A few days ago we had apero with a French couple along with our English hosts here in the commune of Saint Romaine sur Cher. Our hosts are the reason that we have the opportunity to experience life in the Loire, not so much as the usual tourist but as far as possible for us, to be a very small part of the local community. Two years ago when staying with Carol and Michael we expressed Sue’s dream of living in a French city or village for a longer period than a few weeks. The longest we as Australians can live in the European Union is three months without going through complicated paperwork. So Carol and Michael generously offered us the opportunity to house sit (take care of cats) while they attended to certain things back in the UK. They also offered us their cottage in Thenay before we had to return to Australia. My employer in Australia being generous as well allowed me to take 10 weeks leave which was part long service leave and accumulated annual leave. And so the adventure began from that dinner party two years ago. That dinner party was re-enacted a little after our arrival two weeks ago with the same guilty parties from 2012.
These photos are from our dinner earlier in the week with Carol, Michael, Annick, Gerard, Sylvie, Ken and Walt and ourselves.
|Carol says to Ken, you sit there while Annick looks on but Gerard has already taken his seat at the head of the table.|
|A table set for 9.|
|For starters - Crevette and Saumon|
|Then Gerard introduced us to a palate cleaner before our main course.|
Carol and Michael have friends no more than a kilometre further down the country lane from their house. On a previous visit we met Annick and Gerard and have enjoined their company on this visit as well. This particular nigt we sat in their home with good wine, good food, good company and much laughter.
I personally am very frustrated that I find it difficult to express myself in their language but Sue is enjoying the learning process and seems be getting a good grasp of communicating in French.
|The main course of Guinea Fowl arrived but after this and many drinks, not only did I forget to take a photo of desert but it has now sen lost to my memory. It is enough said that we had a very merry night with good friends.|
With an inquisitive mind, I probably ask to many questions but I find that you learn more by asking and listening. Gerard and Annick’s lives are probably similar to others in rural Australia however their’s is intertwined with the wine industry and interrupted by World War II.
From what I could grasp from our conversation on the night, Gerard’s involvement in the wine industry dates back to his father and grandfather. He and Annick sleep in the bed where Gerard was born. During the second world war, the family’s home was on the German occupied side of the Cher from free France. Gerard on our previous visit showed me graffiti carved in the soft stone walls of the family home.
During Gerard and Annick’s time of tending the vineyards, they grew Gamay, Cabernet and Sauvignon blanc. They grew the grapes, made the wine and bottled it for sale.
Tonight’s apero - something that traditionally starts at 6.30 pm I think came to an end at 10.00 pm. I say that I think it finished then because after what seemed like four or five bottles (I lost count) of sparkling and many courses of nibbles with much laughter, the night came to an end.
We feel fortunate to have been invited into Annick and Gerard’s home and to enjoy their wonderful friendship.
We are now at Carol and Michael’s cottage in Thenay and today we visit other Blogging friends for the first time but more about that soon.