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Winter arrives

Posted on November 29th, 2010

The temperature has dropped below zero overnight and we experienced our first snow, at the feast of St Siffrein in Carpentras. The event lasts three days and has well over five hundred stalls, plus a funfair. More snow on Sunday in the village of St Simiane le Rotonde, north-east of Apt. There seem to be saints for everything, in this case, it seems, obesity. Speaking of saints, there is a restaurant near Goult called the Auberge du Fiacre. We’re reluctant to dine there because St Fiacre is the patron saint of haemorrhoids.

A visit to the vet

Posted on November 29th, 2010

A short journey to Robion, fifteen minutes away, to introduce ourselves and Saffy.  The surgery is clean, professional with six vets in attendance.  We asked about any new risks in the Luberon and which medicines are right for the area.   All seems well for the winter with the greatest danger being amateur hunters, recognisable in local bars by their army fatigues.  Saffy has a bell attached to her collar to warn shooters who are after sanglier, local wild boar.  Each day we hear plenty of shots, some quite close to the house and there is evidence of wild boar activity in our garden.  The vet’s advice was sanguine:  “You hear a shot, you head in the other direction”. The young man assisting the vet…

The colours of autumn

Posted on November 20th, 2010

We arrived in the Luberon to a blaze of autumn colours, from light yellow to deep rust ochre, such as the Auberge du Presbytere in Saignon below, where they serve excellent chocolat chaud and mulled wine on colder days. We were warned the autumn display would only continue a further two weeks and so it has proved.  Fallen leaves in our garden and nearby herald the approach of winter. There is a dry-stone borie three hundred metres from the house, hidden in the undergrowth.   Dotted around the area, some bories are more than five hundred years old.  They were used as shepherd dwellings with sheep-folds and perhaps as refuges in times of war and religious persecution.

Lunch High in the Hills

Posted on November 11th, 2010

Sivergues is a hameau of less than fifty inhabitants, set high on the slopes of the Grand Luberon south of Apt, nearly 600 metres above sea-level.  Beyond the hameau a narrow track winds a further kilometre up the hillside to a stunning ferme auberge, Les Bergeries du Castelas. This is a working pig farm, surrounded by hiking trails, offering walkers and visitors the chance to sample Provencal farm cooking from the high country.  Diners are welcomed with sangria, then seated at long trestle tables to enjoy smoked ham from Corsica, marinated peppers, zucchini fritters and roast pork  followed by a selection of five different goats cheeses and a gateau. Pigs roam freely in the field in front of the restaurant and Saffy appeared keener…

Here at last

Posted on November 8th, 2010

We finally arrived in Lacoste to winter darkness after travelling 36 hours door-to-door.  Saffy the Springer handled the flights well, though she objected to going down the baggage conveyor at Roissy Charles de Gaulle – her barking from the baggage area below could be heard throughout the terminal.  The house is everything we wanted it to be and more.  Warm and welcoming, comfortable and quiet and filled with antique bric-a-brac.  We are already starting to feel at home.The Luberon put on a show for our arrival with clear blue skies and afternoon temperatures reaching an unseasonal 20C. The countryside is the most beautiful display of many shades of autumn gold, brown, green and the valley carries a gentle haze of bonfire smoke.  We hear…