09 August, 2011

In the air.

A lot of what I do in the summertime is about capturing the best moments. It's all about distilling--reducing and preserving the essential--whether I'm cooking a batch of deeply ripe raspberry jam, bottling fruit liqueurs or making chutneys, for which I'm now using the Reine Claudes that are so weighing down the plum trees in the garden.  Memories, to be opened at a later date for the taste buds, the eye, the nose, the mind.

I suppose in many ways I've tried to do that with this blog. Coming on three years now, I've gathered together some fine moments, many of which still glow in my mind's eye as brightly as my neighbor's newly pressed picholine olive oil. And while I've enjoyed every season to the full, this summer seems more memorable than usual.

Leaving'll do that to you, bringing the things, people and places you most value into blade-sharp focus. Call it a sort of early-onset nostalgia. As an expat and dyed-in-the-wool nomad I really try not to put off the important stuff--carpe diem and all that jazz--but there is always the latent awareness that another move could shake things up once again. This time, the siren call of my husband's work imposes; so for the past month I've been simultaneously living it up and preparing for a return...to city life.

I'm moving due north. For the first time ever, I'm going back to live in a city I already know. If I sound fairly cavalier about leaving the sunny south, it's because I know we'll be back in France--and regularly. (We have to: we're keeping the farmhouse.)

Care to explore Amsterdam with me? I'm leaving in two weeks. 

Or you could drop by and help pack some boxes...


  1. How exciting for you! I hope the move goes smoothly, and that everything falls into place as it should. I would help you pack up if only I could....

  2. Can't I just tag along in your luggage? You speak Dutch if I recall correctly? So it should be an easier transition for you? I will miss seeing these glimpses of France though.

  3. Oh gosh! Well, at least it's Amsterdam and not some dreary dump like Slough, and you'll be taking along all that bottled sunshine too?

    Good luck with the move!

  4. Lors de tes séjours ici fais un petit coucou, tu seras toujours la bienvenue.
    Belle vie de famille à vous quatre, continues ton blog ainsi nous connaîtrons les Pays Bas un peu mieux, joins-y quelques recettes typiques.
    Bonne chance

  5. Hello Rose,
    But I sure could use an extra hand, between the harvesting, canning, oh, and moving to another country. I confess there's a little trepidation here, with the move to the city...

    Hi WC,
    Yes, I do speak Dutch, so language isn't an issue, and I have lived in Amsterdam before so the city isn't an issue either. The challenge will be leaving the countryside and everything that means behind. Luckily, we'll be back regularly, so you will get more glimpses of the French life...

    Hello Sarah,
    Indeed, it could be worse, but sunshine's a pretty fickle thing in the Netherlands so we will be coming back regularly to top up our vitamin D.

    Coucou Micheline,
    Merci pour ces gentils vœux, je partageais avec plaisir mon petit aperçu du Pays Bas, mais il faut reconnaitre que "l'autre pays du fromage" n'est pas plébiscité pour sa cuisine!
    Ands, so we'll be coming back regularly to top up on our vitamin D.

  6. speechless. mouth agog. stunned. these are the only ways i can find to describe the fact that you're probably already gone and i am only now finding out because i haven't read anything in a month. please send me your new email. bisous, aidan


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