Thursday, 3 September 2015

Wine tasting

Throughout the summer and autumn many different opportunities are offered to improve your wine tasting skills (well that's one way of describing it!) Towns hold large wine events such as those held in Chinon or Saumur. Individual vignerons hold events, offering their wines and a range of accompanying food. Last week we attended the Domaine de Navas which is unusual as this event offers the opportunity to taste and buy not only local wines but also Champagne and wines from Bordeaux as well as wines from across the Loire region.  They also offer a very good lunch for 12 euro, which includes an entree, main course, cheese and dessert plus of course it would not be complete without a bottle from one of the vignerons. We asked our cottage guests if they would like to join us for the day and  they were happy to come along to such a good and FREE event.

Tasting some very nice Sauvignon
Our cottage guests Mike and Carol with Maureen
The meal was excellent with tables arranged under the trees as it was a rather hot day.

Lunch in the shade of the trees

We were joined by a local French couple who provided some great additional 'chatter'
 At the end of lunch two vignerons were inaugurated into the Confrerie des Vignerons des Coteaux du Cher
The officials

 Maureen managed to sneak a photo with the officials

So a great day was enjoyed by all and we even managed to buy some excellent wine for the cellar.

STOP PRESS - mother and baby doing well!

The first of the autumn lambs have arrived in our neighbours small holding

My lamb is beautiful mother bleets

Wednesday, 2 September 2015

Make the most of it!

One of the joys of rural France is the bounty of fresh produce on display in the local markets. Beautiful vegetables grown with TLC by local families, an amazing variety of fresh fish and of course cheese of every description with an emphasis on locally produced cheese. Le Blanc market is no exception and when we can we visit on a Saturday morning and invariably buy some oysters. Apparently £28 a dozen is considered good value in London so I suppose 6 euro (£4.30) a dozen from le Blanc market must be considered almost free? So lets push the boat out, how about a DOZEN oysters and a BOTTLE of pink champagne? I see a London restaurant offers half a dozen oysters plus a glass of champagne for £64, no doubt in luxury surroundings.

Well here in central France the super fresh oysters are just over 6 euro a DOZEN and a BOTTLE  of pink Champagne is  around 18 euro (£13.50) so that's a grand total of £17.80........and some people say France is expensive! 

Nothing better than oysters with some of Maureen's Bloody Mary relish (made with a dash of Vodka)
Down the hatch!
As you will have noted this BLOG post is entitled 'Make the most of it' so its wise to eat your oysters, or whatever makes you happy, when you can as life moves on as we discovered yesterday.

Mid afternoon and we were enjoying an afternoon cuppa when we heard the unmistakable beat of helicopter blades -  a very low helicopter.  We dashed out onto the rear terrace and a yellow SAMU (Emergency services) helicopter was heading this way and we quickly realised he was looking for a landing spot! He descended towards the field adjoining the bottom of our rear garden but this contains three horses which became spooked so up he went again. I dashed into our small field and waved to indicate that maybe he could land here? Down he came and within seconds tthree nurses jumped out carrying bags. We then realised that there was a SAMU ambulance at the neighbours house so Maureen guided the medical people through our garden to the spot.

Fortunately our rear lawn is a good size.

Its not every day you have a helicopter in the garden
The sad news is that the neighbour, who was not in the best of health, did not recover despite the best efforts of all the medical specialists at the scene.

So maybe the title of this post needs to be remembered whilst we all have our feet on this good earth.