Monday, July 23, 2012

Third weekend in July

The sunflower and lavender seasons are pretty much over now - and it's festival season.

Sablet is all under books - the fabulous Journee du livre is on this weekend and there are famous authors, musicians, artists, singers

and chefs (of course)  - over a hundred writers and thousands of books.The nearby villages - Seguret, Roix, Rasteau, Vaison, Violes are countering strongly with concerts, soirees, jazz, blues and opera -

... and pretty Caromb had its Fete de Figues -

But Sablet can turn on the music as well. We spent a lovely evening listening to old Provencal songs in which vines and grapes and girls figured strongly

- and when that was over and they'd gone home

We had Phil! 

Monday, July 16, 2012

Bastille Day -

- and the library at Vaison (home of our beloved ruins) has found the most gorgeous way to celebrate.

Books! Livres en randonnee - books left at random on pillars and plinths

and on bridges a thousand years old and more. There for the taking.

There was music, of course, and food and feasting 

(and fashion.)

But we liked the books best of all. And the nightlife, because the light doesn't leave the sky till after 10:30pm

And the children, tired out but sweet, 
staying up for the fireworks. 

Happy Bastille Day. 

Friday, July 13, 2012

Flowers like children

The cherries have gone, and it's sunflower season now. Fields and fields of les tournesols, for all the world like little French school-children

- bright, well-behaved, happy, attentive. They follow the sun, of course,

except for a few days in July when they follow le Tour de France, (here's them watching a hill-stage). And they're always, always in perfect unison.

Except for this one.

Sunday, July 8, 2012


Sablet market is on again today (Really? we say to each other, appalled at the way time slips by without meetings and deadlines. Is it really Friday already? ) But yes it is Friday and the market is on and my favourite grand-pere is there with his home-grown fruit. Supplies have been dwindling as summer comes in - no cherries, no plums today; just three tubs of apricots, smaller than last week and softer and so much sweeter.

After the last market, Joss and I made apricot-and-lavender jam, and ramped up my list of French verbs and Provencal idioms. These ones won't make jam - but they'll be delicious ice-cold after lunch with a good French cheese.

Saturday, July 7, 2012

While they were here -

These are some of the things we did and loved with Annie and Graeme:

wine tasting,of course;

climbing les Dentelles (yes, again – but further than ever this time), cooking salmon and duck and cabillaud and mussels and fish, watching Paul tear his hair out inventing spectacular dishes of seasonal food with enormous success

We shopped at the markets, went to vides greniers, wandered the old Roman amphitheatre at Orange - and the ruins at Vaison, and churches and abbeys all over the place; we walked up to Seguret and on to the fort, gleaning cherries and plums along the way - and we talked and talked. I hadn’t realised how much I’ve missed the pleasure of speaking nothing but English to friends.

At Vaison they met our artist, and sweetly and sneakily bought one of her limited edition prints for the wall in Sablet. It will come home with us one day to live in a grandchild’s nursery: and we’ll always remember the time we spent with such old and dear friends in this wonderfully old and dear village….

oh, and PS:  I said I wouldn't say anything, but Anne was the undisputed champion every evening on the petanque court; although Graeme – who honestly believes that a walk, or a drive, or a game of petanque is not quite complete without vanilla icecream – played bravely despite his sling. In fact we all tried our best in the face of unusual skillz - to say nothing of some outrageous Victory Dancing.

We have photos of that, too...   ;)

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Ah, but before then -

before the news about my father - we had such a glorious time with Annie and Graeme.  They've left a wealth of affection behind: the patisserie still asks for updates on Graeme's hunt for the perfect croissant, and the glacerie is bereft. The parsley Anne planted is leaping into action, and I turned the last of our gleaned plums into a glorious sauce to serve with Memorial Roast Duck.

They arrived with a vast block of gorgonzola which we progressively demolished day after day, champagne - which took rather less time  - and their excellent appetites for fun and food and philosophy. They entered into every little bit of village life and the village misses them now, and so do we.

 But we have photos...

Monday, July 2, 2012

I've been away -

As most of you know, my father died last week. I had this little boy light a candle for his journey, in the thirteenth century eglise Saint-Dominique.

Safe trip home, Dad.