Monday, 11 August 2008

Market Day

Today was the highlight of the week here in the Gers - a trip to the market at Samatan, world famous for its foie gras. Every week we pledge to get up early and go the the market while there is still a baguette and a lettuce to be had. But every week, it's the same old story - we roll out of bed late and make it to Samatan in time to watch the stall holoders dismantling their stalls, have a coffee and then come home. Oh well.
Actually, today wasn't so bad. We arrived in time to see the livestock market going on in one of the big halls. This is the market for ducks, chickens, geese, rabbits, and pets. All the live kind, rather than the dead ones in the next hall. We thought the 4 year old and the 2 year old might prefer that... (and the 34 year old come to think of it)
It is quite fascinating to watch the French at these events.They are so obviously in their element; chatting and smoking with a couple of chickens dangling from a bit of string or a rabbit tucked under their arm. There was a woman with a goose in a paper sack with just its head and neck sticking out. She had it under her arm and everyone was stroking it like a dog.
I'm still not sure whether these animals are for breeding, or eggs in the case of the birds, or whether they eat them. The French seem so affectionate towards them, I'd hate to think that they just went in the pot when they got home...
But then they have a very healthy attitude towards meat and where it comes from. We are in the heart of the French countryside here, and people keep, kill and eat their own meat. It seems cruel and I'm squeamish about it all, and could no more kill a rabbit than fly to the moon, but I eat meat. So who's the hypocrite..?

Sunday, 10 August 2008

En vacances!

Bonjour from the Gers! Here we are in South West France at our usual retreat. Summer for swimming and sun and long lazy lunches (and breakfasts and dinners) and winter for skiing and nights playing sevens in front of the wood burning stove. Bliss.

It takes a while to get into the groove here. Of doing nothing. The biggest exertion is going to the local market and the boulangerie, but other than that it's just sitting and reading and writing and having a little swim and a little aperetif and a lovely dinner and then a sleep... The kids are loving it too - and when they're happy, I'm happy.

Having said all that,I have actually been quite productive since our arrival. Given the time to sit and muse, I have scribbled in my notebook a lot, and drafted out a short story to be worked on further on our return home. I have also managed to do some reading. I mean some proper reading for hours at a time-not ten minutes exhausted effort before falling asleep, which is what I normally achieve. I've just finished Wilkie Collins, 'The Moonstone', and am now reading AL Kennedy's novel 'Day'.

And I realised I haven't blogged for ages. Not sure why; a lot on as usual, but that's not the reason. It just kind of dropped off my radar for a few weeks. But having the space to think about stuff brought it back up to consciousness again. So here we are in France for the next few weeks. What luxury it is to have TIME!