Friday, October 14, 2011


On the first morning home from my travels I opened my eyes in a dark room and thought,
" Oh no! croissants and tea will not be waiting".  Nor beautiful window boxes, nor church chimes nor unknown birds singing their morning joys.

There was the comfort though of my own nest.

In the 3am dark I wandered  to the bath on auto pilot. No longer in a kaleidoscope of places trying to remember the facilities locations. En suite? Down the hall? Occupied?  I resisted turning on any lights. But. I was awake. It was 3am not 9am. Maybe a Tylenol PM would solve the problem. This decision required light and then... staring back from the mirror was Hagatha the Worst.
Dear God!
I quickly exterminated the vision by turning off the lights and returned to my bed. Later, mercifully, Hagatha was banished and my own visage was returned to the mirror.
A blessing.
Marginal, but still a blessing.

Downstairs I heard Blowfish starting his day. I could tell he was making an effort to be quiet. Smart man as he did not yet know who would be descending the stairs. Fishy, or the other.
I delayed, taking a seat  at the top of the stair like a child awaiting the Christmas reveal. I would not be traversing ancient, winding stone steps worn into loblollies in the center from centuries of footsteps.  I would not pause at 9 foot ancient leaded glass windows with a view of a moat , or breathtaking gardens, or  French blue skies. My hand would not caress ancient railings polished smooth by the hands of French nobility. 

I knew I would not descend our stairs  to embrace the comforts of my own home.  While I was elated to hug my loves I was not elated to leave France. In fact, on my third or fourth day there,
I sent a text message to both Mermaid and Blowfish which said,
"Looking for work, will send for you soonest!" I had hopes of apprenticing with a confectioner or a baker. I have never made
a croissant. Now that I have delighted in the real thing I am urgently wondering how I will find one here. I will have to learn how to make them.

Then too,  there is chocolate. In France, chocolate is an art form. Seriously. The chocolates are so beautiful one hates to consume them and destroy such beauty.  But there is the matter of taste. Oh! to the beauty magnified  in your mouth.  So good in fact, that I did learn to not flinch at the $7.50 cost of a  one inch square confection. Money is irrelevant in this application because just one is enough to satiate.  Worth every Euro.

There are no turrets here at the Pond.
Not even one. Tragically, there also is no family chapel  tucked into the turrets. There are no great stone stables , or vineyards  or manicured grounds.  Also no grooms, vintners or groundskeepers.  Alas.

There will be more on my travels.
Once croissants are located.


pam said...

Fishy! I didn't realize you had been across the pond to France! Where did you go, what did you do? Must hear more soon! I'd be more in love with France if it weren't for that language problem! Bonjour!

Jenny said...

Wow you and Aunty must have passed in the airport? Welcome home! Now go back to bed.

fishy said...

Hi Pam,
I'll tell you more about the Great Fishy Design Tour when you tell us more about your Brittany travels. I sort of anticipated images which illuminated a good Dick Francis.

My timetable and Aunty's did overlap but I don't think I passed her in any airports. I actually am looking forward to seeing her travel posts. Is she back?

More about the affordable, off season, design tour when my brain is functional.

moi said...

Welcome back!

I agree with you that there is nothing quite as awesomely delicious as a true blue French croissant. I have yet to find the exact right ones here, not even at my favorite French bakery in town. One of the culinary delights of my life was three straight week's worth of French breakfasts--two croissants, jam, and cafe au lait (also nearly impossible to get correctly done here).

I also know that slightly blue feeling upon returning home from a great adventure. Even if home is wonderful.

Aunty Belle said...

Whoa!! How come mah windows ain't got no gargoyles fer handles?

I'se back--laggin' the jet, still on French time. Notice ya din't take up my offer to lead me through the Paris puces...what? Mah offer to be yore guide fer a convent tour, as trade fer yore design tour din't appeal to ya' so much? Sniff. Sniff, sniff...wail!

Really lookin' forward to yore adventures in all thangs French.

Must say that the countryside were heartbreaking beautiful, every wee village had flowers an' each field an' farm lush an orderly--like a storybook picture.

fishy said...

It is official, I AM in croissant withdrawal. Also am now desperate to find French butter which is definitely different, French sugar which has more sweetness in less volume and then there is the issue of a great little cookie called a Sable (sob-lay)and of course, the chocolates.

Beyond these woes, I am assuredly in architectural splendor withdrawal. Even in my sleep my stem is trying to creatively problem solve how to turn the Pond house into a petite chateau.
How to incorporate a moat without looking pretentious and I really must have a stone wall ....

I did take your advice on some of the accommodations! Here's the thing about the design tour ... hardly any of them chateaus come with a good rockin' porch.

moi said...

Can't help you on the cookies, but go to Trader Joes (or whatever your equivalent is) and buy Irish Butter. It's as close to French/European butter as we get in the states.

Aunty Belle said...

on Sables, here is a recipe for the Norman confection--note the comment on the crucial choice of a European butter an' quality vanilla.

fishy said...

thank you, I do have a local source for European butter... which I have been using for the past year. What I cannot find on the packaging is the rating and percentages. Frustrating!

I bet youse going to have some fine food reports about your French visit.

Thanks much for the sable recipe. You know anything about the difference in their sugar and ours? I have a new botle of madagascar vanilla in the cupboard so I'm good there. I have to go to near by BigCity tomorrow so I will be plying my custom with the huge organic/natural grocer there.