Saturday, 13 March 2010

Full Steam Ahead

Hopefully you will have received our newsletter by now with up-to-the-minute information about the various workshop leaders - what they are currently busy with, where you can see their work or catch an exhibition or even get to meet them. What busy people we all are!

from Rachel Hazell's blog:
Our first workshops are heading fast towards us and it looks like the Argentine Tango, with Bianca and Sasha from Rojo y Negro, is going to be lots of fun again. If you are still hesitating, there is a 10% discount if you book before the end of March - an opportunity to learn some snazzy new moves with this amazing dance and enjoy the company of interesting people in luxurious and comfortable surroundings. Not to mention the fab food and wine!

The cold weather continues here in S W France though it does seem a little warmer today and the sun is definitely shining - a nice change from those dusty grey snow clouds. An enforced stay indoors is, anyway, a very good excuse for Mike to start work on this year's workshop menus and he's been busy reading through his cookbooks, testing recipes and making notes. He'll spend the next few weeks trying to source the less than quotidian ingredients and with our trip to San Sebastian only a couple of weeks away now we will be able to re-stock with some of their wonderful olive oil, dried tomatoes and txakoli wine that you can only buy there. Can't wait...

Linguini with cauliflower and roe
There is a service here in the Dordogne called Sterling Shopping that will deliver from the UK anything from Windolene to washing machines. At a price, but sometimes cheaper even then. Living in France is a great privilege - beautiful landscape, wonderful food, little traffic - and we English sometimes forget that we are guests, but there are huge commercial differences on either side of La Manche and it's sometime difficult to get to grips with the laid back attitude of some of the French shops and businesses. Less stressful for them, that's for sure, but quite frustrating for us Brits who have become used to the neo-American style back home. On the other hand we are often surprised by the kindness and generosity of our Gallic hosts, whose helpfulness often goes well beyond the call of duty.

And, of course, we have the Internet, so it's pretty easy order stuff and have it delivered directly. I have been a great fan of Louise Loves for some years now; she runs a sort of textile brocante on the web where she sells wonderful traditional quilts and unusual vintage fabric pieces. She has recently opened a shop in Hay-on-Wye so if you're visiting that neck of the woods it might be worth a small detour. Her web stock on the website seems a little low currently but visit her blog to catch up with all her plans and offers.

Talking of brocantes I recently visited the Red Cross charity shop at Riberac and after scrummaging around for an hour or so I came across their well-hidden boxes of buttons. All beautifully sorted into colour and type, I managed to buy these to add to my already huge collection for exorbitant price of 1€! Haven't decided quite yet what to do with them, but it won't be long.

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