Showing posts with label markets. Show all posts
Showing posts with label markets. Show all posts

Friday, 19 May 2017

Falling in love all over again

Market day at the War Veterans residence

I fell in love yesterday. With Arthur.* And with Jean, Mabel, Audrey and George.

Arthur was buying clothes at the market stall next to mine. The jumpers, socks and casual shirts for seniors were laid out neatly on two trestle tables and there were a couple of clothes horses displaying long, printed flannelette nighties, loose-fitting jumpers and pants with elasticised waists on coat hangers. It was not obvious that there was a ladies' and a men's side, so when Arthur started looking through the women's pants selection, he was gently guided to the other rack by the lady in attendance.

At that point, I had to turn to my own affairs and did not see Arthur head off, but with both of us customer less, I started chatting to my market stall neighbour. I had observed her earlier, helping her elderly clients and I wanted to tell her how much I loved the way that she was interacting with them. At this point, Arthur returned. He was still an old man, but now he was an old man wearing jeans. They were slightly baggy, slightly long and were possibly not often teamed with a felt hat with finger-length dimple, soft scarf, v-necked jumper and jacket. But, boy did he look swell. The price tag was visible at his waist line, but oblivious to this, he handed his own pair of pants back to be put in a plastic bag and said that he would just keep on going wearing his new pants.

"They are really good quality. They will last you for, (nearly imperceptible pause), a long time."

I don't think Arthur heard. He had already moved on to my stall, where he asked about my book, said slowly and regretfully that perhaps he wouldn't buy it straight away, took one of my brochures, no doubt to not let me down, and, bypassing the hand-bag stall, moved on to the lady selling jars of jam. My heart followed him.

Jean bought one of my books, but not before she had told me several times that she had honeymooned in France, where she and her husband had hitch-hiked to get around, and checked several times that the book was mine; that I had actually written it. She eventually decided that even though her birthday was a long time off, she would treat herself. I don't know whether she will remember from one day to the next what the book is about, but sincerely hoped that each little chapter would take her back to that happy place and time when, just married, she was in France.

George and his wife also stopped for a long chat. He looked not a day older than 60, but confided in me that he had already celebrated his 80th birthday and that Audrey and he had been together for 45 years even though many had predicted that their 13-year age gap would be their undoing. There has been much ado recently about age gaps in relationships. I wouldn't have known, guessed or even given it any thought.

* - not real names

PS. I'm linking again with Phoebe at #allaboutfrance. If you have come across from Phoebe's blog, then welcome, and if you are curious about our story, click on this link to read 'But you are in France, Madame'. In advance, thanks for your comments and interest in my book.

Tuesday, 7 June 2016


My husband sends me photos like these...and accompanies them with tantalising descriptions of strolling through the Annecy market with the smell of roasting chickens, their potatoes swimming in rather large quantities of fat underneath, floating in the air.

He's there and I'm not, more's the pity. 

And, the cheese ... I still remember my surprise when first I discovered that you could buy cheese, like wine, by its year. It was in our early days in Annecy when I was still rather over-awed by the speed with which market transactions took place and the amount that I did not know about good, fresh, locally produced food. No doubt it was just to bring me back to that pleasant moment of discovery that my husband lashed out and bought a slab of 2014 Summer Beaufort, alongside the Tommettes Fermières pictured.

As an aside, the Tomme de Savoie (the tommettes above are smaller versions of the Tomme) is celebrating its 20th year since being awarded an IGP (Indication Géographique Protégée). If you are a cheese lover, it is at this must-visit site (excerpt below), dedicated to this cheese, that you will be regaled with recipes, health facts, production secrets and more.

La Tomme de Savoie fête ses 20 ans d'IGP

La Tomme de Savoie est fière de fêter cette année les 20 ans de son IGP !Ce signe officiel garantit la qualité et l'origine d'un fromage fabriqué dans le respect d'un cahier des charges strict. Seule la véritable Tomme de Savoie IGP est habilitée à porter le fameux marquage "Savoie" qui la différencie et la rend reconnaissable entre toutes.

To the delightful aroma of the roasting chickens add the look of the bread, the smell of which I can imagine from the other side of the world, the anticipation of the rows and rows of strawberries, the baskets full of a mixed variety of tomatoes, the crazy shapes of the capsicums and the sweetest mini rockmelons anywhere and you have just another normal day at the markets in France...lucky, lucky husband.