Wednesday, 15 December 2010


Its always good to think that I have learnt a new French word or useful phrase each day. Today it was the word for dust ( and plenty of it).

Having warned us that it would probably be February before he could fit in fixing our bedroom floor we got back from a walk yesterday ( fabulous by the way) to find a massive oak beam in the drive a certain clue that the work was more imminent.

At 8 oclock this morning sharp a team of workers duly arrived and proceeded to produce huge quantities of poussière. ( Haven't you heard that gris de poussière is all the rage for Christmas decorations? - if only I hadn't been so keen to get festive!).

By lunchtime the beam to support the sagging ceiling beams in the salon below the main bedroom was in place and we used the lunchbreak to take down the decorations and remove remaining ornaments and the morning's poussière

Some of the bedroom floor is already down this evening and is impressively flat and immobile - a brilliant job!

Once again we are so impressed with French workmanship and energy. No coffee breaks all morning, one hour for lunch and then back to work without a break till home time. Its no wonder the job is almost finished in one day. The end result in the bedroom is going to be better than we had dared to hope for. Once the beam is stained to match the old ones we will tell ourselves it was always there and anyway anything is better than the ceiling caving in!

Now the problem is finding somewhere to sit this evening after eating - it may be an early night is called for or we may end up fighting over the computer.

Saturday, 11 December 2010

A night to remember.

Auberge Lou Bourdie presided over by the wonderful cook and hostess Monique Valette was a great discovery. We were introduced to it by friends and have returned many times. Jamie Oliver discovered it too and it was featured in one of his TV series. Whenever we have visitors we try to take them there - try is the word as we have been dissappointed by it being fully booked before now. Even at this time of the year when all of the tourists have departed it is always full which is not surprising when the food is so good and such good value.

During a recent visit, thanks to the intervention of TC's sister( never backward at coming forward) a conversation about music and musicians resulted in us somehow wangling an invitation to a special soiree in honour of les vins nouveaux ( Beaujolias, Gamay and Gaillac) on 18th November, and TC would be able to play as well!

We duly went along a couple of days later not really knowing what sort of event to expect and feeling somewhat apprenhensive as to what we had let ourselves in for. But what a night we had!

When we arrived TC was introduced to the band and invited to show what he could do with his instrument and the usual musicians mutual admiration exchanges took place. The room was filling up around us and we were not sure what do next when we were introduced to a Belgian couple who were on their own and told to sit on what turned out to be the table where members of Monique's family would sit. People kept pouring in until the two rooms were packed, the mayor came in and did a tour of the tables and we got to know our fellow diners.

We were then served a fabulous meal of soup, confit duck. cheese and gateaux to accompany the vin nouveau of our choice. As the meal progressed the music started and so did the dancing - no dance floor just gaps between the tables. By the time we had finished eating the room next door was still being served and great trays of confit duck were being carried perilously through the dancers. On their return to the kitchen the waitresses would stop to join in the dancing in their aprons. Every so often Monique herself would come out of the kitchen and join in ( also still in her apron) on one occasion pulling me up to dance with her. During one dance another partner danced me straight into the kitchen! The music was fabulous, and TC did a "turn" too which went down well, the French clapping along to the Irish jigs with no problem.

It was a brilliant evening and the highlight of our time in France so far. To round the evening off on our way home we saw two sangliers (wild boar) at the side of the road. Unfortunately I had forgotten to take my camera so there are no pictures to share.

We went for lunch at the auberge again this week and Monique was effusive with her welcome as always and full of praise for TC's musical talent hoping that we will go again next year - just try and stop us! Lunch of course was delicious as always. We have promised ourselves to indulge in the "menu de Truffe" at some point over the winter truffle season.