Monday, August 13, 2012

the joy of sharing...

I wrote in a blog a while ago about the wide variety of people who cross our threshold and come and stay in our Burgundy home. For the most part they are expected, and we have blocked the availability calendar and are prepared for their arrival...But sometimes we have surprises!
Last week our beloved and beautiful daughter came to stay and celebrated her birthday with us. We had not seen her since the beginning of May and although we have been very busy the week before we were able to give her a great birthday clothes shopping with lunch by the river Soane in Macon
It was followed by a meal at our favourite brasserie in Cluny. We had forewarned the patron Nicholas that it was a special meal and we were greeted with wishes for Hannah and a complimentary aperitif of the restaurant. This was followed by a wonderful meal and when it came to dessert:
the waiters appeared and we all sang to her! She was suitably embarrassed!!!
However, when she left for England on Saturday evening we realised that we had no further guests due. That gave us mixed feelings - we love having guests  but we also love being alone and we knew that the plums needed harvesting! Last night we were invited to our friend Ton's bed and breakfast which is a stunning Burgundy stone coaching inn to share a meal with him and his guests - what a blessing - no cooking to do, no washing up. It was a delight to share the table with a family from Antwerp and a family from the Paris area. We talked about all sorts of things but before we sat down to eat, Ton introduced us to an English couple staying overnight with him. It turned out they live in Bridgnorth near to where our daughter lives and where we lived before moving here. We chatted easily with each other, and to cut a long story short they decided that since they could only have one night at Ton's they would come to us. At lunchtime today they arrived - and settled in the top garden with a cup of tea and digestive biscuits. They have been travelling up from Spain over the last three days and were longing to rest - what better place than our house which is called Le Havre - the haven or the sanctuary...
We  had planned to pick the bountiful crop of plums and our guests were delighted to help us, pruning the branches as we went along. Then the haricot beans were picked and the cherry tomatoes.
With the help we have received I have got on with making some more plum jam - 12 pots this afternoon. I now cook the fruit and then add the sugar, boiling it until setting point is reached. After that I sieve the mixture so that there are no lumps no stones and no skin. It is a long job but worthwhile. I am going to give our guests a pot of jam to take back to Bridgnorth since they so kindly gave us so much help.
Unexpected guests bring us joy and this time a lot of help!!!! Thank you Mary and John.

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