Look what we had for lunch. Along with the Italian meatballs I even managed to coordinate the colour scheme to match the Italian flag. Green, red and white (ok the spaghetti is kind of beige) for those of you not up to speed on flag colours.
Above is Mummys version.
Left is Number 3s version as you can see with a slightly more vibrant red. Possibly a little truer to the Italian flag however.
Well once again we have been outfoxed by the weather, so with all our well laid plans weaning and moving lambs out of the shed into the freedom of outside where they can gambol and eat green grass like all good lambs should, we did it and then the poor little mights have been rained on practically everyday. Thankfully the temperature has not plummeted as well so they are soldiering on. I feel sure that the weather will change soon and then I expect we will all be moaning about how roastingly hot it is and how we have no energy to do anything.
Then I suppose we will all want to do a bit more of this. Thanks to Bluey for providing the suitable pose. Which is exactly what I looked like on Saturday afternoon/evening when I returned from the second day at Ste Foy la Grande market. I obviously need more training to cope with this 2 big markets a week I managed a whooping 14 hours recovery sleep during the weekend so the theory is I am full of energy this week. Hmmm......
Number One is conspicuous by his absence from home currently. I am sure that he is working very hard towards his final exams for the year in the centre of Bordeaux where he is surrounded by peace, tranquility and no distractions;-) (In my dreams)
Number 2 has less than 2 weeks before she finished for the year and then she will be able to recline and do nothing but laze about all summer;-) (In her dreams)
Number 3 is being creative as already demonstrated and having just lost signal for most of our telly channels (the dish needs maintenance and chief maintenance man is otherwise occupied) has rediscovered the ability to talk incessantly about anything and everything and is just generally the happy smiley number 3 she always is.
Anyhow I will see you all soon somewhere....
You know it is going to be one of those weeks when everything has be done in a short amount of time and you think you have been organised and got up nice and early to ensure that you can get to bed before 11pm and then the phone rings. "Hello Helen" says lovely neighbour "I only have 3 sheep and I have no idea where the other ones are". Of course this is the one day that your delightful husband has been organised enough to get himself down to the shed with all 3 dogs early as he also has appointments and places to go today. So quick call. Fortunately he is in signal range and the sheep are not baaing too loudly "**** resigned voice "Ok I will head back there now". Now the interminable choice should I go and assist and then everyone is happy and I work late or keep my own time schedule. No be a good girl and go help. Luckily they were not far and easy to bring back. I will call this picture "Wot, there was a fence".
Anyhow this week marked our first Saturday at St Foy La Grande. The sun was shining and I had been offered help by an able-bodied glamorous assistant/friend. Off we set feeling brave. My friend likened our arrival to ones first day at a new school, quite accurately as most of the stall holders at a market have been there for years, and some have inherited their spaces from family who had been there for years. They look at you firstly because you are evidently foreign and then check you out to make sure you are not in direct competition with them. Luckily I think we are the only stand that does what we do at the market. Once they warm up a bit they are mostly chatty and quite curious about the new luxuries you are bringing from foreign lands. British sausages?....luxury? Absolutely when made by Franklin Farm.
We even manged to find some new clients which was great, one of whom was my neighbouring standholder who informed me that his Grandmother (french and local to the area) also added bread to her cooking so I should not think that it is unusual to add bread to a sausage mixture. What a lovely man. His wife and he were selling cherries so of course we just had to buy some. Yum yum. I can actually recommend cumberland sausages and cherries as a good flavour combination. How do I know? We cook samples at the market so people can try before they buy.
The town is a bastide (a fortified town) set on the banks of the Dordgne River where 2 different departments of France join, the Dordogne and the Gironde it was estabished in 1255. They certainly knew how to dra a stright line in 1255. It is apparently one of the smallest communes in france covering only 51 hectares.
Here endeth my brief history lesson.
By its geographical nature, proximity to Bordeaux, the river it brings together people from different areas of our region and has quite a cosmopolitan feell about it. So no I don't feel cosy there yet like I do in Riberac, but maybe once I have done my time and weathered a winter going to the market it will start to feel a bit more cosy.
Off to the abattoir later must remember to check the van for stowaways before I leave.....
See you all soon
Meet Bluey, here she is in her usual position asleep on a bed somewhere in the house.
Last week I was taking my usual trip to the abattoir (how glamorous) this time accompanied by Number 3. (Gosh I really know how to entertain my children.) We parked as usual in the collection zone and I opened the back of the van. Out shot Bluey and she proceeded to disappear round the corner at such a speed, that only cats know about, in the complete opposite direction from any friend or known person. Number 3 is now in a great state of panic and Mum is thnking....nice kitty.....*******......come to mummy...****. And of course Bluey being a cat does exactly what is required and runs towards the RAILWAY LINE ****. Ok, don't run talk nicely ****. Fortunately as is required by all cats who know exactly what they are doing, she stops for a quick clean and miaow next to the chainlink fence (quelle soulagement) which has holes too small for my fat cat and I pounce, slowly and nicely,to grab her by scruff of the neck.
Have you ever tried asking a Butcher (who is inside out of eyeshot) for a box for a cat in an abattoir via an assistant in rather stressy french. Well there was much gesticulation and disbelieving shoulder shrugging and arm waving but my hero butcher and his trusty assistant provided me with a box for my naughty cat.
Number 3, relieved to have the cat safely back in the van, then puts her feet securely on top of the box to prevent escape all the way home. Then in the spirit of modern technology and modern children texts Dad to tell him all about our adventure. Dads response funnily enough is quite similar to the Butchers.
Here is Bluey in her box. I am still undecided about the face. Is it "Hello what are you doing here" or "Get me home this instant you useless imbecile".
On arrival home it took her a while to decide it was safe to leave the vehicle again.
Moral of the story is "always carry a box, cats like boxes!"
Have a calm and cat adventure free week
See you at St. Foy la Grande market Saturday 17th May.
Baby on ergonomically designed, made to meaure wool blend mattress:-)
What an interesting week for me. We have a slight lull in the lambing so there is a bit more time to catch up with people and I decided to do that by reconnecting with some of my cousins whom I have not seen or spoken to for about 14 years. I had forgotten how easy it is to chat to family as the backstory is already done.
Moments of loneliness even when surrounded by wonderful people and a busy lifestyle can hit anyone especially during times of loss and it is then that being social is most important, which can push some people out of their comfort zone.
The French Markets provide a useful service to counteract loneliness they provide a social event weekly to step out of the house and talk to people. They even provide you with the format for beginning a conversation as you will have to talk to a standholder if you want to buy something or need information. Handily all the markets I visit have a huge diversity of languages which can be spoken French and English others include Dutch, German, Spanish, Portugese, Chinese, Korean. Invariably you can run into someone you know and then the square becomes a meeting place rather than a shopping centre.
I have yet to have an unpleasant chat with anyone client or colleague I have never experienced any disharmony amongst all the nationalities everyone is welcome in fact positively encouraged as all the standholders are in the same position small, local businesses trying to earn a living. The bars and restaurants are always busy on market day with the buzz of locals and foreigners together, being socialable and enjoying each others company. Living with people is hardwork, extra hard if you have decided to change location, language, job, status..... You have to get out there and say "hello" introduce yourself you will be surprised at how nice and excepting people are on the whole.
What I am trying to say is get up, get out, stuff the fact that parking is a nuisance and get some exercise with a brisk walk and park at the furthest point. Go and experience the life of the market. In one fell swoop you can improve your mental and physical well-being.
See you soon
I am farming sheep and goats on the Dordogne/Gironde border with my husband and our 3 children. We have an on farm butchery and sell our meat direct to the public via the markets and delivery points in our local area