Our transition between summer and fall has brought change and instability in the weather. It is raining, it is sunny, it is warm, it's time to start the fire. But of course no destructive forces, as in so many other locations. In fact, most of our days offer us beautiful skies to enjoy.
We had a fabulous opportunity last week to take a personal tour of the Montmirail château. While we were in Portugal the castle changed hands and is now under extensive renovation. The maitre d'oeuvre, or general contractor, is a client of ours and he offered to show us the work site from bottom to top. The photo above was taken from the terrace of the tallest tower, from which one has a glorious 360º view of the patchwork of fields and farm houses that surround Montmirail in all directions. You can see our roof in the very foreground. Considering that our house has three floors, you get the idea how high we were.
The new owners of the castle are allied with a huge medieval theme park that will open a few miles down the road in several years. Our client tells us this will be a park much more like Williamsburg, VA than Asterix... in other words classy rather than crass, with period recreations rather than fairground rides. In any event, it will certainly bring a lot of life to our area. People here are quite excited about it.
From far above back to ground level, let me present a red cabbage. Our friend Martine brought us this adorable organic vegetable yesterday. Besides being such a pretty object, it gives me the opportunity to recount a tale which I find amusing.
Martine is an example of what I refer to as the miracle of French genetics. Her parents, who are simple country folk, living in Montmirail, gardening and taking part in village life, are short and a bit stout. Martine is tall, slim and very elegant. She lives part time in New Jersey and part time in Paris and she visits her elderly parents in Montmirail frequently, which is how we got to know her. One day while talking, she mentioned that she has a friend she often stays with in Lafayette, California, the town we lived in for years. She mentioned that she loves shopping at Diablo Foods, which just happens to be the market where we also shopped. What a coincidence. The next time we saw her some months later she brought us a photo of our butcher and checker and stocker from the shop waving to us. She swears they remember us. We certainly remember them.
Good morning Montmirail. Goodbye.
We have left this morning to drive the 1800km to Tavira, Portugal. Like the birds, we are flying south for the winter. I'll soon be posting photos from there.
After a summer of golden hills, it's nice to have our green ones back.
Wabi sabi door in Montnirail.
A château/farm in the neighborhood.
Today we attended the funeral of Jean Villette, one of our neighbors. It was not only the first funeral we've attended since moving here, but the first religious ceremony of any kind.
We felt we simply had to honor M. Villette who was one of our favorite villagers and a real friend to us.
When we first began developing our own garden, Mr. Villette was one of the most prolific gardeners in the village. He always had a friendly word for us when we walked by. He spent almost all day in his garden all summer long. It was a real joy to see his manicured plot of land and admire his perfect vegetables as they grew.
Last summer he turned 90 and his garden suffered a little. He was no longer able to give it the time he had before. This year nothing was planted or tended to at all, and it was a little sad as we walked by. We will really miss this sweet and generous old gardener. He was one of the kindest gentleman in the village.
The view from our window with evening's long shadows.
Our neighbors Anne and Christine had the whole family to dinner on their lovely terrace. What a treat!
It's the weekend of our Medieval Festival which includes dramatic fireworks at the castle.
Ethereal landscape with rainbow. Taken from our window yesterday afternoon.
Midnight view from our windows
Wedding day at la Place de l'Eglise
Celebration of France's National Holiday (only called Bastille Day by Anglophones) as seen from our windows a little after 11PM last evening. Days are very long this time of year. It was just barely dark when the fireworks began.
Clouds. It has finally cooled down a little.
This is the weekend of the Montmirail horse race at our local track.