Candes Saint-Martin, my favourite spot in La Touraine.

Friday, 2 August 2013

Party Time - Before

On the Big Day, aka the day of this year’s blogger BBQ, I woke up at seven o’clock. I opened the shutters to find myself staring up at a milky sky; not at all the blue I had hoped for. I activated the ‘mobile roaming’ function on my smartphone and ‘dialled in’ to check the weather forecast.

Waking up to a milky sky!

It looked promising but not really reassuring: clear blue skies, some cloud around 2 p.m. (just our luck!), temperatures around 16°C, a risk of precipitation of 10%. Not brilliant, but it would have to do. Ever since our 2009 barbecue attempt, when we had lunch with Ken and Walt baking the steaks on the gas cooker in their kitchen because it was raining outside, I have become a bit nervous when it comes to organizing a barbecue.

While J.L. took out the tables, chairs and barbecue grill, B. prepared the glasses and cutlery. In the kitchen I washed the lettuce, cut up two of the four melons and placed them on a large plate with slices of cured Serrano ham. I wasn’t too happy about the ham though, because it was rather coarsely sliced and a bit tough to the bite. I also shelled the hard boiled eggs, crushed the yolks in a bowl and added two generous tablespoons of mayonnaise and chopped chives from J.L. herb garden. I then ‘reconstructed’ the eggs by putting the yolk-mayonnaise-chives mixture in the halved egg whites. I rummaged through B. cupboard (with her permission) to find a nice oblong platter on which I placed the eggs on a bed of lettuce. Et voilà, my ‘oeufs mimosa’ were ready to be served.

One more table, and we're ready to go!

My job was almost done, except for preparing the nibbles that would accompany the aperitif. We had bought three types of crisps and then there were the two sausages we had bought at Amboise market the day before. I cut these up in thin slices. A few glass bowls and some tooth picks, and yet another job done.

A typical French village scene ... 

encoutered while on my way to post my picture postcards. 

By then it was half past eleven. Ken, Walt and Charles-Henry had promised to come slightly earlier than the rest of the crowd, in order to give us a hand, if necessary. I just had time to change and walk over to the letter box down the road to post the postcards for my mother, family and friends. By the time I got back to the house, J.L. was about to take a shower after mowing the front lawn.


P.S. It's really hot today in Belgium and I'm sitting here in the semi-darkness of my apartment with all the curtains tightly closed to keep the sun and heat out. I did go shopping this morning, but came home with my clothes sticking to my body and drops of sweat dripping down my spine and face ... Not a pretty sight! I would happily exchange these temperatures for those we had on B-BBQ day!


Niall & Antoinette said...

Yup hot here too!
Had an excellent look round Fourgere-sur-Bievre yesterday. I know, I know: mad dogs and Englishmen --it was 34C-- though neither technically apply ;-)
I was very sticky by the end of the visit!
Great place though!

As I recall I was wearing a fleece at the BBQ

Zimbabwe said...

I was sad to miss that barbecue but we were somewhere out on the Med. Very hot her as well. The greenhouse yesterday with door open and all windows as well was reading 46C. Have a good weekend Diane

GaynorB said...

This brings back great memories of an excellent BBQ! Thank you.

Very hot in the UK too, but not perhaps as hot as those temperatures in the Touraine and the Charente.

chm said...

That first week of June was the only summer like temperatures we've had until early July. The weather was perfect for your BBQ/bloggers party.

Here in Paris, it is temperature wise the same as in Belgium now. I love the heat!

Nadege said...

Heat is ok but humidity not too much for me anyway. There were recipes of different Deviled eggs in the LA Times on saturday but I couldn't remember the name in french. Oeufs mimosa. Thanks Martine. I bet they were delicious!

Louise said...

I so enjoy reading about all you blogger friends getting together...i am looking forward to the next instalment...and it is nice to read about your warm weather, from Perth where we are in a chilly and wet winter....

VirginiaC said...

Early morning milky skies usually turn into gorgeous days.
Your BBQ preparations sound delicious.
Can't wait for the next portion of your story.

Craig said...

It all seems very organized and I'm looking forward to hearing the rest of the story too.
Not hot at all here in Scotland - 20C, sigh!

Ken Broadhurst said...

We had storms overnight and now there is more like a breath of air instead of stifling heat and humidity. The party that first week of June was a highlight of the summer (along with my two trips to Paris, thanks to CHM). Hope your weather has cooled down now too, Martine.

Jean said...

It turned out to be a great day - in so many ways.
It was a lovely party, we enjoyed it, and it's fun reading all about it to remind us!
I always enjoy the preparation for a big "do". Getting everything ready and anticipating how it will turn out is so much fun!

ladybird said...

N&A, I've read your post about Fougères and really enjoyed the photos. Thank you for posting them.

Diane, I'm sorry too that you and Nigel couldn't be there, but your trip was well worth it, I'm sure.

Gaynor, It was fun, wasn't it. I can't thank B. and J.L. enough for giving me the opportunity to invite you all.

Chm, I know you love the heat. Must bring back memories from you time in California.

Nadege, Oeufs mimosa are a great classic in Belgium. You'll find them on most 'buffets'.

Louise, Make sure to keep warm and dry ... :) Sorry you missed the BBQ. If you had been in France at the time, you would have been on mist guest list!

Virginia, More BBQ stories coming up. Preparing it was almost as much fun a living the actual event.

Craig, I think that every successful event starts with a good organization. Although I'm not THE most organized person in the world. Just ask my boss. She knows how much I like to improvise.

Ken, Temperatures are almost back to normal now. Oufff! But they are expected to go up again during the weekend.

Jean, I feel exactly the same. Preparing a big 'do' or a trip is half of the fun ... I really had a great time doing both.