We awoke with torrents of rain and high winds, and headed off to the clinic. We arrived early, which was good as I would be finished early, but by the time I was ready for David to pick me up, the weather had really turned bad. Big gusts of winds were blowing branches off of trees and the rain was coming down in torrents. David crept to the clinic from the mas, while the French adjusted to the bad-weather driving by passing each other at every opportunity and blinking their headlights (hoping to evaporate the rain?)
The weather let up a bit as we headed back to the mas, so we decided to stop at a produce stand near the Orgon roundabout that was open. The sign outside said “Fruits, legumes, vin, et snacks.” Don’t think we need to translate. Once inside, and greeted by Nicole, a delightful super salesperson, it became apparent that the focus here was on wine. She proceeded to open eight bottles for us to try, and advised we should take just a small sip of each, then toss/spit the rest on the floor. Given that there was over an inch of rain water on the floor of the stand, this had little impact, so we didn’t worry. Nicole said it was crucial that we cleanse our palate after each wine so we could fully appreciate the nuances, so brought out a platter with bread, ham, foie gras, etc. Guilt started to settle in, and we realized we would have to buy some wine in addition to the produce we had stopped for.
As I headed to the display that had caught our attention – beautiful melons, peaches, etc., Nicole laughed and said “not to buy, it is not real.” I picked up one of the melons and saw that it was painted cement. The garlic, shallots, and onions were real, so I picked out some of each (all wonderful), while David negotiated for the wine, settling on six bottles of rosé and two of red from nearby Mount Ventoux. The total tab for the wines was 50 euro, and the produce eight euro.
Having done our bit to support French agriculture, we headed down the road to St. Remy while Nicole called le Figaro and TV5 to sell them the story of the Americans who tried to buy cement fruit.
Being Saturday, a market day in St. Remy, we figured the village would be overrun, but the weather had driven everyone out, so we were able to find a parking spot right in front of La Gousse d’Ail (the clove of garlic), one of our favorite dining spots. Putting off our shopping chores for the more attractive option of dining, we hopped inside. The restaurant is set in an old house, part of which contains what can best be described as a museum of odd stuff – small carousels, tiny cars, doll houses, giant stuffed toys, etc. Sort of like a William Shatner TV episode from Twilight Zone. You expect one of the dolls to come to life, or the carousel to start running, or Denny Crain to come in and shoot a Bobo doll. Tables are scattered through this setting, which gives lunch a surreal feeling. The food is good, and the service always friendly and efficient. We had a nice meal, and headed to the Intermarche nearby for the last items for our upcoming lunch hosting Christine and Philippe. Then it was home to the mas.
As the temperature had dropped to eight degrees Celsius, we donned every article of clothing we had brought with us to keep warm. To warm up the mas, we turned on every light in the place and ran the clothes dryer non-stop. We also turned on the TV, tuning as always to the Movies4Men channel. We were gratified to see that they were showing The Black Archer, a horrible Italian creation that sort of retells the story of Robin Hood, except that the lead character is neither an archer, nor wears black. This was followed by a WWII war movie about two GIs on their way to stand trial for murder in Italy when a horde of inept Germans attacks the village they are in “forcing them to choose between escape and fighting valiantly.” After exhausting virtually every cliché imaginable (child dies trying to help them, beautiful peasant girl in designer dress dies trying to help them, horse dies trying to save them…) they turn their fury – and submachine guns that never have to be reloaded – on the Germans, including several tanks. It ends with the lone GI survivor being given a medal while a voice over tells us that all wars are bad, even just ones, dogs and horses are good, vegetables are good for you. etc. Blah, blah, blah. We half expected the black archer to drop in from the previous movie and lip synch the same thing.
Then, with the weather winding down, and the forecast of more of the same for tomorrow, we turned in.