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Tuesday, 28 September 2010

The first knitting retreat

The guests have just all departed from our first knitting retreat here at La Verderie. We have had a fantastic few days with three lovely people. Mark and Diane came all the way from Canada to visit Paris and our little corner of rural France. Whilst Diane was happy to launch into her knitting as soon as she arrived, Mark was a little worried that he had been talked into spending five days with three slightly nutty knitters. However Culli came to his rescue and whisked him off around the countryside to sample a little of the local cognac, check out the bar at St Meme, assist on a few site visits and even grovel around in the engine of the boat - what a lucky man!

The lovely Michelle from Devon kept us entertained with her stories and came up with some great ideas for my book - thank you Michelle! She is a knitter with the patience of a saint, producing her own designs for beautiful floaty garments in laceweight yarns, just stopping every so often to pop outside for a quick fag.

We managed to consume breakfast, lunch and a four course dinner every day with ease, washed down with lashings of wine. It was great to have three real foodies with no dislikes, the seafood lunch on Saturday was attacked with relish, oysters, prawns and bulot enjoyed by all. I try to make the menus a mix of french and english so came up with the following for the evening meals -
Thursday - smoked salmon pate, Normandy chicken, cheese board, peaches baked in pineau
Friday - pear, roquefort and walnut salad, salmon and prawn pie, cheese board, tarte tatin
Saturday - pumpkin soup, magret de canard with red wine sauce, cheese board, squidgy lemon pudding
Sunday - charentais melon with pineau, roast lamb with dauphinoise potatoes, cheese board, mousse au chocolat
Monday - prawns with ginger and chilli, boeuf bourguignon, cheese board, croissant bread pudding
We had an outing to the market at St Jean d'Angely on Saturday morning and I took Mark and Diane into Saintes yesterday afternoon for a wander around the shops and a visit to the Roman Amphitheatre.
It was sad to see them all leave today, Mark and Diane are back to Paris for a few more days of culture and Michelle is off for a week's adventure in La Rochelle. Tomorrow the house sitters move in and Culli and I are off to the UK for a wedding, Monday the diet starts..............

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