The Miracle of Mirth

I think I’ve seldom laughed more than I have in the past few days. This, in addition to seeing so many beautiful places, experiencing (the only word for it) so many exceptional wines, and enjoying foods I’d never dreamed I’d be eating.

When Gerry’s troubled that the kids are finicky eaters, I look down guiltily because I was – and am – a bit of a finicky eater. There are things I just don’t like (tomatoes) and after a yearly ritual of trying them, I’ve given up.

So now I’ve learned that it’s silly to give up. And perhaps I’ll try them. Maybe not tomatoes, but I did try a few other things these past days – and I’m very glad I did!

While the rest of the group shopped in Pezenas, I stayed behind to rest a bit and try to catch up on the 40+ emails per day I’m receiving. After my ‘office work’ was done, I sat downstairs waiting for Phil to come and pick me up, loving the wind and the sun and the dancing Plane Trees.

Planes & Automobiles
These Plane trees are so lovely, and line roads, canals, walkways, all over this region. At times the roads are rather narrow due to the proximity of the trees to the road, and drivers here tend to be lead footed, so we’ve heard there are some major accidents.

There seems to be a movement afoot to cut them down, and a counter movement to let them be. They’ve obviously been around longer than the cars have, and it would be a terrible loss to cut them down so folks can drive like idiots. They’d just find a stone wall to crash against, anyway…

We arrived and met up with the group, who were taken unaware by the sudden cool evening and the wind – lots of rapid knitting going on, but it was a lost cause! I, myself, used my partially finished Ruana at dinner to stay warm.

Dinner was absolutely stunning. The food was nouveau, trendy, trés chic, but not over the top and silly.

The descriptions of the desserts, though, taxed both Kris & our waiter (who made me think of a Galic Tim Gunn as maitre’d) and they practically exhausted their bi-lingual skills.

French folks eat later than we do, and it’s been hard to get used to for the group. We go so long between meals that – however good the food is – there’s that low blood sugar period when it’s rough to keep going.

Kris & Phil are taking steps to address this (I, myself, purchased some cookies at a local supermarket where we stopped yesterday to offer during my class – if I don’t eat them all…) This should keep us at an even keel for the times between the amazing meals!

So by the time this meal ended many of us were just wiped OUT! It was a quiet ride back to the Inn – and I think we all slept pretty well (after we got to sleep – some of us are still on US time…)

After a lace class where I forced everyone to work harder than they’d expected – I learned the French word for “yell” and I’m looking up “whip” – we took off for the Patchwork Museum in Salleles D’Aude – a beautiful spot and a wonderful collection! And ducks!

Marie, the proprietress, made us at home as we shared a picnic lunch that Regine here at La Vingeronne put together. So beautiful, so simple, and so GOOD! The goat cheese here is exceptional, and I actually ate Boar Pâté & Blood Cheese. Go me!

After a lovely and restful hour of sitting and knitting after looking through the gallery, we headed off to Beziers for dinner, stopping along the way at a supermarket (I have to admit, I was the instigator of that detour…) to pick up stuff we all needed.

Pride & Dentifrice
I amazed myself. Lisa, one of my new friends, needed to download images from her camera to clear space so she could photograph more. I am not sure how I did it, but I walked into a photo place, explained the situation, got a price and a time when the disk would be ready – all en Français! I was SO pumped!

We shopped, bought some Tshirts, soaps, cookies, one of our number bought a curling iron, much needed toothpaste, and then we checked ourselves out using the self serve kiosk. It was less exciting than we’d hoped because English was an option – c’est dommage!

I’d been dealing with an off-and-on headache, so I stopped at a pharmacy (this was a sort of mini-mall) and, once again in French (although not GREAT French) I asked for medicine for a very strong headache, asked the price of some other stuff and bought shower gel. I am golden. It’s a little pathetic how impressed I am with myself, but I was walking on AIR!

Le Caveau De L’Hours
Dinner was magnificent with a salad that was – hands down – the best I’ve ever had in my life. AND – tada – I actually ate Pate.

Yes, I understand all the horrible things that they do to the geese (A running joke through this trip, every time we eat a wonderful piece of meat, is that they have VERY happy pigs, cows, etc. over here in this region…)

But baby, this stuff was GOOD! I’ve never liked pate, it always had an aftertaste an
d I just hated it. But this, I loved! YUM!

Today I rested. Everyone else took off for a town near the Spanish border – I cannot WAIT to hear about their trip! But I stayed here and slept in until 11:30!

When I went downstairs I’d missed petit dejuner (that’s what I get for sleeping in!) so I took a hike up to a restaurant at the top of a nearby hill – Bel Air – and had a really wonderful meal that I could NOT finish.

Yes, I said NO to dessert, alert the media!

I hiked back down the hill, stopping for some knitting at a very lovely spot, and wandered through the very small and very old town of Faugere.

I can’t really find any kind of shop here except for the gas station at the top of the hill – it makes me think of one of very small town along the Hudson River in the catskills in that way.

There’s an old 15thC windmill up on the hill, and I almost hiked up to that, but I changed my mind and returned to the Inn – ostensibly to knit – but guess what I did? Napped.

I took a shower, washed out my personal items, put on some music and laid down for 5 minutes. It turned into a 2-1/2 hour nap, and I feel like a new woman. YAY!

So now I’ve heard that everyone’s back – and it’s 7:30 so dinner should be soon! Another dinner at La Vigneronne – how lucky can we be?

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