Wherever I lay my hat…..
We are a family of hat lovers!! Sian in particular – who has worn a hat of some kind since she was a cute little bubba and had no hair. Carol and Bernard remember Sian from when she visited in 2010 purely on the merits of the little trilby that she used to wear back then.
I also love hats, but don’t wear them all the time, but Martin on the other hand is very rarely without his hat. Either the winter hat – which is leather, or in summer the lighter material one – but each of them is a distinctive cowboy hat. We call both of them the Gruffalo hat – but the reason for that is an entirely different story.
So, my point is really that Martin is easily identifiable by his hat. Which became amusingly apparent this week. But first I need to re-wind a little bit to Friday morning. I’ve been slow to get up in the mornings due to my knee, and Martin has been on dog walking duties as I am not allowed to walk. So he got up, and said he was going to walk the dogs by the lake, use the village toilets (stink them out instead of the motorhome) and did I want anything from the Boulangerie. We only have Pain au Raisin once or twice a week now – on Saturday and sometimes Sunday – as they have about eleventy billion calories each, and we also have stopped buying bread on a daily basis as it’s helping to pile the weight on me. Martin knows this so it really irritated me that he asked about the Boulangerie as once he’d mentioned it I then started thinking about big, juicy raisins in sticky soft squidgey dough….mmmmm….but NO I was to resist it – so I snapped a resolute
“NO THANK YOU but if YOU want something you can get one I suppose CAN’T you”
Martin said that he had just fancied a pain au raisin but he would wait for the weekend. “There you go AGAIN” I said grumpily, “making me want one”. The almost certain knowledge that my current level of inactivity would inevitably pile on the pounds was making me very sensitive.
Anyway, Martin went for the dog walk and nothing more was said. He came back and ate the breakfast that I made for him – chocolate museli from the Bio Coop (a bit like Holland and Barratt meets Rice Up Whole Foods) with fat free yogurt and a melange (assortment) of fresh fruit. Not one word was uttered about the boulangerie, and I had forgotten all about it by then.
So…………..later on that day we had called in to see Carol and Bernard as he was still under the weather. As we were leaving some other visitors turned up – 2 ladies and a man – and we were all introduced to each other by Carol. As we were outside Martin had his hat on. One of the ladies said “I recognise you from the village this morning”. Martin shifted un-easily and said “no, I don’t think so”. “Yes I do – the boulangerie!! You were there this morning – I recognise your hat” she said – pointing to his hat!! Ahh!! The cat was out of the bag – or rather out of the hat!! Martin’s face was a picture!! Guilty as charged!! I found it all highly amusing of course!! That’ll teach him to wear the Gruffalo hat!
Saturday – we went back to Beaumont to do some more house sitting. We were greeted like long lost friends by Woody and Belle, and soon the four doggos were once again the four amigos. However, Victoria the goat has now gone to live with some other goatie friends in her new home. I was sad to hear this but very pleased that she is happier with some of her own kind that just the chickens to live with. This means the chickens are now free range, and have the run of the whole place so Luka and Lillie have had a sharp lesson on not chasing chickens. To give them their due they both picked this lesson up very quickly after the threat of a certain and painful tortuous death was made to them by Martin.
As vegetarians (with vegan leanings) we are very conscientious about eating eggs, and try very hard to make sure that we only eat eggs from chickens we know personally and are well looked after. So, we were very pleased that the backyard girls done their thing and produced 3 eggs for us. Breakfast was scrambled egg on toast quite literally straight from the source. Lovely!!
We had a lovely time with Woody and Belle, so much so that when we were packing up the motorhome ready to leave and Woody jumped in as if to say “where are we going on hollibobs Auntie Sharon” it was really hard to not accidentally on purpose forget to tell him to get out.
Later today, we are meeting up with the kit house builder and the architect again and going to see two houses that they have built using the SIPS panels. So hopefully soon there will be some more news on this soon.
But on a more personal note, today marks the 5th anniversary of my dad’s death. The last day of August. I’ll never forget that day. We were in France then as we are now, but that time we were in the Ardennes and just 2 days from being back in the UK. Dad had a consultant appointment in Canterbury and James and I had gone with him. The scan results had revealed that his Stage 4 lung cancer had spread to his brain. A really horrible end to a really horrible cancer journey. At the end of the appointment I had asked for a private word with the consultant. Dad went out with James and when he was gone I asked the dreaded question, explaining that we had a holiday booked – would Dad be around when we got back or did he have less time?. The consultant said that he probably had 1 – 2 months left – maybe less, and to talk to Dad. So that evening, without saying the blatantly obvious “are you going to die when I am away?” I broached the subject with Dad. He was very quick to say that he wanted us to go to France, but only on one condition – that we brought him back some of his favourite cheese. Dad was always a huge cheese lover – as am I – and as far as I knew he liked all cheese, and didn’t particularly have a favourite. “Which one is it” I asked. He said he couldn’t quite remember but it was strong and he thought the name began with R. So, a few days later Martin and I drove off with our landrover and trailer tent on a mission to bring back some cheese beginning with the letter R.
We travelled the length of France right down to the Alps, and every supermarket trip would yield a search for cheeses. I bought some of each….Reblochon, Raclette, Rochebarron. Not convinced it actually began with R I bought others – Saint Paulo, Camembert, Brie. By the time we headed back to the UK our trailer tent fridge was filled with a whole variety of fromages – each wrapped in white waxed paper, and stinking the whole place out! My plan was to take it all back to Dad and let him sample them all and decide which it was.
We knew in our heart of hearts that we were taking a bit gamble on being away, but each phone call suggested that even though Dad was clearly not in good health, he was stable and mostly still living at home with some respite at the local hospice to help him cope with breathing difficulties.
Even so, when we got the phone call that morning from James part of my heart knew what it would be. Yes, he had taken his last breath – quietly and peacefully – while all of us were elsewhere – James, Nicola and Henry on the train to the Butterfly Museum, and us in France. And after the initial upset I’ll be buggered if I didn’t have as clear as a bell in my ears – the bloody cheese – it’s ROQUEFORT!!
It was suddenly so obvious!! Every time we had seen them there was always St Agur to spread over crackers – but of course St Agur is not truly a Roquefort – although in France many cheeses do claim to be. There is only place that it is made and that is Rouquefort-sur-Soulzon.
Recently we were told the legend of Roquefort, and partly because of that and partly because I now always have a proper, sentimental association with Roquefort and my dad, we have decided that we are going to go over to Roquefort-sur-Soulzon for a few days to find out more about it before heading back to the UK to settle number 1 daughter (only daughter Sian) into Uni.
So……there will be more about that next time.
Oh, and just in case you are wondering what happened to all the cheese – we ate it over the period of a good few days, and from that a tradition has been created in that to mark Dad’s birthday, his absence at Christmas, and the anniversary of his death I do a little cheeseboard, light a candle and enjoy a little bit of Roquefort in his honour!! Bon Appetit Dad!!
©Sharon Rees-Williams – wordpress.com/thislittlepieceof.land, 2018
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