Tuesday, June 05, 2007

It's competition time

It’s 8am on Sunday morning and Lourmarin should be slumbering, with just the odd early morning dog walker enjoying the silence of the streets. Instead there’s mayhem. All across the Luberon the village’s annual vide grenier (empty attic sale) has been advertised, and as one of the region’s property hotspots people have travelled for miles in anticipation of rich pickings. But to get the good stuff you have to be early, hence the series of rugby scrums developing as the church clock strikes the hour.

Why the intense competition? Most people who have been on holiday to France will have visited a brocante market - all weathered furniture, old iron work and rusty boule - and winced at the preposterous prices. How can things that look so battered cost so much? Well the joy of the vide grenier is that brocante quality pieces can be had for next to nothing….that is if you beat the professional dealers who are scouring the market for items they can take home, shine up and sell on for ten times the price.

Tanya and I join one of the rolling mauls through the narrow street and emerge at the other end with a Brucey conveyor belt full of items - 6 beer glasses, a watercolour painting, two old fishing nets, a painting of a lion, a coffee maker and an old fan, but no cuddly toy. The price of our early morning shopping expedition - €20. Everyone loves a bargain, hence the fight erupting near by over an old wine rack.

And now some news which will delight my relatives back in England - the Luberon is enjoying it’s wettest spring for years. All winter the locals have been muttering about the secheresse, the river beds have been at all time lows, water basins have been empty and the upcoming long hot summer was expected to knock the eco-system over the edge. Even some vines, the greatest hunters of water ever invented, were expected to die, in the coming drought. Then the rain started and it hasn’t stopped. As I write this there is an ugly grey drizzle falling outside, which is delighting everyone apart from me. The smiles are broad because it’s good rain, not the barrage of heavy droplets that ricochet off the hardened earth and are swept away in a deluge before the benefits can be felt, but rather an insistent trickle which will seep through the soil and fill the water basins - rather important if that’s all you’ve got to flush the loos all summer. No wonder people are smiling.

Finally the competition - win a ticket to the hottest party in town the launch party of La Vie en Rosé on August 4th just outside Lourmarin. Email the answer to this question to me and Tanya and will pick one lucky reader out of the hat. Unfortunately we can’t pay for flights and accommodation but we promise there will be plenty of free rosé .

Name two foods that Tanya doesn't eat.

Answers to me - jamie@extremelypalerose.com by July 4th.