Sauveterre de Rouergue meets Kentwell Hall’s great unwashed!

Ici nous avons acheté et mangé a newspaper cone of 2€50 of handroasted chestnuts, in the smaller photos (click on them to enlarge) vous can see le feux being prepared for the Association La Fête de la Châtaigne et du Cidre Doux Sauveterre de Rouergue more mass-produced roasted Châtaigne. In the bingo style roasting cages you can see the rest stacked up waiting for the crowds with cinq plus feu, served in a cardboard pop up chip cup sadly I didn’t ask le prix.

As we were leaving we saw this barrel arrive on the trailer (the French do love a trailer) the Guy hammering in the tap, So I said to Martin shall we buy a bottle (as I was driving) and test it tonight and if its good we can by some more tomorrow, he said no, lets just buy un verre, in case we don’t like it… so he bought one for himself…turns out it was jus de pomme ( and very nice it was too) disappointingly for Martin not cidre (pomme doux) as the name of the fête suggested so I drank the plastic cup as Martin does not like apple or apple juice but he likes apple pie/tarte/crumble and cidre… funny that dont you think? Lets hope the pommes doux has arrived by the time the real fête on Dimanche 30 octobre gets under way.

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The artisans were all flogging their wares, handcrafted clothes, soaps, jewelry, hair braids, chimes made from empty glass bottles with the bottoms chopped off.

Drummers drumming, extremely relaxed men :-s and women, banging their own portable drums in an echo fashion, coming and going in the tents, passers-by having a petit danse, under the table of the crowded alfresco diners of the great unwashed, was an Albino Dog sleeping as I left so I couldn’t get a photo.

http://www.softr2rootsergue.com/ is the music festival that was on the built stage Friday & Saturday.

On a separate note but as I took the photo in the square floating in the air above the buildings which are about 5 levels but not quite into the beautiful blue ciel, see below a mass of cobwebs, also the hedgerows had them blowing into the road like ribbons. Amazing amounts of web confirming the dense population of spiders one sort or the other and that you are always within 3 feet of a spider!

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Three’s Company

So this evening in France I cooked my first three course French meal with French ingredients in a French farmhouse on a French cooker with a French guest we drank French Wine and French aperitif oh and a London Gin & Tonic… eek!

I had a little help from my friends Rachel And Julia. You may remember Rachel, gorgeous dark-haired chick lived in a Paris Apartment wears clothes in the style from the 50’s so dresses and looks like a real woman. She cooked on her two ring cooker in her tiny kitchen for guests that waited on a long list to be seated in her two covers a night living room restaurant. Yes thats her Rachel Khoo. Remember her ? Well she suggested to me to cook;

Entrée 

Salade tiède de pommes de terre

et pommes avec des miettes de boudin noir

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Plat Principal

Beouf bourguignon avec des quenllese de baguettes

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Served with some buttered steamed fine green beans and a few carrots and of course bread! It wouldnt be true French otherwise!!!

Dessert

Poires Belle Hélène

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Pastis

Cafe

I have to admit these are not my actual photos but those from the recipe book after all how odd would I have looked to my french guest Jean ( who looks remarkably like he could be  Johhny Depp’s dad) if he had seen me pause for a photo shot after each course. I was going to take a photo of the empty plates again but then that wouldn’t get you salivating in quiet the same way.  Go ahead google the names of each dish and see what they consist of, I already did the hard work shopping and cooking, if you want to try them then get looking 😉

The evening was very nice and great company as was the food even if I am telling you … I was pleasantly surprised.

Oh and the other help was Julia Childs  – a must see DVD Julia & Julia then you will know who I mean.

Ane, Lizard & escapee Veau

Donkey daze eeorr

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So I’m sitting outside in the total quiet the sun beating down and getting somewhat hot, I had my 15 minutes of unprotected vitamin D sun rays, having had to roll up my jeans, then I went in, to put my shorts on, complete still with my thermal vest, (I have a limited wardrobe with me) stunning fashion look, watch out YSL, and adorned sunscreen, my Mam will be pleased to read, (who remembers that song? Wear Sunscreen, I love it)  reading and writing then along the door scampers this little fellow. I’m not sure who moved the quickest or whose heart was pounding the most… turns out there were lots of them all very petit but they are also very scared.

And this bébé cooo had escaped its mère in the opposite champ crossed the road and jumped the ditch. I had been trying for days to get a photo of a calf. Its mother was looking over the gate on the left of a right hand bend, I said typical no calf and as we turned the bend there on the right. i stopped the car and asked Martin if we should go tell the farmer..

Martin got out the car and approached the nearby barn with a parked car outside and the door wide open… not a soul to be found. As he walked back he approached the calf who became spooked and jumped though that field behind. let hope they were reunited very soon and no escaping injuries.IMG_1166.JPG

Tournesol still smiling

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Well it’s not the same champ we past before that I spoke of but it just proves there is more than just one field left at the end of October this one on the D27, where the leaves are changing colour so beautifully & falling from the trees along with the Conkers and Chestnuts. However the less pretty sunflowers that have been looking to the ground all forlorn and blackened, making oil, in the champ near where we habiter, have aujourd’hui been decapitated and gone to the great oil press in the ciel

Driving over Marrons

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Okay Okay D’Accord I hear you they are châtaignier which are a lesser quality than marron which is generally a larger fruit and often used marron glacé is a confit marron that is covered in caramel. However I have stolen the idea for the title from a book I read called ‘Driving Over Lemons’ where Chris Stuart the founding member of ‘Genesis’ the band and original drummer wrote about his early experiences after giving up life as a band member and moving to Andalucía, Spain. Where he seduces his readers with the charm for example of how its impossible to avoid driving over the fallen lemons that are in abundance. A great read for anyone interested. I highly recommend it.

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So we foraged on Sunday had semi wild raspberries and collected these at the bottom  chemin of the hameau calme,  where we are staying, first I did a bit of learning to find out about how to tell which is edible (chestnut) and whic is toxic ( horsechestnut or conker  as most of us know it and the two easiest ways and plese correct me if I get this wrong are the husk one warty one spiney prickles and the 2eme way is one has a single seed/nut the other has many. I’ll let you do you own research, I cant be held responsible if you eat the wrong one by mistake!!!

Speaking of eating is the

FÊTE DE LA CHÂTAIGNE

Depuis 1963, la fête de la châtaigne et du cidre doux est un rendez-vous incontournable de l’automne en Ségala. Which is this weekend in Sauveterre de Rouergue ( see 2016/10/15 post of the same name) where we can celebrate with the sweet cider and chestnuts but as a real regional treat we can have

8h : déjeuner tripous – yum Martin is so not looking forward to that but everyone here is excited and looking forward to it! so will report back on that if we attend.

Staying on the same subject of food & eating: This is the laundry room snack, that hangs above the door of the buanderie.img_1179

Dinner date at Jules gaff

Monday night not having to cooking for me, I donned my heels( still boots!) and a tad mascara as we had been cordially invited for dinner at 7:30 next door at Chez Julie et Andy’s our Landlord and lady. Julie is a teacher, she does a bit down in Toulouse which is about a 1.5-2 hour commute each morning 2×2 days a week teaching french engineering students conversational English and it seems general culture of being a grown up she’s a fellow northerner although they have been here 12 years and call it home. Andy who is also very hand is a tad more quiet than Julie who also runs her two on-site gites and a third on-site that belongs to their besties back in England and maintains several others with Andy when he is not being an odd job man as he put it because he being modest with his renovation work. They have two grown girls un-identical twins Blonde petit Sarah who is full-on chatty and tall dark timid Hannah who are both lovely and as you would expect SOOOOO different. they off to visit Uni’s in Scotland and Ireland during half term Hannah taking her Dad to Ireland, then off to Harry Potter World(they both giggled and got excited every time it was brought up in converstation.Im sure all HP fans understand that ay C?) Sarah and her mum (surprisingly not Mam in Redcar) are off the Aberdeen.  The Girls had gon on an overnight school trip with their wellies so it was just the four of us, the table was set with their wedding present dinner service and lovely old-fashioned cutlery.

MENU

aperitif

G&T

Mixte Olives

Vichyssoise (traditionally served cold)

Leek & Potato to me and you served hot

Coq au Vin

Chicken in red wine with mushrooms onions lardons etc

Tarte de Pommes avec Creme Fraise

Needs no explaining – LUSH the base was made similar to a shortbread biscuit.empty-desert-plateThere was not even this much left but it would have been roode to take photos but it all looked and tasted Formidable and Julie had worked hard and did her self proud.  The Gaillac wine flowed withe the conversation and we rolled home ( ok so we walked) over the pebbles after a great evening. Thanks to The Butters.

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So here’s the plat I cooked for Sunday dinner – I used the word ‘cooked’ loosely the Confit du canard (Duck) came from the tin and the Truffade( potatoes with cheese) came out the microwave but I did steam the carottes and haricots verts. It was lush although I couldn’t finish mine but now as I share it I feel I ought to do the walk of shame, however I did take a walk prior to dinner down and around the hamlet.

 

Daily Prompt: Ancient

via Daily Prompt: Ancient

How old does something have to be to be labelled Ancient?

As a youngster the word ancient came into my slang vocabulary to describe anything more than a few weeks if it wasnt current it was ancient. Here we are in antiquated France asking to voir avec l’agence immobliere old stone houses using the french equivalent word ancienne pierre maison out in the countryside. Yet instead of 200 year old buildings like this house we viewed at Monesties, we have called it the ‘Yellow House’ for some unknown reason.

but for some unknown and bizarre reason they take us to see a village house like this nouvelle sous-sol.

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Fly tape x2 Day 5 flies 14

Photo By Julie Guerrin

So like every other household here in the countryside of France we seem to have our own collective of flies – GROSS! Where DO they come from? The windows & doors are ferme, we are sat in an enclosed room puis… buzz, buzz buzz, buzz et voila there is one et another et un autre. Up jumps Martin with his rolled up snoozepaper prancing about like Billy Elliot on his audition practice.  As I don’t like aerosols we bought some of those window stickers that give off insecticide, you know they look pretty, a ladybird, a papillion or un tournesol in stained glass effect PVC, also available are the sticky flowers they act as a glue.

NO.. .they don’t seem to be working flies are still flying like Martin around the room. So sadly we have succumbed to the fly paper. However it’s not pretty or attractive not even as nice as this :-rescue-flytape

What do you think they say to each other when they get stuck on there?

HabiTarn – Language knowledge

So we got up early on 21 Octobre (remember we are an hour in front here and less daylight I think) to travel down to Albi Expo Parc SSW of Albi centre for an exhibition which was a cross between a Place in the Sun Exhibition, the French House Exhibition & The London Homebuilding & Renovating Show not quite the ideal home exhibition. We decided to go to ‘hit’ the ‘immoblieres‘ in one place in one day without having to trawl the towns cities and arrondissements seeking out the shop fronts, that hide in the strangest of places, some of which only do city and modern houses.

The exhibition boasts neuf agents immobiers,  in two halls spread out in 180 other vendors.

Anyway we walked the halls looking at roofing, air con, sofa extending tables, piscines, insulation, heating systems, solar everything,  gates, ride on lawn mowers, tools, ferriers windows & wood burning fires and stoves amongst other things. We went on the Friday the first day to avoid the rush that may have been on the Sat & Sun and miss any ‘ideal’ houses for sale. atone of the stalls we meet and agent who we had already exchanged details with in her office in Albi. I spotted her as she turned around to pick up a pamphlet for the couple she was serving as we had started talking to her colleague,  she remembered who we were and what exactly were our requirements which both shocked and impressed us. The reason for this surprise of ours is that we never seem to get any follow-up with marketing touches like you do in england with the British agents, so we tried in our Fraglish to stop and explain to her collegue that we had already registered…. NO they don’t put you on a central database or pass on your details to other agents in other areas as they are all independent and if they dont sell they dont get paid that’s how come they get such a commission.

Language – we have learned so many words to do with houses buildings and their features its great but it’s also embarrassing as we can real them off with the correct pronunciation trouble is you sound like you know  the language and they reply back at you with full speed and local accents thrown in for good measure and we look back at them like we don’t even recognise the language… which sometimes we just dont!

I’ve just done a quick count of business cards – vingt quatre and that just the ones I organised. They  claim they are all so busy we have to wait a week for an appointment viewing yet they say the market is quiet… hmm closed on Sundays all day and Monday mornings, some of them all day and some halfday Wednesday and Saturday and every working day has the two-hour lunch… you got to love it!

 

 

Sunday Sunday

So while quietly catching up avec ma mère via Skype on Sunday as everything closes here in France, however it is anything but dull and boring…Through the gate and over the pebbles came Mandy (‘I’m so handy'(Martins cheeky name) pour la voisine du bas de la ruelle) avec sa ménagerieIMG_1160.JPG

From à gauche: Polkadot led by Emily, Fleur hiding Sarah the smaller fair-haired twin, and Hannah the taller dark-haired twin of Julie and Andy leading the way with Spirit the pony. and La is Mandy ‘Im so handy’ accompanied by Dan the dog.

As you see all is calme but it did not last for very long. Fidget who seemed très uncomfortable with all these animals on HER land ran off unusually, to a passing car in the hamlet only just missing under the wheels, she was reprimanded and put in the house.  Mandy ‘I’m so handy’ encouraged the girls to mount the barefoot unbridled horses despite being bareback. Sensibly the twins changed footwear and got their helmets on had already given the horses a good groom. Emily being the lightest defaulted to Spirit, mounting by receiving a leg up from Jim, Mandy ‘Im so handy’s partner, who immediately bucked her off, Spirit that is, not Jim, into the seated audience which quickly dispersed out of immediate danger also to shut the gates as Spirt bolted and the other horses became spooked.Thankfully no one was seriously hurt maybe just a bit of dented pride by brave Emily who dealt with the unfortunate dismount Spirit gave her amongst us strangers, remarkably well. Tranquillité was soon restored et ils se trottent maison à leur champ voisin.

Above is Andy our equally handy landlord he does renovations for a living, with his 4th girl Fidget, in his full length combats and layered upper corps wrapped up in a nice Weird Fish pull, however can you see the silly English man (with his barbe) in short sleeves & shorts, spot those anglais a mile off… but I do like his shirt ;-).