3 Where do I start this month? 3

Summer is winding down and the village is wonderfully quiet. There is a certain hint of autumn in the air and there is a slight tint in the trees ready to turn into their magnificent Autumnal colours. One of the magic things up here in the mountains is the vista of bright colours that appear during September and October, I always feel that New England has competition for “Fall” magnificence
Cepes seem to be out in force but I have not managed to get outlooking for any. Apparently you need to have rain and then go out two days later. Armed with the correct kit…..walking stick, basket [definitely not a plastic bag] and a knife. Not any old knife, it must be a special knife with a brush at the end for brushing away the dirt. This “uniform” can be seen lurking in most forests at this time of year. Finding out where the cepes grow is not as easy as the favourite spots are passed down through families. It took one French friend of ours 8 years before his father-in- law would take him to the family “ceping”grounds.
And when I find mine you can rest assured that I will not be writing it in my Mumbles. Call me old fashioned and mean but let’s face it what’s mine is mine when it comes to mushrooms!
Another piece of news is that since I last Mumbled we have had a new addition to the family.
To the people who know me, no I am not a medical miracle ….we have got a dog.
Not any old pooch she is the most magnificent Pyrenean Mountain dog called Lilli. Her kennel name is really Edelweiss but it seemed a bit of a mouthful to shout that as I take her for a walk. How could I cut it down…? Edel or wies not very attractive so Lilli as in Pyrenean Lily. She already weighs nearly 20 kilos and seems to grow every day. She is wonderful company except for when she is trying to eat the settee. Will keep you posted on her growth and development.
The gondola in Les Angles is only working at weekends now so anyone coming up for a walk and hopes to make a head start by going up to the top mechanically just remember it is not running in the week. The buses have now stopped up to Lac Bouillouses so you can get the car right up to the Auberge.They do wonderful omelette and chips if you are ever up that way. There are also some lovely little BBQ areas at the side of the river which can only be really used when you have the car with you. And if you are brave enough you can have a paddle in the river so remember to take a towel to help thaw your feet out.
So now all the family have returned home and the main batch of summer guests have departed I have the garden to myself. I can sit out with my cup of tea and look at the mountains in peace. It’s lovely.
I do miss folks around the place but also love the quietness; Guests are superb for gossip and a good chinwag, news from home, and friendships that I would not have had. The lovely people who all bring something different and special to our lives. Very much a different life to the one I had at home.
Must walk Lilli now and walk off a few calories.
TTFN

Thursday 17th September

You can always tell when summer has long gone and the winter is creeping up when you can see the men on the piste checking the lines for the snow cannons. October brings the testing of the wretched things with great plumes of artificial snow powering into the air, and a noise like a jet engine.
There is also the hum of chainsaws at the minute as locals chop and saw their winter supplies of logs. Every year I say we will hold off putting the central heating on to economise but when you get up to the bedroom you change your mind and the next day on goes the heating. Up to now we have only had the fire lit on a couple of the evenings which has been nice…..we had heard though the grapevine that it had been down to -5 a couple of nights ago. Now that is cold for this time of year, even up here.
Lilli the new member of the family is doing well. She still does not like traffic and tends to pull away from the road, so we tend to take her up into the hills. It’s difficult to believe that she is only just four months old but now weighs over 20 kilos. We have to take care that we don’t over do it. Mike has found that she is a bit of a babe magnet as all the ladies tend to all gooey over her. I think it must be the big sad eyes that get them every time.
We went down to visit Perpignan yesterday and had lunch in the town centre. We mooched about looking for somewhere we fancied and eventually found one in a square. We had hardly sat down when the was a voice shouting” Mike Mike” and we had chosen the one restaurant owned by a chap who used to own one of the restaurants up here in Les Angles. What a small world it is. He was delighted to see Mike and they caught up on a bit of gossip.
The main reason for us going was for me to have an IRM scan or what I think is called an MRI in the UK. I have found in the past that they tend to leave you in all your glory with no gown to cover your blushes but yesterday I was given a rather stylish blue thing with knitted cuffs and a bit of a blouson effect. Totally see through but it did make me feel a bit better. It was only for my shoulder, as I am still suffering the after effects of falling over my daughters Hoover in the middle of the night back in February. Serves me right for not putting the light on.
Have got to go now as Lilli has to be walked before the evening closes in.
TTFN

Sunday 27th September

Now we have a dog we are walking much more and plodding through tracks and woodlands. We used to have a house down in Escouloubre Village and everyone went out early in the mornings looking for Cepes. Armed with baskets etc they would go off and then return hours later laden down with fantastic looking things that we could only dream about.
Here we are slightly higher and the Fungi are different. There are all sorts of things springing up and when you look in a book they always add at the end of the description “not to be confused with” and that little sentence tends to worry me slightly…. Well not just slightly it actually freaks me out. And so we leave them alone.
Before we left Guernsey to come and live in France My friend Netta and I attended a Fungus Course. I thought it would be great to know what would be edible and what would not.
The main thing that came out of a three day course was……..
– Always keep a bit of the “mushroom” on one side when cooking
– Always take that and your vomit when you go to the A&E.
Not what I would call inspiring and confidence building.
Most Maries around here put up pictures and edible Fungi posters but they just seem to be the same as the books and when you go to the chemist they get out the same books.
What I would like to see is a group formed that could just ramble about with an expert. Someone who could say slightly more then “take your vomit”etc. Books and posters are fine but an expert in person would be inspirational. And maybe not just in Fungi spotting. Hedgerow food spotting would be great.
It’s quite popular in the UK. Is anyone interested in the PO?
I know this isn’t a usual Mumble but I feel we are missing out on some wonderful food if only we could find it. Our Grandparents used to have jars of goodness know what lurking in dark corners of their pantries just waiting for a special occasion. Not only would I like a special occasion but I would like something lurking too!
TTFN


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