Provençal fishing boat, aka le pointu.

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For more online reading: The Lost Gardens: A Story of Two Vineyards and a Sobriety