Friday, 16 July 2010

Caen, Vide Greniers, Garden Fresh Veg and 'The Big Society"

Bastille Day, 14th July, saw us up early, the alarm clock had been set and we set off too our local town to set up a stall at the 'vide greniers' basically a car boot sale. It started to drizzle with rain as we left the house but we weren't deterred. Thinking we would be there early we found the town already full of stalls and the most lively we have ever seen it. We secured a place under an archway which had the advantage that we stayed dry when it rained, however it is known as the windiest spot in Domfront. The old town is built on top of a hill and where we stood is the access through to the car park with a panoramic view over the countryside to the north, hence there is always a cold wind up there. However it was a choice get wet or get cold, we chose for cold.

We had our usual produce, jams, chutneys and lemon curd, and a box of secondhand English language paperbacks. The books always draws in the English speakers although they aren't particularly good customers for the chutneys as they tend to make their own. Despite the weather we had a good day, we had taken three boxes of books and left with one. We also sold a lot of chutneys and lemon curd to both locals and visitors.

It is also a good way to meet people, and we made contact with 'friends of some friends' who recognised the label on the Lemon Curd having been offered it to taste by one of our neighbours.
I also met a man interested in local history who made some suggestions of names to look out for in the library and I also told him about some booklets that I had read about the war time period in Domfront which he hadn't heard of. Always nice to know something that locals don't know.

Friday we had our Welsh friends over for lunch - these are the friends we meet up with here, but have only met once on the UK side of the channel. Wednesdays rain had cleared away quickly and we were back to the warmth we have been enjoying for weeks, so kept the menu light, and where possible fresh from the garden.

Salmon, with a fresh vegetable salad, our first new potatoes,and a fruit tart with raspberries, redcurrants and blueberries all picked that morning.

This year has been a particularly good year for fruit - the cherry trees around us have been full of fruit.
I have frozen quite a lot and made three different types of Cherry Jam, White Cherry, Dark Red Cherry and a light Red Cherry.

Monday we headed north to Caen to visit the summer exhibition at the Musée de Normandie. This year it is about the local Caen Stone, which has been used to build Canterbury, Chichester and Norwich Cathedrals as well as the London Bridge. As usual it was very well presented. The temporary exhibitions are held in a recently renovated part of the Castle which as been left with the stone walls exposed and a simple light wood floor. The Presentation is light and modern and with good use of multimedia. I think a few more museums could follow their example.

Girls lunch today - had lunch at our local restaurant with my walking mate. Perhaps we should have been walking rather than eating, but we spent 2 1/2 hours over a leisurely lunch putting the world to right. Yes, we did start at midday and I was home just before three. There was plenty to catch up on, and I am sure there are still topics we should have covered which we missed, but we caught up on friends and family, discussed the economy - volunteering 'in the big society', battered women, careers, motherhood as a career and much more.

One interesting fact - there are 204.031 volunteer firefighters in France who account for 80 % of all fire fighters nationally - I was lunching with one of them!

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