The weather continues to improve slowly, and this morning was a bit warmer than we had over the weekend, with the occasional patch of sun.
A few more loads of clothes and some ironing took up most the morning, while David twiddled with the computer hookup and WiFi in the house to see if we can get it a bit better. Outside of major cities, France is a few decades behind the U.S. in WiFi and Internet service so we deal with slow upload and download speeds and service dropping out frequently. In addition, the computer in the mas, including the cabling, is pretty old and worn, so David made a note to bring new cables that will stay plugged in.
Around midday, we set forth for nearby St. Remy, the plan being to grab a quick bite, then go to the wonderful cooking equipment store (think Williams Sonoma) for good knives, a measuring carafe, and a few other items. Finally, we would go to the Intermarché (the St. Remy store is much better than the one in Orgon) to complete our shopping list for our first week in the house, including ingredients for a stir fry, which somehow is appealing to us.
Into the A4 and down the road. St. Remy was virtually empty, and we found a parking place right on the Boulevard Mirabeau, unheard of during our visits in Spring when we have to park in Portugal due to the traffic. We strolled up the Boulevard to Bistrot Decouverte and grabbed a table. The daily menu had a lot of nice choices. David settled on the lotte (monkfish) with wild rice while I opted for the entrecote Charolais. The waiter perked up when I replied to his “cuit?) with “bleu,” which is one step above mooing. David ordered a bottle of the always reliable Valdition cuvee Filles blanc, two kirs, and were set to go.
A young couple sat down next to us, and we immediately recognized each other — he was our waiter from the stormy Saturday lunch at Sous les Micocouliers. We joked about the improvement in the weather, and our conversation was joined by the couple on the other side, who turned out to be a delightful French/English couple. He is an infectious diseases doctor specializing in antibiotic resistant TB, and she is … French. Turned out they have a house near us in Eygalieres, so we spent some time chatting about everything from olive oil (they make their own from their 12-acre grove) to restaurants, to visits they have made to South Florida. A nice time and good food, to boot.
We strolled back to the car and headed for the kitchenware store. What might have been leisurely shopping visit turned somewhat rushed due to an American couple with a screaming child. David joked about me giving it one of my famous “looks” to scare it into silence (or cause his hair to explode in flames), but I demurred. Wusthof knives are relatively inexpensive in this store, so I went with a large chef’s knife and a serrated knife for veggies. I added a measuring carafe and a decent corkscrew, and we were out the door with our haul, leaving a forlorn looking salesperson to deal with the screaming baby while its oblivious parents continued to stroll around the store.
Our foray into the Intermarché was a treat. Because it serves a larger and more upscale market than the Orgon store, its shelves are stocked with more and better goods — premium vinegars and olive oils, condiments, wines, and a huge assortment of cheeses. David headed right to the cheese counter and got a hunk of 30-month-old Comté, very similar to an aged Parmeggiano, some Grand Cru Emmenthal, and two rounds of la Mere Richard St. Marcellin, a delightfully barnyardy cheese with a delicious creamy texture. Then it was on to the charcuterie counter for some wonderful ham, and more mundane items like napkins, batteries, and water.
On the road again and on our way back to Eygalieres to stow our purchases before heading into town for a carafe of wine at Café du Centre. As usual, a carafe of rosé appeared without asking, and we alternated between watching folks stroll by and people at adjoining tables chatting about the day’s events. After many years and carafes here, we are recognized and acknowledged by many of the locals, which is nice. David claims it is because of the glare I give screaming children that causes their hair to explode into flames, but I’m not sure I buy that story.
Home for a light bite, and then early to bed. Tomorrow is a dialysis day.