The other night at an aperitif at Franck’s sisters house I was easting on a plate of what I believed was jambon perseille – a parsley flavoured ham treat that is one of Burgundy’s renowned specialities.
“This is so good!” I said to Steph. “I have missed jambon perseille so much.”
Steph had a funny look about her mouth and didn’t say anything.
“Quoi?” I demanded.
“It’s not exactly jambon perseille,” she said.
“Yes it is.”
“No. It’s fromage de tete. I didn’t have the heart to tell you – you were just enjoying it so much.”
So I had been feasting on “head cheese” (i.e. pate made out of cows brains, etc.) all that time.
I chewed the piece I had in my mouth. “It’s still delicious,” I had to admit.
But now they have resorted to all manner of peridy to make me like offal I will have to be on my guard. Next thing I know they will be slipping andouillette into my pasta.
“Noooooooooo, not andouillettes!!!” I hollered as Franck whistled away in the kitchen.
But alas, it was an an andouilette that Franck was cooking himself for lunch. One of the very first things he buys himself every time he arrives in his native land is one of these (according to him) delectable sausages made out of pig intestines.
I have tasted it on a few occasions (and always under severe duress), but as far as I am concerned andouillette tastes just as bad as it smells. But all of Franck’s family – as well as most of the French people I know – are enamoured with this “delicacy”.
They are all convinced I will eventually change my mind. I always say, “sorry guys, I will just never be that French.”
We made it and were welcomed in Burgundy with wine (Marco’s Volnay, bien sur) and an incredible plate of cheeses at Charlotte’s house with the whole gang.
What joie to be together again, especially as it doesn’t feel like a year has gone,but rather a day. Then we went over to Franck’s parents tonight for one of Franck’s Dad’s amazing homemade pizzas while the cousins talked and played and then came home to find Martial had dropped off a huge anmd gorgeously smelly bag of cheeses from the Jura (where he has to go to a meeting every Monday) on our doorstep. Ah ma Bourgogne, je vous aime…will write more tomorrow about the trip itself, and hopefully add some photos too.
Bises from Burgundy.
We’re counting down the hours until we leave for the airport, so my next post (please God) will be coming straight from the heart of Burgundy itself.
Please send happy travel wishes my way today – I really think I will need them. Also, look for me if you happen to be flying through Heathrow – I am not that perfectly coiffed woman gliding through the halls of Terminal 5 with my one piece of Burberry hand luggage, but rather the frazzled looking lady with a backpack the same size as those used for an Everest expeditions, trying to pin a screaming 2 year old in a stroller.
Up, Up and Away!!!
As you know from yesterday’s post, I am not looking forward to dreading the upcoming marathon trip to France on Saturday. Besides the short-tempered spider monkey 2 year old and the prospect of mid-Atlantic tachycardia I was also worried about how we were going to get from the airport into Lyon to our snug little Maison des Chaumes in Villers-la-Faye.
When we lived in France we simply drove ourselevs to the airport, parked our monstre vert in long-term parking, and then picked up our car and drove ourselves home when we returned.
This time our only solution, we figured, was to rent a car at the airport and then drive ourselves up to Burgundy and then figure out how to drop the car back off again in Dijon. Problem was the last thing we’ll feel like doing when we FINALLY GET TO LYON (that heavenly moment seems sooooooooooo far away right now) is schlepping the bevy to the car rental agency, which will undoubtedly be closed for a coffee break. We didn’t, however, see any other choice.
Even in our own car that Lyon to Villers drive is always hellish. I am never able to sleep on the plane trip and it is always when I sit down in the car in Lyon that I hit the travel fatigue wall and my eyes just cannot stay open one second longer. Problem is I feel like I have to stay awake to make sure that Franck, who also has not slept very much, doesn’t fall asleep at the wheel. Often I jerk awake after drifting off for a few minutes and then shout over to Franck “ARE YOU STILL AWAAAAKE!?!?!?” before I even wipe the drool off my chin.
Anyway, my freinds Isabelle and Charlotte and I were skyping back and forth this week and they both asked me what time we were getting in and how we were getting up from Lyon. I told them very matter-of-factly that we were renting a car and left out my concerns about the car rental being closed for a coffee break, falling asleep at the wheel, or drooling.
Later that same day I got a Skype from my friend Isabelle. “You are NOT to rent a car!” she wrote in caps. “Hors de question!!! I have talked to Charlotte and we have arranged for Marco and Martial to come and get you and the bevy in two cars so their is enough space for the luggage. I don’t want to hear any protests because it’s decided. You have no say in the matter.”
People may take longer to get to know in France than many other countries but once you’ve made friends, they are friends for life. And they are the best, most loyal friends that any person could ask for. They don’t even mind it when I drool.
Maybe I won’t need that valium after all.
I have spent all this week not only in packing / moving hell but also worrying about the trip to France.
I took the bevy to the mall with me over the weekend to buy them each a new book each for the plane. Clem not only managed to Houdini herself out of her stroller in 30 seconds flat, but then proceeded to sprint away from me so that she could scale the bookcases with impunity.
The idea of being trapped with her on a 9 and a half hour plane flight is just not very edifying.
The only way I survived the last trans-atlantic marathon a year ago when we moved back to Canada (she was a very obstreperous 18 months then) was by saying to myself “she’s going to be older next time, it will never be this hard again…”.
Now I’m not so sure. The last year hasn’t curtailed her explosive energy. Rather, it has honed it and made her faster, stronger, and more wily. She is like a very loud spider monkey.
Also, my tachycardia incident on Halloween – even though I haven’t experienced it since – does make me wonder, what happens if my heart starts doing that somewhere over the North Pole?
I went to my doctor to see if there were any medications I could take with me, and she said the only one would be the oral form of the gruesome (albeit effective) stuff they gave my via IV in the ER, although it could cause my blood pressure to plummet and for me to feel basically like I was going to die for several hours. And despite all of that, she wasn’t even sure it would work on the tachycardia.
“I think the main thing is to avoid stress on the trip,” she concluded.
I laughed…bitterly. “I’m travelling with Clem. You do remember Clem, don’t you?”
My lovely doctor looked troubled indeed at the memory of Clem’s last few doctor’s visits, where in the few minutes we were left to wait in the examining room Clem ripped off the entire roll of paper stuff they put on the examining table, dumped the toy basket all over the floor and screamed so loudly and violently that the patients in the adjacent rooms (and the waiting room) all needed therapy for post-traumatic stress syndrome.
She scribbled on her prescription pad. “Here’s a prescription for Valium.”