La Fête de Saint Jean is the traditional pagan midsummer celebration, which has been given a Christian saint’s name by the church but which is still very pagan. It should take place on 24 June, but we’re a bit ahead of the times in Gabian, and we had our paella meal and bonfire last night on rough ground near the river.
The weather was warm and sunny yesterday evening for the celebrations, but today it was cloudy and threatening thunder from the start. And it looked worse up in the hills where we headed for the farmers’ market at Mas Rolland, the hamlet and goat farm where we buy cheese, and goat manure for the garden during the winter. In spite of the bad weather the stalls were busy selling wonderful local produce: traditionally milled flour, chestnut flour, wine, olive oil, free range pork, goats’ cheeses, of course, and cooked food – with potatoes cooked in duck fat a speciality – by the plate to be eaten at tables in the sun or shade (usually). Today it began to rain heavily just before lunchtime – great for the garden but not for those hoping for a Sunday meal outdoors.
|umbrellas for shelter, not shade||
goats’ cheeses to taste and buy
|wine from Montesquieu||
‘a green thought in a green shade’ (Andrew Marvell)
olives and olive oil from Fabrègues
potatoes cooked in duck fat
And in the garden …
We have our first small tomatoes on the Languedocian plants, the tomato plants are all growing quickly, needing tying up and sideshoots removing almost ever day, and the oleander flowers are out.