Happy Thanksgiving

P6800521I remember once receiving a phone call one late November evening from a friend in America. Izzi was a baby, so it must have been 21 years ago; the friend said it was a tradition, and he always phoned a few friends he particularly wanted to remember each Thanksgiving. We chatted for a while and the conversation drifted onto normal things, the weather, this and that, but the memory of what was essentially a special telephone-call has never left me.

We don’t celebrate Thanksgiving in France or in England, but ever since that phone-call I have always made a point of making it both a day of reflection and a day to be grateful for all we have, for wonderful friendships and family. It’s also a day to remember those who are no longer with us and give thanks for all of the happy memories those particular special people have given us.

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Perhaps this evening over supper we will chat about shared traditions. Thanksgiving is not our holiday, but we appreciate the custom of all our American friends, and perhaps this is how we should teach our children to respect another’s religion, and someone else’s culture. It’s a tiny thing we can do in a world that seems focused on division and hostility, but perhaps it is a way we can remind people about the importance of unification.

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Autumn is traditionally a time to give thanks for our food, the vegetable garden may not offer a lot right now but the persimmons are out in force, bright orange baubles against a perfect sky, the natural decorations of fall.

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A couple of days ago the entire landscape was enveloped in a blanket of fog, casting an eery glow over the village. Nothing moved; it was as if we were suspended in time

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Walking around the narrow lanes, our footsteps were muffled, echoing back at us from odd angles; it was like being on a black and white film set in which shards of history glinted softly around each corner.

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The day called for comfort food; a thick warm soup or a chunky stew. Home-made stock is something that is often completely misunderstood and totally undervalued. Far too frequently it is labelled as tricky to make and not worth the hassle, but it is – and I urge you not to sling your turkey or chicken carcass but to take just a wee while to make some stock with it. It really is so simple.

Once you have taken off all the meat from your roast, put the bones in a large saucepan, add a chopped onion, a couple of carrots (you don’t even need to worry about peeling them), a couple of sticks of celery, some pepper-corns, a few bayleaves, a glass of white wine, some herbs and cover in water. Slowly bring to the boil and allow to simmer for a couple of hours over a very gentle heat, with a lid just ajar on top, to relieve pressure but still contain steam and liquids.

At that point, simply strain off the liquid and once cool, store in the fridge for up to three days or freeze in Zip-Locs or old ice-cream containers (Roddy’s perennial favourite storage unit). It is brimming with goodness, it’s a fabulous base for any soup and a wonderful pick-me-up for winter coughs and colds. The bought stuff really is no comparison for the real thing.

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We added some noodles and a few vegetables, a hunk of crusty French bread and we had a yummy easy supper or a quick nutritious lunch. No one can deny it is perfect food for this time of year. Make it at the weekend and you have all you need for the week ahead.

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These days also call for a little baking

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afternoon teas with homemade scones straight from the oven, deliciously warm and sinful, especially after a long walk with the dogs when the calories we have spent need replenishing, or rather that is the excuse! (you can find the recipe on the new website here).

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However, no sooner had we hunkered down for what surely must be the start of a long cold snap with thoughts of wholesome hearty food, than we awoke the next day to clear blue skies once more. The fog had been blown away by a fierce gale-force south-westerly wind, replacing the damp stillness with a warmth we had almost forgotten.

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The chickens once again sought shade in the hedgerows

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and bizarrely we have lavender in full bloom, totally out of season and never have I seen this flower in November here before, I shall harvest it quickly and tie bundles and leave them in a cool dark place to dry.

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Today is a day to celebrate. It is a day to wish every one of our American friends a very Happy Thanksgiving. A day when I wish I could pick up the phone and call every single one of my readers, American or not, for I am certainly grateful to you all. For probably 50% of you reading this you will be cooking a turkey or heading off to join friends and family. For the other 50% it is just another regular Thursday, another day in our lives. But whatever today means to you, gather your loved ones around, laugh and be grateful for what we have.

P6800744Another thing that is not much of a deal here is Black Friday. But I am doing my own thing. We’ve been busy sourcing new items for our Shop and we are adding new stock on a daily basis. From 2pm tomorrow, Friday, until midnight on Sunday (French time), we are knocking 25% off EVERYTHING. Go visit here, grab a vintage bargain quickly because come Monday morning it will be too late!  On top of this we are also offering our “Short Foodie Luxury Break” at a 25% discount if booked by the end of November. (It doesn’t matter when you take the holiday, we are only talking about the reservation).

 

So hopefully all of this will inspire you. Perhaps you should stay home tomorrow, avoid the shopping frenzy and bedlam of Black Friday, make yourself some turkey stock, bake some scones, book yourself a luxurious weekend in the French countryside and enjoy a little online vintage retail therapy. Sounds like a perfect plan to me!

BUT MOST OF ALL A VERY HAPPY THANKSGIVING XXX

139 thoughts on “Happy Thanksgiving

  • We don’t do Thanksgiving but Black Friday is big here in England now, it seems every large shop is jumping on the bandwagon luring shoppers with slashed prices and endless advertising. Personally I steer well clear of the crowds.

    • This makes me SO sad. Why oh why do we always have to pick up the worst of what does on in the US whilst ignoring so many of the wonderful things the country produces 😠

    • I don’t blame you, I would too, of course there are bargains to be had but often they tend to only select items that aren’t selling anyway and reduce the prices on those anyway. I loathe the sales and massive crowds at the best of times. So like you I would steer well clear, fortunately it’s not really a big deal here at all, I have heard the odd advert on the radio and seen one sign in a supermarket but that is all xx

  • Since my husband is a naturalized American and his son, though born in France, has lived in New England since he was 3 Thanksgiving has taken on more significance to me in recent years and I do think its a lovely tradition. Taking the time to contemplate and acknowledge what we have to be thankful for can never be a bad thing. This year, hub and stepson are cooking a turkey (I’ve already been phoned several times for blow-by-blow instructions on the bird, the trimmings and the pud) which they will sit down for at lunchtime. I am cooking some turkey breast and having vaguely US sides with it for my supper. Before we eat, we will link up on FaceTime and at our separate tables will raise a glass of champagne and voice what we have to be thankful for. I had this, frankly brilliant idea when husband was here last week and rather sad that I won’t be with them this year. One of the things I give thanks for is you and the other amazing friends I have made on this blogging journey so you will be included and I wish you a day full of joy and laughter even though you don’t keep it necessarily as Thanksgiving. I also feel the need to sneak a peek at the delights in your shop …. really it is a heavenly selection and I am certain your delights will fly off the shelves with your reductions even faster. Xx

    • Happy Thanksgiving! We just FaceTimed ma belle mère in Rochefort. She doesn’t celebrate Thanksgiving either but loves to reminisce about it and of course see all the grandchildren. She told me it was gorgeous there today but rain was expected.

      I’ll have to try and connect the two of you.

      Have a Happy Thanksgiving!

      Suz!

      • Now, I think your belle mère is in North West France and I am in the South East so at least France is agreed on one thing today …. gorgeous day but the promise of, in our case snow, tonight yeehah! I would love to be connected with her. I’m a big fan of her via your words (will never forget the command NOT to drink wine because everyone would think you a soak!). Have the happiest of days full of laughter and fun and I wish you a year to come full of new things to give thanks for xx

          • Oh don’t be … likely is that the mountains will look glorious and the city will not hold the snow for long. Yes we’ve had 18C … I have two daughters coming out next weekend and I’m struggling to advise them what to wear! xx

          • Ahhh now next weekend, I just by chance glanced at the long range forecast, I mean not that I really look at it that often, not really, not that I don’t know exactly what is expected to happen in the next 24 and 48 hours and next week too, oh no I have far too much to do, but then on the other hand I am English and you know, we have to know what the weather is going to do as you well know, so you see, next Saturday, a whole 8 days away we have snow forecast here, I’m deliberating, do I mention this to the children and get their hopes up, the chances of it happening are so so slim in reality or do I just keep checking, every day, rather like a kid waiting for Christmas, hoping it will come quicker! Anyway, the point of this story is, I think it is meant to get much colder next week, at least on this side of the country so maybe for you too, winter warm clothes sounds like the order of the day! xx

          • Yes, we have snow forecast from next Wednesday to Sunday – of course the long range always alters as the time arrives but I have eldest daughter and hubby arriving on Friday for the weekend topped off with youngest arriving on Sunday for a week (we are planning a day in Lyon since she flies in there le matin and the the other two leave from there l’après-midi) so I shall be watching like a hawk … if the snow is good we might head up to the ski-station on Saturday or we might just admire the mountains. Winter warm clothes are definitely being aired now. Though yesterday I was boiling in my coat when I walked The Bean …. can’t win!!! Xx

          • Skiing in early December! Lucky you, sounds like it might be a great season and you will have half of the family together, definitely a weekend to celebrate. Wet and downright yucky here all day today, fire alight, a day for paperwork, and the biggest batch of homemade cookies for gouter! xx

          • Make hay while it shines is my philosophy … I’m on my own for Christmas so next weekend/week following are really important as we are treating it as sort of Christmas. I have been to Casa and bought some lights and decos and I plan on hitting Alinéa for more next week. And my marchand has promised me greenery though he did look slightly startled when I asked him!!! Xx

          • Sounds like the most perfect plan, you will have so much fun. But when you say on your own, do you mean, completely alone? Because you know what I am going to say next…. if you are alone….! the more the merrier always, I am excited at the thought already! xx

          • Ok, 28F is cold, when we get in single figures, celsius, nowhere near freezing we start complaining, obviously we have got quite soft living here! But when the sun shines doesn’t it just seem so much warmer, enjoy your day, sunshine and all xx

    • Thanks so much, I feel just the same as you do about Thanksgiving, even though we don’t have any American family at all. However, it is a lovely tradition and a day to really be thankful and to raise a glass to so many people. We will toast you as well this evening and the many merits of social media, which when used correctly is fantastic. Izzi is cooking turkey with all the trimmings for friends in London today, they are all celebrating and it is a good thing I think. It’s a tradition I like, so a very Happy Thanksgiving to you, am so grateful that we met in blogland xx

      • Good for Izzi …. how lovely! Your remark about Social Media is SO right – when done properly it is a marvelous thing. Truly marvelous. Chin chin! 🥂 xx

        • It is indeed, can you imagine being in a different country to our daughters if we only had snail mail and the good old telephone, standing on the hall table!! It must have been awful for our parents, but then that’s all they knew. We must have spoken to Izzi 20 times today already, a blow by blow account of cooking a turkey, when one is vegetarian!!! xx

          • My grandfather was a naval officer and my grandmother, had him go on tours of duty for three years and only had letters to send. Unimaginaginable but my mother says this is why she takes having all her children in different countries in her stride … she was brought up with hit. I guess that’s my silver lining but to be honest I worry about her daily. As for the girls – I just have to remember which is FaceTime, which favours Skype, which Whatsapp and my addledy-raddled brain sometimes gets it wrong to a chorus of cat-calls and disgust at my latent luddite! Bon dégustation to Izzi and her chums and chapeau to the veggie mumma for talking her through the turkey!! xx

          • Ha ha, no I am not the veggie Mumma, I love turkey, truly love it, no she is the veggie who still cooks meat, she happily bones chicken pieces and removes the innards, hats off to her, she doesn’t even get to eat it!! but she does it all for her friends and they are going to have a fabulous evening, messenger has been red hot between us and her today, but all has gone quiet, I think she now well into the champagne and what will be will be!! I used to worry non stop about my mother and Roddy’s too. But at least we do have communications even if you forget which to use, thank god we can all stay in touch. Really we are so so lucky. p.s. Hope Barcelona was fabulous xx

          • What a good girl she is …. so lovely that she cares enough for her friends that she is willing to prepare what they want rather than insisting everyone eat what she does. Quite relieved you aren’t a veggie actually …. though I was for a while in my twenties I’m afraid the call of all things meaty is far to much for me to avoid! Barcelona was wonderful …. just SO good to be with her for a while and we now look forward to her return to Europe next January – I shall go to Britain for two birthdays (my cousin turning 60 – how did THAT happen) and my eldest will be 31 on the 31st so we’ll make it extra special because she had to wait the longest time for what I have always stated emphatically is the best birthday 22 on the 22nd 5 on the 5th etc. Then I will drive back with daughter aboard and we will get her all in good shape for the next stage on her journey (which I think may well be in Barcelona). Xx

          • I think I could happily be a fish and white meat only person, but I would struggle to give that up and anyway a little bit of everything does one good in my opinion! But I would struggle not to have a sausage roll and scotch egg on return visits home!!! Woohoo 31 on the 31st, Number two here was born on the 3rd of the 3rd so she will be 33 on the 3/3/33 what a party that will be!!! She is going to live in Barcelona permanently? That would be fabulous for you and a great place to visit, close enough for a weekend and it’s a beautiful city. Sounds as if it is all panning out rather well. Now for the weekend.Yippee. I of course, relented and told everyone with much excitement that there was snow in the forecast next week over supper last night and, typically, this morning the forecast has altered, the little snow symbols have disappeared!!! I should have known. xx

          • Come to Grenoble …. I can promise snow ❄️ 😉…. i think there is a good chance that Barcelona will be her next destination and I will be delighted if it is. It would suit her well and that is the most important thing. 3/3/33 – wow that is a fantastic excuse for a party down the line!!!! As for meat. Yes the white I could exist on exclusively mostly but then I think of port pies and sausage rolls and scotch eggs and all those wonderful English affectations of charcuterie and I’m not so sure. My eldest calls herself a ‘Flexitarian’ by which she means that she mostly sticks to veg but if she is offered meat or fish she takes it and doesn’t get het up – I can sympathise and have told her to be prepared to flex when she is here!!!! Snow in your area is always going to be elusive but I hope you get a little this year …. nothing beats it – but then again in your case, that’s what the Pyrénées are for 😉 xx

          • Would love to, but the Pyrenees are only four hours away, compared to ten or eleven!! Barcelona would be amazing and 3/3/33 fantastic too, let’s still hope I can dance by that stage!! Now I totally agree with being a Flexitarian, that is me entirely, although I have to admit I had the nicest sausages for supper this evening and I don’t even eat sausages, normally! But they just sort of tasted perfect with some sautéed onions, gravy and mash of course! I checked the weather again just now, not for snow I hasten to add for the state of the courts tomorrow morning and yes snow is back on the cards for our area mid week. Maybe just maybe it will happen. The locals predict a cold winter but they say that every year. I predicted a warm dry autumn and a dry and very cold winter, hope I am right. We will know the road backwards to the pyrenees if that is the case!! xx

          • Sausages! No thing beats good bangers whatever their nationality. Except Andouillette … that is a France taste too far 😅. I’ll keep my toes crossed for snow for you (and I was only joking about Grenoble … I know too well how long it takes to cross the country) and meanwhile I imagine Saint Bonnet le Froid must be blanketed 😉xx

          • Did I tell you we drove from Grenoble to Marcolès in May and as we climbed the long gorge out of Annonay I said to HB2 …. is that snow on the trees in Saint Bonnet – and it was!!!! Xx

          • We can meet there and eat (and stay) at the Michelin starred restaurant …. I’m dying to try it!! But we do laugh …. it is the most appropriately named place of all time – even when the other villages have just a dusting of snow, St Bonnet has it in heaps! We think they buy it from the other villages and pile it decoratively. The village itself, by the way, is quite the gourmet paradise with many specialist shops – for example a garlic shop and an oil shop as well as the normal rash of pâtisseries and boulangeries and bouchers etc etc. I still think I need to settle there but hubby thinks I’m joking. I do not joke about important things 😉 xx

          • I actually looked it up, it is tiny, just over 200 inhabitants and at a nice altitude, neither too high nor too low, I think you need to convince your husband it’s the perfect place! But why, for somewhere so small does it have so many shops, or was I looking at the wrong St Bonnet, but I cannot believe there are two and the location looked exactly right? xx

          • Saint Bonnet le Froid is right on the border of Haute Loire (43) and Ardèche (07) …. I’m sure you have the right one (population 222 – 22 is my lucky number, by the way 😉). The reason in my mind is that it has Régis and Jacques Marcon’s restaurant which is Michelin trois étoilés … it attracts many down from Paris and across from Lyon, probably up from Toulouse and Bordeaux who come and stay for the weekend (much as you are going to with your gourmet weekends) and that in turn has encouraged specialized food shops to set up and thrive in the village. That’s my theory from observation. Xx

          • That was the one 222 inhabitants! I just could not believe that 222 could have so many shops, ours is nearer 666 and we only have a bar/tabac, boulangerie and post office!! It is on my go to list now, I think a weekend there would be incredible, there is just that age old problem for me, time!! xx

          • Put it on your wish list. It isn’t the prettiest village around but the views from the restaurant are glorious and they have done a fantastic job of capitalizing on what they have. Yours sounds pretty much normal for France. The village I lived in for the first four years has just over 1,000 habitants and sports a boulangerie, à pâtisserie, 2 butchers (one also Traitteur, the other not) a tabac and two bars (on in the tabac of course). Marcolès where are Maison Secondaire in the restoration is, has 500 habitants with a boulangerie and an épicerie – market once a week and the meat van on Fridays …. we do sign up to a different way of life when we come to France but that surely is the attraction!! Xx

          • It most certainly is the attraction. We have a market every Sunday as well, it is small but flourishing. However, I must admit the village we lived in in Devon prior to France was of a similar size and had no bakery, no post office, in fact nothing but a church! So we should really count our blessings, our wish was to be able to walk to the boulangerie when we were house hunting and that is just what we can do, perfect! xx

          • My husband shared your wish. When I bought my house in Oxfordshire with lovely views from the back garden over open fields and wooded copses to White Horse Hill I took the girls to see it and number 2, then 13 refused to get out of the car. I asked her what the matter was. ‘I’ll tell you what the matter is’ she replied ‘The only thing this village has got going for it is an effing phone box!!’ I had no answer 🙁xx

          • I can so relate to that! My grandparents lived in the perfect Sussex village, at the end of the garden was a small wooden gate which led into a quiet leafy lane. From there a two minute stroll found you in the heart of the village complete with a pond with ducks swimming around and a fabulous pub. There was a post office, a bakery and a little corner shop. Everyone said good morning or good afternoon and the ladies carried wicker baskets! Now perhaps I remember this through rose tinted glasses, but I swear it really did exist and I am sure if I went back there today not much would have changed. English village life at it’s very best, along with the gossip I am quite sure!! Xx

          • Sounds idyllic! English Villages are wonderful and to be cherished and protected. Mercifully I think that many are thriving. My mother lives in such a place in Oxfordshire … wonderful shop cum cafe that sells local produce and serves food all morning over lunchtime and a good pub that does excellent more upmarket fare at lunch and in the evenings but that has a good old bar populated by men of all ages from 18-98 putting the world to rights over a pint! We were absolutely delighted when a house came up there when my parents finally decided to move from the home I was brought up in. My father died a year later and it has been the perfect place for an elderly widow – lots of gossip, lots of support, everyone knows everyone’s business and it keeps her spry!! xx

          • Osyth & Susan; you two…. that’s something else – it’s like reading one of those ‘novels in instalments’…. Now I also want to visit your St. Bonnet…. or what (can’t find your exchange any more and am in kind of a hurry). Makes sense that you should have snow, bonnet says it all, but maybe the name is different and it’s just my mind going in overdrive!!!!
            Anyway, it’s great to read you both – love it. Bisous and hugs from nearby Paris to you girls in the sticks (is that what you say?)

            Also, not complaining BUT the problem with the ‘signing in at every occasion’ still persists…
            AND is there any chance of LIKEing also comments by your reaers such as those here of Osyth?! If there is, I can’t access them (either)….

          • Kiki you pretty thing! I’m a SnowBird – Susan knows that … Saint Bonnet le Froid was a chance encounter last winter in the biggest blizzard (and chapeau to my husband for managing to drive us through he snowfield) … I think that maybe the issue you are having with Susan’s blogs is because she has moved to a self-hosted site …. I have this with several and it IS irritating. N eras of my own … well you can hop over to Half Baked in Paradise on WordPress but Susan seldom comments – it tends to be me here that provokes the conversation (she is ONE busy lady) – no idea how you like me there but I’m happy just to know you do 😉. Let’s set up a mass meet up in Saint Bonnet le Froid next year – we honestly will profiter! Xx

          • No I have not moved to a self hosted site, the blog is still with wordpress, nothing has changed at all. The website is completely separate and there is link to the blog from there, but the blog remains completely as it was. Now you are making me feel super guilty because I seldom comment, oooops, I read, I mean to comment and someone wants something or I have to run out the door, or I am reading your post on a court and then I have to do something and there is no time to comment, phone gets put away and things move along! All excuses I know! But maybe she hopped across to your blog in the first place from my list of blogs I read on my blog, where you are very proudly listed of course! I like the idea of a mass meet in Saint Bonnet, I am searching for a tournament in that area as an excuse!!! xx

          • Never ever feel guilty. Is there a thing called ‘Snow Tennis’ because Saint Bonnet would certainly host a tournament …. life will calm down for you in time and you will miss the chaos, believe me. IOU an email but do NOT feel you have to rush to respond xx

          • No, I wish there was, we’ve trained rain tennis, I can tell you it is pretty miserable, followed in close second place by fog tennis and wind tennis! In fact most winter tennis outdoors here is a test of one’s metal! xx

          • It is what we say, we are out in the sticks, but I think Osyth is actually in a city, she’s living the chic high life, I am the country bumpkin at the moment!!! OK, going to look into liking individual comments and you absolutely should not have to sign in each time. Is there something you can click to keep you signed in? These are all things we are going to address over the Christmas holidays when Izzi comes home, she is going to have a blog revamp for me!!! But in the meantime, I can imagine how annoying it must be and I am quite sure you don’t have to do so. Next time you comment, maybe on a new post with a new thread, like on tomorrow’s post, maybe you can look around and see if it says, “keep me signed in” Not very helpful I am afraid, but I will also see if I can find out anything more. xx

          • You are going through so much trouble Susan, thank you very, very much. I do seem by far not the only one with this problem but RIGHT NOW I’m fully with it…. It has been kindly suggested that I contact the helpppl at Wp but I can’t be bothered right now, so let’s be content for the mo and move on. I’d just like to really thank you again for your very kind attention to ‘my’ problems 🙂

          • Ha ha, I will keep trying to sort them out, because it is extremely annoying for anyone to have to go through this, I have no patience and I would just give up so thank you so much for persevering! We will get to the bottom of it, sometimes though it is quite beyond me why things just do things and change quite of their own accord!!! xx

          • Hi Kiki, I have just chatted online to someone in the help chat centre at wordpress and they have confirmed that there is no reason why you should have to keep logging in and reentering all your details. They say that once you have left your email address and name, then when you come back to comment again it will automatically be there in the box and you can just comment away. Let me know if it works! xx

          • There is nothing quite like an English country village, French ones are quite different, which is actually good. But if there is one thing I do perhaps miss it is an English pub, not that I went to one very often, but there is just something about a pub lunch after a long walk, I am quite sure you know exactly what I mean. xx

    • @ Osyth; what a perfect comment this is…. Could anyone however explain what FaceTime is? I’m sure I should know but…. I’m having a (lot of) Senior Moment(s)! 🙂

        • Thank you both, Osyth & Susan 🙂 I’m going to be a ‘smart’ smartphone owner as of maybe somewhere early Decemer as I’ve bought myself a special treat, a Samsung – therefore I don’t need to know about iPhones, but hang on – Hero Husband’s iPad is Apple….. Oh dear, more to learn, and I do NOT want to be seen on skype/face time!!! My son and HH both told me that I’ve a very, very good (sexy?) voice on skype so maybe I sd only use skype in the future…?! Of course that implies also that my ‘normal voice’ is probably rubbish – it’s a bit like saying: Oh you look good today…. (does that mean I looked terrible yesterday, LOL?!)

          • Ha ha, that is a female mind, taking a compliment and wondering if it means something quite the opposite, it’s our speciality is it not!!! You cannot use facetime with a Samsung but you can use Messenger which is part of Facebook but also quite separate too! I love messenger, Izzi has Samsung and I have iPhone and it works very well between the two of us. xx

      • FaceTime is specific to Apple products and is really just like Skype. I also use the FaceBook messenger for video calls. I really do get very confused since all four of my daughters favour different platforms and I (being senior too) forget which is which! Stepson is a FaceTime boy and has educated his father in the art which has made life so much better at least seeing him instead of having a discombobulated voice as my only connection to him!!

          • I agree and just came off a call with number three who for the first time opted for Facebook messenger and it was perfectly perfect!! Xx

          • Yippee, we were discussing this at supper this evening. How video calling has changed our lives and although we might not have seen Izzi for far too long, the longest ever, with video calling non stop it seems like we saw her a month ago and then we said to the younger ones, “imagine what it was like when we just had a phone and a weekly phone call abroad because it was so expensive” they really have no idea, but it is good that they realise that what they consider the norm is actually really rather incredible! xx

          • It’s certainly good to try and make them understand how different and how difficult it was. I am endlessly amused when I go, for example to Marcolès where I have no wifi and don’t want to go over my 4G allowance (though Orange do kindly give me a hot-spot which gives me another 5GB) and the girls are entirely bewildered that I have to be brief with calls. It’s always ‘oh just one other thing, mummy …’ how can I refuse?!! Xx

          • I know we can talk for hours, the thing is we don’t always talk, I put her on speaker, whilst I am cooking for instance, and we chat away, just as if she was here. If we had to pay for the calls we would never do that, just rambling! xx

  • It is a very good day with the sun shining bright and temperatures just right. It’s a great start Thanksgiving, my favorite holiday. As for Black Friday I stay home away from the maddening crowds.

    • Sounds like the perfect start to Thanksgiving, it’s amazing how the weather can lift our spirits and make even the best of holidays just that tiny bit better. Hope you have a lovely day xx

  • Happy Thanksgiving! We just FaceTimed ma belle mère in Rochefort. She doesn’t celebrate Thanksgiving either but loves to reminisce about it and of course see all the grandchildren. She told me it was gorgeous there today but rain was expected.

    I’ll have to try and connect the two of you.

    Have a Happy Thanksgiving!

    Suz

  • Good morning, Susan, from the sunny Chicago area. As I’m recovering from a cold and my husband from a sinus infection and no one is with us today, it will be a low-key day of relaxation and recovery. The girls and my s-i-l from Ohio will be here for Christmas, though, and that’s much more important.

    I don’t really do Black Friday unless there’s something absolutely fabulous that I must have. So I haven’t gone out for years, especially when stores started opening in the middle of the night and people stood in line all night. Not going to happen. I will be out at 8 am because a grocery store near us has buy-one-get-one on their homemade pizzas and they’re quite good. I work both Friday and Saturday from 11-5, selling pastries and chocolates to all those in need. I understand it will be crazy and we don’t even have anything on sale. 🙂 Now Black Friday has started online and with sales before Thanksgiving. Sigh.

    One fairly recent, welcome addition to the shopping frenzy is Small Business Saturday, the Saturday after Black Friday. That’s something I think is grand. I try to get as many gifts as possible from small businesses, even though I have no problem with businesses being large (at least for the most part.)

    I’ve been making my own stock for some time now and you’re right: it’s easy and so delicious. I clicked through the links to your other pages which, duh!, I didn’t even realize existed, even though I see the “SHOP” at the top of the blog page. 🙂 Ahh, well, I’m too far away to shop there anyway.

    As for Thanksgiving, I think it’s a good reminder to all of us in any country, that we need to take time to count our blessings and be thankful. An attitude of gratitude goes along way to helping our daily attitudes and helping us focus on the positive. You and your blog are one of my positives, so thanks for that.

    janet

    • Thanks so much Janet, I think we have to remain positive because otherwise, with the news sharing almost nothing other than sad or bad news we might all just give up hope. Which we must not, there really is so much good too, I think sometimes it just gets overlooked and overshadowed. Small Business Saturday sounds like such a good idea, like you, I have nothing against the big chains, but I also do like to support the small concerns and anything local and anything enterprising. Our shop I hope proves that buying vintage is the green way to go! Except for the shipping, but that is a part of today, aeroplanes and transport and we are never going to change that anyway. I won’t be shopping at all tomorrow! Hope you both are feeling much better very soon, it is that season isn’t it, we’ve all had sniffles and colds. Enjoy your relaxed and peaceful Thanksgiving. xx

  • Celebrating a day of gratitude here in North Carolina in the USA. This is a day to be thankful for all our blessings, our home and family, friends and health. With so many around the world in dire straights, devastated by fires or hurricanes or war, we have so much to appreciate. Today, we share with each other our many blessings.

    • I couldn’t put it any better myself, that is exactly what we should all be thankful for and what we will be raising a toast to tonight. We are so lucky to even have power and all be communicating like this when some don’t even have a roof over their heads through no fault of their own. Yes we are very lucky. I hope you have a lovely thanksgiving. xx

  • We’re on the west coast in Seattle. We’re expecting warmish weather (60 F) and rain. This is the first year I won’t be cooking a turkey so I’ll miss out on the turkey bones and the stock simmering on the stove. I don’t often make my own stock but never passed up on that. I’ll also miss the smell of turkey roasting in the oven…. But we have much to be thankful for; a healthy loving family, a comfortable home, friends and a life we enjoy living together.

    • I know what you mean about the smell of a turkey roasting, that for me, is one of those fabulous smells of Christmas, nothing quite like it. I am sure you will have a wonderful Thanksgiving whatever you do. It sounds as if you, like us, have much to be thankful for, a healthy loving family has to be number one. We are all so lucky. Hope you are having a lovely day xx

  • Thank you for the Thanksgiving wishes and always evocative photos. Your writing is really brilliant. I had to stop and reread “shards of history glinted softly around each corner.” I feel that way nearly every day in France.

    • That is how I feel nearly every day too, I wonder if it is a French thing that we foreigners feel, it never diminishes, the same buildings, the same roads, they still enchant me, no matter that I might have driven them every day for years. That is what is so fabulous, my fascination and love of the country just grows rather than fades, but I have a feeling you maybe feel just the same way. xx

  • I already sent my wishes and thanks to family members in the USA. My 1st real Thanksgiving happened in Canada and we got invited by an ‘office girl’ I worked with. Her name was Rachel and she was alone. So here come the two Swiss with no idea about Thanksgiving (we only were in the country since August and there was no social media, hardly any phone contacts or whatever available in the seventies!) and we find Rachel struggling all ways with a HUGE turkey. I spare you the details but the oven was too small for the giant bird 😉
    We ate some 5 hours later, nearly had to go to work again, and we had those horrible Brussel sprouts, and wahayyyy too much food. Poor Rachel nearly had a heart attack by the time everything was on the table. And we were only three, as she had no family either, and for some unknown reasons no friends. We hadn’t got the first idea about the importance of the event, we just couldn’t get over this waste of food and the precariousness of her cooking. But we entertained her with stories and laughter…. An experience I shall never forget!

    I don’t prepare enough chickens or other birds to make my own stock and use an organic powder with lots of herbs, very little sea-salt and no added fat/grease. But I think now every time of you when I prepare another pot of a winter-warmer. This week it was with spuds, leeks, carrots, garlic & onions, many herbs, a bunch of each, flat and curly parsley, some twigs of still deliciously fresh rosmarin and yes, bay leaves too, I added a pack of peeled and cut up tomatos and tomato purée (paste). Had beans ready to be added as well as chick peas but didn’t add them in the end, the soup got blended but so that I still had small bits to bite, we added onto the top of it in each bol a bit of crème fraiche and showered it with grated parmesan. Fresh bread with it – it was perfect.
    I made an effort to bake a apricot tart for dessert though… don’t call me lazy!

    However, I shall buy a new smartphone first thing tomorrow. Went today and asked if they might have my chosen colour and after a long time of sending the search troupe out was told that yes, they should get ‘my’ colour in….. A fab price too – and a great phone camera. I took some pretty good pics with my husband’s smartphone when we took a surprise cruise on Lac Léman (Lake Geneva) in Switzerland. I was so impressed and my new toy should have an even better quality than his. When you hardly see anything, these little spoilers help greatly. My last phone can just phone, but isn’t that the main reason? And I can send sms & WhatsApp fun. But only ‘just’. It has to hang on its cable all day long and after a few falls (nothing serious) it is on its last leg.

    You’re mostly right with your observation of Black Friday. It is indeed a black day for so many, and certainly ror the small(er) shops. I would rather shop online IF I need something and ony when it’s at an interesting price. Luckily in France (and also in Switzerland), most people only buy what they need and are not blinded by ‘made up’ discounts.

    May I ask if that very old house is ‘held together’ with these black iron belts/beams/???? I see often old buildings with some sort of metal or wooden ‘hooks’ inserted in order to ‘staple’ it together. The one you took a few pics of however looks as if it entirely held up and together by these black contraptions.

    Sorry for this teribly long comment. I shall shut up now 😉

    • Never too long, I love love love reading your comments always Kiki and I owe you an email, tomorrow it is set to rain, I am out all morning but the afternoon I shall knuckle down and reply, I am slacking, I need to write a great many to a great number of people! My goodness the thanksgiving with Rachel sounds hilarious, one you will always remember!! It is certainly soup weather, or rather it is about to be, we have actually been basking in very warm weather for the past two days, 17C yesterday and 18C today, loving it, that is for sure! Your new phone sounds as if it will be a very welcome addition, make sure you read the handbook, something I am notoriously useless at doing and something Roddy reminds me of far too often!! The house is indeed held together in part by the “ties” as they are called, they reinforce the structure and can be seen all over France and England and I am pretty sure most of Europe. No Black Friday shopping for me either! xx

  • We are in Seattle and experienced very warm weather yesterday 66 degrees and today it is rainy very rainy. The turkey is in the over and we are listening to Mel Torme Christmas album. So for our family it is a wonderful day to remember those we miss and are not with us any longer. Happy Thanksgiving to all!

    • By now, I think you may be eating your turkey, I hope you all have a fabulous day, rain or shine, it is a day to be so thankful, because we are all so lucky. A very happy thanksgiving to you xx

  • Today we are eating with my son and his lovely wife and the grandchildren. It will be the firs time I have not cooked for the family on Thanksgiving for over twenty years and I am rather enjoying sitting back and relaxing. I have a glass of chilled champagne beside me, wonderful cooking smells of turkey surround us and we have family and laughter and happiness. Can we ask for anything more and aren’t we so lucky. Wishing your family a wonderful thanksgiving too.

    • I hope you are enjoying what sounds like a well earned rest on Thanksgiving. How wonderful to be sharing it with your son and daughter in law and grandchildren. I hope you are having a truly wonderful day, the champagne sounds perfect. xx

  • My favorite holiday of the year. We’re too old to do much these days but our children take care of us and we are eternally thankful for them and the joy they have brought us since the day they were born over forty years ago.

  • Really warming post. I made your soup today as I have a bad tooth and have a dental appt tomorrow. I thought it would give me something to comfort myself with when I return home. I had a spoonful and it tastes delicious so i expect to be making it again. x

  • To preserve the various traditions is very important for our society. Those hours/days bind our family and friends together and we get the feeling and thoughts to be grateful whatever we gained . Unfortunatelly back in our
    daily life we overly forget it too often. But it seems that cooking together is a secret reminder for gratitude.
    Pics…what a difference a day make.

    • Traditions are so important aren’t they and I think being aware of the traditions of other cultures is equally important, we don’t have to partake in them but we should observe them and at the very least try to understand them and respect them. Cooking together is always wonderful, food really does bring people together. Today we are enjoying 18C, a real treat for the end of November! xx

  • If we American’s had not invented Thanksgiving, I sure you French would have! We really appreciate this blog entry. Happy Thanksgiving to you and your family! We all love you here in America! One of the best blogs ever!!!!

    • Thank you so so much, I think Thanksgiving is a wonderful tradition, we have so much to be thankful for. I love the way that it brings family and friends together. When we were in America, we were once invited to a friends house to join them and their family for their Thanksgiving, it was the most wonderful day and we were so grateful to have been included. One we will never forget. Hope you are having a lovely day xx

  • Happy Thanksgiving to you too Susan. I have friends in America & I love that they give thanks & make time for family today, in fact, my friend said some people consider it to be more important than Xmas. My friends started the day with champagne & orange juice, & blueberry pancakes, what could be better! Happy Thanksgiving to all your followers too, it’s so nice to hear of their traditions. xxx

    • I have heard that too about Thanksgiving being more important than Christmas. I think it is a lovely tradition, bringing friends and family together because in this world that is so often so sad it is wonderful just to celebrate all of the good things and to focus on all of the things we should be thankful for, because there are a great many. I am loving wishing all American’s a Happy Thanksgiving, it is such a wonderful day for them. xx

    • Yes, enjoying building what has always been my dream from the start three years ago, it has just taken a long time to get everything to the stage where we were ready. Hope you had a wonderful time in Europe, are you back home now? Next trip you have to include a visit to see us! It has been cold, but then yesterday was 17C and today was 18C so we really can’t complain, so nice for the end of November. No doubt it is heating up with you! xx

      • Yes, we are back home but suffering from extreme jetlag still. Early days. And summer has kicked in early, with temperatures in the low 30s all this week. Hoping for rain!

        • Poor you, I am sure it will pass, sounds as if you only just got back. Hope you had a fabulous time. Wow, low 30’s already, I hope you get the much needed rain and I hope it cools down a little. xx

  • Oh Susan – thought this was a ‘quiet’ Thanksgiving post and it has gone ‘far and wide’. Susan – first of all, the 30’s are ‘mild’ in this country – I love them arriving . . . 40’s we may start one to breathe heavily and truly worry about bushfires 🙂 !! As Francesca has said we don’t ‘do Thanksgiving’ in Australia but spend a lot of time celebrating with all across the Pond!! Loved your photos of your foggy days as have loved the peaceful serenity since childhood and, living in rather windy SE Australia’, ours are few and far-between. Adored that photo of the persimmon tree and wish I could steal it for my garden . . . AND, had no idea of your shop – knowing your special tastes shall surely keep my eye on that – oh, the buy prices do not frighten for items I cannot access here in the country: but am more than cognisant of how freight makes choices difficult . . . . but shall happily click and ‘wish’ when future posts arrive . . .

    • Yoicks, Susan Hays – you have just managed to make me feel old! Well, just had to go to the shop, now, didn’t I 🙂 ?? That ‘vintage’ Hermes scarf!! Vintage?? From the nineties?? My heavens, what do you call my two from the sixties and seventies?

    • I forget how really hot it gets with you, the 30’s are really hot here! On the odd occasion it gets to 40, and it does, we all wilt, quite literally! Foggy days are quite special in their own way, we get mornings but usually it clears, probably only once a year or so that it lingers all day long as this did. So wish I could share the persimmons because we have far too many, rather like the figs really! The shipping is expensive I know but there is not a lot we can do about that sadly. I am really looking forward to developing all of this further, it has been a great adventure, hard work but a lot of fun. Now enjoy your weekend and our warm weather, we have snow forecast next week, snow! we never get snow here, so I am assuming it won’t happen, I say a little sadly as it would be fabulous, because it is such a rare occurrence! xx

  • We don’t do Thanksgiving here either, so no turkey roasting in the oven, (or Weber rather!) but it is a good time to reflect on what we are grateful for and to connect with family all over the world. So we celebrate at Christmas with turkey, gammon and all the trimmings ( some of them Italian in remembrance of my mother) and take the time to remember what Christmas is all about- goodwill to all. We are fortunate to spend it with my eldest daughter and her family in Cape Town this year, but as usual will be missing my youngest in France who will be cooking up a storm in their restaurant. So grateful for Whatsapp!
    I love homemade chicken stock, and I always try to have some in my freezer for soups and other dishes. My favourite is like yours, Susan, with some ‘pastina’ thrown in and lots of Parmesan-real comfort food.
    We are still waiting for summer, so our temperatures vary constantly, but have had some much-needed rain, and we are now starting to rebuild our garden which was destroyed by the fires in June. It is very rewarding to see new plants(mostly weeds but even those are welcome!) growing and some of the burnt out ones coming to life again. Nature is wonderful.
    Thank you for your blog-I so enjoy reading it and all the readers’ comments too. Apologies for my rambles!

    • Where would we be without WhatsApp or social media? We all moan about its over use, but when it is used correctly it is fantastic, we chat to our eldest in London virtually every day, sometimes several times a day and all for free with video thrown in. Go back twenty years and that would have cost a fortune in phone bills. Where is your daughter’s restaurant in France? Always hoping it might be somewhere close enough for us to visit. So happy your garden is starting to sprout again, anything as you say, even weeds, shows there is life in the soil once more, fire is so devastating. Your Christmas sounds just like ours with family, hard to believe it is only five weeks away, it is creeping up on us at an alarming rate! Have a wonderful weekend xx

      • I don’t know where you find the time to reply to each and every one of us, but it is much appreciated. Isn’t it amazing how blogs can bring strangers together from all over the world, and how we can connect in some form or other?
        My daughter’s restaurant is in Les Houches, near Chamonix in the Haute Savoie. She is a South African married to an Englishman whom she met in Verbier and they have been living in France for the past 5 years. They visit us every year and I am hoping to go over next year.
        Have a great weekend and I hope the weather is good for you. xx

        • Bonsoir Ingrid
          What busy lives everybody is having…. A daughter with a restaurant nr. Chamonix in the Haute Savoie…. A South African with an English…. whom she met in Verbier! What a buzzing world! And I thought I was going for a ‘dare’ by marrying a French spoken Swiss (I’m from the Swiss German spoken Swiss part). And yes, Susan must be the only blogger who is replying to everybody. She also has the nicest lot of followers 🙂

          • Incredible how so many nationalities all come together, I love it. And I do love replying to everyone, as I just said to Ingrid, I don’t always have the time and I do struggle sometimes but mostly because I am a slow reader and I love to read every comment more than once, they all mean so much to me, I am still amazed that people want to read what I write and take the time to leave a comment at all. I love replying because it is incredible that we can all mix in together and have our say and yes, I do have THE NICEST followers, just the very very best. xx

        • What a fabulous story, I hope they have a fantastic season with lots of snow, which I understand is starting early, fingers crossed for everyone who’s livelihoods depend on plenty of the white stuff. You will love it if you visit, the Alps are so pretty. I have to admit that sometimes I really do struggle to reply to all the comments, somedays I am super organised and others I am still at it after three days, but the thing is, I actually really enjoy it. I have never been a fast reader either which does not help! and I do love to read every comment really thoroughly and then reread them, so many things people write are so personal and I think they deserve an answer, but more than that, I love answering. I never imagined that a blog would bring so many people together and it is incredible. Social media gets a very bad name a lot of the time, but used correctly it is fabulous. We were just saying at supper this evening that without it we would not be able to chat to our eldest daughter who is now working in London many times each week, with videos of this and that, it really feels as if we are sharing everything with her, imagine if it was just that one expensive phone call once a week. Of course our youngest couldn’t understand this at all, for them, it is the norm, but really we are so lucky. The weather looks sunny but cold for the weekend, which is fine for late November. Hope you have a lovely weekend too and that those weeds continue to grow and nature regenerates life in the burnt areas. xx

  • Oh Susan….what a lovely community you have built here. I would love to meet a lot of these wonderful people IRL…yes we have a lot to be thankful for, even in this troubled world. Our time in France is slowly ticking away. We are counting down the wonderful meals still to enjoy and a few more glasses of wine to savour. We have started to think about next years adventure..
    I raise a cup of coffee to you – it’s too early for wine – and your friendship….your thought provoking blogs which provide endless discussion around our table.

    Ali xxx

    • Thanks so much Ali, your time seems to have flown by this year and I cannot believe you are already thinking of 2018. Wow!! I would love to host the biggest party for everyone, can you imagine, but I am not sure it is feasible, no matter how much or how carefully I planned it, too much travel at stake. I will raise a glass of wine to you both this evening, it’s wine time in an hour or so!!! xx

  • Thank-you again for another great blog + photos. I know exactly what you mean when, in reply to a comment, you said how your ‘fascination and love of the country just grows rather than fades’ – I feel that too. Also, I think next year, although we are Brits, we are going to celebrate Thanksgiving; such a good idea as there is so much to be thankful for. Btw our Roses & Lavender are still flowering too here in Brittany and the Penstemons & Salvias are still a blaze of colour. We have had some quite ‘balmy’ days when I have been able to do some much-needed tidying-up in the garden but Méteo tells me it will be a lot colder next week ! Have a lovely week-end – à la prochaine. xx

    • I like the idea of actually celebrating Thanksgiving, it seems like a wonderful holiday to me and a celebration meal with family and friends. Our eldest daughter is in London and she always cooks for all of her friends, turkey and all the trimmings and serves a traditional Thanksgiving meal. We have salvias too and roses, all a little bizarre, leaves are falling everywhere and we had strong winds, almost gale force two nights ago which brought down a lot more. Yes, next week is forecast to be really much colder, it might be quite a shock! Have a lovely weekend xx

  • Your scones look very tempting and remind me of Dolly’s Pantry in Ditchling, I wonder if it’s still there?
    I couldn’t believe my ears when I heard an ad for ‘Le Black Friday’ on Nostalgie earlier…I thought the French had more sense than to subscribe to this ridiculous consumerism, something I wish had stayed in America, I’m afraid.
    Congrats on your new online shop btw, hope it’s a big success for you.

    • I don’t know Dolly’s pantry, but I do remember some wonderful tearooms in that area, last time we were in England we let the children discover real cream teas! Le Black Friday, thank goodness it’s pretty much non existent here, the only thing is Intersport has 30% off all their shoes, I had to buy one of the girls some new running shoes tomorrow and so I am more than happy to take 30% off! But it is a tiny notice, the size of an envelope, I only saw it on the off chance!! Otherwise I agree, I certainly didn’t venture near any shops today. Am so excited to have launched the shop and the new website, another dream come true! Hope you have a lovely weekend xx

  • Many thanks for the Thanksgiving well wishes. We are ever so grateful to have stumbled across your blog and loved this post and it’s photos. Once again you have inspired me to create a life more in the French/European manner. Have a delightful weekend.

  • We have never been so aware of Black Friday as this year, suddenly it is everywhere, France has got hold of the idea and doesn’t want to let it go. Good or bad? I am not sure.

    • I am not sure either. The odd sale or discounted price here and there is not a bad thing, but the crazy shopping I think actually just makes people buy what they didn’t really want in the first place because it is on sale. But then again perhaps that is good for the shopkeepers who are selling. xx

  • Holiday Greetings to All.

    This has been an enjoyable comment section to read on a lazy Saturday afternoon.

    I want to express my gratitude to Susan for her fabulous blog which gives all her devoted followers much joy. Thank you Susan. 🍁

    Being American, I love Thanksgiving Holidays and November which is my birthday month.
    However, I am recovering from foot surgery two weeks ago and I am unable to cook. I really miss the smell of turkey cooking and especially, left over turkey. When I saw the picture of your kitchen with the big soup pot and chopped up vegetables, I was very envious and truly sad 😞 since I love making soup stock and stews. I think one of my favorite things is chopping vegetables.

    My local town just had a new store opening and I saw that they had mirepoix in a container. The holy trinity; celery,carrots, onion. I am sending my husband there on Monday to buy it and then I can tell him what to put in pot with it. He is not good in the kitchen but it will be worth a try. I made some soup before my surgery and froze it, but I have eaten it all.

    Please give us your scone recipe sometime, Susan. They looked wonderful in the picture.
    As for Black Friday, I have never gone to a store on the Friday after Thanksgiving. The sale prices continue all the way to Christmas, so I never feel that rushing out to crowded stores is necessary. I have always enjoyed a relaxing day on the day after since Thanksgiving is the most exhausting meal to prepare and get ready and served hot.

    May everyone be blessed throughout the Holiday Season 🍁🍂🍁
    PATTY

    • I love the smell of a turkey roasting too. Growing up on a farm in the UK, we had a big aga and the turkey would go in the slow oven at around midnight the night before, I will always remember waking to that incredible smell of a turkey slowly roasting away, nothing beats it! I hope your foot gets better soon, how horrid for you and a very Happy Birthday to you too. November is always such a fun month, I love the colour of the leaves and the weather is often just perfect for long walks and there is always something so comforting about coming back to the warmth of a fire. I am sure your husband will do a great job and if not then at least he tried!! The scone recipe is on the new website. If you click on Our French Lifestyle at the top of the blog page and then you will see Recipes and click on sweet things and you should find the scone recipe. Let me know if you have a problem and I will help you. Cannot believe it is December in just a few days. xx

      • Thanks Susan
        I love the comment about my husband, yes he is trying, I am grateful for him.
        I continue to pray for patience for me.
        I will look on your website for recipe which I can make after I recover.
        6 more weeks to go……

        • I am terribly lucky because Roddy is such a brilliant cook that he puts me to shame, but I think your husband is probably quite brilliant for doing his best, cooking doesn’t always come naturally to people, male or female! Patience for you indeed, six weeks is a long time, you will need all the patience you can muster, but it will go by in a flash! xx

  • As an afterthought I had quite a few times coming back to this post: You REALLY know how to live the day: A St. Emilion GRAND CRU 2009….. I’m repeatedly green in the face with red-wine-envy (just joking of course, I’m SO above this! 😉 ) Only, was it stil a good ‘château’? 2009 Bordeaux? We only came to France in 2008, so the first full year of wine-ing and dine-ing is very flurry in my Christmas affected brain….

    • Ahhh, the St Emilion was a gift from a very good friend of ours, French of course, we thought it was a good occasion to open the bottle and drink to friends absent. I am not a wine buff, if I like it I like it and I could never see myself paying three figures for a bottle of wine, it is just not part of who I am! xx

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