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Life in the not-so-fast lane

May 10, 2019

 

There are many things about France that we just love - the food, the incredible breads available every morning from the little boulangerie at the corner of our street, the beautiful meats that we don't usually see in our butcheries in NZ - duck, rabbit, pigeon - the wines (2E a bottle for great roses) and the cheeses. Mon Dieu, the cheeses. There are 380 different varieties of cheese in France, many having an appellation much like wine. Choosing cheese is a pastime in itself! Chevre (goat - yuk!!), brebis (sheep), vache (cow) to start - then decide what sort of the above you want. Half an hour can be easily spent hovering over the cheese stands at the multiplicity of markets, tasting, conferring with the vendor in somewhat basic French before making a decision. It's a glorious way to spend a few hours. Which leads me to another thing we love about France. They have a fabulous way of living life slowly and gently - the rural French I am talking about. Cities are the same all over the world, and we tend to steer clear of them. Life in the country has idled on in much the same way for centuries - turning the soil, chatting with a neighbour that strolls along, poking a few more holes in the soil, lighting up a Galoise (that ubiquitous French cigarette smeling of vanilla and toasted tobacco). By then, it is likely to be midday. The town clock strikes twelve, and as if by magic, people disappear. Shop shutters are rolled down with a clang, doors are shut in your face. They may, or may not, be open for business again at 2, or 3, or 4.30pm if you are lucky. Which is the one thing that really takes some getting used to. Yesterday, we missed lunch because we didn't realise the time - and it was too late, so it was home for some of yesterday's bread, which is not made for tomorrow. It needs a chainsaw by then! However, as Leonard Nimoy once said "The miracle is this; the more we share, the more we have." I'm sharing with you - hope you enjoy.

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