© Number 10 B & B 2016
Our new pool house is finished and
the terrace taking shape complete
with its two flower beds.
The plan was to have scented plants
so we can all enjoy their perfume
on the evening air while sipping a
glass or two and relaxing. Roses and
lavender were easily found locally
but I really hoped to add a honeysuckle.
I found the answer with ‘Strawberries & Cream’ – a new variety able to be grown in pots for patios and unlikely to rampage everywhere like the more traditional ones. The only problem was I could only find them back in the UK and had no idea how to get them here.
I threw myself on the mercy of a couple who were kind enough to agree to take delivery of two honeysuckle plants and bring them when they came to stay. So it was that they arrived by post in Northumberland, travelled by car from there to Portsmouth, by ferry to Bilbao and finally on to St Goin.
So it is that I owe a huge thank you to Francis and Valda, especially bearing in mind that the plants were much larger than anticipated and also for their care in transporting them in perfect condition all that way.
Too often today we live life in the fast lane, so what could be nicer than to opt for a slower pace and explore the gorgeous countryside around Number 10 courtesy of a horse.
We got on particularly well with our Franglais one evening, chatting to another villager at the annual repas and were invited to drop round any time.
Now I’m a Pom and we just don’t drop in on folks unannounced, well perhaps with the exception of really, really good friends or family. Richard of course on the other hand, is an Aussie and believes it is totally acceptable to turn up on the doorstep as and when the mood takes him.
Case in point – on one of our trips to Australia he took me to show me where his grandparents used to live. We parked in the country road at the gate leading to what appeared to be a long driveway which I guess led to the house. Himself got out of the car with an enthusiastic “Come along then, let’s go”. I stayed in the car bleating “You can’t just walk in. You don’t know the people who live there now. They could be busy etc. etc….” In the end, we did not walk in and intrude on complete strangers but Richard was, and still is, completely baffled by the Pommie reserve.
The long and the short of it is that it was highly unlikely we would ever to pop in for an apéro without an invite. It was therefore lovely when Yves turned up on our doorstep one morning to ask if we would like to go for a ‘promenade en caleche’.
He needed just 45 minutes to get everything ready and would expect us then. The whole thing got off to a rather good start when we were offered a taste of homemade Absinthe in the kitchen. This led on to talk about alternative liqueurs such as Pacharan, the Navarre’s answer to sloe gin. Up to now, I have been unable to find sloes locally so not only was it good to know they were about but also to realise we had found a kindred spirit in Yves – if in doubt try putting it in alcohol.
What followed was a delightful interlude, when the anticipated hour’s outing stretched into the whole morning. In glorious sunshine, we meandered down country lanes through hamlets and villages as yet undiscovered by us, up tracks and through the woods, all with the stunning backdrop of Pyrenees.
Yves was a little disappointed when we declined his invitation back into the kitchen for further ‘refreshments’ on our return. Max was still under his 4 mini walks a day regime and we felt we had been away from home for long enough.
It was agreed that we would do it again but next time go further and take a picnic which sounds like a fun way to spend the day.
We are pleased that next year, our guests will be able to join Yves for a promenade en caleche or possibly a longer outing complete with picnic lunch.