Summer is upon me, that is to say that for the time being I can remain put and concentrate of summery things like going to the beach and gardening. I have looked forward to a lengthy interval in France for numerous reasons but one of which is that I hope, during the 6-weeks planned, to lick the garden into shape.
It is a huge treat that our lovely Tuttles invite us to supper the day we arrive. Claire cooks something called Company Casserole which is divinely comfort food and I must try this on the family. She serves a dark rich chocolate and red berry torte for pudding, laced with chilli. An interesting experience!
On Bastille Day, La Fete Nationale, we potter around at home during the day then go down to the port at 11p.m. for the fireworks. Claire posts an enchanting drawing that her granddaughter has made to mark the coup d’état which took place on July 14th 1789. The following day brings a phone call from Francois Taille inviting us to drinks at midday. We have Anne’s nephew Lucas with us during the day, working for some spending money for his forthcoming trip to London. He comes in the morning. Lunchtime drinks roll into a fest of crab claws and grilled lobster and we roll home afterwards for a bit of kip.
Thursday brings a day of mixed weather when a swim at Le Dranguet with Anne is off, then on, then off and in the end I take myself to Pointe de Saire at the end of the afternoon to rummage in the beach pockets for holed shells and wentletraps and I find one of the latter. There is always one! Meanwhile Nick has been fishing and brings home raw material for smokerel pate and ceviche of sea bream.
Friday arrives and I have still not achieved much in the garden. Nothing immediately evident that is, although I have started to work on a long and varied list of tasks that will need to be completed to lick it into shape by the end of August. We are eating globe artichokes, rhubarb and sorrel – useful ingredients which are able to wait until I get round to picking them. I make a fabulous seafood bisque that I am unlikely to be able to recreate: it has Pollack stock, crab and lobster stock with bits, mussels in their juice, crab eggs, female Pollack roe pieces. Thickened with a bit of flour and some cream and soya yogurt. Trop bon! In the evening Nick goes fishing with Georgy off Utah Beach and I settle down to my Oxbow paper.
On Saturday I spend more time in the kitchen than I had reckoned but ceviche of bream, lentil, butter bean and sorrel salad and rhubarb jam roll off the production line. In the evening we have an apero soiree with the Poulets and the Bougouins and munch fish contributions from the Light household, Thai and Indian snacks and pate crostinis from the Poulet kitchen. With champagne and an Irish Coffee to wind it up, it is enough. I hope the bathroom scales will tell a good story tomorrow.