Five more Swedes and a Kilo of Parsnips

We managed a couple of days in England after Scotland before it was time to cross the Channel.  On the Monday Dan uploaded our Swede onto Vimeo.  Called The (Near) Thing he posted it on Facebook and also on Inshriach’s website, so we could all have a look.  It has some very funny moments and we all seem to have our favourite line, spoken by one of the young cast.  Out of the mouths of babes…… 🙂

Mum is joining us for the first five days in St Vaast so we picked her up from Weymouth and boarded the ‘Armorique’ which is replacing the ‘Barfleur’ on the Poole-Cherbourg crossing.  We had a smooth passage and the house was warm and welcoming.  We supped on soup and charcuterie before turning in for an early night.

Rain, rain, rain. Thursday was a grim, grey day and we didn’t venture far.  But on Friday we went in to Cherbourg and bought some plants including a house-warming yellow Cymbidium for Liz, and a pair of soft black leather moccasins for Mum.  Whilst we were out Nick made a most unwelcome discovery.  It seems we have dry rot under the bedroom windows on the first floor.  He drove a sample to our builder Alain Gourbesville who then promised to call at the house within the hour.  On Friday evening Nick went swimming with Francois, Arthur, Chloe.  Mum and I cosied up to the fire and ate a prawn risotto.

Mum’s highlight was supper chez Anne and Francois on Saturday evening.  She absolutely enters into the spirit of the evening.  I am amazed that she remembers a bit of the French she learnt at school over seventy years ago.  She has hardly ever needed to use it but the words are there.

Anne served us pumpkin soup, boeuf bourguignon with steamed potatoes and parsnips.  The latter are not easy to find in France, and swedes are impossible.  Called rutabaga they are a “forgotten vegetable” in France, having been eaten from the 18th century. More recently it was used as a food during World War II as an austerity vegetable, but now it is only fed to cattle.

Before we came over to France I had bought plenty of swedes and parsnips to share with Anne, who has developed a real fondness for them.  (I also brought over, on request, two small drums of baking powder which the French don’t have, and 2 Hartleys lemon jellies).   We took a raspberry and apple crumble over for dessert.

Sunday was Mum’s last day with us this time.  We ate a classic French lunch in a restaurant on the north coast, Au Bouquet de Cosqueville.   In the calm, understated dining room we sat our table, lone English, alongside the other customers.  Three hours later, certainly replete, we drove home and spent a quiet afternoon.

Mum and I recrossed the Channel late Monday afternoon.  In the morning Nick and I had trooped to the offices of our insurance company to register our dry rot problem so that we may be eligible for a claim.  Fingers crossed.  It was twenty minutes short of midnight when I delivered my mother to a warm welcome at Chestnuts.  I did not tarry because I had to get to my bed for the night.  A thirty minute journey found me driving up the windy lane to Paul and Viv’s house at Morecombelake.  I tumbled into the bed in Hilary’s room and slept.


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