A group of friends and a Vineyard.
  • Day5

    Homeward Bound

    May 23, 2018 in France ⋅ ⛅ 14 °C

    As is my usual MO, I am not one to say much about departures. My heart always breaks a little bit every time I have to leave a newly discovered land, and so I try to keep the closing posts short and sweet.

    We wandered over to Beaune (the only mature way to pronounce that is “Bone”) and wandered around the sweet little town. There was a market, and museum of local art & furnishings all the way back from the Middle Ages, all housed in a “flamboyant medieval hospital” (Google’s words, not mine). It looked like a genuinely gorgeous building, but sadly we had little time for more than a pleasant stroll around town and lunch. In my solo exploration I came across an absolutely delightful old gentleman, who was playing the Spanish guitar with beautiful dexterity. I settled on a bench nearby, and gazed absent-mindedly into space as I spent the last few precious minutes I had before lunch letting the music waft around me.

    We had an excellent lunch, and I wrangled a taster-morsel out of Josh’s every course - I had a valid reason. He had ordered the exact dishes I would have, had I had time for a three course meal. Sadly, we had to rush away before the crème brûlée got to the table (devastating).

    Then it was airport, muggy rain, train, home. I had missed our cosy flat, I won’t lie, but looking out the window and being faced with, well, other people’s windows, didn’t quite have the same magic as looking over rolling hills covered in lush vineyards and a gorgeous sun glinting off the vibrant green leaves.

    Repeat visit? I certainly think so.
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  • Day4

    Wine Tasting Galore

    May 22, 2018 in France ⋅ ⛅ 20 °C

    After days of having been promised rain, it finally happened. Rain. Buckets of it. Luckily, as is often the way in Europe, it lasted about an hour before the clouds parted and a sheepish sun and hugged us all in its gentle rays.

    The hour of downpour we spent well - at a small wine-tour followed by an immensely interesting and delicious wine-tasting. It was a Château about half hour drive from Vergecosse, and it was small enough to feel like a Château that had been lived and worked at. A friendly tour showed our small group the ins and outs of wine-making, and although I was amply distracted by the many potential photographs (which will no doubt be utterly under-exposed) I still felt like I left those icy cellars with a little more of an understanding of why I liked the wine that I did.

    The wine-tasting was similarly enjoyable, and although I was alone in picking my favourite bottle, I was happy to listen to everyone’s incorrect opinion of the better wine (furthermore I am always happier with my preferred wine bottle being less popular, as it means there’s more for me) (in all seriousness though, it is important respect other people’s opinions, always).

    We all headed back home, and Samuel and I rolled our sleeves up, since it was our turn to prepare this evening’s feast.

    And boy oh boy, a feast was had.
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  • Day3

    Oversleeping & Underachieving

    May 21, 2018 in France ⋅ ☀️ 17 °C

    There is genuinely very little of interest for the third person reader to be said of this day. After a cocky alarm set for 9am alongside the phrase “I’ll probably get earlier than that anyway" Sam and I found ourselves dozing right up until the ripe old time of 13:00. It all worked out for us though, because due to Alison’s (new party member) plane being delayed by about three hours, we had missed nothing at all.

    We sauntered to the pool-yard, unaware as of yet that we had lapsed into the good ol’ jet-lag, and were very much on Florida time. We swam, for a very honourable amount of time, considering the glacial temperature of the beautiful glistening water.

    When Josh, Alison & Chrissy arrived at about 15:00 (it was supposed to be a 10:05 landing time) we had a late lunch, and we all enjoyed a beautiful selection of European-affordable cheeses, with amazing saussisson to go with it. It was gorgeous. And then there was more swimming pool time, some competitive ping-pong (I lost, Sam beat Josh, Julian was the overruling champion) Sam & I went for a little wander. We played pass-the-Dougal with Josh for about five minutes, and then had a little explore within the labyrinthian paths of the vineyards. Have I mentioned how absolutely gorgeous everything is here? The light was spectacular, the blue skies restored my soul, and the sun just recharged batteries I’d forgotten I had.

    The evening was perfectly rounded by an evening out at the local restaurant. An exhausted couple who had been working back-to-back on a bank holiday weekend greeted us, still smiley, and Josh broke through the wife’s tiredness as she took our order, and she flashed us a few humorous, but completely understandably exhausted, smiles.

    We ate frog-legs, we drank wine, and everybody labelled me a God and worshipped me via food-offerings, so all was right with the world (long story, but essentially Josh encourage everyone to offer their food to me in a god-like fashion, and so history was made).

    Sam and I blessed the walk back the the Villa, since it was a pleasantly cool night and the walk worked miracles in helping our filled-up little stomachs process. We got home, and most everyone went to a happy bed after a lovely night cap.

    Sam and I went to bed. We watched an episode of Castle. We watched two. We tried to sleep. Couldn’t. It was 2am… Could we watch another…?

    Let it be said we struggled to fall asleep before the 5am ballpark figure, and that when the alarm went off at the very reasonable time of 9am, a little WW3 erupted in the bedroom as two very non-morning people silently hated each other across the bedroom, knowing, full well, the unresonableness of the situation, but hating nevertheless.

    Goddamnit Floria.
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  • Day2

    Chillside

    May 20, 2018 in France ⋅ ☁️ 17 °C

    There is little for me to say on this day, other than the absolute chill-time that was had. After the full-on (wonderfully so) trip that was the great FL, this day was ability bliss. We had no plans, we all only spoke to each other in brief intervals of congenial conversation, and minded our own business. And, of course, Dougal was trotting about which made me just the happiest person ever.

    So I sat pool-side, and read, and read, and read. I did swim, once. It was very, very cold. The water glistened, invitingly, a beautiful blue which reflected the glistening sun above us. And once I was swimming, it was refreshing, a nice cooling sensation in a sea of diamond lights. But soon the pre-hypothermia kicked in, and I shivered myself out of the pool and into a towel. Then I napped. It was wonderful.

    The evening was only improved upon, as Josh had made an amazing lamb roast, slow-cooked on the BBQ no less, and there were delicious potatoes perfectly crisp on the outside and fluffy on the inside, there were green beans covered in garlic, an amazingly fresh salad, and the best wine, naturellement. We then walked off a very satisfying meal with a small stroll around the town, and oh lord is it beautiful. A sea of vineyards surrounded us, and as the sun set slowly the sky was a beautifully peaceful pastel pink.

    The peace was not to last, however. War was declared on the return to the house. Names in a Hat was the order of the day, and after a snail-like pace to get the game started we had a sassy but appropriately friendly round. Who won is unimportant. Definitely, and absolutely, redundant.
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  • Day1

    Exhaustion & Wine

    May 19, 2018 in France ⋅ ⛅ 17 °C

    To be perfectly honest, the preface to this entire section of text should be the name of the absolute angel whom I was looking forward to seeing most on this trip. But you don’t serve dessert before the main course (I sometimes do though, because ‘m an adult, and I can) so I decided to save the best till later.

    So the French holiday began in a Yotelair pod, I suppose, which was a blessing. A small room with a shower and a bed was an absolute palace after the nightmare of an 8-hour flight surrounded by screaming children, and the warm water washing away the exhaustion, coupled with about four hours of good, horizontal, sleep, were the magical treat that allowed us to get onto the next part of the journey. Allons-y!

    Although getting back up at 13:00 to catch our flight felt rough, I know Sam and I both felt better for it. And genuinely speaking, at £60 it was more than I have got in London hotel rooms that cost closer to the £100. We got unlimited complimentary hot drinks. We were a five minute walk from our terminal. If that. Need I say more?

    After getting some healthy food and healthy juice to a) quell the incoming hanger and b) start fixing the absolute snowball effect that was health in Florida, we got on the plane. It was an uneventful flight. My sense of dread at landing back in London was quickly overtaken by my happiness at taking-off for another part of Europe.

    In Lyon, in our little Toyota Aygo, we happily drove through beautiful rolling countryside, and quaint little towns. The lights was gorgeous, the temperature was perfectly warm and had that Mediterranean dryness to it, and I was home (even though, after checking, we were still a 5-hour drive from the actual Med).

    We got to Casa Josh without a hiccup, to be greeted by DOUGAL!!! This was no surprise. I had been informed of the presence of my four-legged canine friend well in advance, Josh knowing full well that his presence would be a major factor in my attendance to his family’s beautiful place. His oversized paws clicking on the wooden floors as he scrambled around, his lovely almost-too-long legs flapping around in excitement. It was great to see him. Josh too, of course.

    We had a wonderfully Mediterranean dinner (other than the microwaved whole chicken that was, to the end, slightly pink) courtesy of the other guests of the vineyard home who we were to be spending the next three lovely days. Cheese, fuet, salad and wine. What else could one ask for?

    The sweet respite of sleep. Goodnight, sweet prince (morbid, I know).
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