Monday, October 15, 2012

The Neighbors in France

This past summer after our three weeks at the chateau, Kick, Sofia, Molly, Mogull and I all moved into this beautiful home for a few days of rest and relaxation.  Out in the middle of nowhere, we were happy to just sit by the pool, cook for ourselves and enjoy a glass of wine - or two!  

The bedrooms were decorated like an old French chateau - Sofia and I shared this room together.

The home is owned by a British couple who are both landscape designers.  The outdoor patio and surrounding grounds were immaculate - everything was planned out and had a sense of easy, laid-back rural life.

Our only problem, besides the onslaught of flies due to the local sheep that passed in front of the house twice a day, was that we didn't have the requisite "cle a bocal" to open our canned jar of fois gras!

Now,  I have spent many a night in France with this small tool and believe me when I tell you, you cannot open a jar of fois gras without it!  One year, post chateau in a hotel in Montauban, I even went so far as to call the farmer who had sold me a jar without the tool.  I ended up cutting myself using a French pocket knife to open the damn jar - not a good night! 

So, I convinced Sofia that we should pay a visit to our neighbors down the road and see if one - they would help us open our jar of fois gras, and two - if we could get a sneak peek into their home - I was smitten with their home!

Sofia, begrudgingly followed me over to the neighbors and we rang the bell.  Out came the 65 year old son and the 90 year old mother.  Neither spoke a word of English - so in my very bad French I tried to explain that we needed help opening a jar of fois gras.  They looked at us like we were crazy (and at that point I think we were!) but the son went off and found the special cle and came back and opened our jar.  Meanwhile, I somehow got a short history of the house - we learned her father had built the house and she had lived there all her life.  

I went out round back and saw their stables and barns - none were being used but I could imagine a full working farm with loads of animals living in each of the outbuildings.

Sofia was totally embarrassed and practically ran down the driveway...but stopped for a quick minute to enjoy the super-sized dandelions!

That night on our walk, I told the girls what we had done and none of them could believe it...so I had to walk them by the house to get a quick peek.

I think that's what I love most about France - all of the old buildings and homes that look abandoned but still have life inside.....and the special tools that have just one function....but that one function is so important, you cannot live without the tool!

8 comments:

becky up the hill said...

This is my favorite story to date. Loved it! I want to know more now.

Lorrie Orr said...

What a great story. Who knew about the special foie gras tool?

Radka said...

What a lovely story, thank you for sharing :-)

Tracy Altieri said...

How incredibly lovely!

Floss said...

What a great experience - I am now feeling absolutely stupid, as I generally open les bocaux with a normal blunt knife, and, if necessary, a tug on the little tag with my teeth. 'Clé bocale' is now on my shopping list...

Floss said...

PS I gather you can't get fois gras in the US at the moment? I teach young adults who are involved in the food export business, and this is quite a trial to them...

Jen Orsini said...

You really paint a lovely story here, and it's so easy to identify with your situation--if I were there that would be me too (complete with embarrassed daughter!)

Cherie Wilson said...

Mon Histoire d'amour avec La France! I am smitten and will never be the same. Thank you for this post (although it makes me yearn for more of France!) and for the beautiful week at the Chateau with you and your sweet family Kaari. Will carry it with me always! xo