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See saw

What will be the quality of this year’s French wine?Autumn_vines_IMG_8786_d.JPG

The weather report from here is ‘see saw’, some splendid warm autumn days and evenings however there is a but.

The Midi Pyrenees has also experienced some unseasonably wet and cold weather Autumn weather, it has on the wetter chillier days felt much like England.

How will this effect the grape harvest and subsequent wines, will 2010 be a good year for French wine?

As yet I don’t know the answer to this question, I’ll report when I do, for sure though the social life here remains unaffected.Vallee_de_Gaillac_Oct_10_IMG_8783_d.JPG

Last night I went ‘out’ for the first time since the last evening at Domaine

Barry early in September, the evening inspired by my ‘French sister’ (adopted because she has been such a splendid friend and the past 3 years would never have worked out as well as they have without Helene’s open hearted help, besides, Helene is fun to have around and reminds me a little of the best qualities of my beloved though some times heartless mother, even looks a bit like my dear ol’Mum.  Tarnais_Autumn__Oct_10_IMG_8777_d.JPG In turn I have been able to help Helene when she was in great difficulty

So with luck, there one has the making of a life long friendship which last night took me to the Hotel du Nord in Vaour and another surprising evening out.

Hotel du Nord sounds very grand, especially for a small village in the most southerly foothills of the Massif Central.

Vaour is a little village of no particular note, it has charm but is not the sort of place one might usually stop and explore, there is little to see except maybe the annual music festival in July, quite famous after 20 + summers of jazz, rock, theatre and other popular entertainments, and a couple of restaurants.

Despite the grand title what I found was a communal gathering, everything very basic, rustic,  including the decoration, tables, lighting and some of the people, the latter of whom were out to unwind with the usual Tarnais enthusiasm and amicability.

A meal was provided, nothing fancy but solid good French food,  by buying a 3 Euro ticket and decent wine flowed at .50 Eu per glass.Autumn_vines_IMG_8784_d.JPG

The evening included a room set aside for children to play in and another for the adults to play in in the latter case a disco and guess the song competition which proved very noisy, much shouting and singing!

All was very unpretensious, as far as I know I was the only Anglais present, conversations were easy to strike up and flowed genialy.

I had the distinct feeling I was in the real France and should get out more often.

As this is a regular Friday evening event and I was invited back what do you think are the chances I’ll go again, would you?

And the wine harvest? Near_cdm_01.10.10_IMG_8753_d.jpg

I don’t know, the weather here has been very see sawie.

We had an almost unprecedented cold spell, 3rd week of September which needed thermal cloths, jersey and open fires or central heating with temperatures plunging from 14 = 28 C to 4 – 12 C, since then a combination of warm and cold, pink and grey misty mornings and gold sunsets with some rain (flooding to the West of here near Pau) and winter wollies spells with the next few nights predicted to be 2 C.Vue_de_vallee_de_GaillacIMG_8750_d.jpg

After an unspectacular summer do we sense a hard winter approaching?

Besides the above, I have been pressing on with hunting a new home, web site work, following up after the Monaco Yacht Show and found time to work on 2 paintings in particular, one showing the loss of the Spanish frigate Mercedes, the other THE new version of Trafalgar Dawn, as with my next vine  report, more on that soon, cheers,