Welcome to the visual diary for December…
From The Forest
Thursday 28th November. Snap frozen…
Long wisps of mist hover above white fields. Chimneys smoke
and the gauge in the Citroen has given an ice warning – it is
-4ºC and far from the postcard view of the South in November.
Thousands of leaves tumble in an instant, snap frozen and ‘shocked’
off the trees.
The bracken is crisp and golden and the holly bushes smothered
in berries in time for Christmas. Our tree this year is variety
of fir from the forest, continuing to grow in a pot while laden
In The Garden
Tuesday 3rd December
After a heavy frost, a light snowfall and days of glacial winds,
today can only be described as magical: sunny, calm and bright,
as I sit on the terrace in summer attire piercing the tiny
black olives I have just harvested. They are shrivelled after
the frost but will spend 15 days in water (changed each day
to remove their bitterness) before being stored in a saumure
(salt solution) with herbs.
Exploring The Region
Enchanted by falling snowflakes (the image I have always held of Christmas, as much as I love BBQ’s and swimming in the Antipodes),,
it is impossible to stay inside when everything is being transformed
into a wonderland before my eyes…
The guardian of the local farmer’s cows, in the middle of our
On The Menu
One of the joys of living in France is the spirit of ‘partage’
when it comes to food – the sharing of produce and home-made
or regional specialities – we have just picked pomegranates from
a neighbours tree and harvested a panier of their olives to
compliment our own. Spending the weekend in Cerdagne, we have
been enjoying saucisson made by a friend of Frédéric’s family,
as well as jam made from the wild blueberries that grow in the
mountains (Cerdagne is part of our département, the Pyrénées-
Orientales, and borders the principality of Andorra).
Another advantage of this département is the close proximity
to Spain. The Sunday market in Puigcerda offers a wide range
of fresh produce from the sun-drenched South – prices are much
lower than local French markets.