Autumn, mowing and a trip east…

There was good news!  As I mentioned before, The Dear One decided to take the bull buy the horns…just about literally, and tell the owner of the estate where he was working that it was just not meant to be and that if he couldn’t do what he was employed to do – namely be an “Estate Manager” without somebody trailing him around all day telling asking him what he was doing and how he should be doing it…then it was best to part ways.  Fortunately the said Owner didn’t have a fit and told him that he could go at the end of the week instead of end of the month!  So last week Sunday, he arrived home.  All very exciting.

Even though it’s Autumn and the clock is due to be turned back on Sunday, it’s still relatively warm and the days are beautiful.  I had spent a few days before his arrival pickling chillies and making Melanzane (italian aubergines pickled in Balsamic vinegar, garlic and olive oil) because the small potager outside our front door seemed to have gone crazy and was yielding veggies with gay abandon.

I then decided to mow the lawn.  Now much to my shame and disgust, I must humbly admit that I’ve never mowed a lawn before.  I have managed to single-handedly “wheely” a tractor while bailing….but I’ve never used a petrol lawn mower.  SO – I thought I would surprise the Dear One and give it a go.  After pulling the little string-thing a number of times and working up a sweat just doing that..I thought I’d better get some instructions first.  Across the miles to the Husband, the call went something like this…
The Not-so-dear-One ‘You’re going to MOW!?”
“Ok…but PLEASE be careful…you know you…..”  (A great vote of confidence there)
“Mmm but how do I switch it on?”
“Keep pulling the chord until the engine turns over, press the yellow button and pull the lever back to engage the blade….then there are two symbols..a hare, and a tortoise…put the lever on the hare…and lift up the bar as you go – the mower will go forward on its own so you don’t have to push so hard,,,it saves you the effort.”

Cool Beans!  I go out to the mower and pull the chord with gusto.  Eventually it starts, then peters out with a burp.  No petrol.  I take the dogs for a ride to the petrol station, fill up the container, come home, fill up the mower and start again.  Voila!!  It goes!
Press yellow button…
Engage blade…
Set lever on “Hare” ( at this point, I should have given this option a little ore thought..what was the difference between the hare and a tortoise?)
Lift lever to enable mower to “Pull” itself and save me the effort and..
YEE-HAH!  The lawnmower took off towards the lake a with me stuck to the lever and my brain in blank mode.
The thing had a life of it’s own! It plowed through the long grass and headed for the reeds.  The lake loomed closer, the link between my brain and my hands had somehow gone on holiday and just when I thought a swim was nigh..I let go everything and the mower puttered to a shuddering halt after just starting a meal of reeds.
It was still bad, and it took a few attempts of going full tilt into the fence, a tree and the garden chair before I had it under control.
The lawn looked great and there was only a small detour into the reeds!

Autumney foodie things are starting to appear in the shops, a selection of nuts of different sorts, autumn fruit and huge chestnuts. The road down to the Moulin is lined with chestnut trees and they are starting to fall, still still wearing their prickly brown coats.  They are absolutely delicious wrapped in tin foil and popped into the fire for twenty minutes.  A sprinkling of salt and their roasty sweetness is mouth watering.

The Owners of Domaine Du Mont are really keen for us to start at the Chateau as soon possible and after even more emails…it’s been decided that we’ll start on the 15th December instead of the 1st January so it’s all very positive and just a little scary.  I suppose what IS excitingly scary is that we have the option of cooking and offering different options for the guests who stay in the Farmhouse or Chateau like dinners, picnics in the grounds, small weddings or celebrations and garden teas.  If we do that – then that is “Our Business to Build Up” and has nothing to do with the Chateau…and I guess as I’ve always found cooking relaxing and wonderful…and we cook well together…its great…but sometimes thinking of it is always more scary than living it or actually doing it…at the moment…it’s more than scary and a little daunting.

We took a drive to the area in Normandy on Wednesday and its very beautiful.  Known for it;s cream and cheese, the countryside is dotted with fields of black and white cows and rolling hills.  All through art courses and schools, we were always told that the colour “Grass Green”you find in children’s crayon boxes and bought sets of pencils etc is wrong….it’s a colour that as an artist, you very seldom use, that brilliant almost fluorescent, gaudy green that looks slightly surreal.  All I can say is that if I had to paint a landscape of the Normandy countryside, I would have to use that colour crayon “neat” without a second layer to tone it down slightly and make the grass look more real.  No-one would believe if they looked at such a painting that the grass is actually that colour.  Add bright  blue sky, dark green hedges, fluffy clouds, black and white cows and some tudor-type cottages typical of Normandy…..Quite beautiful.

Are you all ok?

A la Prochaine


About M

I am at heart and artist...which spills over into other areas apart from the pastels, pencils, paintbrush and paper. I love cooking, I love gardening and I love nature. Leaving South Africa to come to France was difficult, but an adventurous challenge and together with my husband and two furry friends, I manage to do all that I love and more while I walk the 'Footpath to France'.
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4 Responses to Autumn, mowing and a trip east…

  1. Marion Fuchs says:

    Hi there, very happy to hear your news, off you go to Normandy, living at a chateaux and cooking up a storm.
    Glad everything worked out well and soon we will get news from your new
    surroundings, which seems just as interesting as Epiniac.
    Maria gave me some artichokes, which I will be marinating or serving with
    a lovely Italian filling, got the recipies from the internet and from memory
    50 years ago ( not bad for remembering at my age!!!!)Love to both of you
    and keep well.


  2. Nicole Vessio says:

    Have to admire your bravery and confidence Moraig! Only you would tackle the lawnmower and stay on! Autumn sounds lovely, I adore roasted chestnuts, what a treat…. So excited for your next adventure, sounds so promising! Love to Mark and the gang xxxx the Vessios


  3. Deblet says:

    well done on conquering the lawnmower, I often used to mow the lawn and my neighbour used to moan at me as I would walk with the baby on my hip as it is also a self driven one.
    Glad the plans are working out to stay in France


  4. Normandy sounds wonderful!!! And a chance to turn your amazing cooking skills into a business….lots of love to you both and wishing you a smooth transition xxxx


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