* Between The Sea (the Med) and The Alps -- {Pronounce: ontruh la mair eh lay zalp}

Saturday, June 27, 2015

A Weekend in Provence V

Hanging out at home

At home 01When we visit our wine chateau friends, it's either as a drop-by overnight in passing on our way to somewhere else or for the whole weekend for their annual wine fete.  They have a big country cold luncheon for a ton of people; but the whole town is also doing wine tastings all over, and we've been taken to participate here and there.  So it's a very busy and involved weekend, with no time to be bored. 

This time, there were no big activities going on, and I was afraid a whole weekend might turn out to be a bit awkward.  Was I ever wrong!

Our hosts are good friends with a local Belgian community, and they've been hosting a drop-in Saturday noon aperitif for years.  We normally miss it when we visit as they are doing their annual luncheon, so I forgot about it. 

At home 02
Weekly pre-lunch social hour

After I followed her around the marché, Doc Leo and I did our own marché tour, and the little get-together was in full swing when we got back. 

We almost missed the congeniality, as we've met these people before.  Including as recently as at the morning market!

I love this setting, out under the big chestnut trees in front of the big house.

At home 03
Do you put grape vines in your pizza oven?

As I already explained, we went to the cemetery in the afternoon after lunch, but she had a really fun dinner planned. 

Many homes in the South of France have their own pizza oven (but I didn't know our guests did, too), and she had invited some other people over for fun pizza party.

Most people burn tree wood in a fire; but as this is a wine chateau, they burned old grape vines!  They apparently burn quite well, as he'd started the fire well in advance, and it was still going strong a long time later.

At home 04
Just warming up
At home 05
Sharing with friends

We started out with nibbles and just hanging around the pool, doing what people do when they get together:  chatting!

Filou and the British pooch also enjoyed the ambiance.

At home 06
Provençal ambiance

The nearly 90-year-old mother of the hostess lives with the family, and we have a good relationship, so it was nice to have her there. 

The other guests included the Brit daughter I mentioned before and her husband, with some young friends they brought along, so I got to speak some English. 

A cousin of the host had just arrived that day for a week's vacation visit, so I met yet another family member.

So it was quite a fun easy group to party with.  Along with the nibbles, they served some typical Provençal orange and lemon wines they'd made themselves, a common thing to make.

At home 07
Putting the pizza together
She makes the pizza; he cooks it. 

We have other friends where she prepares the ingredients, but he does all the rest.

She made about ten pizza balls, from scratch, then she topped each of them completely differently.

By the time they were ready to cook the pizzas, the grape vines had all burned down to really nice coals.

At home 08
The Chef
At home 09
Gleaming coals

At home 10
Helping out
At home 11
Perfect evening the day before official summer starts
As each pizza finished, the cousin helped cut them into little wedges, allowing the rest of us non-family to continue enjoying the evening together (mostly in English with the francophones doing the pizza!).

At home 12
Such a pretty setting
At home 13
The Doc having a social moment

At home 14
My time to sit
Once all the pizzas were cooked, the hosts finally had a chance to sit down and relax, too, with a well deserved glass of wine.  It was interesting to see her wear the well worn apron I'd made for her last year as a hostess gift.  Apparently, that was a very good choice.

At home 15
Explaining something fascinating

He seemed to be having a hard time all weekend, still in emotional shock, so it was nice to see him be able to let loose a little and have a good time.

At home 16
I scream, you scream, ice cream!

After all the work involved in preparing and then making the pizzas, dessert couldn't have been any easier. 

She just brought out a number of tubs of ice cream!

They must eat it regularly, because there were a fair number of flavors to choose from, and she hadn't bought any of them during all the morning shopping runs.

At home 17
For me?
At home 18
Isn't she lovely?
The next day, she finally had a free moment to open her hostess gift for this year.  I made it before the tragedy, then was afraid it looked too festive, but she can always keep it until she's ready for something glittery.

I think she liked it, and it actually looks really nice with her pink pants.  Not having her measurements, I think the fit turned out to be pretty good.  I hope she enjoys it, eventually.

At home 19
We're all babes!
Before we left, I was really happy to get this nice photo with her and her mother.  I never know if each time I see Mamie (Grandma) will be the last, so it's always a pleasure to see her again.

Her spirit was also quite low, as it's probably even worse for a grandparent to outlive a grandchild than for a parent to outlive a child.

I really enjoy this whole family, and I'm so glad our paths crossed nearly 20 years ago, and that they continue to cross.  We are usually invited to visit as part of a group activity, and I was really touched that we were invited this time just for us.

Next I'll share our final activity before making the trip back home.

1 comment:

  1. What a lovely post this was and I'm delighted that she wears your apron and that blouse looks so nice on her. Beautiful picture of the 3 of you, in that great dress you made. This just looks like such a superb weekend. They are, obviously, trying to carry on, even though that practically impossible to do. I think you guys added a nice note all weekend. Oh! like these cute little pictures of things you've done down the side of the page here. Your blog is so good!


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