We had a fun evening - caught up on the gossip while sipping cocktails and champagne at mine before hitting up three different bars along with Charlie. I got into another argument with a French guy. Sigh, seriously, even I'm getting tired of fighting with French men, why can't we just get along? Actually, I got into a minor disagreement with one who, in the middle of chatting up my friend, poked me on the breastbone to tell me that he could see the safety pin that was holding my dress together in the front (then stop looking down my dress maybe? I probably need a smaller safety pin, but that's neither here nor there), and then later I had a HUGE fight with an old man.
I'm not a crazy person though, it was totally justified. I was standing next to him at the bar, talking to my friends. He grabs my arse, and I barely even reacted, just like "don't touch me". And then I had my eye on him, so a little bit later out of the corner of my eye I see him going for it again, so I put my hand down next to my side and grabbed his wrist. And then what really made me absolutely furious was that he denied it! I almost literally caught him red-handed! He was all "how could you say that, I would never do such a thing", and I completely flipped my lid at him. If nothing else, I'm proud that my French skills have progressed to the point that I can shout "casse-toi, vieux connard" at a dirty old pervert in a bar at 4 in the morning. Quite cathartic.
I swear to god though, I know there are bad apples everywhere, but I've had it up to here with all these French men who think they're entitled to comment on what you're wearing or yell things at you or touch you. We're going out for Halloween next Wednesday, so I pinkie swear I'm taking this weekend off and staying in, watching the F1, maybe buying myself some winter boots. (I really really need them cos mine have holes in both the toes, but waiting to see what's left in the bank at the end of the month. I'm like a raggedy Victorian orphan, ha ha.)
Anyway, on to happier subjects, I got woken up on Sunday morning (grumble grumble) by a text inviting me out to a last-minute wine and cheese tasting tour (yay) with my friend Philippa and a visitor from Australia, Zach. Our first stop was a goat farm in Sainte-Maure-de-Touraine, where we sampled four varieties - fresh, semi-dry, dry and very dry - of the eponymous cheese. I love Sainte-Maure cheese, it's very yummy. I'd only had the fresh and semi-dry before, and the intensity of flavour of the other two was a big surprise! The very dry variety is almost spicy, it's so strong, and the flavour stays with you for quite some time! It's also very dry in texture, not at all soft and creamy. I liked all of them, but my favourite was probably the demi-sec, so I bought a roll of that (for about 2€ cheaper than it would be in a supermarket).
Sainte-Maure is pretty much a one-horse town as far as we could tell, so we went straight on to Chinon after the cheese farm. We stopped just outside Chinon at a winery offering dégustations. We were a bit confused about where to go once we got into the place, as there was basically a barn and an open door leading into what looked like someone's living room (with two very cute cats on the steps). While we were wondering, some people who were obviously friends of the family turned up and found the vintner for us. With hindsight, I think we must have delayed the start of Sunday lunch, because it was about 1 pm. Sorry!
He was very nice though, and ushered us into a barn for the most sophisticated wine-tasting you're ever likely to find. Philippa was driving, so I asked if there was a crachoir she could spit into. Much to our amusement, he said she could spit into the drain running behind the barrel! Think on that the next time you're around wine snobs... (PS she's much too refined to spit in a drain on a barn floor, she just had a sip of each.)
|Small-scale wine-making. The barrel represents the "salon de dégustation"|
We continued on our merry way to Chinon, and stopped off first at the Couly-Dutheil wine tasting rooms. I was dying for the loo, but Philippa assured me that they had a bathroom I could use, since she'd been there with her parents the weekend before. However, the door was locked and the wine tasting lady earned my undying hatred by acted all shocked that I dared to ask about using the facilities and made us go across the street and up the hill to the chateau in the pouring rain to use theirs. She also made some kind of snobby remarks about people who "didn't know what they were doing" buying wines to store - apparently if you know what you're doing, you have to buy a case and drink one every year to see the evolution of the wine. (By undying hatred, I mean I vowed to seek revenge by tasting her wines without purchasing any. I've had Couly-Dutheil wines before and they are quite nice, but they started at about 8€ a bottle, so this wasn't a huge hardship.) I don't know if this post is reflecting very well on me - I'm really quite mild-mannered, I promise.
Oh, I just read on the internet that there is a bit of a family feud between the Couly-Dutheil and Pierre & Bertrand Couly winemakers. My sister and I visited P&B Couly back in 2010 and enjoyed the wines we had there very much, so with that and the snobbish salesperson, you can put me down on Team Pierre & Bertrand. The t-shirt to that effect is being designed as we speak.
|View of Chinon castle from inside the Couly-Dutheil tasting room|
|Moi in Chinon|
|The Vienne river, lined with scary spider-harbouring trees|