April, the month of the apero

Another month has flown by, quite a good one weather & visitor wise for us I’m pleased to say. The weather has been fantastic for a lot of the month with temperatures well above the seasonal norms. We have been able to eat outside most lunchtimes & in the evenings too on some days, but it does still get a bit chilly when the sun goes down. That’s one of the downsides of living at 750mtrs altitude. We have started doing the odd apero outside for our guests too & just this weekend we have been invited to an apero with our neighbours & tonight to an apero dinertoire with some friends in the village. We do find these occasions a bit of a minefield though as the amount of food on offer varies immensely from host to host. It can literally mean a few nibbles & sausage rolls to an almost full blown meal& can last from an hour to 3 hours depending on the host’s interpretation of dinertoire. The problem comes in knowing whether to eat before hand, after or not at all! We now try to eat substantially at lunchtime to make sure all possibilities are covered! I also have a bit of a problem as to what to take as a little gift. Its a bit OTT to take a bottle – we are not really being invited to a meal as such & chocs etc don’t really go down well here. Fortunately at the moment I have a huge bed of muguet (lily-of-the-valley) in flower so I have been making up little posies of this to take. It goes down very well as it is seen as a gift of bonheur (happiness or good luck).

We have been very busy with he B&B this month & have had some really nice guests. One family wrote a fantastic review for us on the Homelidays website where they had found our advert, saying that the hosts were chalereux (warm),bilangue (even me!) & that the pet dej (breakfast) was gargantuan!! Very heart warming :)We have also had a “walk in” couple arrive this month – we don`t get many of those as we are not really on a busy enough route for passing trade. They were a sweet young couple who had seen the signs on the road & stayed even though Bounty took a fancy to their cuddly toy car key fob & ran off with it (& their car keys) within minutes of them arriving! Bounty, our secret weapon to make you stay here at Les Hirondelles! We have had the gite back in use this month too. Our gite guests were another young couple from Paris who loved walking & managed to clock up over 100kms on their day long hikes through the countryside. Rather them than me -thats a tad too far for my liking -but they loved every minute & were very reluctant to go back to Paris at the end of their week. They said they loved waking up every morning to the fantastic bird song & the fresh air. More satisfied customers – just what I like :slight_smile:

We started April off with a little break for us too. Our kids had given us some money for Christmas which we had to use to treat ourselves to a couple of nights away. So finding ourselves with a free night at the beginning of the month & with Geoff having no teaching the following day, we headed off to the Gorges du Tarn, about 2 hours drive from here, for a night. We had a great time. It is very spectacularly pretty there & we stayed in a lovely little auberge right down on the riverside. We took the dog & he was very well behaved, both in the car & the hotel. It was also nice to have someone else “look after us” for a change & we thoroughly enjoyed ourselves playing tourist again! We still have a bit of money left too on this present so we might just be able to sneak in another night away later in the year. Thank you, children.

Talking of the children, following on from last months post, they both did go to Japan as arranged. They met up & spent several days together in the south & visited Tokyo even though they had promised not to! They did say though that all seemed very normal & that the Japanese people wee so pleased to see western tourists there – especially in the south where it was cherry blossom time & therefore their main tourist time – that they were embracing them in the street! They did have a wonderful time & their photos are stunning – so I have forgiven them for all the worry they put me through! Matthew & Susie are now in Laos & Hazel is safely back at work in Carlisle! And not a sign of any of them glowing greenly from radiation exposure I’m pleased to say :))

With all the great weather we have had this month, the garden is taking on its usual jungle like appearance! Everything is growing like mad at the moment – including the grass & the weeds. Geoff is mowing the lawn again as I type, carefully slaloming around the clumps of wild flowers that he is not allowed to mow down! Everything here is well in advance of normal timings – the fruit trees have already finished blossoming & the flowers are all well ahead of themselves with the lilac & lily of the valley in full bloom. The scent in the garden – especially in the evenings is wonderful just now. We are just hoping that the frosts we get often in May (nuits de sainte glace as they are called here) don’t arrive & kill everything off.

I can’t finish this month’s post without mentioning THE Wedding of yesterday. It was fantastic wasn’t it? We decided to risk the French TV coverage & I have to say it all came up trumps. There was a lot of interest in the wedding in France – much more than I’d have thought really. All my Croix Rouge ladies were very excited about it & were looking forward to seeing all the outfits & more importantly all the hats! We did our bit too…we hunted out all the union flags we could find & decorated the terrace with them. And I have to admit to donning my fancy wedding hat (which has sat unloved in its posh box for over three years now!)& wearing a fancy scarf to sit in front of the TV all morning! The animals though I was totally mad & kept trying to “kill” the feather decoration on the side of the hat! However I felt much more part of the celebrations like that! Fortunately, no-one turned up unexpectedly for B&B, or they might have thought I’d finally lost my marbles……!!

odd, i thought you were a friend ! anyway, oh, perhaps it’s on facebook… nice to be one here…

Lunch outside at this time of year is lovely, isn’t it, as the sun is not yet at full pelt. In the summer it’s just too hot, but now it’s perfect.