Monday, December 31, 2012

We're back -

and oh it is so lovely to be here again!

Joss picked us up at the airport, and the house has been so well-looked-after while we were gone and was so welcoming to return to (thank you, Anne and family. Have a wonderful New Year and enjoy Switzerland: there's a post about Switzerland somewhere in this blog I think...) The village hasn't changed a scrap in our absence (who would have thought?) but tomorrow I'll do the walk up to Seguret, just to be sure.

Sablet, I do love you!

Wednesday, December 26, 2012


Remember this post?

We traded homes for December - we went back to our home in Australia and Anne and Alex came to Sablet. And on a hot and stormy Sydney Christmas morning, we found this photo waiting for us in our inbox.

Dear little Sablet, winning hearts in the middle of winter. We know the very spot this photo was taken from.

Joyeux Noël, Anne and Alex, and all the very best for 2013. Have a glorious time in Paris - but of course you will ...


Friday, November 30, 2012

Going Home -

tomorrow, for the whole month of December.

We'll miss the village but oh, it will be lovely to hug all the best beloveds  :)

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Thursday, November 15, 2012

For my writing friends....

Let's mark this day down as the end of writing Part One. Ta-dah! New Novel, as it turns out, is going to be  literary *sigh* again, and All In Three Parts. Again. (Translation - lovely reviews, dismal sales.) But nil desperandum. My characters are settled, the plottage is plotted, the first 1/3 is of wordage is worded  and I do think - no, really I do - that this one is going to be ready by August. Just not sure which August...

I know - it's a boring post, if you're not a writer. For the rest of you, then -

here's a photo of a little hidden vineyard that I have decided will  henceforth be known as mine.

Because hey - why not? Or, if you'd prefer, I could do you a lovely shot of a mushroom.

 These are the local funghi. Edible, but owing to the colour and such, still vaguely alarming...

And just so it doesn't feel left out -
what with all the chat about New Book - 
a linky to Old Book.

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

la recette des grand-meres

We were given a present this week - a piece of dressed boar, straight from the woods (yes, it's hunting season); together with the family recipe that makes it perfect. This is a very old recipe - the Grangeons are the oldest family in the Village - and it's really quite special.

So with many thanks to Joss and especially to Mme Paule Grangeon, we present -

Recette du Civet de Sanglier de Mamette Paule

First: shoot your boar.  (Thank you, Denis and friends - l'équipe des chasseurs des alentours. Paul and I  can't be trusted with guns...)

Second: couper la viande en morceaux

Third: Make your marinade.

2 ognions coupés en morceaux
2 gousses d'ail écrassée

1 bouquet garni (laurier-thyme - the laurier is best from Joss's sister, Edmée)

vinaigre (1 cuillère à soupe- home-made by Paule from the family's own red wine)
huile d'olive (2 cuillère à soupe)
vin rouge avec beaucoup de tanin - Cotes du Rhone, of course - que ça couvre la viande

mariner toute la nuit.

Sortir les morceaux de viande et les faire revenir sur tous les coté dand une poele, mettre la viande de coté.

Faire revenir la garniture dans la poele

Delayer un peu de farine et ajouter le vin petit à petit: la sauce ne doit pas etre épaisse

Puis mettre la viande dans le vin et faire cuire lentement sur le gaz ou au four - à petit feu.

Very lentement.   100 - 150 degrees. For about 7 hours.

There should be a photograph of the finished dish. There isn't, because we ate it the minute it was done. It was delicious, full of the flavour of woods and autumn. And very French.

Note that the recipe will also do for rabbit or hare. But - first catch your hare...

Warmest thanks to the family Grangeon. We will share the recipe (and meals to come) with people we love, when we're back in Australia - and raise a glass to you and to lovely Sablet.

Monday, November 5, 2012

Autumn Wind

Retirement, hah!

 He's been out with his camera again, shooting the vines -

- and the generations of families who have drawn the wine from the soil for six generations.

He's been shooting the fields as well -  because they're constantly changing, always beautiful -

and always bountiful                                      

- even as the year moves over to Winter.

Sunday, November 4, 2012

New friends

So we were doing a bit more of this yesterday

and we met these guys



Friday, November 2, 2012

On ne cueille pas les champignons

We went out for a quick walk and found all these mushrooms.

But I remembered Bruce's advice and asked Joss whether it would be safe to glean them for adding to omelettes and such.

She gave the matter some suitably French consideration and said probablement pas.

Which I thought was a pity. So I asked (for future reference) how one can tell which ones are edible and which ones are not, and she gave the matter some more suitably French consideration and said:

"Well, really if they're still here at 10:30 a.m., they're probably poisonous."

So there you have it.

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Gleaning - and gifts from friends

 There’s a law in France (I have this from an excellent source) that says once Harvest is over, gleaners are within their rights to go carefully (carefully!) picking up what was missed. There are some prohibitions, of course - the land must be unfenced, the gleaning (le glanage if you pick it up from ground level, le grapillage if you pick it from trees or bushes or vines) must be done by hand - and all this can only be done during the hours of daylight. And, of course, it's good manners to ask - if there's someone around.

Joss - she took me gleaning, yesterday

We went out for a quick little walk - 

and came home hours later, talked-out and - 

- laden.

And do you see that bottle, next to the windfall apples? That was on the bonnet of Joss's car waiting for her - a gift from a friend who makes it himself. It's the most glorious orange liqueur - I wish you could taste it.

It has the taste of friendship. Friendship and oranges.


Heart you, France... 

Sunday, October 28, 2012

snapshots from us...

Here's our gorgeous Sablet

the road to Vaison

and pretty Seguret
All with a dusting of snow...

4:22 am

And it's snowing.

The wind is up and it's gorgeous  :)

I've sent Paul out to photograph it just for you .

How beautiful is that?

What that poor man goes through for this blog...

It's come over all Winter, now...

I'm not sure if it means to keep on like this, but we dived from a still-pleasant 15 degrees yesterday, to just under 7 today. The Mistral roared in last night, and blew round the village (can anything be more glorious than this old house with a storm around it?) and this evening the windows have started to mist a little.

Quick note to Anne and Alex: remember to bring your woolliest jumpers. ;)

We haven't turned all the heaters on yet - but the wind made driving tricky: MétéoWeather says it's making the temp feel like four degrees - with a feeling of minus five to come, before the night is over.

If we can catch the roar of wind on the i-phone, I'll try to post it here. For the moment - it sounds like trains, with a stone-wall-and-church-bell overlay. Close your eyes and imagine.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Le plus beau jour

For some reason - well, for no reason that I can see except that this is France and France is generally wonderful - the temperature rose today from a decidedly frontier chilly to the most glorious kind of Australian early spring day.

Except, this being France, the whole lot came with accompaniment of warm breeze - and the scent of  woodsmoke and herbs on the side.

Here's a picture of it. (thanks, Paul)

God, I love France. (Also, Paul.)

Sunday, October 14, 2012

The harvest is over -

and the news is very good for lovers of Côtes du Rhône. This has all the hallmarks of being an extraordinary vintage. Small, because of the dry year – but because of the dry year too, full of intensity.

Mind you, it was nail-biting stuff. For a few days the village was talking of nothing else, playing a white-knuckled waiting game, trying to guess what the weather would do. 

There had to be rain – just enough, but not too much; and the rain had to soak in deeply and quickly. And then the Mistral had to blow – just enough: not too much - and at just the right time.
And it happened like clockwork. 

The village was suddenly full of seasonal pickers, the roads were blocked by the tough little harvest trailers; 

the air was ripe with the smell of  must – a smell so rich and potent, it verges on taste. 

And then it was gone. 

And now we’re moving into the shorter days of Autumn: the quick early dusk - 7:30 now (and wasn't it just last July that I talked about light in the sky after ten pm?) The days themselves are decidedly cool, and in the evenings - oh, but I love evenings! - the nip of winter is held at bay by wood-fires and chimneys and shutters.