Les poissons en France

Friday, August 24, 2012

Is It Autumn?

We had a "day out" today and headed for Conque, a famous medieval village in the Aveyron. The first thing that struck us as we drove towards our destination was that so many of the oak trees looked as though it was 24th October not the 24th of August. We have not been out much lately due to the heatwave so it was a shock to see the change in the countryside. Most of the bracken was  brown and some council workers in Figeac were vacuuming up mounds of fallen leaves.

We have lived here fcor six years and never been to Conque. When we got there we were very impressed. It is one of the stages on the pilgrimage route to Compostella so there were lots of serious walkers amongst the tourists. The village is dominated by the Abbey and has a working monastry adjacent to it. The church is enormous and very tall, and relatively "minimalist", although it was obviously decorated with frescoes in former centuries.

Our pleasure was enhanced by the  lovely lunch we had. On the face of it a simple tourist menu, when it arrived it would not have disgraced an haute cuisine restaurant. Furthermore we got into coversation with a really nice Parisian couple who sat at the adjacent table.

Later in the afternoon we went to another small town where the chateau had been turned into an art gallery for the summer. Sixty artists with very different styles were exhibiting and we found a few pieces which we would be delighted to have chez nous. Unfortunately we didn't win the lottery last week!!

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Problems Begin

 'Er indoors is feelin' better!!!

 As Sue is feeling better she has decided to 'help' me with some painting.  Naturally I'm delighted (what else can I say? What happened to the days of sewing and baking?) and so is she.

The reason for the stripped down appearance is that it is still too hot to wear her wig (and I was worried she'd get confused and use it as a brush).

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Night at the Opera

We were fortunate to be invited by our neighbours to go to an evening of opera last night.  We never cease to be amazed at the cultural activities which are put on in the most unlikely small venues.  Last night's concert was held in the church of a nearby small village; the sort of place which you have to find by driving down small, single track roads and which seems to be continuing a slumber begun in the middle ages.

What is also most encouraging is the level of support which these events attract; the church was full with about 200 people inside, and evidently, people were then being turned away!  What also delights us is the fantastic quality of performers at these events.  The 4 soloists at this 'best bits of' evening were absolutely first class, and the baritone/bass was totally brilliant; he performed  all of his pieces so completely 'in character'.

At the interval we talked to the 'page turner' for the pianist and he turned out to be English.  He said that it was his first time at Lherm and, when we enquired, he said that he'dabbled' at the piano.  We later found out that this was a commendable piece of English understatement as he was a Doctor of Music and Archivist at Westminster Abbey!!!!

We made the evening even more special by taking our own apero nibbles and a bottle of wine which we enjoyed outside the church before the event began (even though it was still over 30 degrees at 8 in the evening).  If you have the chance to go to next year's concert we're sure that you won't be disappointed, but make sure that you're there early!

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

"Purple Patch"

  Earlier in the year we received an invitation to the wedding of Sharon and Anthony, the bridegroom being the son of our friend Irene. The invitation stated "wear something purple" so we did, along with all the guests. Actually, Sharon and Anthony got married a couple of weeks ago in the UK (legalities simpler) but they always wanted to have their real celebration here in France. Poor Anthony will have to remember two wedding anniversaries!! So they arranged  with the family to rent an enormous gite and they all came over for the celebration. It turned out to be an idylic venue although the temperature was sky high. It was a lovely  "Family Wedding" with a Dutch friend playing the organ and then we had a light lunch with champagne and "the speeches". This was followed by "quiet time" as temperatures by then were approaching 40 degrees. All guests reassembled again about 6pm for the barbecue. However not your ordinary barbie. Mike and Irene have been for many evenings to a local village and enjoyed the food cooked by the man they call the "duck man". So they arranged for him to come and cook duck breast topped with foie gras and potatoes liberally sauted with garlic. Can you smell it ?  It is our idea of heaven!! The evening continued with booze and disco for those up for it.

Irene belongs to a Patchwork and Quilting group here and the Dutch lady that runs it arranged for us all to write messages to the bride and groom and she will transfcer them to a quilt. What a wonderful  thought to be lying in bed and reading the good wishes of your family and friends on your wedding day.

I mentioned above that we adjourned for quiet time, well everyone else did but not John and I. We went home to finish  the "puds" which were the dessert after the BBQ. We had volunteered to provide them and it was a great pleasure. Firstly because the guests were very appreciative and secondly because I reflected that a year ago I could not even hold a spoon. We are certainly enjoying this purple patch.

Thursday, August 09, 2012

Oh NO! Jericho.

We are experiencing the 'normal' period of summer drought, and are having to water daily.  But this morning, to my great horror, part of the wall in the 'walled garden' (which used to be called the Ruin, and for good reason) had collapsed onto my Tomatoes.

However, there was a silver lining to this catastrophe as there was a very old stump from a tree which had grown on top of the wall.  This came down with the wall but it has been eagerly grabbed by the resident sculptress as a future work of art!!!!!

We have been going through a quiet period as we seem to be involved in lots of social activities, the hot weather (30 - 35 degrees) is keeping us indoors and we have been watching the Olympics via the internet.

Also .... if any of you are likely to be driving in France soon, Sue has recommenced driving after a year, so beware!  Seriously, Sue is pleased that she hasn't lost the ability or confidence (John is waiting to see if his confidence returns).