Tag Archives: holidays

Lost in the Charente

6 May

Have been lost in the Charente, getting down with quality ‘in-law‘ time.

Will report back soon.

Hallelujah. A train station in France that offers an alternative to all those lumping stairs

Hallelujah. A train station in France that offers an alternative to all those lumping stairs

controlleur

a quick ‘clope’ (fag)

gare de Saintes

2CV charente

fishing

angeac sign

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Oz

26 Jan

So how idid it feel to be home?  Wonderful.

One minute you’re here, in a flash you’re there and suddenly and wonderfully, it feels like you’ve never left.  The brown grass is the same, the clean grid of houses is the same, Mum and Dad are at the airport to pick us up and cruise us home, their dog is at the door, all the smells are the same, the beautiful trees are the same, the coffee is a lot better than you know where…  A lot of things have never changed and I love it.

But there is a weird part to coming back and this part is where you fit in with people.  Being away for most of the year means you have to step back and accept the distance from these loved people on an everyday level.  Sure, I make calls home and speak to my parents often, but it isn’t the same and I’ve had to sort of ‘train’ myself to endure the distance by allowing myself to let go.  It’s too hard for me to keep it up 100% in two places at once.  My heart is in both, but I take a step back and act less wherever I am not. Then suddenly, I come back and have to get a handle on my excitement – near-hysteria –  over seeing all these adored people in person again.  This can be really strange.  I act either overwhelmed and vague or like a babbling idiot, wanting to toast every moment with everyone with gallons of bubbles.  Not good for the head.

Look, sorry for the blah it’s hard to explain.  I’ll try and explain it better later.

For now I want to celebrate having new eyes on home.  Images and places I always took for granted seem to be so exotic now!  Australia can be so tres chic – and oh so wonderfully tres kitsch.  I always knew this I guess about home, but now I love it even more.

flying in to Adelaide

flying in to Adelaide

one of many signs around Aldinga beach - a favourite beach of ours

around Aldinga beach – a favourite place

Yellow Flowering Gum

Yellow Flowering Gum

accommodation on a friend's farm, New Year's Eve

accommodation on a friend’s farm, New Year’s Eve

New Year's day 2013, beach car park

New Year’s day 2013

yeah, yeah, a kangaroon crossing.  yawn yawn!

yeah, yeah, a kangaroon crossing. yawn yawn!

class

class

sheep shed

sheep shed

bbq'd sausages and sauce on bread (Lilas consumes a 1000 each Christmas)

bbq’d sausages and sauce on bread (Lilas consumes a couple of hundred each Christmas)

...and this is what Mum consumes

…and Mum consumes this

...and this

…and this (next time K and H!!)

spooky

spooky

oh what the hell, I love this so here it is again...

oh what the hell, I love this so here it is again

road to nowhere

road to nowhere

heading to some of my favourite beaches in South Australia

heading to some of my favourite places in South Australia

Aldinga Beach

Aldinga Beach

could do with this back in France

could do with this in France

The Capri - a much-loved movie theatre around the corner from where I used to live.  'The Mighty Wurlitzer' is played live, each Friday and Saturday night

The Capri – a much-loved movie theatre around the corner from where I used to live. Each Friday and Saturday night, ‘The Mighty Wurlitzer’ makes its appearance.  As the ads finish, an oompah loompah of noise begins and there, rising up through the floor before the screen, emerges the mighty organ with its pianist banging waywardly on the keys with his legs flying across the foot pedals, providing the pre-movie entertainment.

interior at the Capri

interior at the Capri

Video

going home

14 Dec

I’m starting to get the jitters about the plane flight – but HEY, I’m heading home!

I can’t get there fast enough, with everything that’s been going on…  Just can’t wait to hit the ground, feel and smell the dry air and see all those beautiful eucalyptus trees and give my family and friends a hug (sorry for that cringe, but I mean it).

my favourite tree - a Eucalyptus (gum)

my favourite tree – a Eucalyptus (gum)

It’s a long long way to get there – a huge, bon voyage – and I’ve been revving myself up with some tunes that remind me so much of home (and hey, don’t get stuck into me that they’re not new – my finger’s not on the pulse anymore out here).

These songs are giving me a great buzz right now… but I’ve gotta say that sometimes some Aussie songs reduce me to a sobbing mess! (as well as all the others: Natalie Merchant, Antony and the Johnsons, Adele et al…).  I can be driving in my car, playing the music real loud and suddenly I find myself choking with huge, involuntary sobs – a blithering wreck trying to see the road with tear-filled cloudy eyes.  And I love it.  I think of home, think of my family and have a great, big, cry.  It feels SO good.  I’m almost joyous.  I’m sort of between happy, ecstatic, thankful and sad, all at once.  And would you believe it, I’ve cried to Kylie Minogue and Tina Arena.  Eeeewww.  Better stop there.

Do songs remind you of home?

still rockin’

10 May

check out those heels!

So what happened there?

France-Australia-France.  A few days stretched into a few months… and whammo I completely lost touch with blogging.  It wasn’t at all planned – and I didn’t realise how much I’d miss all of this.

Now I’m staying put right here and am so extremely keen to give you a glimpse of everything that keeps me ‘offline’!

It’s been a lot of fun, catching up with everyone back ‘home’ (my one of two) – long-overdue quality time with family and friends, Christmas, tasting Aussie wines, sampling Adelaide beaches, eating out Asian, English spoken all around me, dodging the sun, dodging the mozzies, listening to the magpies and cockies. And then the angst, the dreadful countdown and finally the tears at the airport.  But I am so lucky to have made it there.

…And I am very lucky to be happy here too.  Back into Winter, some snow!, back to the stove, back in my apron, hot foods to enjoy, snails to devour, red wine instead of all thse whites, vines being pruned,  back to the cleaning, back into walking the village with Mat, back to school, back to French!…  Now the flowers are out, Spring has sprung, the vines are budding, we’re nearing the end of the scary time for frost risk, Hollande is IN and Benji’s Picpoul is tasting mighty good in the sun!

Yep, the VW’s wife is back and I hope you are well!

The spring has come running back into my step – and I feel like the dancin’ lady clicking her pointy heels.  Phew.

december to may!

a Naked tasting… time for some wine

24 Aug
cadavres on the table

'cadavres' (what Benji calls empties) on the table

Thought you were going to see a cheeky image of naughty bits??

Sorry, no, it’s Summer and this is often what our table looks like the morning after…

Glasses are cleared but the bottles are waiting to be packed and emptied at the village recycling bin (and how the old mesdames and messieurs of the village, seated on their bench, must love counting how many wines that Aussie girl manages to consume).

one of my favourite postcards!

...well it's not exactly the 'dames du village', but one of my favourite postcards. Can't bring myself to asking the real local ladies if I can take their photo!

It’s now past the middle of August and I can’t believe how quickly Lilas’ school holidays have passed, how many interesting people have stayed or called by,  and how much wine and food we’ve consumed.  It seems like a non-stop degustation here sometimes, with the Beroccas coming out first thing in the morning, but things will certainly slow down now that ‘les vendanges’ (harvest time) are approaching and Benji prepares the cellars for receiving grapes.  Soon he’ll be working a seven-day week and mostly absent from our daily timetable.  It’s an intense time until all grapes have been picked and are safe in the tanks or going through the press, so it’s good to make the most of it with family and friends time in this heat.

The bottles photographed above are the empties from an evening with some of the ‘Naked’ crew.  Joe from Naked and is family came to visit, one warm and windy night and an informal tasting turned into a bottle fest (with Lilas and the kids meanwhile transforming the living room into a Playmobil playground) with everyone trying the whites and reds from Benji’s range together with local cheeses, bread and mountain lamb (big merci to our friends Vincent and Isabelle who were staying that week and gave us a huge help in the kitchen – the bbq’d lamb was a treat!).   It’s always great to meet new people around a table of wine, glass in hand and every Naked tasting we’ve had has been full of laughs with interesting people from all parts.

a Naked tasting at home

a Naked tasting at home. Thanks Joe, Anna et al!

Benji's labels for Naked

The prototypes for Benji's Naked Wines range - a collboration between Vincent and Nick

You’re probably wondering what on earth Naked is.  It’s a company in the UK called Naked Wines and Benji makes and sells wine with them.  It’s been just over a year since the collaboration started and we’ve met so many great people – customers and other winemakers – and had lots of fun tasting the range over dinners, lunches and informal evenings like this one.  I know it sounds like a plug – and it is!  But seriuosly, all puns aside, it is an energetic company run by young people with enthusiasm and a love for wine, and fuelled by a community of customers – people buying and tasting wine from anywhere in the world and then sharing their experiences online.  Benji’s range has done well and we’ve learnt a lot from the forums and the feedback people have offered.  Thanks to everyone, Rowan, Joe, Amy, Sam, Fran, Simon, Frankie, Kevin, everyone, for the ride so far!

fun and wine

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