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In September the light changes. It becomes softer, golden and mellow. The mornings are crisp and the evenings are chilly. The days are glorious. There is not a better month for having a school reunion and inviting a group of people round you haven't seen for 35 years! It all came about because my lovely French teacher from the international school in Tokyo in 1979, who I am still in touch with, thought it would be a good idea. After a very nice bottle of Gaillac, I agreed with her. A lovely group of women, some traveling alone, some with husbands and children, from as far as Hawaii, Alaska, Washington, Seattle, Australia, and parts of Europe, descended on La Belle Vue, and had a wonderful long week-end talking, chatting, reminiscing, laughing, crying and discovering the wonders of our little part of the Tarn! We visited Albi, the market of St Antonin Noble Val, and Cordes but the high-light for all of us was the Vendange at the vineyard Le Chateau La Combelle. Didier and Christophe took us out into the vineyard to pick grapes. We couldn't get enough, filling a trailer full of loaded buckets. The sun shone and the views over the hills of vineyard were unforgettable. After taking us round the estate, we enjoyed a bit of, what we call, 'dégusting' (the verb we coined from the French 'dégustation'). We tottered off home after the wine-tasting, and carried on at La Belle Vue. Receiving these wonderful women here at La Belle Vue has been one of the high-lights of my life. I was touched, honoured and so happy to have been able to host such a special event.
And so before we knew it it was October. The Autumn mists rolled in, and the trees and vines turned golden. The tomato plants suddenly went bananas, so to speak, and I was inundated with tomatoes. There are now pots and pots of tomato sauce , tomato chutney,and ratatouille in the wine cellar. Whenever I see my pots of beautiful red sauce I feel a glow of Domestic Goddess-ness. So they better not go all mouldy! All the foraged apples and quinces have been turned into quince jelly, wild mint jelly, christmas spice jelly, rosemary jelly, sloe and apple jelly and hedgerow jelly. I am all jellied and sauced out! Soon there will be no room for wine. I have to stop! Thankfully, I have run out of jars. Phew!
We seriously tacked the garden, before you think all we do is party and entertain friends. Matt slaved away and has become an expert industrial strimmer, compost builder, landscape developer and rock picker. As light relief we went to the open day at our local farm and fromagerie. We learnt a lot about dairy farming and cheese making. Of course, it being France, we had a lovely meal with local produce, sitting on benches at trestle tables, all washed down with some Gaillac red.
We partied and entertained friends and family in the last week in October and then we finally turned the water off , closed the pool and the doors to La Belle Vue Gite.
We are looking forward to opening again next season. Our first booking is in and we hope some of you will be able to join us next year! C'est bonne la vie at La Belle Vue!