Interlude

As I’m starting work (a bit) this week, posting might become less regular. But, if I can, I’ll do some scheduled posts when I have time.

Maybe I should train the cats to make their contribution

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Ooh-er, missus, that’s a big one!

Goodness – how do people who have big vegetable plots process everything that they grow?! We only get gifted stuff and I get bored, or uninspired, by what we have! Which, I realise, makes me sound like an extremely ungrateful so-and-so, but what I mean is, I haven’t exactly chosen to grow this produce, but it seems mean to turn it away.

As many people know, we’re coming to the end of the courgette/zucchini season: we were given a monster courgette by our neighbour yesterday. It’s sitting on the worktop, glaring at me balefully. It knows that I know that its skin will be tough and the flesh watery, so it won’t exactly be very nice when cooked. It knows that I know that all the recipes I can think of that use marrow/courgette (courgette cake, muffins, bread…) are not very Slimming World friendly.

 

But what it doesn’t know is that, having also been gifted an enormous bag of apples (already cooked some up to have with yoghurt for breakfast), I have found a recipe for marrow-and-apple chutney and I have lots of clean jam jars.

It will be used tomorrow…and although chutney isn’t exactly SW friendly, it certainly stretches out the “syns” so it isn’t so bad as a muffin! We’ve also run out of chutney too.

Mind you, I have got very bored of peeling apples already!

The fun is finally over.

Judy had two wishes: to see St Roch and to do a wine tasting – so that’s what we did!

On Saturday morning we went to Cervieres, which is a local Medieval village, where we went first to the church to see the stained glass window of our feted Saint

Here is St Roch, showing off his blue knickers, and Spot, the dog, with the Jammie Dodger

After a short walk around the village we headed off to Notre Dame l’Hermitage where there’s another St Roch, which I’ve shown before.

We climbed up to the viewpoint, and looked across to our village and beyond

before heading back home for a lunch of cheese (still lots left to eat ) and salad (and still eating the lettuces from my anti-wastage box too!).

Friend Alison had recommended a Wine maker to visit – they had been with friends earlier in the summer – so on Saturday afternoon, we headed over to la Domaine Vial.

We were greeted by a very barky dog, who, having alerted his master to our presence, followedus into the Cave and then promptly fell asleep. Monsieur Vial was charming – he took time to explain all the wines that they make, to help us taste them, describing what flavours we could expect, and generally chatting away. I was very gratified to actually understand everything he said, and to be able to translate where necessary. Here is M. Vial with the 9 wines we tried – two whites, two rosé, and four red, plus a sparkling wine, which was a tad too sweet for my tastes.

We each bought some wine – Mr FD and I have been entrusted with Judy & mum’s, and have to deliver it next time we go to the UK. It was a really pleasant afternoon.

A blurry photo of the barky dog.

We drove home by a different route to usual, just to give them a different view of the area, and there was time for a snooze, before going to Louis and Odette’s for an apero. Sparkling wine and delicious snacks were followed by a meal at the Hotel de la Poste, just round the corner. Another good meal – rabbit-and-prune terrine, steak (for me. Mum had duck again!), and then the splendid cheese trolley and dessert trolley. I find that after a meal I’m too full to really appreciate either, and they really are so good one could just go to the restaurant just for them!

               

It was a very pleasant meal, made even better by the fact that we didn’t have to pay for Mr FD & my meals, due to the bartering system where Mr FD’s infomatique help and advice is paid for in food!!

On Sunday it was time for mum & Judy to leave, so we decided to go over to Lyon and visit another Medieval village, this one called Perouges. It’s about 30 minutes from the airport, so it’s quite a good place to visit if you have a bit of time to kill.

We didn’t have quite as much time to kill as we could have done, so really only had time for lunch in a very pleasant restaurant courtyard, under the spreading not-sure-but-possibly-a-lime tree.

After our meal, we took Judy and mum to the airport, and dropped them off.

It was lovely to see them both, and to spend time with them. Mind you, after a week in Italy, where I walked quite some distance, and this week, when I walked another 30-odd kilometres I’ve been glad of a somewhat more restful week this week!

From Puffins to Peacocks

Which might be a slightly ambiguous post title, but can be explained…

I wrote earlier about my childhood reading, and my membership of the Puffin Club, a club affiliated to Puffin books, an imprint of Penguin Books publishing house, targeted at children. Peacock books were the fairly shortlived “young adult” series, a step on from Puffin books; but they made up a fair amount of my transition reading.

Titles such as Fifteen, by Beverley Cleary, a story about first love, and all the pain and joy associated with it…

This list shows the first Peacock books – just reading it through has made me go “Oh, Yes! I remember that!!” for so many books. I wonder if there’s any there that you have read and enjoyed?

After graduating to the adult library section, I started reading a lot of Mary Stewart’s romance/mysteries. I really enjoyed these – usually there was a smart, sassy female protagonist, who fell in love, often with someone a bit unsuitable, who she suspected to be the wrong doer. She could usually look after herself, but there would be a life-or-death situation at the end where she would be rescued by (or sometimes rescue) the Love of her Life. They would be set in exotic locations, and I really loved them; I read one quite recently, and although it was a bit dated, I still enjoyed it.

I didn’t really like Agatha Christie mysteries, but enjoyed other crime novels – a genre which I still enjoy today. I can’t remember any particular authors that I gravitated towards, although I do remember my aunt taking Ngaio Marsh mysteries on holiday with her: she brought them from the library (shock! horror! we were never allowed to take library books on holiday in case we lost them!) and they all had standard library issue covers in a particularly unpleasant yellow! I tried reading one, but didn’t enjoy it.

I fell in love with two books about time slip/ghostly, doomed love – A Portrait of Jennie, by Robert Nathan, and Jenny Villiers, by JB Priestly. Both of these fed my adolescent need for love… I read A Portrait of Jennie again recently – while I enjoyed it, I wasn’t quite gripped in the same way…

  

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

One book that had a profound effect on me was “In this House of Brede” by Rumer Godden. I had already come across Rumer Godden’s book “The Kitchen Madonna” in the children’s section of the library – a lovely story, in which Gregory, a nine-year-old boy, has a deep love and respect for his family’s Ukrainian maid, Marta. When he discovers that Marta is sad because she does not have an icon in the kitchen, he commits to doing something about it. He makes his own picture, using various things such as jewel-bright sweet wrappers to frame it. I moved onto reading Godden’s “The Greengage Summer” (another Peacock book) which is another book about the joy and pain of first love, but this one set in 1920s France

After this, I wanted to read other books by the same author, and found “In this House of Brede“. As Wikipedia describes it: a portrait of religious life in England that centers on Philippa Talbot, a highly successful professional woman who leaves her comfortable life among the London elite to join a cloistered Benedictine community of contemplative nuns. It begins in 1954, as Philippa enters the monastery, Brede Abbey; continues through her solemn vows in the changing, post-Second Vatican Council environment; and ends as Philippa reluctantly accepts the call to lead a new Benedictine foundation in Japan, where she spent part of her childhood.

I think reading this book helped me to see that it was okay to have questions about God, to struggle with being a Christian. I said “Yes” to God at school, aged 17, and went along to a House church, which was in many ways a great start for my Christian life, but in other ways not so good. It was very Bible based, with every answer to every question considered to be in the Bible, God’s direct word to us, and never to be questioned…. This was not my experience, and it was not how I had been educated: I had been taught to ask questions, and my church upbringing had been more open and liberal. Being torn between two stances, this book helped me to start to form my own opinions and become stronger in my faith.

As I write this, I remember more and more books from my adolescence, that I really enjoyed…I could be writing this blog post for ever as I recall more and more!

The L-Shaped Room, by Lynne Reid Banks

Last Year’s Broken Toys

The Silver Sword by Ian Serrailer ( Maybe that was a childhood book, rather than adolescent – but an excellent read!)

Fifth Chinese Daighter by Jade Snow Wong

The Owl Service by Alan Garner…

and so the list goes on. What do you remember reading in your teenage years?

Enthusiasm

Well, the World Cup is over, football’s not coming home, and France has won.

I’m not a football watcher – although I did sit through a few matches this year, mostly while inspecting FB, or snoozing! – but Mr FD is. Amusingly, having told me that “there are only a few matches I’m interested in” he proceeded to watch practically all of them. Of course, the England matches were accompanied by cries of both joy and anguish, and not a few rude words.

I didn’t watch the final, as I was cooking dinner (Hairy Dieters’ Thai Prawn Curry, with loads of veggies), but, although I live in France, I had a sneaking wish for Croatia to win, as I always support the underdog. And while Croatia are a good team, I think they were seen as being inferior to France.

Well, it was easy to tell that France had won, from the noise coming from the Capricorne bar opposite. Cheers, horns, shouting, singing….Fairly obviously quite a lot of liquid refreshment had been taken! Then the yoofs on their tiny 10CC(or whatever) motorbikes started buzzing up and down the road, making sounds like frustrated hornets and tooting their horns. This went on for quite a while.

It was a pleasure watching Macron, the President of France, and Kolinda Grabar-Kitarović, president of Croatia, greet the players – big hugs of commisseration for the second place Croatians, with tears being shed by all. Encouraging words were spoken, and sincere handshakes given, as the rain poured down.

But most of all, I love the enthusiasm shown by Macron as the final whistle was blown – not standing up, not standing on his seat, but leaping onto the desk in front of him!

I think he was a bit pleased!

Book Review: The Last Daughter ***

I am proud to be a Ten Reviews or More reviewer on Net Galley

I was sent this e-book, free-of-charge (yay!) by NetGalley, in return for an honest review. So, here it is…

THE LAST DAUGHTER

by ANN TURNER

This was another book with an intriguing description, which, sadly, didn’t quite live up to its promise: