so typically French!

chez le coiffeur
the barber shop in Carcassonne

Do you ever find yourself smiling at some of the things you pass by during your day?

I love those moments and have started to record them with my camera.  I can’t help it.  Everything in France seems so exotic to me, being a ‘non-Frenchie’!

Here’s some pics to share with you, but be warned!  There’s a few of them, so I hope you don’t get bored!!

baker at the market
Pierre the baker having a ‘tranquil’ pause at the morning market
Citroen 2CV
A lovely orange 2CV, shining like a beacon in the morning light
citroen 2CV
…those 2CVs are EVERYWHERE!
chien chic
‘Chic Dog’ (you know how they put their words backwards!) – every pooch needs a parlour


Hotel de Ville de Narbonne
Hotel de Ville in Narbonne flying the Bleu Blanc Rouge
Frenchy frilly bits
Frenchy frilly bits…
hanging out to dry
…and not so frilly bits
les chaussures roses
…les messieurs like a bit of pink too
Mamy Jeanne's recipe book
It’s the real thing! – one of Mamy Jeanne’s much-loved recipe books

…a Mamy Jeanne dish

(& check out the brilliant photo of her!)

our village library
And while we’re on the topic of books, I just love this. It’s the bookshelf in our local village library… gives you a small taste of what the public are reading up on! Recipes, winemaking, a history of Europe, a history of France and, bien sur, a little bit of psychotherapy.  Tres francais.
colon poster
Yes, it’s the GIANT COLON!! Be curious!! Roll up for a visit to the centre of the giant colon!… (thanks for the poster Mat, you know me too well!)
the cheese trolley
Colon health, giant ‘chariots de fromage’ (cheese trolley). Ever heard of the French paradox?
At the local ‘brocante’. This poor guy got caught, but we still hear his friends in our garden at night
french doorhandle
the doorhandle to one of my favourite brocantes
a cinema in Limoux (where Blanquette is made)
baguette in a basket
take-away baguette
a trip to the patisserie
Really love this one too. The scene, the clothing (so now!) and the little guy at the back just happens to be some Vigneron I know…
lady of minerve
a regular vision in these villages
les hommes de Toulouse
les messieurs sur les bancs

Still there?  Hope you made it!

A night visit in the vines

With the vines well on their way as small bursts of green covering the countryside (Benji’s favourite time of the year in the vineyard), you can sense a momuntem of the busy days not too far around the corner.  Harvest!  Or ‘Les Vendanges’ as they say here.

vineyard 'burst' in the Minervois

We’ve had some beautiful sunny days, but also a lot of humidity with the ‘marin’ winds from the sea.  It has been very windy in the last few weeks – something that you get used to here (or not quite!).  The morning skies are grey and covered over, we’re hopping in the car for school with jumpers and wind jackets and by 3 in the afternoon the sun is out and sleeves are rolled up and the sunhats are back on!  The French have a saying here regarding the time of year:

“En avril, ne te decouvre pas d’un fil… en mai fais ce qu’il te plait” – it literally means that in April don’t wear fine threads but in May you can do as you please (there is a comment for everything here!).

Though we need the layers in the morning, harvest and summer seems on their way…

As the vines leaves begin to multiply, this combination of humidity and heat means they need some protection.  We’ve been spraying copper and powdered sulphur in the vineyards to help keep powdery mildew at bay.  We’re also raising the wires in the rows  to allow the plants to latch on and continue their growth up and along the trellising.

I was locking the kitchen door at around midnight last night when I heard the roar of a tractor heading to the vineyards just next to our house…   I opened the door and as I stepped onto our terrace I felt like I’d walked onto the set of Close Encounters!

Flashes of orange and white lit up the black sky as I started to recognise the form of the tractor.  It’s an impressive site, watching the headlights of the tractor searching down the rows leaving a wake of white mysterious cloud in the pitch dark of the night!  I was so excited I grabbed the camera.

night visit in the vines 1

night visit in the vines

It’s often the best time to treat the vineyards – in the middle of the night – as there’s little or no wind which allows the powder to rest directly on the plant.

So not an unidentified object afterall, but certainly more sightings to come.

night in the vines 4



….pssst, anybody there?

Well, it has been a while since my last post!?!!

School holidays, in-laws staying (more kitchen tips for me), birthdays, business dinners and tastings, Carnaval, unearthing village treasures.  The time just goes!?!  I’ve so many photos in my camera, it’s starting to belch from indigestion.

And the amount of wine bottles being ferried to the bottle bin… it’s embarrassing.  Though come to think of it, it always is.

Much to catch up on and share so please stay tuned!

spring has sprung!