My St Vaast days are drawing to a close this time round. On Sunday I set up my stall at the Vide Grenier on the quay and sell English things to French passers-by. Most entertaining for me is to eavesdrop English customers as they assess my goods, share their thoughts and then barter with me in their French which is more heavily accented than mine. Only occasionally do I give the game away…….. although they may guess I am a compatriot but do not say.
Before my ferry at the end of the week there is yet more packing up to do. I promised myself no self-indulgent agonisings over the dry rot saga. Suffice to say that yet two more rooms must be cleared and partially gutted in order to root out the pernicious mycelia and mushrooms. Nick is staying on into September in hopes that he will see the builders and the rot treaters back onto the premises after the August shut-down.
Every few days Nick takes Aroona out for a spin and brings some fine bass ashore. We now have several fine fish stowed in the freezer – which we sincerely hope the builders will not inadvertently defrost as they did last time – and have gifted several in our neighbourhood. We took one to our neighbours – over whose property the builders will have to trespass in order to treat our ‘pignon ouest’ – and Roger returned the next morning with a crate of pears.
As so often happens with gluts one can feel overwhelmed. Pears are notorious for their tendency to go sleepy if kept too long so off I go googling and pull up recipes for Pears poached with Vanilla, and Spiced Pears in Red wine. Now safely stowed in that freezer for winter puddings. Our French friends are big on puddings.
It is time to ready my parts of the garden for my departure. Which means putting potted stuff in shelter. There are a few baby Echium plants left over from the Vide Grenier; I managed to sell a number of offspring from this year’s monster for a Euro each.
On the final afternoon Tanou and Jean-Pierre call round in the afternoon with their grandchildren Anton and Esther. Nick met Jean-Pierre over the rail of his boat and subsequently we were invited to an evening event in their garden. We have seen each other erratically since and I finally got round to phoning Tanou to arrange to meet for lunch. We were treated to the most delicious fois gras (made by Tanou’s sister in the Perigord) and Muscat wine chez eux before we walked to Le Debarcadere.
We invited them round to view our ‘chantier’ which is French for building site. We then sat in the garden drinking tea whilst the children played on the range of outdoor toys which have languished in the absence of little Lights to give them an airing. It was a very pleasant interval to wind up my stay this time. We parted with promises to dine together next time, and I am to be invited to join the Reading Group locally, about which more in the future.
Meanwhile a set of closing summer photos: