The sun was baking the rolling hills, and the annual harvest of ruby-purple grapes was underway – Indian summer days were still gracing Provence. Visions of glasses of chilled rosé danced in her head…
What was Nutmeg thinking?
It was a lazy afternoon in Provence, under a scalding sun, seated on a suspended terrace in the village of Ansouis. As she sat drinking in the pastoral vineyard views, Nutmeg understood why this might be Andrew Squires’ favourite French expression.
Ça depend … it depends.
Andrew was born in the United Kingdom. His artistic leanings emerged early on as he experimented with both drawing and painting. He discovered photography as an artistic medium, and a magnetic force pulled him to Arles for les Rencontres d’Arles an annual photography festival that was founded in 1970.
He has lived in Provence permanently for a couple decades, and he considers it home. He took a few minutes over lunch, and a pitcher of local rosé to tell Nutmeg a little more about his passion for the region and photography.
Enjoy his photos as you read this blog post.
Barely 9:30am 15 glasses sampled and suddenly flaky, cheese pastries looked quite appealing. Blood-red stains were visible in every direction and the lighting under the curved ceiling was at best dim. Ginger and Nutmeg were at the Cuverie des Hospices de Beaune, the wine cellars, for the first degustation of the weekend, with 44 wines available for tasting from the 2012 harvest.
Ginger and Nutmeg are children born in the early 1960’s, sheltered from the difficulties of the two World Wars; they did not recognize the name Jean Moulin, when they arrived in France.
Sure, their school history classes covered the wars in some detail. They have grandparents and parents who were certainly impacted by the hardships of those dark, uncertain days. On Nutmeg’s paternal side, the whole family was uprooted, and they relocated to a foreign land. The scarcity of food and other products from that time has instilled a steady habit of reuse, recycle and do not waste.
The Gallo-Romans should be thanked for introducing grapevines to Burgundy, now part of France. Religious orders of monks dedicated years of effort to clear heavily forested land and rid rocky soil of stones. A reputation of fine wine production was established by the 14C and continues…
It seems odd that this village was not named “les beaux” (the beautiful).
Impossibly perched on a plateau straddling a rocky peak of les Alpilles, the castle and hamlet of les Baux de Provence does deserve its title as one of the “Most Beautiful Villages in France”. The revived town site offers visitors sweeping views of the stone crags, a valley filled with plains of olives and rows of grapevines and in the distance the Mediterranean.
However, les Baux is not in reference to good looks.
Nutmeg was tired of lugging around a bulky camera; with its big lens and a menu of options that she could not understand. The only two settings she had ever used were automatic and off. Frustrated that the fancy camera was not getting any “exercise,” and her iPhone offered the same capabilities in a much lighter package, she decided that enough was enough.
Nutmeg received an email regarding a trip to Ireland although she was extremely tempted by the itinerary, the tour dates could not work into their schedule. The proposed trip, designed for a small group of travellers is a bespoke, crafted experience combining some of southern Ireland’s famous historical sites with rock climbing and sea kayaking. Nutmeg was intrigued she reached out to Mary Baskin an accomplished interior designer to understand more about her story and the company.
In her own words…
Nutmeg considered an alternate title for this post:
“Camino – What colour is your poncho?”
The email arrived in February from Sassafras. She was wondering if anyone might join her to walk a section of the Camino de Santiago de Compostela for a week in May. This lady was not planning to celebrate her milestone birthday at a luxurious desert spa. Nope, she wanted some girlfriends to join her on a long walk. In the end, nine brave (or foolish) gals agreed to subject themselves to her adventure.
Nutmeg toured only a small portion of Ireland with her family. The island is tiny, yet the number of potential attractions is enormous, and the roads are small. Rather than bore you with the specific itinerary, she decided to do another ABC list (this one abbreviated).
Aran Islands lie off the coast from Galway. These are three barren specs of land still occupied by native Irish speakers. Even if you have not heard of the islands you have most likely come across an Aran cable knit sweater, typically made from heavy, cream-coloured wool.