We have our first Canadian visitors!
Our family friend Adrian came before the weekend to stay with us to help us through the last of the renovations on our rental apartment and to dig and assemble the pool for the front yard. Alfonz was so happy to pick him up from Montpellier after his best friends two-year hiatus in Africa and England. They have much to catch up on.
Nu and John from White Rock, British Columbia flew into Holland then made their way from Amsterdam on their BWM cruiser motorbike, towards Capestang to brave a visit during our renovations. They store this motorbike at John’s cousin’s house in Amsterdam and enjoy a yearly ritual of trekking around Europe. After a week in Paris, they join us for three days and plan to head towards Italy, Croatia and then back to Holland, rounding out their five-week holiday.
So far we have shown them the market, and Nu and I have been cooking for the three boys while they work on the house renovations. The house is a construction zone with a thick layer of dust I frantically try to clean, but our company doesn’t seem to mind. I send them out at the end of each day with the kids to the square so I can mop the floors without 6 pairs of feet running through it. (Surprising it is the bigger feet I always seem to notice!)
The kid’s love having a full house, especially when their uncle Adrian and John speak fluent French, making Daniel’s homework a breeze. Our visitors talk to our neighbours, our community in French as we pass, and quickly make friends along the way.
Nu tagged along with us on Angelina and Daniel’s play-date a few towns over at a lovely family we know through choir. We enjoyed a lovely morning and afternoon, enjoying Juliet’s garden and a poolside lunch as the children played. They live in the middle of acres of vineyards, in a redone village house, with an open concept space where the garage once was. The windows and doors open to a grand garden. All done to the nines, Simon and Juliet designed and constructed everything themselves. Truly impressive and inspirational! Nu and I had a lovely time visiting them and the kids came home exhausted from play.
Nu and I frequented the local super market during her time with me, and the evening of the play-date, Nu taught me how to make curried chicken from scratch. So simple and flavourful ingredients, make for a fast and delicious meal. Her secret ingredients are freshly squeezed lemon or lime mixed with salt and pepper to add while you are eating. This gives a punch of tang while eating that enhances the foods flavour, bringing out more of the taste.
She used lemon grass crushed while the chicken was stewing. She added extra tarragon making the dish a brilliant yellow, and it even stained my wooden spoons. I could have eaten the whole pot. Would love to try her recipe with cauliflower next time and have some of our vegetarian friends over for dinner.
The evenings were filled with long walks along the Canal du Midi until the sun slipped over the hillside between the giant Plane trees along its banks.
Nu spoiled the kids with ice-cream cones and gifts, and spent one on one time with each of them. Angelina could be found holding her hand whenever the chance, and Nu patiently quizzed Daniel on his math homework. They loved her.
We made three-cheese lasagna and a fresh endive and strawberry salad for our last night together. Over drinks we chatted and went for our last night’s walk for drinks at the Café. Nu and I took the kids home early and let the men stay, and we put them down for bed. What a treat for my kids to have someone else tuck them in.
The next morning we said our goodbyes. Tinges of sadness came to us thinking when will our next familiar faces appear in Capestang? Soon I hope!