Friday, March 22, 2013

Something for the Weekend

Crusoe, the greeter. If you are a friend or a stranger with a kindly face and disposition  he will push that door open and greet you with great enthusiasm and a wagging tail, if you mean us ill he will growl and stand his ground and if you are a postman he will rush out, bark and chase your van up the lane.

Wishing you all a wonderful weekend.

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Winter's Last Stand?

Well at least I hope so, but the French say you can never be sure until after the 15th May. I knew as soon as I declared spring was under way in my recent post on Saint-Jean-de-Luz  I may be tempting fate, and sure enough...

 We woke up this morning to a white world, the snow which has been causing chaos in Southern Britain and Northern France has now made it here, deepest South West France, snowfall is forecast until Friday, so lets hope for a thaw at the weekend and perhaps spring can resume next week.


Despite the snow trees and shrubs continue to bud.

One small creature, loving the snow!


Friday, March 8, 2013

Off the Beaten Track

I love Paris, the Cote d'Azur the Italian Riviera et al, the history the stories, but isn't it nice to discover new places, destinations that may not be well known internationally, the kind of place that warrants a secret nose tap, the kind of place that the locals want to keep under wraps, lest it gets too popular and the kind of place that once stumbled upon is never forgotten...

l'Amuse bouche, stuffed olives, served from a Bonsai olive tree, Mr French Sampler is about to dig into something, I cannot recall what it was but it was delicious, washed down with Mimosas.

Followed by something to refresh the palate, the most delicious smoked salmon and citrus salad served in a large pebble from the local river...

I know exactly where this river pebble comes from, I may have to copy this idea!

A surprise that looked odd, wrapped in a silk cocoon but again, delicious.

I forgot to take photos of the main course...but it was delicious...skips to dessert...

Afterwards a stroll round the village...


On the way back a dip in the local pool...

Remember the river pebble?  I collected a few pure white stones from here for my local stonemason to slice in half and voila, perfect salad bowls.

The way back...

Wishing you all a wonderful weekend.

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Basque ing in the Sunshine

Can you spot Crusoe, frolicking in the shimmering Atlantic with his new friend

The first weekend in March and the forecast looked good, we decided to head for the Basque region our first stop was lunch in the coastal town of Saint-Jean-de-Luz one of the chicest destinations in France.  The town was choc full of beautifully dressed Parisians all taking their first vacation of the season at their secondary residences.  Just like them I was caught out, the sun was shining but I thought it might be a bit chilly so I was wrapped up in jeans, a light cashmere cardi with a thermal vest underneath, a wool trench coat and suede ankle boots, I was boiling and found myself stripping off, should have worn a T shirt instead of the thermal vest!  After all, this is the season of layering.

We sat outside in the towns main square and had aperitifs followed by a slap up lunch washed down with loads of wine, afterwards we walked it off along the beach front...

Lovely though it is, nobody wanted to sit on the shady side

The Basque region is another country, it has it's own language literally and poetically, it's people are warm and hospitable and examples of  flair and imagination can be seen everywhere from interior and exterior design to world renowned cuisine and everything in between.

The unique architecture of the Basque region, white timber framed buildings and houses, painted distinctive shades of red, green or blue.

These two pictures were taken last September before the leaves had started to turn.

Whilst some remained wrapped up.

Others decided to get a head start on the tan.

Glorious warm sunshine, al fresco dining, walks along the beach and for the brave (including Crusoe) a dip in the sea.  Yes I think we can safely say spring is here.