Monday, 27 June 2011

Harvesting fruit, wheat, barley and ceps!

Harvest is in full swing, there are dust clouds from fields in the valley and on the horizon, wasps a plenty amonst the fruit trees and Ceps (or Porchini mushrooms) if you know where to find them in abundance too.

We were invited to tea this evening up to the farm to enjoy the fruits of their harvest. There we ate some new things to us, including cucumber jam, which was surprisingly nice, haricots vert with boiled potato and pesto, taboulet, and BBQ ribs and the all important cep which had been sliced and cooked in salt, pepper and garlic. all finshed off with an apricot and raspberry klafouti and plenty of wine, yum.

The conversation was interesting and we learnt about the tradition behind eating cold soup and when the bowl was empty filling it with wine, after drinking the wine from the soup bowl then filling it with soup again before wiping it all clean with bread! Waste not want not!

Now feeling very full and ready for bed

Wine Festival in France

After a hectic few weeks dashing about between France and the UK for work, fruit picking cherries and apricots in France and running the house, we finally had time to participate in the wine festival "Fetes de Saint Noe" in Auvillar this year.

Being the second time we had witnessed the event, we knew what to expect, music, dancing, wine and more wine!

The festivities started on the Saturday morning with a procession of men and boys in traditional costume carrying trees cut from beside the river Garonne and after parading round the village after about an hour the largest tree was erected at one end of the village and all participants were offered wine and sugared brioche. We all then moved on into the centre of the village for a lunch organised by the Marie and the Tourist Office. After further festivities and plenty of drunken dancing, after dark all met outside the church and followed the priest in a candle lit procession to a shrine to bless the vine and the forth comming wine harvest. More dancing to live music til the early hours made it hard to get up to make the sunday morning mass (and we did not actually make it) Late morning children of the village visited every household and gave a small flower as a gift from the commune. After lunch everything kicked off again with another procession with shepherds on stilts, farmers in traditional costume, traditional dancing and an "Umpah" band. Make a note for your diaries next year as it will be in May and is always well attended.

Saturday, 4 June 2011

Dog emergency!

Yesterday afternoon after having returned from yet another airport run and feeling rather tired, I decided to take 5 minutes out for myself and take the dogs for a wander around the garden. The weather was hot, with a few clouds looming in the distance and the wind was still, it was bliss. The dogs were racing around the garden chasing after sticks and were having a great time playing tug of war to see who was the strongest and take the prize. Obviously the Labrador, Bailey was the strongest but the Jack Russell Nemo, was clever enough to snatch it away when Baily's interest waned.

However, on throwing the stick for the umpteenth time, this time it didnt fall flat and stuck in the ground, Nemo was first to get to it, I heard a sharp yelp and rushed to find him covered in blood. Panic ensued and I immediately (in my white trousers!) rushed to open his mouth and find the cause of the problem. Fortunately nothing was left inside but a huge hole under his tongue. I found a hose pipe and preceeded to rinse his mouth thoroughly. Blood everywhere, I carried him into his bed where I left him to make some phone calls and get advice from a vet.

I need to point out at this stage that we have only been here a year and although my spoken French is much improved and my understanding of written French is quite good, I am still a bit scared of the phone, as local accents and speed of the language makes it difficult for me to understand everything.

However, I found a vet that spoke a combination of English and French and between us we established that if there was no evidence of the wood remaining in the wound, I was to keep him calm and give him some antibiotics (fortunately we already had some) and hopefully he would improve. The poor little thing was holding hid head low, dribbling and looking very sorry for himself.

I gave him his tablet, a good cuddle, washed him down and wrapped him in a blanket for the night. Fortunately, this morning he is much improved and although still looking dejected, I carried him out to go to the loo and he ate a biscuit and drank a little water.

Sticks are now banned in this house and even though the dogs love racing to get them, balls are the order of the day from now on, as I do not want a scare like that again! Oh............the drama's of daily life!