While snow has been falling for several months in certain parts of the northern hemisphere, here in the south of France we are still tenaciously hanging on to the last sunny days of autumn. We shall soon have to face the fact that although the sun still shines bravely and brightly every day, the ancient oak trees have now nearly lost all their leaves and the nights are long and very cold. As we speed towards the shortest day of the year, and towards Christmas in its wake, we already project our minds towards those early spring days that are but three months away…
But wait, what about winter? Is there no winter season in the south of France? Of course there is, and it is breathtakingly beautiful in its own right. Last Tuesday morning, I got up early to feed the horses because I was going to attend a Christmas Lunch at the Pigeonneau restaurant down the road, in the happy company of 49 other women, all members of the Ladies Lunch Club of Armagnac. Jack Frost arrived uninvited during the night and evidence of his passing lay thick and white on the fields. The sun was just slipping over the horizon, tinting the whole landscape various enchanting shades of pink. I thought to myself, “This is the stuff that fairytales are made of.”
I wonder if I could write a fairy tale? I wonder if I could write a story, a real story, with characters, a plot and a hero’s journey, instead of the non-fiction personal development books that I have been so comfortable with until now?
A winter’s tale?
I did not have much time to dwell on these distracting thoughts. I had to get ready for lunch. The Pigeonneau is one of my favourite restaurants, and as luck would have it, also one of the closest restaurants to the farm. Having a restaurant of this exceptional quality so close by is rare here in deepest rural France.
So it was wth a song in my heart that I joined the ladies that morning. I was not disappointed. I barely made it through the front door before a Kir(apèritif), as if by magic, appeared in my hand. With my Kir in one hand and my camera in another, I did the rounds. In this part of France, greetings are accompanied by a kiss on each cheek, so you can imagine that this was no easy endeavour.
We sat down to a delicious lunch with red or white wine. We started with a salad of grilled courgettes and mushrooms, accompanied by a small glass of pumpkin soup. This was followed by either Beef Stroganoff with Rice or Carrelet (Plaice) with beurre blanc sauce and Rice. I had the plaice and it was as good as it always is. We finished the meal with Pannacotta with red fruits and coffee.
Our club now has more than 150 members and 50 of us meet once a month for lunch. As we have discovered in the past, it is not easy for a countryside restaurant to cater for such a large group, but the Pigeonneau did us proud. Thank you so much, Ruby and the rest of your team!
We all took a small gift to lunch. We all took one of these on our way out, after the lunch. I am going to open mine on Monday the 19th, my birthday. Since it is Christmas (and my birthday), I have decided to give my latest 90-page book, You ARE Good Enough – a 10 Step Strategy to Stop Sabotaging Yourself away free to all new subscribers to my mailing list. This giveaway is hosted by Instafreebie.
It would mean the world to me if you subscribed. I promise I will not spam you, quite the contrary – I have received many a compliment on the quality of my newsletters about our life here in the south of France. Just click on the link below and follow the instructions: