Hello again. Did you think we’d gone forever? It took me a while to notice that our website went off line for a few days, an inexplicable dearth of e-mails prompting a call to our hosts who had us back online in moments.
I’ve also been away to England to help my mother arrange all the stuff you have to do when someone dies. My step-father, John, had the send-off he’d have hoped for. We had a full house while I was away which made for a difficult time made easy by help from our great pal Alex.
Sweltering weather here in France welcomed me home – it’s been between 33 and 36 degrees for the past ten days. Humans, dogs and chickens have coped well, but my tomato plants look exhausted and I simply can’t give them enough water. They sit in the middle of the vineyard in full sun, along with pathetic courgettes. The aubergines are fantastic, however. Heaven knows why they tolerate it so much better.
As if it isn’t hot enough, this is the time for jam and chutney making. Why does everyone think this is a snugly winter pursuit? The fruit is all hanging heavy on the trees so we’re making the most of it. Last week I made fruit salad jam. My own recipe. It seems very successful. Last night I made plum and apricot chutney. Kilos of it. Today I’ve been fighting with a recalcitrant printer, trying to do labels. I’ve given up and just ordered a new printer. It’ll arrive on Wednesday and I’m praying it will arrive already tamed.
I seem to be having a creative spurt at the moment. Ali thinks I don’t have enough to do already. So this week I also made beeswax furniture polish, lemon verbena hand + lip balm and aloe vera + lavender shower gel. They’re all available here for a tiny handful of euros. Needless to say the house smells wonderful and guests wander round sniffing the air like Bisto kids.
This afternoon I’m considering dead-heading the roses and geraniums. I’m not eager since it is still about 33 degrees and there’s an awful lot to do. On the other hand, I’m paler than the guests after days of inside jobs, so it would be a chance to catch some vitamin D. I just wish I had a job that would demand this product. Are they serious?