Gardening Matters – Travels with Allie.
Yesterday we had a half day trip to Meaux planned. It was pretty rainy when we woke up – forecast- but supposed to clear up so we set off anyway. It’s not a long trip, perhaps 25 minutes away. The market was supposed to be on, but when we parked up in a small carpark near the Halles, we could see that it was not operating. A shame because we went last year and it was pretty good. Full of stalls selling farm brie – it’s made in this area. No matter, there were plenty of little shops to visit and a few goodies we wanted.
The rain got heavier as we walked across the bridge over the Marne and up to the old town at the top of the hill. We trod very carefully as the stone pavements looked a bit deadly. Just as we got to the Cathedral, it started to absolutely torrent down. We dodged into a kitchen shop and killed a bit of time in there and then came out and sat under some table umbrellas outside a closed bistro for a while. There are a lot of closed shops and businesses around here. Not just in Meaux but all over this part of France wherever we’ve been. It’s very noticeable that lots of places are boarded up or with shutters locked down. I would say, a lot more than there are in the UK, perhaps indicating that France has been harder hit by the pandemic. I dont know…. I mean Folkestone is hardly Oxford Street, and is a town largely dependant on tourism, but there aren’t a lot of permanent closures there.
We sat it out for about 40 minutes till the rain eased and then set off again to reach the Meaux Fromagerie where we bought a big slab of local brie – a soft one. They have them in all sorts of “hardnesses” over here as they age. The most elderly, which many people like a lot, are really dark, like a light brown colour with a strong taste. We tried all the different kinds on a tasting last year. We wanted to tour one of the brie factories but they were closed for lunch LOLOLOL We also went to a deli and bought some more of the famous mustard of Meaux. We bought loads last year and we still have a large pot and a half of the spicy “Pompiers” version of the seedy traditional mustard, but we’ve run out of the normal plain seeded one. I like the stone pots too. The Pompiers is really my favourite, fabulous with pork pie or sausages.
Debated having lunch in Meaux but we decided to cut and run as the rain didn’t seem to be giving up. We came back on the country roads through Crecy La Chapelle, which was looking as pretty as ever, like a water colour come to life. Finally we called at the Super U, a massive super/hyper market nearer to Bailly Romainvilliers and did our “go home” shop there, rather than do it on Saturday as planned, when the weather might be better. We spent a long time in the wine section, filling up the trolley with likely bottles and got a bottle of armagnac too. The pork was on sale and we bought two big hunks to bring home. It was a really good supermarket, easily the best we’ve visited around here. Nowhere near as good as the Carrefour at the Cite Europe in Calais, but that will be closed on Sunday afternoon when we get there.
Today we woke up to blue skies again, and a nice feeling temperature of 24C. Bob had a golf round booked at the Disneyland course so I went with him to drive the cart and ball spot. It’s such a lovely course, very manicured and green with lots of lakes ie water hazards, and some interesting bunkers and undulating slopes. He was playing the white course today and I think we were the only ones on it although there had been some others around the clubhouse so they must have been playing somewhere.
It was a lovely morning, very peaceful, and Bob did ok, considering it’s been over a year between rounds. He only lost 2 balls – one to a lake – one to god knows where – and he really enjoyed it. It cost 30 euro plu 21 for the cart. His shoulder plays up so pulling the trolley round didn’t seem a great idea. We saw loads of canada geese as we went round. A much nicer day today.
Came back to the house and had a bit of lunch and then went to the pool and sunbathed and swam for the rest of the afternoon. We have been very fortunate with the weather really. Can’t complain at the little bit of rain we’ve had.
Tomorrow we are having a day trip to Troyes, a very picturesque looking town about 90 minutes drive from here. There are a lot of the medieval half timbered houses and of course, some churches to explore. It should be a lovely day, the forecast is good again.
Come back tomorrow to read all about it!