The weather in Brittany, while not suffering from a vicious snowy winter as such, is turning colder. It’s been raining the last couple of days, a lovely snugly sound as you lie tucked up in bed with the rain falling on the roof. The walls of our ancient cottage are about half a meter thick and hold the heat of a single wood oven surprisingly well…well enough to sleep with just a duvet and…because of the nature of me…the window slightly open (I’m a fresh air nut and the thought of being closed in is just too much…maybe I’ll change my mind in January – the coldest month).
We were beginning to wonder where our “stuff” was (we loaded up 1.5 cubic meters of clothes, all my art supplies, family photographs and general bit and pieces, first and foremost being a coffee machine – the life support system in SA) so we contacted the moving/shipping people to see what was going on. Well we knew we had to wait because they would send it all when the container was full (about twice a month they said) so we were expecting roughly five or six weeks, around the first week of Dec. We got the wonderful news back via e-mail…”So very sorry, one of the customers with stuff on the container has had difficulty in paying and so we delayed the container until he could. The container hasn’t left Cape Town yet…but we’re hoping the client will be able to pay within the next week or so.” Now I ask you with tears in my eyes….have you ever heard of such a thing…? Is it just me? Is this how it works? So sorry ladies and gentleman, one of the passengers on the plane is still having coffee so we’ve decided to delay the flight until he’s finished. Please be patient, he might order cake as well in which case..the plane will be delayed even further! Really? So it looks like me and my single pair of jeans are going to be good friend during the coming winter….
It was a gorgeous day today, crisp blue sky, warm sun and slightly icy air. We took the dogs for a long walk
then decided to cycle into Epiniac – a tiny (and when I mean tiny, I mean VERY small) village about 1.5 kms away. Now me and cycling have a few issues. I remember being put off going through small spaces like garden gates when I was a kid. As soon as I saw small corridors (the sides either made of bushes, poles, a fence) I started to wobble and invariable ended up with scraped knuckles as I wobbled through the gate, then lost my bearings, not to mention control and sailed into a nearby bush. So, having had these anxious, baggage creating moments, I got on my new bicycle – grandly named “Beatrice” a few days ago. What do you think happens, when you’re riding confidently along a small country road, the road turns into a path, the path turns into a wide ditch with banks of grass and brambles at shoulder height on either side of you (reminiscent of a passage, gate etc), the bike gains speed and the path curves but straight in front of you..is a river? Yes..you have it in one. I started to wobble with eyes fixed firmly, not to mention widely, on the small stream in front of me. In a way, it’s like road kill…somehow..you just HAVE to look, for some reason, you’re just “drawn in” as much as your mind is telling you NO, that’s not good for you. Somehow, the stream loomed faster, luring me in … I wobbled through the banks on either side of me, teetered down the slope, took the turn too wide, sailed out of contol and VOILA! managed to grip both breaks at the same time, coming to an ungainly, slithering halt in the mud..and fell off Beatrice. Ted thought it was the best thing…suddenly I was at his level as he came out from wading in the stream! Awesome. Eventually my ever confident-on-a-bicycle husband told me to keep my eyes at least four meters ahead and not just in front of me and that seemed to do the trick. I could at least avoid the cow patties and puddles with some form of dignity.
I digress, we were on our way to Epiniac. Wasn’t too bad, there were no gates or small spaces..just the road, blue sky and the clean fresh smell of the countryside. We cycled around the village (which consisted of doing a circuit around the magnificent church in the middle) and stopped at a small “Bar” for coffee. When we got inside which was deliciously warm, we were asked if we wanted lunch..and suddenly that seemed like a plan. The thing about these little places, is that there is no choice. You want lunch? Sit, we bring lunch and out came the first course of a course country terrine, crispy bread and a green salad picked, from what I could tell from the local houses, from just outside the back door. It was delicious. As were were munching away, we were asked (I’m beginning to wonder how on earth I can understand…but for some reason I could) whether we wanted home made lemonade or cider..and not to worry, it was ll part of the meal. We settled on cider. A huge bottle of golden local cider was plonked onto the table with a “Bon Appetite” and off she went..scuttling busily to and from the kitchen.
The cider was heaven, dry with the fresh crunch of apples and a healthy kick of alcohol. The next course was slices of pork, a huge pile of thin, fresh green beans tossed in butter and garlic and a side dish of marrow, tomato and various peppers baked together with herbs. More bread, more cider and then a cheese platter came round. By this time, I was ready to pop so when the little french lady came and asked about dessert, all we could do was groan and ask for coffee. Then we had a short french kesson while she made us repeat, salt, pepper, sugar, ketchup, mustard etc in French. A very dear lady. Quite amazing really, a four course country meal with cider for 11 euro
each. Needless to say, the cider, me and Beatrice wobbled home quite slowly.
A la Prochaine