Serendipity strikes again

The night before I leave Bourges, heading for Chartres – a special destination for me – I look at the map and let fear into my heart.  It is clear that the autoroutes would be quicker and easier.   I would prefer a route nationale but I know I cannot drive for long periods due to arthritic pains, and I have always left tricky navigation to my husband.  It is not a girly thing, it has been about allocating a task to the most skilled person, honestly!   So, no question, decision made,  I should take the autoroutes.

The next morning, within seconds of setting off, I come to the first roundabout, motorway one way, route nationale t’other.  And somehow my hands turn the wheel onto the country road and I am instantly happier.  I shrug and say so be it.

Around lunchtime I realise I must stop for picnic provisions before 12H otherwise all the shops will be shut – pretty much a certainty in France. So I pull over in tiny Nançay –  and serendipity strikes.


I buy the best bread I have eaten in years in a cute boulangerie, and amazingly it lasts fresh for days. In the épicerie where I buy my sandwich fillings the rotund shopkeeper plies me with ‘échantillons’, free samples, of delicious mustards.  As I walk out the bells of the little church beside me are singing their noon chimes urgently.  “Okay, I’m coming, I’m coming” I think.


And there, in this petite church, in this out-of-the-way village, is a treasure chest.  A side chapel has been painted with pretty pastel frescoes.  Exotic characters, birds and instruments dance across the walls like a fantasy.  It is a pure delight.



I am enraptured. Then mystified.  How strange, how unusual in this little French church.  How did this caprice come about?   Then I see a note on a side table. Some nameless person has responded to messages left by visitors asking for explanations. The author writes to the effect : “Stranger, you have all these philosophical, theological and artistic questions.  My reply is simply:   Search and find the child within you, hidden and forgotten.  He will show you how to look at these paintings.  Let him take you by the hand and lead you as you follow these characters around the walls. In travelling with them you will come to know them and love them and understand that we are all created each for the other, heading towards a common destiny regardless of culture or ethnicity. ”     I smile and gaze on.


Afterwards, as I picnic outside the church I feel extremely happy and uplifted for having seen these frescoes, and the joy lasts for many hours.  I think of lessons I have been taught about being in the moment,  enjoying the ‘now’, finding pleasure in small things. These are ways to happiness.   I reflect that I have experienced that lesson today, here in Nançay.

And of course I manage the drive, I stop when I need to rest, or look at the map, it all turns out alright.  So I am reminded of a second lesson – to try not to let fear and doubt into my heart and allow them to stand in the way of what I want to do.

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One Response to “Serendipity strikes again”
  1. Grosnez says:

    A wonderful experience (& lesson). What a Church and what a find.

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