Tuesday, 23 June 2009

Missing a very Vine Dog?

Just about to sit down for my lunch today when this little fellow pitched up at the gate. We often rescue dogs from the vineyards and if they have no identification we take them off to the vet and they read the chip so that we can then deliver them to their rightful owners.

I put this friendly pup on a lead and took him off to our vets in Doue La Fontaine. By this time I was growing very fond of him and a bond was beginning to grow. He seemed so timid and thin I don't think he had eaten for a while and was certainly ready for a drink.

Sadly he had no chip, tattoo or collar. So the vet told me I must go directly to the Dog Refuge; as if I must not stop off and do anything else en-route but deliver this dog to it's fate. I bundled him back into the car. The refuge was really the last place I wanted him to go and I felt sad about his future. At the 'accueil' I was met by Madame who asked me where I had found him. No we cannot take this dog, we do not have space and anyway you did not find him in this commune, she explained pointing to the list of communes from which they do take dogs, if only they had the space. Alors you must go to your Maire (the Mayor) and declare that you have found a dog.

Once again Chips (he now has a name) and I got back into the car, direction Les Verchers Sur Layon. I hoped the 'Maire' would be open as I had just seen Madame the Mayoress only hours earlier with a carpenter being measured up for new windows! Luckily Catherine her secretary was there and to the rescue. Within seconds she drew up an 'Annonce' to mail out to all the other communes and vets with a description of Chips. A quick phone call later and a chap called Carl turned up with a bag of croquettes and took Chips off to a little kennel (apparently all the best Maires have them!). Ah he is for the 'chasse' he declared (a highly prized hunting dog) . I have a glimmer of hope that if he is not claimed someone locally will take him in. Otherwise he will stay 8 days at the Hotel de le Maire before being sent off to the refuge in Angers. I have a feeling we might just be going to see him before the week is out.

Now about this cat we just found on the roof of the Bakehouse......

Saturday, 13 June 2009

The Visitation of the Miraculous Rainbow Ceiling

It appeared as if from no where. There it was this most amazing rainbow on the ceiling of our living room.

So I checked it out on Wikipedia- A rainbow is phenomenon that causes a spectrum of light to appear when the Sun shines onto droplets of moisture They take the form of a multicoloured arc, with red on the outer part of the arch and violet on the inner section of the arch.

A rainbow spans a continuous spectrum of colours. Traditionally, however, the sequence is quantised. The most commonly cited and remembered sequence, in English, is Newton's sevenfold red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo and violet. "Roy G. Biv" and "Richard Of York Gave/Gained Battle In Vain" are popular mnemonics. Another one is "Read Out Your Green Book In Verse".

Rainbows can be caused by other forms of water than rain, including mist, spray, and dew.

This one lasted only two minutes and then vanished as quickly as it came. There were no droplets of moisture, rain, mist or spray in the room. So how on earth did it get there? My search led me to a CD lying discarded from it's case on the table. Clare Teal - "Get Happy". Our true rainbow girl!

Sunday, 7 June 2009

Thanks for the photos Jay. They are beautiful!

Hi Micaela & Sue!

We got back to Chicago yesterday without any fuss; very simple.

I wanted to thank you again -- it was a lovely experience staying
there with you both, and your hospitality and generosity were amazing.

I took some photos of your garden while there -- and have attached a few
low-resolution jpgs.

PS -- I'm still thinking about those wines! The Chinon and the cabernet franc!

P.P.S : I'll visit our wine merchant this week and confound them with your wines (!) and see what they have to say. "A white Chinon?" they'll gasp. Just like the red Sancerre.


Tuesday, 2 June 2009

A Busy Weekend in the Loire Valley

Wow - what a busy weekend that was. Full of variety. Wine, good food, a little culture, dancing and laughter. First up came our visit to the private chateau of ................... So private I can't even mention the name or the owner suffice to say we were invited for apero's as a thank you for the work we had done in protecting the local countryside with the group Plaine Campagne. The 'grande dame ' of the house gave us a tour of the chateau and vast grounds through which the River Layon runs.

Our group Plaine Campagne outside the Chateau

We were all then invited into the salon for chilled sparkling rosé and canapes. Such a beautiful evening with the sun shining and clear blue skies it could not have been better.

Saturday was devoted to the Music Festival in Rablay Sur Layon. Joel Menard of Domaine des Sablonettes was supposed to be giving a commented wine tasting of his Anjou blancs but it was rather drummed out by Acousmik! Who were amazing!

No-one seemed to mind though and it set the evening off in fine party mood with everyone finally getting up and dancing.

The festival runs into Sunday and there is plenty of good fresh food, wine and beer to sample and the Village des Artistes to visit for paintings, pottery and gifts. If you are interested in coming next year it usually runs the last weekend in May. An event not to be missed.

Sunday saw the Portes Ouvertes at Domaine des Noades in Argentay a short walk across the vineyards from La Grande Maison. Jacky Ripoche, the winemaker, gave our group a tasting of his 2008 Saumur AOC Whites, Reds, Rose, Moelleux and Petillant Wines. Jacky took over the vineyard 8 years ago and year on year has made noticable improvements to the vines and the wines.

As with most Portes Ouvertes these days a little food is on offer to soak up the wines. We had the traditional fouaces from the bread oven. Delicious served with rillettes or goats cheese.

Even our dog visitor "Riot Winston" seemed pretty happy?