Saturday, July 10, 2010


Lethargy may be starting to set in. Or maybe it is just the heat. The cooling winds have died down, driving the temperature up to the mid- to high-30s. It’s hard to work up enthusiasm for much more than reading and lounging on the terraces, trying to stay in the shade. Then yesterday evening, we called and then visited Norwegian friends of a friend back home. They own an old silk factory (une magnanerie) only about 10 minutes from where we are staying. We spent a wonderful evening sitting in their yard. Although the invitation was for a drink, that somehow morphed into a pleasant light meal as the temperature dropped, the sun sank, and glasses of rosé flowed. Charles and Kristen have been spending half their years in the area for 18 years now, and had some good tips for towns to visit and places to walk in the region. Driving home, I managed to miss the turn up to the village, and so got to explore exactly how dark it gets in the French countryside as I looked for a turnaround.

Today we failed again to get off to an early start heading to one of the better local markets, but did get there before the merchants began to fold up. The early July selection of vegetables is well advanced compared to what we’d get in Canada. The garlic harvest appears to be over, with bushels of huge purple heads everywhere at more-than-reasonable prices. And white-fleshed peaches, apricots, and fresh almonds and walnuts (too much work) all around. The bakers in the markets offer a vastly preferable product to the two local boulangeries in our little village, so we have stocked up again.

Spent the afternoon struggling with the “Canadian” charcoal lighter. After 3 tries, Helen managed to get it to work. This will have to be documented later.

Finished the day with a short drive to Marsanne (the town is not thought to be connected to the grape varietal) for a dinner with a Toronto schoolteacher who looks after our rental for much of the summer. He is about to move to Zurich, so much congratulations and enthusiasm all around. There were so many babies in the restaurant, it was a little hard to handle, but the waiters soon took the noisier in hand and carried them off around the square to quiet them.

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