[(I met Jenny Rhodes in their deliciously cosy cottage in the heart of Les Angles, just a five minute walk from the ski slopes. Rosy, fun and delightfully chatty, she explained to me that she was in the middle of pickling everything that moved. I stood very still…. and asked her whether she would be interested in providing a ‘gossip in the mountains’ type of column for Anglophone-direct readers. Here is her first contact….. watch this space)]

October 16th 2008

All is fairly quiet up here in the mountains, although we have a Fete Du Patate in Matamale at the weekend. I have already bought some spuds from there and they are really nice and clean….good for storage.
For anyone fancying making anything to do with rosehips…. there are loads of very ripe juicy ones up above Osseja on the Route de Forestiere. The colours of the trees up here are fab. In fact I would go so far as to say they are better than New England.The leaves range from deep crimson to scarlet and burgundy then a bright yellow will startle you into looking deep into the forests.They are truly breathtaking. From here to Prades and from here down the Aude valley are just magnificent. Well worth a trip up, maybe a circular route.
I am not even going to mention the new marketing for Les Angles on the website – it is so vile. All I will ask of you is to put your vote in. Most people hate it and I have been quite vocal in my dislike for it. I am usually quite quiet regarding how the French and village run things but this is an abomination. Well, will now put on the old deerstalker and mac, armed with spyglass and will snoop out some bits of gossip for the next time we chat.
Speak soon
Jen

October 23rd 2008

First Snow Fall In the Village of Les Angles!!!!!!
Woke up this morning to find the first snow of winter had fallen in the
night.
We opened the window to find at least an inch and a half covering the
mountains and houses. It has changed the whole look and feel of the village in a matteof hours.
Only a couple of days ago we were out walking our son Pauls’ dogs Lottie and
Oscar and admiring the beauty of the masses of Autumn Crocus covering the
fields. Their little purple heads and bright yellow centres were bobbing
gently in the breeze.I mentioned at the time how sad it is that their tiny
blossoms would be crushed as soon as the snow fell.
How little time they had left!
One other magical thing we saw the other day when out walking was the end of
a rainbow. It had started to rain as we were returning to the car and there
were still rays of sunshine pushing through the clouds The rainbows’ end
fell less than a hundred yards away in a field of cows in front of a small
copse of trees. And to all those whow want to believe in Fairies and Magic I
am sorry to say there was no Pot of Gold.
Only the exquisite sight and a memory to keep for life
More mumbles soon
Regards
Jen

Saturday 25th 2008

Sorry to say to all ski fanatics that the snow has now melted in the village
but remains on the mountain tops, maybe this is a good sign for the coming
winter.The snow cannons have been tested and serviced this week [ well two
men with overalls and spanners were fiddling about] which is always a good
sign.
Things are pretty quiet up here at the moment and all building work and
maintenance must be finished soon as the frosts and snow put an end to
outside building work. I had never stopped to think before we moved to
France that certain jobs just can’t be done all year round. Even the hardy horses, cows and sheep are brought down the mountains in the
traditional way. Nothing here is left to chance. Everything is tucked up nice
and early in preparation for the winter.
You’ll be happy to hear that some of the crocus managed to survive the
weather conditions the other day and are still bobbing along nicely. Tomorrow [26th October] I am hoping to go to the Fete de la Pomme near
Villefranche. Maybe pick up some things to bottle and pickle. Must sort out
some recipes before I go or I’ll end up with more apples than I know what to do
with.
For anyone who is wanting to do some pickled onions for Christmas there is a
stall in Prades market[Tuesday morning] next to the Bio bread stall that has
fantastic little pickling onions.She also has lovely dried fruits for
Christmas cakes etc.
Tip for easy peeling of tiny onions – pour boiling water over them and leave
for a couple of minutes, the outside slips off easily and no tears.
Must go and tidy up all the garden pots now
Au Revoir Jen

Tuesday 28th October
Hello there
After three of the most beautiful Autumn days, we have woken to find today
is dreadful. The first look out the window makes you just want to get back
in bed. The cloud is right down into the village and the rain is really
heavy…..yuk.
But on to brighter things. Did anyone else go to the Fete De la Pomme on Sunday
in Fuilla? It was terrific, very rustic very homey and just a delight to be
there. The sun shone brilliantly throughout the day and the amount of hard
work that had gone into it before hand was evident . Boxes and boxes of apples were
displayed to be bought, apple juice, potatoes and all sorts of goodies. I was
in heaven.
I noticed one rather lovely stall selling “saffron” He was definitely a
young man with flair, his canopy was lilac and white and the ground around
his stall was strewn with lilac coloured crocus petals, and he was selling
tiny jars of saffron. Exquisite.
The only problem was that the traffic arrangements were a bit haphazard but
it didn’t really matter as it was such a lovely day and it was no real
problem waiting to get into the Fete. I did however have to hold myself
back when I saw some little white birds in a cage for sale at the side of
the road.” 20Euro each.” said the notice.
What a bargain I thought . They were so pretty, with little white pom poms
on their heads, and because of the traffic jam they sat and looked at me and
I looked at them. I had them all named and the idea of a design of a little
henhouse was forming.
But alas the traffic moved on and Mike reminded me the they were to eat not
to have as pets.
Is there no romance left in this world.?
So it was apples bought and pies made and a happy hubby.But no little white
fluffy birds
The locals are forecasting snow tonight so I am pleased that we managed to
get the garden tidied up this weekend and even though the big tree is
shedding leaves as I type it still looks much better.
I should mention that my summer flowers are still in bloom. I bought a kilo
bag of wild flowers seeds from Nature & Decouvertes in Perpignan in the
Spring and spread them round like a woman possessed. They have been
wonderful. As I have said before we have a very small window for growing
things but these have been so good I will buy more next year but only after
trying to harvest as much seed as possible from the seed heads.
Hope all is well with you all
Jen

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