Expect the unexpected. Cruising along, happy renters, everything good – except the weather. A phone call, water is seeping out of the hot water cylinder in Maison Olive. Fortunately, we have a faithful plumber and electrician in Manu. Without further ado he has arrived and taken off for Avignon in pursuit of a new cylinder. The existing one has done its time and now a new one is needed.
By 18h30, Manu had replaced the cylinder and hot water was brewing again. Merci Manu! Once again, our faithful local artisans had come up trumps. Without them, where would we all be?
One of the joys of Spring in the Luberon is the amount of local farmers who turn their hands to cash crops and provide the markets with fresh new season vegetables. Down the road from us in Menerbes is a small farm which is no exception. Madame opens her little shop between between 09h00 and 11h00 most mornings and we can purchase fresh green and white asparagus. Delcious!
It has been well documented in all the local and national media about the torrents of rain that have fallen during May 2013. Menerbes is no exception. On Saturday we had 55mm of rain and returning from some friends after dinner on Saturday night we were confronted with a large tree blocking our approach road. We had to weave our way through a dark village and narrow streets to get home.
For once we were glad to hear the sound of a chain saw, early on Sunday morning. Closer inspection revealed that our Mayor, himself, and a local municipal employee were cutting up the tree and opening the road for all of us. Merci, Yves!
A bientot : Lovonne and Simon xx
It marvels visitors to Provence, and France in general, how much money the French government(s) spend on continuous improvement to the infrastructure. There’s always something being built, renovated or merely maintained to look good and working. Cynics often question why a country with such a National Debt can afford to continue with these works but they do provide much-needed employment and when you occupy the lofty pedestal of the world’s largest tourist country, you could argue that it is necessary.
Another example of this work is the renovation of the old railway line between Cavaillon and Apt, a distance by car of about 38km. The railway has been transformed into a walking/cycling track linking the two towns with many entrance and stopping points along the way. It runs ‘roughly’ parallel to the D900/N100 National Road which is built on top of the old Roman road Via Domitia. If you want to know more about the Via Domitia and our travels along it, click here.
Last week in a welcome gap between the continuous spring rain, we took off for Lumieres to walk the section to the old railway station at Bonnieux – now an art gallery with a restaurant next door and an, as yet unexplained, renovation project by Pierre Cardin from Lacoste.
The walk from Lumieres to the Gare de Bonnieux is 8km there and back. Any easy hour and a half or quicker, depending how you feel. There is a little parking space/s at Lumieres entrance for you to leave your car -safely!
Benji is the local Menerbes lothario. He often joins us on our walk and comes back to the Bastide for a biscuit.
Last month we wrote about our truffle hunting tour. Read about it here
We were privileged to have a kind invitation to return to Les Pastras in Cadenet to attend the media launch of the Summer Truffle Tours. As with any media launch, characters abound. We met some really fascinating people, people we will definitely be writing about in the future! However, apart from the bonhomie and great conversation, the food……….formidable! Lisa and Johann had organised a buffet spread with all manner of delicious things accompanied by truffles. The catering was done by La Truffe dans sous Etats in Bouc-bel-air (you can contact them here). Only pictures can do them justice.
If you wish to go on a truffle tour, contact Lisa here.
We’ve written before how important, and valuable, firewood is here in Provence. As the saying goes “you can steal a Frenchman’s wife, but never his wood”. When you are presented with an opportunity to get some wood from a local farmer, then you jump at it.And it’s free!
One of the many wonderful aspects of French supermarkets is that they hire cars and small lorries as part of their retail offer. For €46 and 50km free mileage we were able to hire a Fiat 3,5 tonner van and make trips to Farmer Rene’s wood stack where he had pulled out many years of vine stems and transport them to the garden at the Bastide.
Vintage wine stems can look very attractive, however, when you are on your fifth trip, they lose all appeal! Some very old muscles were woken up.
Spring is also the time when everyone is inviting everyone else for aperos. The apero usually starts at about 18h00 and ends at ‘roughly’ 20h30. It’s a wonderful opportunity to meet and greet, the ‘swallows’ have arrived for the summer, and the winter season /permanent locals all catch up and swap stories. The atmosphere is truly cosmopolitan with everyone united through a common love of wine, food, life and companionship. We would like to believe that there is no competition.
Apero time is a time for nibblies, and much sniffing and tasting of the local wine. Rose makes its appearance as the Spring wine and in the main, the red is packed away until the autumn. Except for some hardy souls!
The Citroen 2CV turns 50 years of age next year and French law dictates that she has a ‘Controle Technique‘ test every two years. The principle is no different to the British MOT, or South African and Australian Roadworthy Certificate. We take the Deusch to Coustellet to Monsieur Fabien. A happy soul, Fabian whistles along to the radio belting out English tunes (fortunately he does not try and sing along) and peppers his speech with many ‘impecables‘ as the vehicle passes his mysterious tests. Although the word ‘pass’ is probably used rather gently by Fabian. For example, when a modern car sits on the brake testing rollers, it has to register 100% or else Monsieur Fabien does not give you your blue windscreen sticker. The Deusch tips the needle at 25% and you hear another loud ‘impecable‘.
Normally, Controle Technique takes 20 minutes, with 10 minutes chatting to fill in the 30 min slot. However, Monsieur is on the phone to all his mates – a Deusch is here. “Come and see it!” So, the slot becomes an hour and you have a next client waiting anxiously for his car to be given the blessed blue sticker which means that you escape the Gendarmerie’s attentions for another two years. However, no one is cross or frustrated at the delay. You are dealing with royalty here – the Citroen 2CV.
A bientot : Lovonne and Simon xx
Friday evening saw us at one of our favourite domaines – Faverot in Maubec. The occasion was the launch of the new vintage and it certainly lived up to the hype.
The white, crisp and clear; the rose, well, need we say more than ‘up to the usual very high standard’; the red, full bodied and very easy on this palate. And, the great thing about Faverot wines is that they do not break the bank. No wonder winemaker François and his wife Sally, export and sell as much as they can.
Any Faverot function is an event and the locals lapped up the atmosphere.
For more information on the Domaine Faverot, click here.