Hope you had a good week.
I never cease to be amazed by how different life is here in rural France from life in a city. Jean-Claude my neighbour knocked at the door this week and asked if we could help with something. He took us to his belle maman’s house (mother-in-law) and into the shed that leads to the cellar. The house is around 200 years old, quite young in this area!
Anyway, the tiny fit-for-a-hobbit door to the cellar was broken. It had, Jean-Claude said, been there since the house was built and “had seen better days”. Seen better days? He wasn’t kidding. It was barely hanging on to a rusty hinge, the handle was a piece of string, there were gaping holes in it and it was held together with silver tape.
“Can you fix it up?” he asked the other half who everyone now knows, thanks to my telling all in my book, is a whiz with woodwork. We offered to make a new one: “no need, it just needs a little bit of patching up” said Jean-Claude, “belle maman is used to this door, she’s been using it for 90 years”. We said we’d try. As a thank you Jean-Claude wanted to give us some carrots. That’s how it works round here.
He took us down the cellar stairs and quite how a 90-year-old woman goes up and down the steep stairs in such gloomy light is beyond me, fit for a goat is all I will say. There was a mound of potatoes to one side and a huge wooden box filled with sand. Jean-Claude plunged his hands into the sand and came up with a two giant, juicy, very orange carrots. He brushed the sand off one and bit into the end, the cellar echoed to the sound of his crunching, “magnifique” he announced. And popped a couple of dozen carrots into an empty box for us to take home.
I have to tell you, the carrots might have been down there in that dark, cold cellar for a few months – but they taste as fresh as the day they came out of the ground and nothing like from the supermarket! I love this way of helping each other out in the country, it really brings people together. A patched up door is on its way home…
Wishing you a very Bon Weekend
bisous from France
ps A massive thank you to everyone who came and saw me speak, got their book signed and spoke to me at The France Show, London, last week – it was absolutely brilliant to meet you.
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