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A good hernia

Posted on December 22nd, 2011

Little happens in the small village of Lumières which sits below Goult, alongside the D900 road between Apt and Cavaillon.  Lumières is best known for Notre Dame de Lumière, built on the site of an ancient chapel.  In 1661, a local stone-cutter called Jalleton suffered from a massive hernia. He saw a vision, his iron truss fell off and he felt completely cured.  News of the miracle spread fast and within forty years a substantial church was erected at the site. The church houses an interesting collection of ex votos, paintings offered in thanks to Notre Dame for  performing further miracles.  There are around forty-five ex votos on display and the church has another 150 in storage awaiting funds for restoration. Most of the…


Posted on December 18th, 2011

A few days ago several caravans set up camp hidden behind a nearby unoccupied farmhouse.  At first they appeared to be Romany gypsies looking for a winter layover, but they soon proved to be a team of arboristes, or loggers from the Ardèche. The team were thinning pine trees to allow oaks more space and light.  Having selected a pine for felling the logger shins up the tree, removing branches and the tree top with a chain saw, so the bare trunk can be felled. The many remaining oak trees prevent the use of tractors, so horse teams are used to tow the logs clear.  Single horses or pairs crash through the undergrowth with comparative ease, obeying simple spoken commands as they are skilfully directed…

Oeufs brouillés aux truffes

Posted on November 17th, 2011

Last night we were invited to dinner with our neighbour, Marie-Laurence and friend Marie-José, for a truffle evening.  She lives in a beautiful renovated farmhouse at the other end of our field of truffle oaks.  Dinner began with pumpkin soup and chestnuts, followed by scrambled eggs with truffles, finished off by cheese and clementines.  All washed down with chateauneuf-du-pape and chablis. Four black truffles had been placed with the eighteen eggs in the refrigerator to infuse even greater flavour through the eggshells.  Next the truffles must be cleaned of any soil residue before grating into the eggs. Great food, good wine and excellent company………………….


Posted on November 13th, 2011

At 11.00 am on Friday 11th November, small ceremonies took place in every village and town across France, as they do every year.  A gentle, secular mark of respect for France’s fallen. In Goult, about fifty people listened to short speeches from schoolchildren representing all young persons.  The mayor read a letter from President Sarkozy and three wreaths were laid. The old gentleman seated by the car wore his medals proudly, but became distressed when unable to stand for the Marseillaise.  

Olive harvest

Posted on November 7th, 2011

We have only two olive trees, but they are fairly productive.  The harvest normally takes place in November and our neighbours arrived in 2CV fourgonettes to pick what we had.

A Year in Provence

Posted on November 3rd, 2011

Today we celebrate exactly one year in Provence.  It has been wonderful.  Everything we wanted and more.Highlights have been having so many good friends to visit; the four very different seasons; delightful courtesy and kindness from everyone we meet; excellent restaurants, food, wine and  markets; beautiful countryside and villages; the way heritage is deeply valued; and living in a perfect old farmhouse.  What more can one ask?

La Vendange

Posted on November 3rd, 2011

September/October was La Vendange, vintage time in Provence.  Grape picking lasts for over a month, depending on grape type.  First to be harvested are table grapes, usually muscat, which are protected by electric fences from night forays of sanglier, wild boar. High quality wine grapes are hand-picked. Seasonal workers at Domaine de Durban in Beaumes-de-Venise arrive from Morocco. Lower quality grapes are stripped from the vines by machine, then sent to wine co-operatives where quantity is as important as quality.  In the 1930s, the owner of Chateau Maucoil in Chateauneuf du Pape delivered his wines 100km to Marseille by Peugeot truck.

Clôtures électriques

Posted on October 17th, 2011

Sangliers or wild boar, can devastate gardens.  They root for tasty taupes et vers, moles and earthworms, in damp ground.  The owners of this house may regret not having an electric fence…….      

Bureaucracy knows best

Posted on October 13th, 2011

I cannot be who I think I am. I am someone else. For no obvious reason my account with internet provider Orange France is in the name of one Gilles Pommereau. When I visit the website of my browser defaults to Pommereau’s page, with his emails and my bills, addressed to his email address, yet beginning “Dear Monsieur Ryan”.  Several times I have told Orange that I know who I am, and I’m pretty comfortable that way, but they know best. They billed me and shipped a television decoder which never arrived. Calling telephone support is pointless. You are not even asked to wait – a recorded message tells you to call back. And they don’t seem to offer an email address. After…

La gigérine

Posted on September 22nd, 2011

It is time to harvest la gigérine, jam watermelon, which grows in nearby fields. The fruit cannot be eaten raw, but is used to make jam, jellies or pies. A recipe for Confiture de Gigérine et Citron Vert is here.The fruit weigh around fifteen kilos. Eighty-six year-old Monsieur Thédonat makes several trips home daily to Ménerbes in his ageing Citroën camion, carrying over 1½ tonnes each time ………..