Tuesday 21 June 2011

Domaine Coquelicot

A few weeks ago we went to the local very expensive restaurant for a special anniversary tapas lunch. It is expensive because the setting is lovely, the food is beautifully presented with lots of linen/glass/silver and it has lots of waiters hovering (or hoovering as I mistakenly put the other day). The food at a tapas lunch here is not out of this world expensive (until you add the wine/coffee/water/aperitif which doubles it).

We had a bottle of rosée wine which was delicious and afterwards I emailed the restaurant and asked where we could get some. After a bit of emailing around I found the domaine that it came from and yesterday we had the opportunity to go.

It was delightful. www.domaine-coquelicot.fr is their website. I had telephoned them earlier in the day to make sure there would be someone there (this was Monday and France after all) and also that they still had some of their delicious rosée. All ok.

We arrived at a house that was frankly a bit of a wreck in a being done up sort of way. We were welcomed and sat in the shade under an ancient walnut tree. The cat and dog came to check on us while Madame went to fetch the wine. They are a young couple that have bought a few acres of vines about 5 years ago from a man retiring from winemaking. They have the barn with huge vats of wine, stacked up bottles, bottles waiting for labels, boxes of wine waiting to be delivered. All tidy and clean just in too small a space.They are beginning to win prizes and get their wine into restaurants and they are loving it.

They spoke enough English that between us we had a very jolly time discussing vines generally, the wine trade, the weather (which was exceptionally hot that day) and the weather so far for the year and how the drought affected the wine.

Of course we bought more than we thought we would and I am off to flower making this afternoon with the prospect of a delicious glass when I get home.

Bats again

Him Outdoors is in the process of rubbing down and repainting the french doors that we have in the living room. They are heavy and he needs assistance to get them off their hinges to get them outside. Schoolroom leverage with a spade has worked.

I have been undercoating them as they are rubbed down and rehung. Yesterday we got in a bit of a muddle with dog/wet paint so today, as I was painting while they were out walking, I pondered how to resolve this.

OK. We have shutters. Half close the shutters on one side and block off the whole thing on the other side with a convenient bit of old hay manger that doubles as a grandchild fireguard.

All going well until I realised that there was a bat spending the day behind the shutter. Oops keep pondering.

Nope, it's no good, that's a really good way and they must get disturbed in the wild sometimes. They are grown up bats (who knows) they must be able to cope with this.

Boldly open the shutters and bat blinks, obviously thinks 'what the....' and then flies off. All ok.

Except as I shut the shutters more there is another bat gasping on the ground. You can see its tiny heart beating madly (or maybe normally for a bat, who knows). Other bat is still flying around but this one is just lying there...............

Carefully scooped up to put on the top of the door out of the reach of the cat, it suddenly recovers and flies off to join the other one.


Wednesday 15 June 2011

Avoiding the ironing

Another cup of coffee
Put the robot in the pool (called Arnie, he has a large, used to be white fabric bag as a filter that looks like a huge pair of droopy pants and makes me smile at the idea of Arnold Schwarzenneger wearing them) and check the chlorine
Fish dead mouse out of skimmer - yuk
Finish off the hat I was knitting to get the gauge for a new jumper
Block and measure the hat - had to get the iron out, which was a start,to wave at the knitting a la Elizabeth Zimmerman
Weigh the hat to see how much wool it took
Pick the raspberries
Taste the gooseberries
Tie up the tomatoes
Deadhead the perennial sweet peas and cosmos
Water the courgettes
Admire the Miss Wilmott's ghost that is just turning a lovely shade of blue
Facebook a bit
Check the emails

Wednesday 8 June 2011

Apricots and Hoopoe

Mrs Ayak reminded me of the 'Stats' button on my blog and the blog that has had the most people by hundreds is one called Mimosa and Kiwi Fruit, which was about a trip to the local market here. I wonder if Apricots and Hoopoe will be up there with that and if so, why??

Today we picked our first precious apricots. We have a tiny tree that I am wall training and it had it's first fruit this year. There are eleven altogether and this afternoon the first couple came off in my hand when I was gently testing them. And they are so amazingly better than anything I have ever bought. So juicy. Brilliant.

I also saw my first definite hoopoe sighting this afternoon. We had seen a pair on the grass as we drove in to the drive when we came to visit the house before we bought it and I have heard them in the distance when out walking. They have a a definite hoo hoo hoo call. But this afternoon there were four on the grass.

Yay, a good day.

Tuesday 7 June 2011


Last night a french friend and I went to see the new Woody Allen film Midnight in Paris. Slightly dubious about the Woody Allen bit but it turned out to be a lovely film with none of the obscurity of some of his others and lots of stunning costumes and sets. Good playing by the actors - apart from a wooden Carla Bruni but then what were we expecting.

Replaying the film to myself in bed later one of the notable things was the angle from which we had been watching!

It must be years and years since I have not been the one that decided where we sat in the cinema. 'No I don't mind where we sit'. So instead of near the back we sat very near the front, in the middle.

What creatures of habit we are that this was the main thing that I noticed.

Monday 6 June 2011

Rush rush rush

After a phone call with a new stairman recommendation first thing this morning, I rang the new guy and asked to see him. He was going out but if we could get there in the next half hour he would be there.

Fortunately his workshop is only down the road, these things are easier for me (in French) face to face, so with a scurry of doorlocking, toast eating, coffee gulping, shoe finding we were in his office in ten minutes.

Lovely guy. Showed him the letter from our solicitor saying what was required. Lots of no problem I'll drop by at 5 on my way back from somewhere and then you can have the estimate by the end of the week!!! He also got a look at our stairman's name on the letter showing what was required from him and was full of 'oh him' 'gallic shrug' ('can't do the noise for silent whistle').

So...........fresh coffee and on with the day. Which is a damp, grey, misty morning with everything dripping. A baking morning I think.

And he came when he said he would and measured and discussed and will look at the numbers and see what he can do by the end of the week. So far so good.

And the cake sank in the middle :-(

Friday 3 June 2011

Well, we seem to be winning!

Staircase report is in now and we seem to be winning! Still can't quite believe it but the expert seems to have agreed with everything that we said and is asking us to get a quote for removing, remaking and putting in a new staircase.

Trouble is, he seems to be wanting this to be done in a week, which seems a bit odd since we have been messing about for two years now but hey we'll give it a go.