27 July 2011

A new visitor and a late morning

I'm having a late-blogpost morning. We had another overnight visitor yesterday. Mike is an Australian, a blogger (here's a link), and a great traveler who lives on a farm in southwest France about 90 minutes from Toulouse. He lived in the U.S. (Seattle) for at least five years around the turn of the century (10 years ago, in other words).

Mike's been in France for a year now and is currently headed north to Sweden and England for a month-long vacation. He travels with an Alaskan malamute dog named Munson that weighs close to 100 lbs. (45 kg). They left here about an hour ago to continue their trip.

The 17th/18th century wing of the château at Valençay

Mike and Munson arrived yesterday afternoon about 4:30 after six or seven hours on the road. When they got here, we all took a walk with the dogs out into the vineyard, through a warm drippy rain that wasn't enough to get us, the dogs, or the ground wet at all. For dinner, I cooked a guinea hen — une pintade — on the rotisserie in our oven, and boiled some potatoes along with green beans that a friend on the other side of the village grew in her garden and "gifted" us with.

There was a modern art exhibit at Valençay on Sunday.

The weather was mild enough to allow us to sit out on the front terrace for the whole evening to have our food and wine. The dogs "left us tranquil," as we say in French. The conversation flowed as freely as the vin rouge. Mike said he didn't think he'd ever eaten guinea hen before. Down where he lives, up against the Pyrenees mountains, the diet is mainly based on duck and goose.

This is the labyrinth at Valençay, out in the park. We spent
an hour lost in it with our friends' kids on Sunday afternoon.

Once again, we realize and appreciate the value of blogging. It brings us into contact with many interesting people who wind up coming to visit one day. Tomorrow we have other visitors coming by for an afternoon coffee: Ellen — an American who has lived in France for many years — and her French husband. She blogs too, and we met because once on this blog I mentioned a hotel in the Latin Quarter where I used to stay 40 years ago. It turned out that she had lived in that hotel as a student in Paris back then. We have that in common, among other things.

An old farm building that you see from the observation
platform in the middle of the labyrinth in Valençay

I didn't take any pictures of Mike and Munson, but Walt did. He'll post them in a few days. When I get busy cooking, talking, and walking with friends, I seldom have the time or presence of mind to get the camera out. That's why I'm decorating this post with photos I took at Valençay Sunday afternoon.

I liked this tapestry in Valençay castle.

We've had a lot of overnight guests since mid-June. Now we need to get back out in the garden and do some serious weeding. Last week's rain was needed and beneficial, but it comes with a cost: out-of-control weeds. We also need to get the freezer cleaned out and defrosted before the garden starts to produce tons of tomatoes, eggplants, beans, and greens. Such is life in Saint-Aignan.


  1. Well, we stopped in Tours for a night on our way from Paris to the Charente and over breakfast I said to my family that I should just stop by your house, since I am reading the Blog.....

    They just looked at me the way they do, when I say something strange....

    It was a great trip. Great country. We shall be coming back.

    Rungis Market was my highlight for sure.

  2. Ahhhhh..... the thought of sitting out on a porch or terrace enjoying a lovely, breezy evening with friends... it's marvelous (it's too damn ridiculously hot and humid here to enjoy the outside, unfortunately). It sounds wonderful :) I'm glad you all met and enjoyed yourselves (Callie and Munson, too!).


  3. Great photos of Valencay. Good luck with the weeding. I'll check Walt's blog for photos of the big dog and Callie.

    I'm going to have to try guinea fowl one of these days, too. Loved the potted meats you served us.


What's on your mind? Qu'avez-vous à me dire ?