Sunday, 30 August 2009
Sunday, 23 August 2009
Captain Sensible was such and slept a siesta. Because of making a journey that night or the morrow I needed to pack the car. Dismantling the tent was hot work and I worried about the car, which had that morning developed a problem with the speedometer. A visit to the ‘garagiste’ was necessary and I was persuaded to wait until the morning when there was more chance that they would repair it without a rendez-vous. They did. Meanwhile, at 5pm after tea on the porch, the hammocks were hung under the dappled leaves and whispering branches of the plum trees. We read our novels and drifted sleepily, only grounded to the earth via the ropes of the hammock attached to the trunks of the trees. A cocktail of vodka, kirsch, tonic water and fresh myrtilles contributed to our well-being at 6pm. It was such a treat to stop, to relax, to let all troubles slip away, to respond to the earthly treasure.
Captain Sensible rallied from suspension and cooked an omelette with an onion, shallot and garlic filling, served with a lettuce and almond salad, a cherry tomato salad and crusty golden sautéed potatoes. All these vegetables were from our garden. Captain Sensible knows the importance of nurturing oneself and of course eating well is essential, whether one is tired, ill, depressed, happy, busy, lazy, hungry or not hungry.
The setting sun showered the land with a golden glow and coppery colours creating an unusual hue. It had been like this for a few evenings.
At 10pm we returned to our hammocks with sleeping bags, duvets pillows and blankets. My ambition for some time had been to find the courage and opportunity to sleep outdoors without canvas, but the weather had never been sufficiently clement. Tonight it was so incredibly warm. We settled into our respective hammocks and I asked him to tell me the tales about when he slept under the starry skies. He spoke about his adventures at Lake Elat about 48 years ago. How they made their homes with whatever they could find; cardboard boxes, sheets of plastic, pieces of wood, etc. One day the binmen came and told them to dismantle their homes, which were loaded onto the van and taken to the tip. After several hours he and his friends returned, collected their homes to rebuild them again on the beach of Lake Elat. It was lovely to hear his stories, memoirs and tales of travel. A cherished memory for him was when he hitched a lift from a horse and cart. The drover shared his vodka and when it was time for the horse to turn off the lane Captain Sensible ended the wonderful experience to continue on his journey whilst the horse, the cart and the driver returned home. The horse did not need instructions!
Stories help one to go to sleep but I was awake for some time, staring at the moonlit, starlit sky. No pollution, all was crystal clear. How I wish I knew more the names of the constellations. I wished on a shooting star. There were several. The moon was waning sliced at a strange angle. The oil lamp flickered and burned. The poplar leaves rustled. The grasshoppers sang continuously. All else was quiet and still. Big Feet was asleep on my legs. She too was tucked under the woollen, patchwork blanket, purring contentedly. At about 2am, CS returned indoors. I continued for a while until a fox disturbed the dogs at the kennels and those from further away and I knew that whilst my antennae were so alert, sleep would not return easily. Reluctantly, I too abandoned my hammock, relinquished the once in a lifetime experience and broke the Magic spell of sleeping Under the Starry Starry Sky.
For a little treat with thanks to whomsoever created such beauty, here is a favourite song which always brings tears to my eyes and some of my favourite paintings. Click here but remember to return to this site to read the next wonderful link.
Tuesday, 11 August 2009
Monday, 10 August 2009
Thursday, 6 August 2009
It appears that this moth has several names. In the UK it is called a Jersey Tiger Moth. In Latin it is Euplagia quadripunctaria. In France it is also called L'écaille chinée or Callimorphe and it belongs to the family Arctilidae. In England it is restricted to the Channel Islands and parts of the South Coast - Devon, Dorset, Somerset, Isle of Wight and even London. It is common in France, Greece and Italy as well as other European countries. It flies in the daytime feeding on flowers such as Buddleia. But being nocturnal it flies at night, when it is attracted to the light. It has a wingspan of 42 to 52mm and it's main flight period is between July and September. The hairy caterpillars feed on herbaceous plants including nettle (Urtica). The black and white on the external wings help it to camouflage but the reddish orange underwings protect it from predators.We found our beauty on our porch attemptng to access the light in the kitchen. The lace net is captured. I realise I had seen the caterpillars only a few weeks ago. Then I smiled when I thought of the poem "Arabella Millar found a wooly caterpillar". We also discovered them in Angles sur l'Anglin.
Sunday, 2 August 2009
We were invited to a 60th birthday party for two lovely people who we know as a result of teaching English to French friends.
There were petite asiatic-influenced verrines and canapés to accompany the blue curaçao cocktail. A quails egg amuse-bouche introduced us to a buffet barbecue where we could choose any or all of the grilled St Jacques, Crevettes, Agneau or Canard served with a fabulous artichoke purée and a filo pastry parcel of potatoes and apples. Three types of cheeses presented on a long oak board were followed by pretty patisseries and fruits dipped in the chocolate fountain, then café. I enjoyed the Macon white Chardonnay, but others enjoyed the chilled St Nicholas Bougueil 2007. An exquisite honey-flavoured pink Champagne helped us to congratulate our hosts with toasts. Bien sûr, c'est une belle age! People were encouragingly friendly, and we understood much of the conversation at our table. Generous warm-hearted French kindness is such a pleasure to experience. Jacques explained that the French do not have pubs as in England, therefore they enjoy socialising, eating, drinking and listening to music or dancing with their friends and families in each others homes.