Wow, it seems ages since I last wrote a post. Meanwhile Ali's been to Western Australia to see her family - and I took the opportunity to organise a couple of surprises for her return. We have a friend who says I move the house three inches when Ali's away, but this time I managed 4 metres. Yep, the bridge between the convent and the garden has finally been constructed, some three years after we first thought about it. It is just wonderful to be able to walk from our apartment straight to the garden. We're both thrilled. Huge thanks to the Welder-Beast and Teddy.
The second surprise has been installed in the vineyard and is a real treat. Whenever we have a bit of time during the closed season Ali and I camp in the mazet (Chateau Malaudos ). But, to be frank, sleeping on a stone slab has quickly lost its appeal. So I've bought an ancient caravan to keep hidden in amongst the olive trees. She's 25 years old - at least - and we've painted her the colour of the surrounding foliage and soil. So now she's called Olive. Best of all she has comfortable beds and a gas cooker. I love having the open fire beside the mazet, but it's a fag to light a big fire when all you need is a quick coffee whilst working on the vines.
There's nothing better than breakfast in the middle of a vineyard in the warm sunshine of a March morning. Can you smell the bacon?
On Thursday we returned home to Le Couvent, the best B&B in the Languedoc (shameless plug), to find vast bag full of wild asparagus on the doorstep. Our kind neighbours over the road had been out foraging and had left them for us as a thanks for some eggs we'd left on their doorstep. Oooh, they are sooo delicious. We had lots gently steamed with a smoked salmon bake the other evening and I made a couple of Wild Asparagus and Cheddar quiches for the freezer - using our hens' wonderful eggs of course.
Cooking has been made even more pleasurable this week as the lovely Teddy made me a new chopping board.
I'm sure he'd make you one too if you like. Just let me know what size and I'll ask him.
In the evenings we can now hear the Scops Owl doing its impression of a car alarm and I've seen my first Hoopoe of the season. Ali and I both have agricultural tans from pottering about in the vineyard kitchen garden and the temperature hovers around 21 during the day. So Spring has definitely sprung.