Thursday, September 22, 2011
It's vendange time in the Charente
Yup, it's that time of year again.
We need to add ten minutes onto the school run because of slow moving tractors and the roads are covered in crushed grapes that have spilled out from the trailers hurrying to take them to be pressed.
We live in the heart of "Grande Champagne" which is 13,766 hectares of the most beautiful countryside on the planet. The people here are renowned as being "laid back" and sleepy and the roads reflect this by being as quiet as can be.
Normally it takes me eight minutes to take the girls to their school in Segonzac but this morning we were stuck behind one of the colossal grape pickers. The country lanes are small, winding and not condusive to overtaking - try it and you could well get a closer view of the ugni-blanc grapes than you really want.
A few years ago we helped with the picking and the machines really are like something out of War of the Worlds.
The good news is that it doesn't wind me up. There used to be a time when the M25 was a major part of my life and I suffered road rage with the best of them. An hour to get from one side of Weybridge to the other and steam would be coming from my ears.
I'm a changed man though.
Now I just wind the window down, take in the distinct aroma of freshly picked grapes, and look forward to sampling the end product!