Sunday, 1 February 2009


While you are all suffering with the shocking heat, I am here in southern France in winter. I wake each morning, throw open the shutters and see a field of white frost and often a cold mist hangs over the garden. Yesterday I went to empty the wheelbarrow into which I had put some soil from another part of the garden the day before. Something glistened and I thought it was odd that I hadn't noticed a sheet of glass in the wheelbarrow.... it was ice, of course!

image The day after I arrived, a tempest blew in from the west, shaking the trees, the roof, in fact the whole region, with winds in excess of 180km/hour! It blew for over 24 hours and cut all electricity and phone lines, killing 4 people. Trees were down everywhere, rooves were torn off and rivers flooded with the rain. We had no electricity for 6 days.... most of the local shops were shut, none could take credit cards but neither could the banks give out any cash, so getting anything at all was almost impossible. With no phones or mobile reception it was quite eerie and news only travelled in through visitors. Some places had no water either. Even the markets did not open as stall holders could not bake bread or or make other goods and some had so much damage their vegetable crops were destroyed. Here you can see Ian's pool shed blown over against the pool. Finally power was restored, the sun peeped out and people went out to assess the damage.

imageToday the thermometer hit 14C and I took off one of my many layers of clothes! Previously it has been between -2 and +6C.  We went to the Villereal market where most but not all of the producers had returned at least with some produce. There were some cardoons for sale today and also salsify, which I am unfamiliar with.





It was great to sit and watch the people, while having a noisette..... a short black coffee with a dash of hot milk.... my new flat white, and a chausson au pomme.... a kind of apple turnover with croissant-like pastry. Delicious! Next time I will take a photo.


image On the way home we called in to the tiny hill-top village of Eyenville, where the local source is situated. I love these springs in France, where water trickles from a rocky cave and people come to collect the purest water imaginable. This one happens to be set in can just see the little cave in the centreimage of the photo at left.




The reasons why I am here are complex. But for the moment lets just say I am a Hills and Plains Seedsaver staying in a Kitchen Garden in France and writing about life in rural France.


Pattie Baker said...

Kate: I especially love the photo of the men, with the one looking at the camera. Looking forward to more of your always-original and inspiring "points of view."

mandi said...

oh my- that water source. how incredible! what a lovely day...