06 March 2009

That birthday

Thanks to all of you who sent birthday wishes. It was a good day, except for one thing: the bad cold. The sun shone brightly. The blanquette d'agneau — a stew of lamb in a white sauce — was good, but not as good as a stew made the same way with veal, called blanquette de veau. Making it with lamb was sort of an experiment.

Walt whipped up an excellent tart with pears and amandine, a kind of custard made with almond powder. It's about my favorite, since pears and almonds are my favorites.

We stopped at our favorite place in Vouvray, near Tours, when I came in on the TGV Wednesday afternoon. It had been raining hard when I got to the airport north of Paris, and it rained along the way as I rode on the train toward the Loire Valley. But the sun came out when I arrived, and everything was beautiful. I think I said that yesterday. Or was it the day before?

Four Vouvray wines

In Vouvray we bought some wine: sec, demi-sec, and moelleux. The one — okay, ones — I opened and tasted were good with the lamb stew and the tart. Vouvray is exclusively white wine made with Chenin Blanc grapes, which are known locally as Pineau de la Loire.

Callie was obviously glad to see me when I got home. I took her out for two walks yesterday, despite the miserable cold I have developed.

Callie comes running

The cold got worse as the hour advanced. I'm completely congested. And then jet lag — I went to bed just before 10, and I woke up with a start during the night, thinking it must be early morning. Well, it was 1:15 a.m., which was far too early for me to even consider getting out of bed. I propped myself up on some pillows so that I could breathe more easily, and I did manage to sleep on and off through the rest of the night.

I'll get back to blogging soon, I tell myself. And you. Now that I'm in my sixties, things take longer.


  1. Ken. Many thanks for your kind comment on Jim's Loire. Am enjoying following this blog on Saint-Aignan etc. Congratulations on your 60th.

  2. Happy Birthday Ken, and welcome back to France.

  3. i hope you don't have the same thing i have.....my "cold" is starting it's 3rd week! guess it's some kind of flu, which is evidently widespread in VA now.....some way to start your 60's .......feel better

  4. Sorry about that cold, Ken. It must have got it's start before you left the states. The sixties are good, just keep telling yourself that!

    We need for you to keep blogging, showing us those good wines, tarts and days in the vineyards with Callie.

    Speaking of Callie- I love the photo here of her running. I know she was happy to see you return home.

    Take it easy now.

  5. Don't you know that 60 is the new 80? Or do I mean 40?

    When my grandmother visited her father-in-law in the nursing home, another resident asked how old she was, and when my grandma said 70-whatever, the older lady said "You're just a peepee!" So it's all relative.

    Just so you know, "peepee" is the term for baby chick where I grew up.

  6. Hi Carolyn, we called baby chicks "biddies."

    Just so nobody gets the wrong idea, let me say I'm fine being in my 60s. What choice do I have? The alternative... well, you know. And the other 60s were a lot of fun, in some ways.

    Evelyn, hi, I guess the cold did get started while I was there. I hope I didn't give it to you, Lew, and Laurie. Are you OK?

    Justin, thanks. It's nice to be home.

    Melinda, I think I had a fever for a couple of days back in N.C., but I don't have one now. So I'm optimistic this cold won't hold on for weeks.

    Weather is gorgeous today but it's supposed to be a rainy weekend. I'll be spending a lot of time inside.

  7. Ken,

    "Tout âge porte ses fruits, il faut savoir les cueillir."

    disait Raymond Radiguet

    Joyeux Anniversaire :-)

  8. Welcome home!
    Wishing you a very, very happy (belated) birthday and hope you feel better soon. The Blanquette sounded wonderful.

  9. It was so nice to visit with you and your mother before you went back to France. Sorry I didn't get here yesterday for your big day so, Happy Birthday, a day late.

    And a big merci beaucoup for the cheese. Yummy!!


  10. Correct me if I've got you confused with some other Ken who lives in St. Aignan, but don't you pretty much always come down with a cold when you travel? It's all those people with all their germs, stuck in a confined space with poor air circulation. I think of it as part of the cost of travel.

    On turning 60, many, many, many happy returns of the day. Here's hoping it only gets better!


  11. Thanks, BettyAnn. I hope that cheese was really still good, and it was great to see you.

    Susie, no, that's me. In the past, I quit jobs that required me to fly around the country because I always took cold on airplanes. That hasn't changed.

    The Beaver, as CHM says, tous les âges ont leurs joies. I keep repeating that one to myself in my head.

    Loulou, thanks. The blanquette was good the first time. We are going to have some again tomorrow. It's one of those dishes that are better the second time around, they say. We shall see.

  12. Lewis and I didn't catch colds, but I took quite a bit of vitamin C since I felt a little clogged up before we left for Carolina.

    I always take extra vitamin C before I travel, especially if I'll be around young children. This would include you and Laurie, ha ha.

    When I do catch a cold, I don't mind since getting a cold will mean that I'll gain some immunity for future colds.

  13. Meilleurs voeux pour tes 60 ans! Glad you're back.

  14. There was a sign at my dentist back in D.C. that said:
    "Age is a matter of mind;
    If you don't mind, it doesn't matter."
    How true.


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