The problem with writing a blog is that sometimes you don't have time to write it, then all the stuff that happens in between becomes so huge that you can't face the task of going back over it. So you don't write. Sorry about that, I'll make amends now.
Since I last wrote we've had wonderful Swedes, Americans, English, Scots, Dutch, New Zealanders, Australians and many others staying. They arrive already knowing about our lives thanks to this diary and website. But we know nothing about them, so it's like sticking your hand into a lucky dip and finding a treat every time. Film-makers, glassy-winged sharp shooter expert, tennis coach, mountain-climber, charity bosses, ballet dancer, widget manufacturer, software architect, writer, lawyer, homeopath, urban regenerator, public relations experts, an honest estate agent, hoteliers, a cop, musicians, accountants, architects and artists have all turned up at Le Couvent in the last month. Can you imagine how interesting it is for us to learn of the wild, wonderful, awful and exhausting ways people find to make a living? We salute you all and hope you found a bit of peace and inspiration during your stay. Thanks for the stories!
As for us, we've been run off our feet with lovely guests and have had a great time in the process. The pool's stayed bright, clear and fresh thanks to slightly cooler than average weather at around 24 degrees-ish. Very comfortable and quite unlike the energy-sapping high 30's of the first year we were here six years ago.
The vegetable garden's groaning with salads threatening to run to seed so I'm doing my best to palm stuff off onto guests who decide to take a picnic to our vineyards.
And when they're not helping us use up salad we put them to work weeding the vines. This one's for you Sarah & Andrew.
While we're on the subject of the vines, this has been a worrying time weather-wise. The mix of warm temperatures and a bit of rain is not great for grapevines. They are prone to getting mildew and oidium, so we have to treat them. We have help in the rather delectable shape of Fred who sprays the vines for us each fortnight. We insist that he wears a mask but he's a bit reluctant to use it properly. God knows what his tan looks like after a day like this.
This morning our friend the WelderBeast's been round to discuss the bridge. Many of you will know that we've wanted to construct a small bridge between the house and the garden, but we've never found a satisfactory solution to the problem. We'd like something functional and sculptural at the same time. WB is the first person to tell us it's completely possible. Watch this space.
This weekend we cooked for our lovely group from Landseer Productions (something we do very rarely) and they've asked for the recipes, so there will be a couple more in the book by the end of the week.
I've also made some peach ice-cream and sorbet from our own peaches. At Chateau Mal Au Dos there was an orchard of peaches and olives when we bought it. However many of the peach trees had died of neglect, except for about four. Incredibly one of them produced the smallest yet sweetest peach crop this year. I'm hoping that some TLC from us will produce even better result next year.