Monday, August 22, 2011

Verfeil sur Seye

Well hello loyal blog readers. I bring you the latest post from France where it is VERY sunny indeed. A scorching 39 degrees. I'm staying with my very good friends Sally & John in their house in Verfeil sur Seye near Toulouse & Albi in south west France.
You can tell I'm in France as the photography turns to food... although I'm not sure these cakes would make it to the artisanal bakery!
I discovered you can buy macarons in the freezer section of the supermarket here and that small fact has lead me to thoughts of making them again; all I need is a freezer; anyone, anyone.......... I can pay you in Macarons.
These following I hasten to ad were NOT frozen and also very, very good. This larger raspberry variety of macaron are traditionally known as an Isfahan because of their rose scent. Isfahan is the name of a province in Iran famous for its damask roses. I'm afraid they didn't last long enough to sniff all that much.
And my one weakness.... Ile Flottante
After lunch we slunk from shady spot to shadow along the hot pavements of Albi to view one of the most impressive buildings I've ever seen and indeed the largest brick building in the world. Albi cathedral is an absolute monster, its tallest point, the bell tower stands 78 metres or 256 feet tall.
From the heights of Albi, just so you don't feel too insignificant I must let you know that they too have the ever present dead conifer amidst their architecture.
Which brings us to a nice segue into this fascinating bit of ivy covered architecture in one of the back streets near Sally & John's. A storm was brewing and the sky really was this colour!
Van Gogh eat your heart out.
Sally & John have been fabulous hosts
with aperitifs amongst many, many other delicious meals ...
A walk in the woods nearby.
I've never experienced a landscape like this one. If you narrowed your eyes, you could imagine yourself in the Australian bush but just a little bit greener. It was so hot, the cicadas were the only thing stirring. As we silently walked our way along the rocky paths we came upon these ancient burial mounds called Dolmens or stone tables. Strange and awe inspiring, they brought more questions than answers about how on earth prehistoric man managed to shift these enormously heavy stones.
We also managed to have breakfast in one of Frances most charming medieval market towns, Saint-Antonin-Noble-Val.
Ricardo and I came here in 2009 and it has not changed at all, which was good and bad as you can imagine.

Sorry to leave you on a sad note. Hopefully these baby swallows will cheer you as they did me although swallows always remind me of loss too as they are here for so short a stay.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

A perfect day

Clarissa May and Yusuf are engaged.
They picked the perfect day to do it. After an enormous amount of hard work putting up marquees
and a bouncy castle for the kids, making the garden spick and span and a lot of rain, the sky cleared and filled with bubbles instead of clouds.

I'll give you a tip - well maybe two - to a perfect and happy relationship and Clarry & Yusuf have it down perfectly. It goes like this - when Clarry comes downstairs after having a shower, Yusuf says "Gosh you look lovely" and she replies to him "I just love you" and that's it, so simple and yet so scarce. Ricardo and I had it and have now passed on the baton.
I'm so happy to pass it on to such a wonderful pair. When they got together we were all convinced that it would be a one night stand but that one night seemed to turn into every night and I think they were even more surprised than their friends.
I heard the whole lovely story after the big party clean up as we worked away at a mountain of dishes in the kitchen. My eyes filled with tears as Clarry described the first time she kissed Yusuf and felt like she was surrounded by a golden light.
The special occasion had everyone in an amorous mood.
Zebby must have bounced on that bouncy castle for eight hours solid and was so happy to be surrounded by such love. Here he is with one of his all time favourites, Rach.
and at last after a big big day, a bonfire and fireworks. Yay. May they live happily ever after. (Oh whoops there's a wedding to get through yet. How on earth are we going to top this?)