Thursday, September 06, 2007

The Miracle of Mirth

I think I've seldom laughed more than I have in the past few days. This, in addition to seeing so many beautiful places, experiencing (the only word for it) so many exceptional wines, and enjoying foods I'd never dreamed I'd be eating.

When Gerry's troubled that the kids are finicky eaters, I look down guiltily because I was - and am - a bit of a finicky eater. There are things I just don't like (tomatoes) and after a yearly ritual of trying them, I've given up.

So now I've learned that it's silly to give up. And perhaps I'll try them. Maybe not tomatoes, but I did try a few other things these past days - and I'm very glad I did!

While the rest of the group shopped in Pezenas, I stayed behind to rest a bit and try to catch up on the 40+ emails per day I'm receiving. After my 'office work' was done, I sat downstairs waiting for Phil to come and pick me up, loving the wind and the sun and the dancing Plane Trees.

Planes & Automobiles
These Plane trees are so lovely, and line roads, canals, walkways, all over this region. At times the roads are rather narrow due to the proximity of the trees to the road, and drivers here tend to be lead footed, so we've heard there are some major accidents.

There seems to be a movement afoot to cut them down, and a counter movement to let them be. They've obviously been around longer than the cars have, and it would be a terrible loss to cut them down so folks can drive like idiots. They'd just find a stone wall to crash against, anyway...

We arrived and met up with the group, who were taken unaware by the sudden cool evening and the wind - lots of rapid knitting going on, but it was a lost cause! I, myself, used my partially finished Ruana at dinner to stay warm.

Dinner was absolutely stunning. The food was nouveau, trendy, trs chic, but not over the top and silly.

The descriptions of the desserts, though, taxed both Kris & our waiter (who made me think of a Galic Tim Gunn as maitre'd) and they practically exhausted their bi-lingual skills.

French folks eat later than we do, and it's been hard to get used to for the group. We go so long between meals that - however good the food is - there's that low blood sugar period when it's rough to keep going.

Kris & Phil are taking steps to address this (I, myself, purchased some cookies at a local supermarket where we stopped yesterday to offer during my class - if I don't eat them all...) This should keep us at an even keel for the times between the amazing meals!

So by the time this meal ended many of us were just wiped OUT! It was a quiet ride back to the Inn - and I think we all slept pretty well (after we got to sleep - some of us are still on US time...)

After a lace class where I forced everyone to work harder than they'd expected - I learned the French word for "yell" and I'm looking up "whip" - we took off for the Patchwork Museum in Salleles DAude - a beautiful spot and a wonderful collection! And ducks!

Marie, the proprietress, made us at home as we shared a picnic lunch that Regine here at La Vingeronne put together. So beautiful, so simple, and so GOOD! The goat cheese here is exceptional, and I actually ate Boar Pt & Blood Cheese. Go me!

After a lovely and restful hour of sitting and knitting after looking through the gallery, we headed off to Beziers for dinner, stopping along the way at a supermarket (I have to admit, I was the instigator of that detour...) to pick up stuff we all needed.

Pride & Dentifrice
I amazed myself. Lisa, one of my new friends, needed to download images from her camera to clear space so she could photograph more. I am not sure how I did it, but I walked into a photo place, explained the situation, got a price and a time when the disk would be ready - all en Franais! I was SO pumped!

We shopped, bought some Tshirts, soaps, cookies, one of our number bought a curling iron, much needed toothpaste, and then we checked ourselves out using the self serve kiosk. It was less exciting than we'd hoped because English was an option - c'est dommage!

I'd been dealing with an off-and-on headache, so I stopped at a pharmacy (this was a sort of mini-mall) and, once again in French (although not GREAT French) I asked for medicine for a very strong headache, asked the price of some other stuff and bought shower gel. I am golden. It's a little pathetic how impressed I am with myself, but I was walking on AIR!

Le Caveau De LHours
Dinner was magnificent with a salad that was - hands down - the best I've ever had in my life. AND - tada - I actually ate Pate.

Yes, I understand all the horrible things that they do to the geese (A running joke through this trip, every time we eat a wonderful piece of meat, is that they have VERY happy pigs, cows, etc. over here in this region...)

But baby, this stuff was GOOD! I've never liked pate, it always had an aftertaste and I just hated it. But this, I loved! YUM!

Today I rested. Everyone else took off for a town near the Spanish border - I cannot WAIT to hear about their trip! But I stayed here and slept in until 11:30!

When I went downstairs I'd missed petit dejuner (that's what I get for sleeping in!) so I took a hike up to a restaurant at the top of a nearby hill - Bel Air - and had a really wonderful meal that I could NOT finish.

Yes, I said NO to dessert, alert the media!

I hiked back down the hill, stopping for some knitting at a very lovely spot, and wandered through the very small and very old town of Faugere.

I can't really find any kind of shop here except for the gas station at the top of the hill - it makes me think of one of very small town along the Hudson River in the catskills in that way.

There's an old 15thC windmill up on the hill, and I almost hiked up to that, but I changed my mind and returned to the Inn - ostensibly to knit - but guess what I did? Napped.

I took a shower, washed out my personal items, put on some music and laid down for 5 minutes. It turned into a 2-1/2 hour nap, and I feel like a new woman. YAY!

So now I've heard that everyone's back - and it's 7:30 so dinner should be soon! Another dinner at La Vigneronne - how lucky can we be?


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posted by Annie at


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Your trip sounds wonderful. I am glad you are taking time to rest, as you need to take care of yourself. Thank you for sharing your adventures with us all!

September 06, 2007 1:16 PM  
Blogger Joan said...

to whip = "fouetter", if you're talking about whipping your students so they go faster...

Sigh. It sounds wonderful (except for the whippy parts)!

September 06, 2007 2:24 PM  
Anonymous Donna said...

I clicked on the link in your previous post (about next year's trip which is basically the same schedule) & it sounded soooooooo appealing. Beautiful countryside with interesting sights, lots of time to rest, wine & knitting. What more could one ask for?

September 06, 2007 3:19 PM  
Blogger Kathy said...

Sounds like a real blast! I am a wee bit jealous.

As for pate - was it actually pate de foie gras (hence your comment about geese)? Because there are umpteen varieties of pate, some with chunky meat and some with pureed, some with nuts and some wrapped in bacon, etc. All are worth a try!

September 06, 2007 3:29 PM  
Blogger Knitting Linguist said...

It sounds like you're having a marvelous time! And the food looks scrumptious; I'm in major envy (and hungry!) mode over here. Eat something delicious for me -- I promise I'll take the calorie hit :)

September 06, 2007 4:28 PM  
Anonymous ML in Omaha said...

Je suis trs fire de notre Annie. You are just using that French like a big girl, as we say at our house. If I were still teaching h.s. French, I would sooo share your posts with my students. And noboday says that you have to eat icky stuff, but how you're surviving in the south of France without eating tomatoes is a mystery. Mmmmm, pt. Drink lots of that wonderful French wine that I'm convinced they never let out of the country because it's so great that they don't want to share. Smart people! I had my trip to France last year when my daughter was studying in Paris, but maybe next year I could combine my two favorite things in the world--knitting and France--if you're going to be tricotering next September.

September 06, 2007 5:53 PM  
Blogger Gingersnaps with Tea... said...

OK Whipping AND Yelling I'm skeered Annie! When you come to Calgary you're going to be nice right? Right? Sounds like you are having a tres fantastique time. I am so glad you are getting plenty of rest and laughter is positively the best medivcine for a heavy heart. Hugs. Hope the rest of the trip is awesome!

September 06, 2007 9:31 PM  
Blogger rho said...

you don't like tomato -- ackk - I thought my niece and her hubby were the only people in the entire world that didn't like tomato!!

sounds like a super trip - in my house we eat the same time every night -- somewhere between 6 and 10 -- sounds like you are on my schedule there.

September 06, 2007 9:41 PM  
Anonymous Ellen in Minnetonka said...

So glad it is wonderful for you, Annie. One word of caution - even if you got your needles and knitting on board leaving the U.S., the regs are different in every country. Ask when you check in lest you have your needles confiscated when you go through security. And bring a book or two along to replace the knitting for the trip if the needles have to be packed.

A friend lost a couple pair of Addi Turbo's at security in Heathrow because she assumed all would be fine after there were no problems flying to London.

Looking forward to seeing you when you are back home, and looking forward to good reports on Gerry and kids.


September 06, 2007 10:13 PM  
Blogger HeadKnitwit said...

Annie-please plan to go back and do this again when I can afford to go.This is the best trip I have ever heard of and I have researched a lot of them. CFG go over again but with different teachers. I want selfishly for Gerry to be well and we all meet in France!Viva la laughter. Peace and prayers-Marsha

September 06, 2007 10:28 PM  
Blogger susanc said...

I wish I was there with all of you! I would love to go some day. Thank you for sharing your adventure with all of us.

I, like Ellen in Minnetonka, am looking forward to hearing good reports on Gerry and the kids.

Enjoy the rest of your trip! Oh, I LOVE tomatoes!

September 06, 2007 11:34 PM  
Blogger Karen said...

It sounds as if you are having a wonderful trip and getting some much neede rest.

I hope that Gerry is continuing to do well!

September 07, 2007 6:19 AM  
Blogger Leslie said...

I am so pleased and envious to read of Annie's Wonderful French Adventure! You deserve it and obviously are getting some much needed physical rest.

There still are prayers flowing Gerry's way from my house and wishes for a happy and safe trip to you.

September 07, 2007 4:55 PM  
Anonymous Vicki said...

So pleased you are having a great time and enjoying different food. Just a hint too, my daughter was a finicky eater and wouldn't eat certain food, she ended up having food allergies and that was why. She just knew when she ate those foods she didn't feel right. Worth a thought.

September 08, 2007 5:23 PM  
Blogger Mary Ann said...

Bon Jour, Annie
The Texas trio got home safely, on time, and with all our luggage. We so much enjoyed our time with you and Kristeen and Phil. I feel absolutely FAMOUS, being on your blog. I don't even need to post on my wimpy little blog. I can just refer all my friends to yours. I hope the next group has as terrific a time as we did. (But remember-we are your favorite).

September 10, 2007 4:14 AM  

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