10 June 2009

Summer is here, rain or not

All our routines are going to be shaken up over the next few weeks. That's a good thing. It's too easy to get settled into a daily pattern and not break out of it often enough. Get up at 6:30, walk the dog at 8:00, spend a couple of hours in the garden or in the kitchen, eat lunch, watch a movie, take another walk at 6:00 p.m., and so on and so forth.

Tomorrow I'll drive up to a town about two hours north of Saint-Aignan to meet up with CHM. He's visiting other friends there, and he and I will drive back to Saint-Aignan tomorrow afternoon and evening. We'll probably stop and see a lot of châteaux, churches, and villages along the way. We'll definitely have lunch in a restaurant somewhere — that right there is a big change in my routine.

Vineyard view back toward the house yesterday morning.
Yes, this is a color picture.

For tomorrow, there's no hurry, and the weather is supposed to be pretty. It stays light until 10:00 p.m., so we'll have plenty of time for a good look-round. I'll take pictures (as will CHM). Stay tuned.

The weather has been wet again for a few days. It's supposed to rain this afternoon before turning nice for a while. While I'm on the road tomorrow, Walt will be cleaning up the house, walking the dog, and getting ready to mow the lawn again as soon as the sun dries everything out.

On this aerial photo I've marked the walks we talk with the dog.
We live at the edge of a vineyard that extends about 2 miles SW.
Click on the photo to see a red checkered blob marking our house.

Friends from Belgium are coming over on Monday for lunch. That would be new blogger Ladybird Martine and her friend C. They are bringing the essentials for a barbecue, and we'll supply all the sides, the barbecue grill, some wine, and our back yard. We bought a new outdoor table yesterday, so we'll have room for everybody and a lot of food. We are counting on warm, sunny weather.

The grapevines are really growing now...

CHM and I (and maybe Walt too, but he's kind of a homebody) will do a lot of driving around, ranging out over a 100-mile radius from Saint-Aignan, to sightsee. We have trips planned that will take us over to the Bourges area in the old Berry province to see a Cistercian abbey (Noirlac) and a château (Meillant). And we will go down to Preuilly-sur-Claise to see blogger friends Susan and Simon, probably next week. With them, we want to go to a nature preserve in an area near Preuilly called La Brenne to see birds and other wildlife.

...and the linden tree is in full flower and full of bees.

We also want to have Susan and Simon up here to spend a day around Saint-Aignan have a meal with us. We're planning to make a big couscous, with lamb, chicken, and merguez sausages, and vegetables including carrots, tomatoes, turnips, green beans, chickpeas, and zucchini.

CHM has sent me a map of all the churches and castles in the Haut Poitou region, which is on the far side of Preuilly, a couple of hours from here. I imagine we will find ourselves touring around down there too. One town we want to see again is Saint-Savin-sur-Gartempe, where there is an amazing church. And, closer to home, we want to go to Blois this time. I've never been inside the château there.

Roses after a rain

Meanwhile, a good friend in California has put us in touch with friends of hers who ae going to be in Paris in late June and early July. I'll probably drive CHM back to Paris toward the end of June, and then our friend's friends (one of whom we've met before) will likely come down to Saint-Aignan for a visit.

And that just gets us into the first week of July. Other visitors from America are on the schedule. This summer, our neighbors across the street have invited us to one of their famous Bastille Day parties — that's July 14, as you know. Dinner, a late-night fireworks display over in Noyers on the other side of the Cher river, and then lunch the next day is the schedule for that one. They are inviting about 30 guests.

A dahlia about to bloom

I imagine that we'll settle back into our routine toward the end of July and on through August. With any luck, by then we'll be harvesting a lot of good produce from the vegetable garden. We'll be busy getting it all processed for freezing and maybe doing some canning — making tomato sauce, roasting squash and eggplants in the oven, cleaning and cooking greens and beans. A short trip at the beginning of September will cap off the summer, and then we will slide into our seventh winter in Saint-Aignan.


  1. for a retired gentleman you have an absolutely frantic social life ...

  2. I don't know about frantic but it does get busy. Two friends are talking about coming over in July or August. Then we'll see you in September, after our trip to the Cantal. Today at SuperU I ran into some Dutch friends who we really need to have over soon. We met them two years ago, and they spend summers here. Also ran into an English friend that we don't see very often. It was old home week at SuperU. Even the cashier who rang up my purchases is a woman we met at a party a few years ago.

  3. YOur routine life is something I'd like to try. Long ago, I spent a month in Bourges. They have a special candy they are famous for. I think it is a hard shell on the outside with a chocolate in the inside, but I may be mistaken. Enjoy the travels.

  4. It's cool that you've made new friends from blogging. Who says that computers and the internet make you antisocial? It's the way folks meet these days!

    Enjoy your time with Charles-Henri, and we look forward to hearing about your trips (and seeing photos)!

    All the best,

  5. Love that aerial shot. I never have a good fix on where I've been until I've seen it on a map.

    We can buy merguez at a French charcuterie stand at the San Mateo Farmer's Market. Since it's a fresh sausage, it seems like something I could make myself with ground lamb (recipes abound), but I haven't tried it yet. We like it with pasta and fava beans.

  6. Ken, When you're in Blois, do visit the Houdini museum. It's on the other end of the square in front of the Château. You're bound to see some magic! Martine

  7. I love your pictures -- especially the flora.
    And your house sounds like a hotel or B&B -- much like ours does. It's fun, but you're glad when the season is over.
    Have you been to the Pont Canal, somewhere on the other side of Bourges near Nevers? I think the one at Briard might be too far.

  8. It sounds like you two will have a very busy summer. Enjoy all your sightseeing with chm, I'm so envious. Looking forward to the many great photos your travels will produce.

    Thanks so much for the dog walk routes photo. It's good to relate your descriptions to the visual.



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