Bloody hell, I haven't told you about our afternoon at Pat's joint! This is a serious oversight, as this WAS THE MOST MEMORABLE DAY OF MY ENTIRE LIFE! [All excepting our wedding day of course.]
Pat embarrassed me totally by arriving at our apartment while I was out walking. I arrived home to see her chatting away with DJ, Roger and Anna. She had her latest beau with her- a lovely chap called Andre. From Annecy. Pat invited us four for lunch the next day (Sunday). It was great news, because Pat's neighbours Daniel (pronounced "Danielle") and Michelle were going to be there too. I had met them on my earlier trips.
Pat's son Sache came and collected us in Pat's car and five of us scorched our way up the valley to Echevronne in a four-seat Renault. Well, what a lunch! The meat was wild pig ("sanglier") roasted to within an inch of its life. [Succulent AS!]. The cheese, the desserts, the veggies - all gorgeously presented and YUMMY!
But the wine! The wine was beyond belief. Grand Crüe, every one, but get this - the first two bottles (after the sparkling and the vin blanc) were dated 1998. The last bottle to be wheeled out was 1993! With dust and cobwebs ALL OVER IT. Dark, brooding and foreboding, this was a serious wine.
This wonderful, long lunch was enjoyed in Pat 's dining room in a 16th Century house that had once been the presbytery of the village church. Pat pointed out that the garden was the site of an ancient cemetery and it was not unknown for her to dig up bones and other body parts in the past. Now that's pretty special.
Conversation bubbled and squeaked throughout the afternoon, with Andre who had worked for Rolex and sported a most impressive heavy gold one. He is Swiss and speaks French and German, but not so much English. He was sitting at my end of the table.
Pat was seated next to Andre, just near the door to the kitchen. She bustled and busyed herself all afternoon, with absolutely nothing that was too much trouble. I think Pat is one of my favorite people in the world!
At the other end were Daniel and Michelle, whose French was brilliant, but whose English is on a par with my French. They are retired art and craft teachers and they both continue their work with great enthusiasm. Now what these two lacked in English language they certainly made up for with conversation. This sounds odd, but there were no lengths to which they would go to get a point across. They were such fun! Daniel with an enormous laid-back approach to life and Simone with her genuine interest in we strangers was such a refreshing and enjoyable experience. We walked down to their house after eating and they showed us around. Wonderful house, sculptures, handicraft and ambience to the whole property.
Throughout the afternoon, the gorgeous 5-year-old Stella (Sache's daughter) and the same vintage (age) black labrador Goofy entertained and annoyed us in turn (mostly entertained, I have to admit). I have referred to these two before. Goofy can't speak any human language, but Stella makes up for this glaring shortfall in English and/or French as and when needed.
Sache hadn't appeared for lunch, but materialised when the time came to take us home. We had drunk quite a lot of wine, but did not feel particularly intoxi-bottom. Needless to say , however, we tumbled to bed that night with very little else by way of victuals.
An overwhelmingly sumptuous day!
None of we Australian guests took photos of this day, so the word pictures painted above will just have to do.