A perfect day

It’s always been our habit to go to the sea on 26 December as a way of blowing away the excesses of the day before.  When we lived in west Wales we often went to New Quay, and it was usually very cold and blowy there.  Today it was Le Grau d’Agde.  As we were driving towards the sea we could see Mont Canigou in the distance to the south and the snow-topped Pyrenees running westwards away from us.  It was a bit hazy from the smoke of fires lit by vine-growers to burn the prunings, but this photo – I hope – gives some idea at least of the size of this massive peak at the eastern end of the Pyrenean range, about 100 kilometres from here.  It’s 2784 metres high and there are better pictures of it here.

canigou

Today isn’t an official holiday in France and, although the larger fishing boats seemed to have stayed in port, there were a lot of smaller ones out fishing, some quite near the shore.

fishing

On the sea front, the street light shadows made boat-shapes on the walls opposite – something I think they must have been designed to do, but this is the first time I’ve passed when the light was perfectly aligned for the effect.

boat shadow

Most of the holiday flats overlooking the sea were closed for the season but some were occupied, like this one showing a seasonal flash of red curtain.

red curtain

And then lunch…..this is something we never did in west Wales: eating steack frites outside in the sun by the beach at the end of December!  (I have a contradictory relationship with steak – I don’t think that beef production is sustainable and thus do not really approve of eating it, but there are occasions, like today and probably New Year’s Eve if we stick with the planned menu, when I abandon my principles.)

lunch

Back home at the end of the afternoon we were treated to a rare colourful sunset over the hill above the village.  We don’t see pink skies very often because we either have clear sky or – more rarely – heavy cloud.  Tonight’s was glorious.

sunset

A lovely peaceful day after the equally enjoyable excitements of yesterday.  Our son and daughter won’t be here till the end of the week so our family celebrations will take place over New Year, but we didn’t miss out at all because our wine-making friends invited us to join them for what turned out to be a six-hour lunch yesterday.  Among the delights, conviviality and interesting conversation, there were foie gras in two guises, fresh and conserved, a roast capon (that had been raised in the village) with duck-fat roasted potatoes, delicious cheeses including a huge piece of Roquefort, which comes from the mountains near here, and more wines to taste than I counted…..a very enjoyable fête and we still have our own family to look forward too!

13 thoughts on “A perfect day

  1. I love this post. The sentiments just work for me. Your love of your life in the region sings out, and your picture of eating by the sea in December is wonderful, We’re in front of the fire with oysters and Picpoul, but I’m admiring and relishing your day. Excellent,

  2. How lovely, eating by the sea is so enriching and I agree completely about factory grown beef, it surely must implode as an industry! It cannot be sustained..I can’t eat it at all after growing my own, it does not taste as good as an animal raised in a paddock close by.. c

    • You, of all people, know the difference between beef raised in industrial units and the real thing. And you have the space to justify cattle-rearing too. In other parts of the world I think other meats are more suited to the conditions and more beneficial to the environment.

  3. A few days before Christmas son Alex and I travelled up into the hills, along a narrow, winding road, to collect our turkey from Jenny, who had butchered him only that day. He had lived a life of luxury, free to roam the lush grasses of Crabtree with his women, before his life was celebrated at our Christmas table. Succulent, sweet, flavoursome and appreciated. At the same time I bought 2 live geese for grass mowing duties, and some cuts of her recently butchered pig. Jenny said that there will be a few chickens available later in summer. My meat diet depends entirely on people like Jenny, only a few kms from my home.

    Love your blog, as always, Teleri. Good wishes to you both for 2012. Hopefully see you later in the year when son Alex graduates from Oxford.

  4. We always hit the trail on Boxing Day too. We went geocaching in a forest, but I know we’d all have preferred to go to the seaside. Living slap bang in the middle of France we haven’t seen the sea in five years,and we miss it since we’d always lived near the coast in England and Ireland.
    Have a lovely New Year with the family. Taking my son back to Uni today so our family time is over although still have the younger two at home.

  5. Your “Nadolig” sounds very festive. We usually manage to eat outside at least one day over Xmas – we wait for the day with sunshine and no wind – yesterday was lovely but no sun today here yet.
    Wishing you and your family a “Blwyddyn Newydd Dda”.
    Greetings from La Clapewine region.

  6. A perfect day indeed, and a little bit of what you don´t usually have is ok on the rare occasion – makes you appreciate the “real” process even more. Wishing you very happiness for your family celebration later this week.

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