Friday, 1 April 2011

136. Summer's here (maybe)

31st March 2011. At last, we've reached the end of March and we can say finally goodbye to winter. No more endless days of dripping rain.. or squalls that blow in from the Bay of Biscay. Now the windows are open wide, the heating is off and the padded jackets are back in storage.. I've just given the table and chairs for the terrace their first wipe down with teak oil.. Next up? The plancha.. Its creaking journey from the dusty corner of the garage and up the steps to the terrace has all the mystery of the construction of Stonehenge. How did he manage to shift it without using a crane or block and tackle..? And without giving himself a hernia! 

What is it about France that appeals to some of us Anglo-Saxons? I'm presuming if you're reading this that you fall into the Francophile category. There remains, however, a sizeable wodge of people in England who are highly suspicious of all things Gallic; who are paranoid about any trace of Frenchness entering their lifestyle. Garlic studded into a roast leg of lamb? Sacrilege! A French car..? Never..! Poncey French wine? No chance, mate - Jacob's Sheep Dip for me!

Being smitten with our neighbours across the Channel works both ways though. Last night I went to the Spanish cultural centre over the river to pick up Madame after her Spanish class and on my way in to the building I helped an elderly lady (OK, she was just a few years older than me) who had difficulty walking. She was taking a Spanish class as well but in the one after Madame's. It turned out that this lady was a former teacher of English and when she realised I was English she was soon waxing nostalgic about Penzance where she'd spent many happy holidays. She gave me her card and insisted that we come round one day for an apéro..
1st April 2011. We went up to Arès (just to the north of Arcachon) today to see Madame's brother O and his wife F. See how many names of famous wines* you can spot on the map above.. (I'll give you a clue - don't waste any time looking for Jacob's Creek or Tesco's "Great with Chicken"!!) They're renting a place there for a few weeks while they house hunt around and about. They want to move away from the Paris region down to the warmer south west and it didn't disappoint today - it was 29°C! We had lunch outside and afterwards went for a walk down to the bay. It was still 27°C here when we returned home at 8.15pm.

In a quick 10 second squint I counted 13 - there are probably a few more.

2nd April 2011. 14km on the river this morning - running total: 548km.

3rd April 2011. I discovered Mandion this morning.. Our neighbour mentioned the name to us the other day so this morning I thought I'd take a peek. The shop is set back off the RN10 in Anglet and it's fairly easy to miss. To call it a mere cake shop would be doing it an injustice. This establishment is nothing less than a temple dedicated to the art of the pâtissier and the cakes and chocolate on display are the ne plus ultra in the area.  The experience was reminiscent of going to look at puppies - it was impossible to leave without one. Up until now, Madame has bought her cakes at the excellent L Raux pâtisserie in the centre of Bayonne - but I suspect that might be about to change.  

1 comment:

Pipérade said...

I don't usually publish comments containing commercial links but as you were so kind with your comments, I've allowed your link.☺
I just made up the design as I went along.. trial and error.