Hot August Nights, (and cold showers)
Aug 20, 2018
|Bonour mes amis,
Thanks to Neil Diamond for his inspiration of "Hot August Nights". His 70s album was a great hit but the reality of hot August nights is not so pleasant when the heat continues.
After Alison left to continue her adventures in southern France and Slovenia, I did a bit of relaxing and resting my knee for a few days. However, by Wednesday of that first week I discovered that my shower felt cool. Damn! I hoped it was my imagination. Sadly no. My hot water heater had stopped working again. Last summer it did the same thing twice and I was going to replace it this year but my Belgian plumber didn't turn up even though he had "booked it in for June". I haven't been able to contact him but while it was working, I took it for granted.
Thursday morning I decided to contact a local, French plumber from the neighbouring village of Saint Germain. His name is Monsieur Four (Mr Oven in English). I left messages on his office number and his mobile with no response. By Friday I thought he's probably on congés (leave) because most people are in August. Still I persisted with another voicemail then tried an sms. Surprise, he responded within half an hour and told me he was on leave and would not return until Sunday evening and was still on holiday for another couple of weeks. I asked if he could help me on Monday and he agreed. He turned up at my door at 10:30 Monday morning and spent about 10 minutes replacing a wire which got it working again. What a kind man to do this on his congés. I understood him and communicated well when he spoke in short bursts but at the end I asked if I still needed a new water heater and minutes of continuous talking later I was lost, except that the answer was yes. He asked when I was returning to Australia. After my reply there was another barrage of quickly delivered words and he said goodbye and left. I was a bit confused about whether he would be able to replace the unit before I left but after checking his return to work date I decided that he wouldn't. Bottom line, I no longer have to boil kettles of water and wash my hair with a bucket in the shower. I felt like I was camping for a while.
Since then I've been very busy with social commitments. I've been to two vide greniers (trash and treasure sales) at Saint Pierre de Maille on Wednesday and Montmorrilon on Saturday with Garry and Glenda. I bought a tray for one Euro and paid 50 cents for a cover for my cooking at the first and nothing at the second vide. We expected it to be must more impressive and full of good bargains but it was a disappointment unless you were looking for taxidermy, kids toys or old clothes which were in abundance.
On Thursday I went for a long walk with Garry and Glenda in the morning and then we met later to drive to an interesting restaurant called La Maison du Parc in Rosnay a small hamlet about 20 minutes away. It is set in a lovely, large stone building, very close to a chateau and in the lakes district. It boasts a produce shop as well as a large indoor restaurant and a very large terrace where we ate. It is renown for its frites de carpe which is small pieces of carp, deep fried in a batter that appeared to be made with ground oats. We'd heard that people came from far and wide for this dish so we shared one as an entree. Good choice that we shared because it didn't really have much taste except "fried". Its saving grace was the dipping sauce that was made from a tasty goat's cheese. Anyway, the tartines that we chose for our main courses and the half bottle of Reuilly wine pleased us. After a short time we realised why some diners had chosen to sit inside instead of under the vines on the terrace as we had done. Persistent wasps and flies were a real issue. Lots of Australian waves going on. We did a little browsing in the produce shop and I found a kaleidoscope which I couldn't resist and now use every day. Garry drove the long way home to see the lakes but the countryside is so dry that it didn't look its best.
On Friday I was cooking for some upcoming commitments when a new young friend Claire and her daughter Millie (16 years old) came over. We spent a lovely afternoon and I shared some essential information (bus timetables, local issues etc) with her as they are new to the village this summer. Her husband Gavin had already returned to work in Qatar and their 14 year old son Charlie was sleeping his day away. We've spent a bit of time with them in the last couple of weeks and they are becoming delightful friends even though Claire and Gavin are close to my daughters' ages.
After the Montmorrilon vide on Saturday morning I took the brownies that I'd made and a bottle of champagne to Hilary and Keith's back garden for aperos with about twenty guests. It turned out to be more of a buffet lunch than drinks and finger food usually expected at aperos. Claire and her children were there and gravitated to me. They are outgoing and friendly people. The kids are surprisingly mature and sociable for their ages. She said they think I'm cool, funny and independent to do everything in France alone and without a car. Who am I to argue? When they were leaving 14 y.o Charlie (whom I call Charlie the Wonder Boy) said he felt I was his Australian grandma. Very fitting, as I already have Charlie the Wonder Dog who is turning 14 as my first grandpup.
Other guests who amused me were David, a gentle giant who has a beautiful deep voice and interesting stories and Shaun and Paul. They are a couple who have recently migrated here from England to establish chambres d'hôtes (B&B rooms) in a derelict house in Saint Germain. We quickly established an easy going relationship when we were at a very long lunch at Vicky's some weeks ago. Hilary and Keith were great hosts on the day which extended on until evening after most guests had left.
The next day I took another dessert to Betty's house for lunch with Mollie (the mad Irish woman). We had too much food (prawns, then pasta, cheese and dessert) and I was not in the mood for much to drink. Nevertheless I had a little champagne but couldn't come at red wine when that was offered. We talked and laughed for 5 hours then arranged to get together again at Mollie's place before I leave here.
In the early evening we Australians met Claire and her family to say goodbye as they're on their way home to Qatar. She said she feels they are already part of the Aussie crew. It's amazing how quickly you can form attachments in a foreign place.
Since the last entry, Prudence has celebrated a birthday but poor little Charlie the Wonder Dog has had his leg amputated due to cancer. It's been a challenging time for her and we are still keeping everything crossed that the final prognosis is positive.
Love to you all,