Sunday, 8 July 2012

How to Cheer Yourself Up

This summer continues to be strange weather-wise. For the people in the gîtes, the weather has been quite kind, the rain is keeping itself to concentrated periods, with hot sunny weather in-between, but for the campsite, every drop of rain, whether it falls in the daytime or during the night, whether it is drizzle or in a downpour, is a drop too much. So, with a very heavy heart, we decided to close the campsite temporarily, because the ground is just too wet. We managed to find spaces for everyone in local campsites, not as quiet and secluded as here, but still within the area. The same day we decided to close up, poor Fifi was bitten by a vicious insect that looked to me like an earwig (I didn’t know they bit and hung on for grim death) and we had an emergency dash to the vet to get her sorted. So this last week hasn’t been all that great to be honest.

Sunday morning, feeling a bit down, after yet another night of thunder storms and rain, we headed into Saint Gengoux le National where a free glass of wine and little snacks were on offer to tourists. I do voluntary work for the Tourist Office and not having ducked quickly enough at the last general meeting, I have ended up as the head of the committee for holiday accommodation, arts and crafts and other commercial activities. Don’t ask me what I am really supposed to do, but we have at least had one committee meeting. At that meeting we decided to jazz up the “welcome to our region” drinks. The drinks for the last three years have been a spectacular flop. No tourist seemed to want to have a free drink and brioche (which I detest) at 5pm on a Monday and so we thought Sunday morning, just before lunch, might attract more customers. The wonderful Marilyn in the Office de Tourisme has managed to get some of the local food and drink businesses to donate their produce to offer to the tourists and this morning was the first event of the season.

Cees and I tried to arrive on time (French time that is) but we arrived just before 11 for an eleven o’clock start. Surprisingly the place was a hive of activity, dozens of volunteers crashing into each other, spreading pâté on toasts, cutting up goats cheese and generally flapping about. Even the local journalist had arrived. A table had been set-up on the pavement outside the office and the president of the Office de Tourisme was trying to stop the table cloth from flying away by finding little stones from here and there. I felt rather guilty at not helping, but it was so French in organisational terms, I felt it would be better to give everyone a wide berth.

Finally at 11.15 our President started the speeches and then he said that “La Responsable de la Commission Hébergeurs, artisans d’art et activités commerciales” would like to say a few words, yikes that’s me ! Thanks for the warning Monsieur C. I managed to stumble a welcome and a little description of the delicacies that were before our noses and then invited everyone to a get glass of wine, but no, Monsieur C - the master a long speeches - felt that mine had not been long enough and continued for me, telling everyone what he thought I should have said. We finally got to have a glass of wine just before half past.

The snacks were very tasty and worthy of a mention. Smoked salmon (not tasted by me because of my allergy to fish) and smoked duck breast smoked in St Gengoux by a Scotsman, goats cheese and goat terrine from La Trufière in Lys where we buy our cheese, some delicious bread from the baker Gelin in St Gengoux, jambon persillée (parsley ham - a regional delicacy which I am personally not too keen on, but most people love it) from the butchers Guillemin in St Gengoux, fruit juice from Parfums de Terroir just down the road from here in Taizé and the wine was from the Vignerons de Buxy, which runs the wine merchants in St Gengoux where we buy most of our wine.

All in all not a bad way to cheer yourself up and there were even some tourists who joined our little party as well.

La Tuilerie Website

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