Saturday, 21 February 2009

Nunc est bibendum - Now we must drink. (Horace)

The room that sealed the deal when we were reconnoitring our present house to buy, was the butler’s pantry. Just a small room off the dining room, designed to catch the cool northerly breeze though vents in the wall, a cold room or larder. Nick, however, realised at once, he could use it as his ‘cave’. The alcoholic equivalent of the garden shed.
It immediately became a shrine to Ricard, Pastis 51, Gauloises, Gitanes and his best vintage, laying down wines. He can trace this addiction for all things French and Bar, to his first days on tour in France on the road in the 1960’s, when the advertising was hand painted on the sides of houses. (Most have now disappeared, see a couple of survivors we snapped along the Loire, below.) There was a need in him to drink the drink of the French movies of Jean-Pierre Melville and smoke the smoke of ‘À bout de soufflé’;-)
In trying to re-live a lost age of La Belle France we scoured the flea markets and bricolage, to find the advertising ashtrays, glasses and water carafes to set the scene. Then there are the bottles of aperitifs bought, seduced by their old world labels. Of course, one needed the appropriate glass for each and every drink. All French bar memorabilia found it’s way to Nick’s ‘cave’.
With the Euro rapidly becoming equal to the Pound, trips, 'en vacance' in the camper van, buying ‘produit de région’ is fast becoming a bygone age in itself.


Rob (ourfrenchgarden) said...

Hi Fay

So, drink and French memorabilia eh! Can't fault it. Sound just perfect to me


Jo said...

Even the very mention of the film 'A bout de souffle' gives me a shiver of excitement & makes me wish I still smoked! (J.P.B = swoon!!)
I love the idea of the cave, even better that it's within a couple of easy steps of the dining room & not down in the cellar!
I love your blogs so much Fay :-)

Woodland Fay said...

Rob, again thanks for your support.

Hello there Jo. Yep xxJPBxx Keep missing you on Twitter. How's tricks. Off to France next month, we will be seen in all the best flea markets of Paris no doubt. Thanks for your continued follow, always a treat to hear from you. We will be holidaying up your way this year. Euro Pound exchange too punishing for further travels. Soon Fx