Sunday, 17 July 2011

156. The Fêtes de Bayonne - the clock's ticking..

16th July 2011. Things here at Pipérade Towers are returning to normal today after Madame's brother O and his wife F left us this morning after visiting us for a few days. They took us for lunch yesterday to our favourite restaurant in that village tucked up against the Pyrenees - the very one we used to come to every summer. They enjoyed it as much as we did.. Last night, we ate out on the terrace here and stayed out there till late.

After saying goodbye to O & F, I went down to the river this sunny morning for what turned out to be a hard outing in a coxless IV. We did 14km (Running total: 870km) and I have to say I felt every one of them this morning. I know - I have only myself to blame..! Must make another trip to the bottle bank now - say no more..!

I was talking to one of the guys at the club a few weeks back about coffee and I mentioned that I liked Greek coffee but I was unable to find a local supplier. He told me that a friend of his travels regularly to Athens and if I told him what brand I was looking for, he'd pass the word on. Well, I'd all but forgotten about this conversation until this morning when he delved into his sports bag and presented me with a large packet of Loumidis "Papagalos" coffee.. That should keep me going for a good while. Many thanks Aïtor!

The brand I was really looking for is Charalambous "Golden Mocca", a Greek-Cypriot coffee that, in my view, has slightly more depth of flavour than "Papagalos" plus it has an indefinable hint of something slightly exotic - cardamom perhaps? If anyone knows of a supplier in France, please let me know by a comment at the end of this post.. Σας ευχαριστώ πολύ εκ των προτέρων.. 

With just 10 days to go before the start of the Fêtes de Bayonne (27th July => 31st July), wire barriers are being erected all over town on roundabouts, central reservations - in fact anywhere where a car could be parked or a tent set up. With well over a million visitors expected to our town of 40,000, there simply aren't enough beds available and many camp at sites provided by the council around town. Sleeping in cars is also a favourite. If you have no idea what the Fêtes de Bayonne are about, click on this link and look at some of the videos there..

17th July 2011. There was some welcome rain during the night. The patch of grass (formerly known as the lawn) at the back of the house took a real hammering when we had temperatures of 39°C (102°F) a few weeks ago and sections of it were completely toasted and burnt. I thought it might never recover but all is not lost though - I've been watering it most evenings and we might just be able to save it. There's more rain forecast for this week too.

I was deleting some old files on my PC when I found this clip gathering dust somewhere on my hard disk.. the famous Bogart "hill of beans" speech from the closing scene of "Casablanca"..
Call me a sentimental old fool but who didn't feel a frisson* during that..?

* a shiver..

19th July 2011. The forecast for the south west for the last few days has had us sat here under a deluge of rain. Well, they're partially right. We have had rain but it's mostly been overnight and only for a few minutes. I woke up early on Sunday morning, Monday morning and this morning to the sound of the house going through a car wash - at least, that's what it sounded like. However, once the rain has blown through, it soon reverts to sunshine again. As I sit here now looking out of the window, the skies have cleared and the pavements are drying off quickly under the hot sun. In fact, the forecast for the Côte Basque is invariably wrong. We are influenced by the sea and the mountains here so when the forecaster (the ever-fragrant Évelyne Dhéliat!) says that it's going to rain in the south west, she might be right for Aquitaine (the region) but not for here. 

Went down to the river this evening intending to have an outing in a pair or a IV but there was a strong westerly blowing right up the river and the incoming clouds were heavy with rain - so yes, we wimped out! I'd not long been home when there was a sudden gust of wind followed by a swirling torrent of rain that lashed down for a few minutes. Glad I wasn't on the river! Pity those poor souls who are down here camping..

20th July 2011. More rain this morning.. at this rate the green bit at the back of the house will be doing lawn impressions again before long. You have to feel some sympathy for those camping down here or on holiday with kids..? What do you do? I remember those family holidays of long ago spent squelching around various places in Wales in the rain - or eating sandwiches in the car watching rain running down steamed-up windows..   

21st July 2011. Here's a film that slipped under my radar.. I must try and search it out:


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Lesley said...

In a caravan site in Tenby as a kid, I learned how to play Canasta. It made the two wet weeks go more quickly. But with a dog the weather is not so important as you always go prepared.

Pipérade said...

Been there done that! Also camping in Anglesey with the rain drumming on the tent non-stop..