Wednesday, November 02, 2016
Anyone who has suffered the curse of the road trip, pulling on cold and still damp undies before setting off will appreciate just what a blessing it is to be travelling in cooler temperatures and staying in places where bathrooms are heated. In these conditions the “smalls” washed in the evening are crispy dry and warm in the morning and dare I say it, something of a pleasure to don.
Thus with nicely warmed nethers we set off in direction vaguely south, asking the nice lady in the GPS to take us as far from anything that looked like a motorway as she could. For those unfamiliar with the road network in France, this has the effect of forcing one to slow one’s journey, smell the flowers, take in the surroundings, at the same time taking an interminable amount of time to travel not very far. It also means that if one were not a tractor or farm vehicle enthusiast before, one soon gathers an enormous knowledge of the intricacies of all variety of machinery, while following them up the road at a pace which would make a canal boat proud.
I am sure there is a word for having an irrational fear of roadhouse food, and if there were we would happily apply it to ourselves, and even more happily report that we were able to dodge that particular bullet this day, finding a bakery open at exactly the time we realised that despite several hours of passing through the countryside, we were barely out of site of last night’s bedroom window and perhaps after eating, if we were serious about getting anywhere anytime soon we should hit the tollway. Those tollways have their place. We made it before sunset, a heated flat, out of the chilling wind bringing the promise of tiny temperatures overnight, comforted by the thought that our undies would be warm tomorrow too.
at 9:49 am
We have a car with a couple of spare seats in it, and last night we were dining with Ron and Robin discussing our itinerary which until then comprised three lines: “18th leave - Lagarde”,”visit Jan and Toby”, “ 31st - arrive Paris”. Perhaps we had time to take a bit of a respite from the rigours of travel, stay another night and do a spot of sightseeing.
We are staying at the very edge of the renowned Cote d’Or wine region, roughly translated “Hills of Gold” although whether this moniker is an allusion to the value of the vines which produce some of the world’s most valuable wines in summer or to the colour of the slopes in autumn is not clear. What was clear was that the day was entirely suited for wandering in a heated car, perhaps finding a heated brasserie, eating a heated lunch, and not spending much time at all wandering through the vineyards which weren’t at all heated.
They weren’t all that golden yet either, more like a pinky green for which the French is “vert rosé”, which is pronounced quite similarly to “verre rosé” which means “glass of rosé”, which according to all who weren’t driving was rather good with the Beef Bourguignon.
Meanwhile, back at the ranch (or ferme perhaps), Gerard our eager to please host, oblivious to the size of the lunch we had consumed, was in the throes of preparing an evening feast that must have taken three cartloads from the supermarket just to assemble the ingredients. He was so proud of his efforts that we could not risk offence by not eating all he put before us. We struggled valiantly through his aperitifs, his terrine and bread, struggled through the duck confit, just got through the salad, then more salad with warm goat’s cheese and toast, and were starting to relax with a sense of minor triumph when we heard the words;”….. and for desert…”.
at 9:45 am