The concept of a long lunch might sound appealing but how do you find the motivation to return to work? And how productive are you when all you want to do is curl up on a comfy couch and sleep? Most of the shops in town (and, from what we’ve seen, most regional towns), are closed from 12 – 2 so employees can have their daily long lunch. To compensate for the lunchtime closure, they’re open til 7pm each weekday. It’s a bit annoying not being able to shop for two hours in the middle of the day – I don’t know when people who work in retail get to do their own shopping – but on the other hand, it’s part of a more relaxed lifestyle that isn’t driven by work. Lucky for us, we didn’t have work to return to after our 3 hour lunch on Friday! We went with Tony and Dee to a local restaurant and sat down to a 4 course meal which began with an aperatif at noon and ended with dessert at 3pm. After our glass of Kir Cassis (white wine and blackcurrant syrup) was entree – leek and caulifower soup – main course – fish, carrots and mashed potato (French mash is great!) then a plate of 3 cheeses – goat’s, soft peppery cream cheese and a hard tasty cheese, all made locally, followed by chocolate chip pudding with chocalate sauce . With a complimentary wine or beer, the whole meal cost 13 euro 80 each – around $17 – very enjoyable and a bargain as well! The rest of the afternoon was spent trying to stay awake! For many workers, that’s a standard lunch and their dinner will be late and light; a formal French dinner will start with entrees at 9pm with dessert served closer to midnight.
Other than overdoing it at lunch, Friday evening was the ‘vernissage’ (drinks and nibbles) at the watercolour exhibition so we went and mingled for a short time. There were a lot of people there actually and apparently David’s painting of the 3 old Citroens drew some attention. The funny bit of the vernissage was that there was a large table full of food and it was explained to us in broken english that the savoury dishes were at one end and the sweets at the other…..like we can’t tell the difference between a pizza and a cake!
Apart from that, we had a quiet week at the cottage, just doing our usual activities and quite a bit of work in the garden. Today after a short church service, we went over to Limoges for lunch, driving back through the Creuse region which is lovely – it’s also the least populated area of France so the roads are quiet. We’ve decided that regional France is dead on Sundays! Streets are deserted and pretty much eveything is closed – everyone’s having their long lunch.
We’re at the half-way point in our sojourn in France! We’re still enjoying being here and we wonder how, at home, we managed to fit going to work into our day! I’m sure we’ll rediscover that when we return to our jobs in January.
Later this week we’re heading over to Grenoble – we have the use of an apartment there for 2 weeks (a friend of Dee’s kindly offered for us to stay there while she’s away) and we’re looking forward to exploring that area – the alps especially – and we hope to pop over into Italy and go to Geneva as well. I know David will want to get into every sort of chair lift/cable car etc to get up mountains so I’ll have to grit my teeth and get on board as well. We’ll have lots of places and photos to blog about anyway!
Enjoy the week ahead; until next week
Chris and David