Thursday, August 7, 2008

Albi, Bezique and being a French housewife

First of all Albi which is a stunning town and the Prefecture of the Tarn departement. It is about 30 miles from us which makes it our nearest town of any size and we love it. I have been visiting it since I was a small girl and have happy memories of sitting outside with my mum at a lovely tea shop in the Cathedral square and eating delicious strawberry tart. Its a really bustling university town with fabulous shops and an incredible cathedral. The enormous cathedral is dedicated to St Cecilia the patron saint of music and it has a very scary painting of the medieval idea of heaven and hell with all the sinners being punished in all kinds of nasty ways. Visit Albi here.

We sat in the Brasserie Du Vigan and had lunch, wonderful salad and rose wine, whilst watching the children run through the fountain in the square. It was incredibly hot and they were having a wonderful time jumping in and out of the jets of water which squirt straight out of the paving.

After lunch we went to Eurodif which is kind of French Woolworths and we mooched around without really wanting to buy anything until....John saw that they were selling green felt by the metre so we bought two metres to transform our dining table into a great card playing surface. We've been looking for some for ages which may seem odd but there is a good reason!

We are hooked on a game called Bezique which seems complicated when you begin which is really enjoyable and addictive. You have to collect groups of cards like four aces which are worth 100 points, 4 Kings for 80 and so on a Bezique is a combination of either the queen of spades and the jack of hearts or the queen of clubs and the jack of diamonds and is worth 50 points unless you have a double Bezique which is two queens and two jacks. Oh I forgot to say that you play with two packs mixed using the cards from 7 upwards. A double Bezique is worth 500 points and Ive only ever had one. It was cause for much excitement. Anyhow the table looked great with its new green cover and we felt very swish, it also stopped the cards for whizzing in all directions especially as the fan had to be on full because it went on being hot. Here we are making like card sharps on our newly acquired felt.

After all the excitement of the Bezique... time for the real world again. Housework! A friend once told me that a real French housewife should spend all her time either at the market, in the kitchen or cleaning her house. I am trying to aspire to this ideal although our lovely neighbour Renee, aka Madame Lafon is trying to train me up the in correct ways and times to do things but she sometimes despairs of ever making me into a proper French housewife, I just can't manage to get lunch on the table on the dot of midday everyday and our shutters are never open the correct amount for the time of day. On the up side I have today cooked lunch, (home made aubergine fritters with spicy tomato sauce), changed the bed and hung the quilt out of the window, mopped and waxed the lounge and kitchen-diner floors, scrubbed the table, cleaned the sink, and done the washing.

This week I've also managed to hoover, clean the cooker, unblock the drain in the bathroom and I got up early twice to make lunch before the sun got too hot. I've also been market shopping, made soup from the leftover chicken and emptied the bins, taking the rubbish and the bottles down to the communal bins. In all these endeavours I have been assisted by John the wonder husband who has to clean the cat tray and is a dab hand with the ironing as you can see.

As far as holidays go to be honest it's all been a bit full on and you can't get any feline help. All they do is sleep because it's been so hot, see? Then theywake up and want to play in the middle of the night.

Happily it is much cooler today so I'm off to do some more chores before the temperature rises again. Maybe one day I'll make Renee proud of me. In the meantime, wine costs 1 euro a litre, our speech and drama results were great well done to all and thanks to John's hard work, I'm ahead at Bezique and I'm planning green apple and goat cheese couscous for supper so life is pretty good.


JoeyJoJo said...

Wow. I had to have a lie down after reading about all your busy-ness. Well done on the French housewife bit. I'm practicing but keep getting distracted by reading my book, cycling to the patisserie and generally surfing the net. Luckily Liz is worse than me and I wouldn't want her to feel bad so I don't have to worry too much. Last time I was here I cleaned out the fridge & never heard the end of it. Alors. Loving your Blog Sally. Bissous

Mrs WJ said...

Hey Joey, the good news is that I'm now reclined on the sofa and half way down a bottle of wine after all that activity. Big big love to you both S and J