Monday, 11 June 2012

Springtime in Paris

I can hardly believe that midsummer is nearly here, when it barely feels like we have had a spring, let alone summer. At the end of last week, the wind was blowing so hard that my plants were swept off the kitchen windowsill with a clatter. So in my mind, it is really the beginning of spring, hence my blog post. I have found myself drawn towards France recently. I adore how the language sounds, although never managed to emulate it myself at school. I have been ordering books from the library a lot, and noticed that several of them are set in France, so it feels like I have taken myself off for a virtual holiday in springtime in Paris. First I read Love In A Warm Climate by Helena Frith Powell. It was in some ways predictable, if you have read any of her non-fiction; a woman moves to France with her husband to buy and run a vineyard, he leaves her, and she survives by discovering her inner French Woman. For all that, it was enjoyable to read, and has given me a real urge to take up morning yoga again. Next came Peaches For Monsieur Le Cure by Joanne Harris, the third book in the Chocolat trilogy, a series I hope she continues. I love the whimsical style of her writing, I feel like I know Vianne, and in my mind she looks like Dervla Kirwan when she was in Ballykissangel. I didn't have the restraint to do anything other than devour this, and enjoyed it so much. It was lovely to explore the character of Pere Reynaud a little more, and there is a recipe for peach jam that I will be trying later in the year. Most recently it has been Lunchtime in Paris by Elizabeth Bard. One of my favourite kinds of book, a story with recipes, and this time, the true story of her falling in love with and marrying a Frenchman, and learning to live in that culture. Although I have finished reading it, I have not yet returned it to the library as there are several recipes that I want to try. I have taken Entre Nous back off of my bookshelf, as it is a book I bought years ago. It is a guide to finding your own inner French Girl. Amongst the paragraphs are suggestions for books to read and films to watch. I am going to order some from Love Film. I watched the beautiful Audrey Tatou in Beautiful Lies last week and really enjoyed it. I love the styling in French films very much, and am always amazed at how little the subtitles get in the way of the film. Basically, she plays a hairdresser who receives an anonymous love letter. Her mother is very low having been left by her husband, so she copies the letter and sends it to her to give her a boost. Much confusion and entanglements ensue, and halfway through, I was struck that it is almost a retelling of Jane Austen's Emma. Although it is a little slow towards the middle, and suddenly takes a less light hearted look at truth and lies, it is a lovely film. The postman has delivered me the book that accompanies the tv series The Little Paris Kitchen and I can't wait to try out some of the recipes. I really like Rachel Khoo's style, and if she can achieve so much in her little tiny kitchen, then hopefully I should be able to achieve a little in my own little kitchen. Top of my list to try are her Croque Madame Muffins, although that will have to wait for the weekend, because in the week we are strictly porridge or yoghurt for breakfast people! So, an unplanned literary trip to France for me. I don't think I am ready to leave yet, so I shall be looking out some other titles set there. Do you know any good ones? Love Mimi xxx

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