We had left Leamington at 4.30 in the morning, made it through security at Luton by 6, took off at 6.30, and landed at 9. By 10.30 we were home, by 11 we were in the Bar du Marché for an apéro, and by 12.30 eating our first meal in Le Terr’In, where chef-patron Axel Bachelard has opened his own restaurant just 100 metres from our house, taking over the premises in which Cyrille ran, successfully as we thought, 30 Degrees Sud.
That was just four days ago as I write, and I can still taste the tenderness of the canette, the earthiness of the truffes blanc and the subtly citrus-dressed haricots verts that Axel served. It may not have been as refined in terms of presentation as his menu at Comptoir du 7, but it was delicious and, with a demi of the local rouge, it was the perfect welcome home meal.
We had been in the UK primarily for the grandchildren. Jill got to visit Dexi. I got to visit Maxi and Asher. And we both got to see the latest addition to the family, little Tiger.
But it is, nevertheless, good to be back in France and especially good to be back in St Quentin la Poterie. With the exception of the opening of Le Terr’In, which will receive another visit from us imminently, and an increase in the frequency of sub-tropical storms in late afternoon, nothing has changed.
Our old friends can still be found at their usual tables at their usual time. Our new friends are totally sympa and en accord with the rest of us, who are united by our love of France and la vie Français. The râleurs and flâneurs I have mentioned before are still evident. The fête votive in Uzès survived the storms with only a few cancellations of concerts, and the bulls charged down the boulevards with their usual insouciance, pursued and corralled by Camarguaise horsemen and women who had done it before milles fois. The fête in St Quentin is a couple of weeks away, and the Foire aux Vins takes place this weekend. I have seen the winners of the best wines and am delighted to see that our facture, Serge, has won a silver for his Cevennes red. On Sunday morning, as last year and the year before, I will be at the œnological tasting on the Esplanade, nose in glass and notebook in hand.
I am conscious that this is an idyll which must come to an end at some point this fall but not, I hope, before we have had the chance to contribute to the 2014 vendange for Amy and Matt.
Plus ça change, plus c’est la même chose.
P.S. Richard and Janet, this one is for you. Great to meet you.
Today from the everysmith vaults: Robert Hunter, the Dead lyricist who worked so well with Jerry, has recently allowed a number of his recent shows to be posted on the archive. I have downloaded several and am very much enjoying these totally different versions of great songs.