1. Walks in the neighbourhood. . . the weather has been perfect for getting outside and wandering. Sometimes we head out together with a particular destination in mind (heading down to Rue St. Catherine, for example, to buy Pater a down jacket -- let's just say one can pack too light!). Sometimes he goes out on his own to pick up a copy of Le Monde. And sometimes it's just me and my camera. . . Simple pleasures. . .
2. Apologies to those of you who have already seen this photo on Instagram, but preparing simple meals in our temporary kitchen is un très grand plaisir for us, and the chopping and sautéing and simmering for this ratatouille was especially satisfying. Those white chunks? When we had the veggie stew for lunch the second day, I added feta cheese to mine. . .
3. Grocery shopping. I know! That doesn't sound like something one might plan one's travel around, but checking out the various tea boutiques (and yes, there are several very good ones within a reasonable walk from here) to sample possibilities for my morning cuppa, testing the numerous bakeries until we find our favourite loaf, adding an entire vocabulary to facilitate the choice of cheese to round off a perfect day. . . And that's not even considering the entertaining and delectable weekly outdoor markets -- nor, for that matter of the daily one inside Marché des Capucins. . .
At the moment, on the kitchen counter, we've a bowl containing a brilliantly orange-red potiron, a mixture of apples -- 3 Belle de Boscop, 2 Canadas (couldn't resist) and 1 Belgrise -- brought home from the St. Seurin market this morning. Beside the bowl is a small jar of Honey, made by bees working the garrigue (next week, I think I'll try the chataigne/chestnut honey). . I love that we've slowed down enough that we wait patiently in line for our turn to point to the fruit and vegetables we want . . . My plan is to make some of these apples into a rustic tart to contribute to a potluck lunch tomorrow, but there's no pastry blender in this kitchen, nor a rolling pin. I know I can improvise with a couple of knives for the pastry blender, and I've got my eye on a crockery pot as a substitute for the rolling pin. Hmmmm . . .
4. And much as we enjoy our simple, daily domestic routine, just the two of us, we're also enjoying a few social interactions. This charming note, for example, was taped to our door the other day, a thoughtful invitation by our "voisin de passage" (neighbour down the hall). And believe me, her handwriting was much easier to decipher than her rapid-fire French, but the soirée was considerably eased by the generous pourings of Champagne and Scotch (not combined, don't worry!)
For the time remaining to us in Bordeaux, we're going to try for two lessons a week, with more talk about political structure, about French culture in general, perhaps French film (we're going to head to the cinema one evening very soon, resigned to the reality that much of the dialogue will escape us!), and who knows, perhaps even a nod to Your Blogger's interest in French fashion and style. Once again, we will get to know someone only through the medium of French, and I find that an absolutely fascinating -- and entirely validating -- phenomenon. Discouraging, in some ways, as I suspect I must surely appear at least 20 IQ points lower in my second language, but still. . . to think that one can become friends in this way . . . it's quite marvellous to me, still such a novelty.
And there you have Five Things for this Friday in Bordeaux. Were I to go on to 6 or 7 or 8, I might tell you about the bikes we have managed to borrow and I might mention the vineyard visits we've been invited to join friends on tomorrow, or even to sketch and paint the vase of resplendently coloured dahlias I brought home from the market today. . . But Five's probably enough for now, right?
And you? Is your week ending well? Have you plans for the weekend? If you're looking for something to read, I should tell you that my latest post on my reading blog is replete with recommendations -- if fall weather's getting stormy where you are, curling up with a book is the perfect answer!