10 August 2012

Summer evenings

Yesterday we had some friends over for apéritifs. It was a beautiful day and a splendid evening. S. and F. are Dutch and have a house in Saint-Aignan where they spend summers. They both speak English (do all Dutch people speak English?), and S. speaks perfect French as well. Their daughter C., who lives in England, is visiting, and she we here too. The last time we'd seen her was three or four years ago. We know them because of this blog.

The moon over the vines on a recent morning

Walt made little melon balls that he stuck on toothpicks with a little piece of jambon cru (prosciutto), and I made something really exotic: tuna salad. I also made some cornmeal crackers to spread it on. We had all that with some white wine from the Domaine de la Renaudie, which meant we were drinking wine made from the grapes that grow in the vineyard out back.

That same moon

After our friends left, Walt and I sat out on the terrace for another two or three hours, watching the stars come out and the bats swoop around. Actually, I never saw a bat, but Walt swore he saw them. I don't doubt it because we see them often at nightfall in summer. But you have to be quick, and maybe I wasn't...

Tiny pink flowers at the edge of the woods

What I did see, and Walt too, was a very big satellite pass by overhead. It was the international space station, and it was a fast-moving, very bright spot of light — much bigger than an airplane or any star. We saw several airplanes fly over too — you can tell they're airplanes because their light blinks on an off — and we saw at least one other satellite go over. Many stars twinkled.

Seed pods, I guess

In past summers, we've spent numerous evenings on the terrace , but this year we haven't had so much warm weather or so many clear skies. Yesterday afternoon, it was fairly hot out, but late in the afternoon there was a nice breeze. The breeze died down as nightfall approached, but there were no mosquitoes or other insects of any kind to force us to retreat into the house. Maybe the bats were eating them all.


  1. Sounds like a perfect evening. Contentment!

  2. A Dutch friend of mine said that all the Dutch people you meet outside of the Netherlands will speak English, but in the Netherlands itself many people do not speak any English.

  3. Thank you Ken... I was watching the Milky Way through bonos and saw the same bright, non-flashing light pass over... I thought it might be the space station, but you've confirmed it!
    Tim in t'Biblio

  4. Nice post! Welcome to my garden. The most documented, with over 100 species in the Caribbean.



  5. Good friends, good food and a lovely time! couldn't get any better.

  6. You are lucky to be able to watch the stars , moving ones and the far away ones from your terrace. Too much city lights in and around the metropolitan areas have robbed us of this opportunity these days.

    Any more progress on the rapprochement between Bertie and Callie?

  7. So, you saw the space station! Remember when you were a kid and stood out and tried to see Sputnik? I remember it and I bet you did it too. I don't actually remember seeing anything.

  8. This is a post to re-read again in the winter, to help you remember the long summer evenings.

  9. Sounds the perfect combination: good food, good friends and great weather.:-)

    Often Dutch people do speak English well but many more 'think' they speak English when that might not quite be the case :-). 2 modern languages are compulsory from late primary and as one Dutch friend pointed out--there aren't that many places in the world where Dutch is useful. Media isn't dubbed as it is in France and there is a high % of English loan words in the language so many certainly have at least a smattering.

  10. I love to see the ISS and now it has a piece of equipment that my son worked on for four years (software defined radios, the SCAN testbed).

    But I've lived in my home for 32 years and I noticed recently that the trees are now so large that there is less area from which I can see the stars, even with an acre and a half.

  11. I've never seen a satellite go past.

  12. I forgot to mention les étoiles filantes — shooting stars. I saw one, and Walt said he saw three.

  13. Walt's got good eyes! Maybe it's that carrot salad. Love seeing shooting stars, satellites, but bats not so much.

    I grew up eating lots of tuna salad on crackers. I think I'll make some soon.

    There's a canned fish called wahoo we found when we visited Samoa- it was like the best tuna you've ever tasted. We later found out it's banned in the USA for some reason "endangered" I dunno.

  14. I second Carolyn's comment. You have the good life. You work some and enjoy what you have more often than not!

  15. La fleur rose est probablement une espèce de géranium sauvage.

  16. Oui, CHM, je vois ça, la photo en bas de l'article Wiki, au milieu. J'ai l'impression que c'est bien la même fleur. Content de savoir que tu es arrivé à bon port.


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