Eh, oui. It is that time of year.
One of the gorgeous aspects of this house we rent in Provence is its courtyard, half of which is dominated by a giant olive tree, the other through an ancient vine that snakes over a wrought iron trellis. Both provide glorious dappled shade, a precious commodity during this past blaze of a summer.
And while that sun often taunted me into hiding behind closed shutters, it certainly did an enormous amount of good for both the olives - which are looking splendid - and the clusters of hanging grapes that glowed like edible chandeliers.
I remember that the owner of the house had said that the vine is fruitful every other year or so. Last autumn we had been so disappointed when the grapes turned into mildewed globs practically overnight. The harvest then was easy, smelly but easy. Remi extended his trusty trimmer and I was on clean-up crew.
However, this year, well, of course, we wanted to save as much as we could but it was time they came down, not only as they were perfectly ripe but the bees were starting to eat more than we were. So today was the day. Some inner voice suggested that I put on an old t-shirt and Remi blocked off the area from the dogs as grapes are not good for their livers, no matter how much they love the taste.
I rolled open a grocery bag and extended my arms, trying my best to catch the mana from heaven as it rained down, pelting my face, my hands and the pavement. And how I laughed while doing so. It was ridiculous and by the end I looked - if you will excuse me for saying so - rather like a giant had used me for a handkerchief. We recuperated enough grapes so that Remi will be able to make a second go with his jelly, this time promising to actually stir the agar-agar so that we are not stuck with ten pots of rather delicious sauce for ice-cream.
As I am typing, I can see the last rays of the sunset reflecting off of the building en face, the one that they call "Le Chateau" and perhaps it is. As I told Remi earlier today after la vendange was finished, I feel lighter. There is less literally hanging over-head, just the promise of my favorite season in front of me and more importantly, that of some incredibly important visitors arriving within the week.
Let autumn in.
Ps. For my fellow antiques lovers - and I know that you are many - my friend Ellie is having a phenomenal sale at her shop on Have Some Decorum. I honestly don't know how she finds such exceptional pieces, many are finer than anything that I have seen during fourteen years of antiquing in France. Her readers are chomping at the bit so much may be already sold when you see this but if you are interested, then by all means quickly click: Here.
Happy Labor Day Weekend to those of you that are celebrating...and happy Happy to everyone else...