Hints & Tips
Oui. Je suis revenu. Bonjour, allo? Sorry…er… Yes. I am back. Good day, hello.
As you can see from my somewhat pretentious inability to wrest myself from the clutches of the romantic language of William the Conqueror, Marie Antoinette and Inspector Clouseau, I am only recently returned from my annual sojourn to France, from an area of great hospitality, great food, great wine and dubious sanitary arrangements at service stations. The beautiful, cidre and calvados fuelled Normandy, or as they say in France “Le Normandie”.
This has been a fabulous couple of weeks where the lush and verdant state of the northern French countryside was startling. To me it is amazing how, despite being a couple of hundred miles (more in kilometres of course) south of us and slightly warmer, it resembles the British countryside. France is considerably larger of course. There seems to be more sky available to the eye than we have here (especially where Iive) and the corn fields are so big they might have been taking steroids, but essentially it is the lovely contrast of greens and yellows, trees, lush pastures and abundant greenery that we concentrate on and France looked as verdant as I have ever seen it.
We didn’t do much, some barbecuing (the weather was quite lovely most of the time) with wonderful French steaks, fish and so on, a couple of sight-seeing trips out, notably to Mont St Michel, the stunning part-time island off the Normandy coast. Beautiful and unique (well, unique-ish as we do have St Michael’s Mount here but there is no comparison) I expected it to be busy but even I was surprised. I actually think every holiday maker in France, England and the Nederlands decided to go on the same day. But it was a very beautiful day and well worth the very slow progress around the medieval streets and the queue for the Abbey which was longer than Donald Trump’s tie.
On the way down to our lovely secluded cottage we also visited the magnificent Chateau Gaillard, a fabulous castle that once belonged to Richard The Lionheart, overlooking a little town called Les Andeleys. If this had been in England it would have been almost impossible to see round it as it has yet to be fully restored but, since the French often have a more pragmatic, or even, dare I say it, laissez-faire, approach to safety, we could amble and scramble around fairly easily. Well worth seeing and WOW what a view. Not a place to attack of you are faint-hearted or afraid of heights. Even approaching as a benevolent visitor one became aware of just how tough it must have been to try and capture a castle like this.
Apart from that long stiff walk, (followed by a long stiff drink) it was all about eating, drinking and making a particularly lazy kind of merry where the only decision that has to be made is whether to cook with great ingredients or eat out (guess which won most of the time).
The produce of Normandy is, without question, all pretty jolly good. From the apples. to the calvados made from the apples, to the camembert cheese, to the cidre made from the apples, to the saucisson, the honey, and have I mentioned the calvados? Oh. I have. Yes. I do like products made from apples.
In fact, the only real worry was where the next glass of something cold was coming from, but that was usually sorted out fairly easily.
Admittedly I did write a little during the first week, but that is no real chore when someone is preparing lovely food for you as you rack your brains thinking of reasons why the French don’t stripe their lawns. Oh. By the way. I have a new reason. When the weather and countryside is as nice as it is there, who can be bothered to do anything let alone stripe a lawn? Now I am back though, there is definitely work to be done and my friend and sometime gardener Brody will no doubt be round some time soon to tell me off for not mowing my lawn before I left. Even Dick’s excellent blog yesterday asked the question ‘Holidays over? Time to get back to trimming the lawns’
So, that’s enough of me gloating about my ‘vacance’ for one year. Why don’t you post on our Facebook page and tell us about your holidays? Where did you go, what did you do and how is your lawn now you have returned? If like me, you have been aways for a couple of weeks, there’s work to be done in your garden and if you need any new garden machinery at the keenest of prices, why not visit our smashing Summer Sale and get some superb bargains. Or if you need help and advice call our top team on 0345 4588 905 they really are the bees knees, as our customers keep telling us.
“Very efficient, helpful & friendly staff. I ordered online, before lunchtime, and the trimmer arrived the very next day ! Super fast !!! “
See Ya. Holly.