Saturday, 5 June 2010


Last night, when I'd just finished eating my supper, about 20h00, there was a tap on my door and my neighbour, the nice one, was standing there with two live spider crabs he'd fished during the afternoon. It's not the first time he's given me stuff he has collected, last year he gave me three abalone, which are exceedingly rare and exceedingly good, because he thought I ought to try them. Spider crab is one of my favourites, much more delicate and tasty than crabe dormeur. So I cooked the two crabs without delay and had one for my lunch today. The other I gave to Elisabeth vdP, I couldn't manage two.

I have been laying flooring in the hall, the finishing touch, after painting all the woodwork pale grey (Farrow and Ball, or Little Greene, I can't remember which, we have an Englishman in Audierne who does English decorating materials, and I must say these paints are so wonderful they make painting almost a pleasure) and putting up the cheaper wallpaper I think I told you about on part of the walls (the other part is rough white boards (bois brut lasuré). The flooring is what we used to call lino, but today is much smarter. It imitates wood to perfection, and looks like pale whitey-grey parquet flooring, but comes in "boards" 15x70cm which you stick down. Really easy to lay, quite easy to cut using a Stanley knife or kitchen scissors. And very inexpensive! The first part went down really quickly, and now I'm struggling with all the irregular bits around the edges. It makes the hall looks enormous, compared to the dark red tunnel it was when I bought the house. With the new glass doors I put in last year and all the pale woodwork, it is a real lesson in what one can do with colour.

It was so hot yesterday (I put the power hose over the terrace in the afternoon and got quite sunburnt doing so) that I walked Ellie round the block at 22h30. And as I came back, the nice neighbour's wife was in their front garden and invited me in for a glass of wine. This is the first time I have been inside their house in the three years I have lived here, so it's definitely progress. It was by this time 23h00 and they were just sitting down with friends to a monumental feast of what they had fished in the afternoon, mostly spider crab, but also a few mussels, and some things that grow on the rocks, a sort of barnacle I suppose, which is a long tube ending with a sort of inverted hoof. They are called pouce-pied, pousse-pied or anatife in French and once again I can't find a translation, so here is a photo:

You cook them briefly and eat what is inside the tube. Now this is something that I had never eaten, very good, chewy, tasting a bit like a stronger version of a langoustine.

So I had my glass of rosé, watched them eating spider crab, chatted a bit and came back home to bed at midnight!

When I came in from doing the terrace yesterday I was frightfully thirsty. I juiced myself one raw beetroot and half a small watermelon. Quite delicious, and such a beautiful colour.