I don’t know what it is about June, forget about July and I may as well scrap August altogether, taking the risk of being quite unpopular with people around me, I must say that I don’t deal with summer – or whatever they call it here- very well. The idea of contemplating these three long months, feels like bracing myself for a quiet and deadly storm, “Waiting around to die” from Townes Van Zandt keep on a ringing when I should be happy, when I should be whistling to the dog and the cats in the kitchen ” Le temps des cerises”, Cherry Times… Cheery times! Now I get to think about it, it’s a beautiful, seasonal and yet a pretty heart wrenching song too. I mustn’t have been the only one so, the summer takes as much as it gives I guess, and June gives so generously!
– “Come on Captain sail on that ship of yours through them dark troubled waters, you hear?”
“Boxin the fox”: Irish slang for “stealing from an orchard”.
It was the end of September 1991; I was saying my goodbyes to county Donegal where I had worked for two months on a Rhododendron removal project, on the hills… “Slán Tamall Mín an Lábáin agus An Earagail “. Goodbye until later! I stepped onto the bus bound for Dublin after hugging a couple of newly made friends. It felt like yesterday when I landed in Ringaskiddy in co. Cork; I had got a free ride on a school bus trip, back from Brittany, all the way to Sligo; I hitchhiked the rest to Donegal Town, and now I was heading back the long way around. I crossed “The North” for the first time, Enniskillen and the intimidating British Army checkpoint – now long gone – before Belturbet in County Cavan. What a ride!
From time to time, we all need a bit of gentle sweetness. For me, childhood food comfort comes in the form of Crêpes, savoury or not, but also apple compote my grandmother used to do by the gallons at this time of year. I brought some back from her garden last month, trees planted over 35 years ago, ideal for a breakfast treat. Here it goes.
I am often being asked the question. “What do you miss most about home?” Especially when one has like me “Nationalité Française” printed on his passport; they automatically assume it is food. I was recently over, two weeks ago in fact and as I was about to enter the car deck of Brittany Ferries’ “Pont Aven”, I asked myself the same question. Could it be the “Joie de vivre”, that Anglophile cliché that I can never recall coming out of a compatriot’s mouth? I don’t think so. And frankly, when you look at the head of certain people I know, let me tell you, there ain’t no joy of anything, or maybe the “joie de complaining” about everything.