Tuesday, September 2, 2014

No September, not yet.

No, I’m just not ready for September, for La Rentrée (back to school), for the shorter days and cooler nights, for autumn or for our lovely summer to end, especially as the weather is giving cloudless skies and warm, sunny days again.

We have been out and about as much as possible this summer, despite August being an unsettled month and a lot cooler than we have ever known it in the ten years we have lived here. I appreciate I have been a bad blogger, but there just aren’t enough hours in my day, sorry. The weeding, ironing and housework are also suffering from neglect, but family time together was our main reason for making the move to France and this summer we’ve made sure we have taken the time to explore more of the French countryside, often with our bikes. With Ed back to school tomorrow there will be plenty of time for dusting and writing. My head is full of words and my notebook full of half written posts almost ready to be shared.

My freezers are filling nicely with healthy homemade food to keep my spirits up this winter. My jams and chutney supplies are stacking up, but keeping on top of the freshly picked produce has almost been a full time job, especially as I hate to waste any of it. The tomatoes were hit with the dreaded blight, but quick action meant that we still have a good quantity of ripening fruits; the pears have been an amazing crop both in quantity, quality and flavour, we have had more beans than ever and the courgettes and squashes are superb. The one upside to disappointing August weather has been the lack of watering required in the potager, although the weeds too have benefited from the warm, wet conditions.

french village diaries marais poitevin deux sevres france barque Arcais picnic
The Marais Poitevin

french village diaries marais poitevin deux sevres france barque Arcais picnic
Picnic time
To celebrate the end of the summer holidays we spent a day in the Marais Poitevin yesterday. We have been returning to this tranquil gem since 2005 and whether on foot, by bike or by barque are never disappointed. Yesterday we hired a barque to explore the waterways around Arcais for an hour and a half, stopping to picnic along the way, before taking to the bikes for a 20km ride. Now Ed is a teenager and taller than me I sat like a queen at the front of the boat and let the boys do the rowing. With the arrival of September we are just out of season so we pretty much had the place to ourselves, which is no bad thing. Taking a boat out with Ade is a bit like a military operation and Ed and I have been drilled in how to row in an efficient manner and keep a steady pace. When the waterways are busy with families going around in circles (an unacceptable manoeuvre for our boat) and causing hold ups, it can get a little stressful on board. Halfway through the bike ride we stopped for a beer in a pretty riverside location complete with artwork and a chatty Poitevin mule in the field. Once back at the car we treated ourselves to an ice cream before heading home. It really was one of those great days out that for just over 30€ had ticked so many boxes; picnic, boat trip, bike ride, beer stop, ice cream, beautiful scenery, great weather, wildlife and family fun in the fresh air. I’m already looking forward to the October school holidays.

french village diaries marais poitevin deux sevres france barque Arcais picnic
A barque from Arcais on the Marais Poitevin

french village diaries marais poitevin vendee france art
Riverside artwork Marais Poitevin

french village diaries marais poitevin vendee france poitevin mule
Poitevin Mule

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