Thursday, 9 October 2008

Village de Vaux Les Vendanges

Today the villagers went to their respective vineyards.
Since we arrived in our hamlet five years ago, we have never been sufficiently confident to intrude into the annual rural ritual of harvesting the grapes. Last year using the long zoom lens of my SLR camera I secretly took photos from my bedroom window.
This year it seems as if we have been accepted into the community and having a sense that our neighbours are our friends we thought we could enquire as to whether we could take photographs and exhibit them here on Sweetpea's web-blog.
We asked politely and they courteously and graciously said that they did not mind being famous and certainly were not inclined to being kept TOP SECRET!

At the first vineyard there was much good humour when Big Feet our cat met Gin the young Border Collie, and evidently they played together on the tractor until noon. The grapes were looking good to our uninitiated eyes and tasted sweet. Monsieur DT arrived carrying a beautiful old wicker basket containing bottle and glass. Captain Sensible was treated to a glass of the red stuff for it was the morning aperitif for the workers.
Unfortunately our camera problems caused us to miss several photographic opportunities but once resolved we moved onward to the second vineyard where our vine guru Monsieur R and his wife Madame B, cousin and friend posed proudly in the afternoon warmth of sunshine. A bag was found and stuffed with bunches of grapes to eat with our cheese. Our vine guru has been consulted on several occasions in the last five years. In our first month of temporary residence he demonstrated how to prune our 50 year old vine and recently he advised us about it's maintenance as now it is in the shelter of our porch it is less exposed to the elements.
The mini-tractors are set-up to carry vats for the grapes and the grape crushing machine. Everything is in order. Putt Putt Putt go the tractors. Listen to the crunch and crush as the "moulin de raisin" is turned. When the work is done, the country folk go home. Putt Putt Putt past our house, down the lane to home where grapejuice will be transformed into wine. Some may provide bernache to drink now, or be made into wine jelly confiture. Most will provide the daily glass of reward and nourishment.
There is a welcome and a warmth in the fields of France and much camaraderie in sharing food and wine. We are privileged to know such company!

1 comment:

IsmilebecauseIhavenoideawhatsgoingon said...

putt putt putt.... what an experience. Now you have gone native, welcomed by your neighbours into that most gallic of pursuits (apart from shooting things-maybe that's next).