Thursday, November 18, 2010

Mon anniversaire et toutes les couleurs de l'automne & l'histoire des disparus Cock

Look what came to say Bonjour!

Fires burning

Like father, like daughter - of course watching telly!

Birthday Sunset
Chin chin! Even Coco joined us!

Celebrating started Halloween...where we enjoyed the 'Armagnac Fete' and where better to celebrate than the heart of Armagnac - La Bastide d'Armagnac - a beautiful historical village steeped in history! The houses all look like they're part of a film set. All the local farmers came to sell their Armagnac and to celebrate the end of the harvest. For 400 years they have been drinking and celebrating Armagnac so we thought why not join can imagine my delight!

It was a sunny and wet day October 31st, La Bastide d'Armagnac was filed with people drinking and tasting the fine spirit and there was plenty of varieties to choose from - ages going back to 1960. In the square they had tents where locals sold their finest foods which you could buy as part of a set menu for lunch, along with a glass of wine. Everything from foie gras to fresh oysters, mussels to seafood soup and even pizza cooked there in front of you! We were spoilt for choice!

Doing it French!
Bet you didn't know...In the 14th century, Prior Vital Du Four, a Cardinal, claimed it had 40 virtues:

"It makes disappear redness and burning of the eyes, and stops them from tearing; it cures hepatitis, sober consumption adhering. It cures gout, cankers, and fistula by ingestion; restores the paralysed member by massage; and heals wounds of the skin by application. It enlivens the spirit, partaken in moderation, recalls the past to memory, renders men joyous, preserves youth and retards senility. And when retained in the mouth, it loosens the tongue and emboldens the wit, if someone timid from time to time himself permits."

So, along with most of France and I think Andrea and her mum, we all poured ourselves a glass!

My birthday fell on the Monday and we had rain and shine. Got treated to a lovely dinner at Le Pehaou...

Birthday Anemones

My new olive trees!

We have been so lucky to have witnessed one of the best displays of autumn colours by being here in the country! Every hue you can think of and day by day we would wake up to a view of these amazing changing colours. Despite a lot of heavy rain and some pretty bad storms having an expanse of view to admire every day is something you just can't complain about. I think here you begin to realise how much you are actually looking... literally, looking at the horizon, up at the sky, into the trees, forests and you can't say an awful lot of that happens in London unless your enjoying Battersea, Richmond or one of the other parks! 

Garden research

The Chevaliers came to visit us which was really good despite the non stop rain, it literally did not stop for the 4 days they were here, but spirits remained high! We took them to all the beautiful villages we love and wined and dined by the fire every day. There was an evening we enjoyed local Floc and ended up singing and dancing. It was a night to remember...An amazing roast dinner, followed by the theatre and a bit of late night dancing along to our favourite tunes...All in the dining room! Amazing what the local Floc can do! For those less experienced, it is a sweetened Armagnac (of course!) must be had by all, come dear friends and enjoy it with us! We visited vineyards and a local restaurant with lots of good reviews, a superb lunch although I ordered something I really couldn't eat (sadly, the French menu was difficult to understand!) and Vanessa got showered at the table! (Oh dear!). I guess it's the French way... Good times and a great few days for sure.
So the nights are drawing in and its getting colder. The fires are started late afternoon and they heat the house for most of the night. Yes thats if your wood stack is dry and your wood is not too big for the burner...yeah a few little mishaps and one or two frozen nights tucked up in bed with everything on and more! We are getting there though, it just makes you realise how much you we took for granted the central heating back in England! Switch on, switch off! So you can imagine me with a saw cutting the wood to make kindling whilst Jon rested his arm after dislocating his shoulder after falling in the pond looking for a missing cock!

Yes its true, after terrible storms one night the cockrel went missing and sadly we found that one of the hen's had drowned. We were upset as we have become pretty attached to our little feathered friends believe it or not. We both searched the garden and bushes to see if the cock had got stuck anywhere but sadly no... Jon proceeded to search and thought that the cock might have also drowned so started looking in the pond... He lost his footing as all the banks were so wet and he fell in and dislocated his shoulder! Soaked through from head to toe, it took me nearly 10 minutes just to pull his water filled wellies off! Sling and a few strong painkillers later he was doing alright. So I was chief fire starter that week and of course drove us everywhere - I'm not that bad you know, a few near ditch misses but nothing major!

We are busy at La Foret, working hard at getting the garden prepared for winter, cutting, pruning and planting winter veg and flowers. Getting a good wood supply piled up in the barn and covering up the swimming pool until the Spring.

Again soon.