We could have easily stayed on Domi and Gwennie’s Peniche Oz for a month, but it was time to move on – Melanie and some members of the Montpellier Coven were about to meet, and these things cannot be stopped.
First, we popped over for a quick stroll around Lac Salagou. It should be noted that I always have to think twice before saying this name, as I often get it confused with Sagaloo, the guru employed by Eddie in AbFab. Anyway, the lake is surrounded by otherworldly red earth, and young lovers have taken to collecting the bleached-white rocks that are scattered around the area – where they come from in this Martian landscape, heaven only knows – and forming words of undying love as well as other interesting shapes.
But the real magic started just around the time that we both had to pee. We hustled back into the car, drove about 10 minutes and pulled into a supermarket complex. We found restrooms immediately, which was more thrilling than it should have been. And as I stood at the entrance to the store waiting for Mel to come out, I heard my name being called – there was Vic and her little peach of a daughter, Mia! I guess we were closer to our destination than we thought.
And so it was that we had a delightful lunch in St-Privat with Vic and Great Scot Sheila on Vic’s mother-in-law’s terrace, which is next door to Vic’s and offers a view of the surrounding mountains. (Yes, I was back in the mountains. We’re not talking about it.)
We then proceeded to our accommodations for the next two nights – the Salamander Gite in Usclas-du-Bosc, located on another mountain. Like St-Privat, Usclas-du-Bosc is one of those places in the Languedoc region that barely warrants a dot on the map, but is kind of near everything. I think I’m going to write about this area in another post, because we saw so much and I really want to tell you about it.
But for now, Vic gave us a tour of the funky, comfortable gite and we got our first look at the view from the terrace, which was breathtaking.
Then, like a superhero and/or whirling dervish, Vic actually stayed and prepared a dinner for us to eat later! (Baked ham and endive in a bechamel sauce, OMG.) And then boom, she was off again, with Mia in tow, after we agreed to meet up in Lodève the next day.
Why Lodève? The weekly market, naturally. And, naturally, superhero and/or whirling dervish Vic was there with her stall all set up. You see, in addition to raising three kids, helping her husband with his business, singing in the local choir and managing four gites, she has started a business of her own.
It’s called Fou d’Anglais, which is a play on words – it means crazy about English, but it sounds like “Food Anglais” – English food. And that’s exactly what it is! Vic sells old-home favorites to English expats, wayward American freelance writers (ahem), and an increasingly large number of curious French people. Within about a month she’s going to have her own store and cafe, but for now she’s getting the word out at the local markets around the region.
Mel and I wandered around the Lodève market for a while, tasting, well, everything, and then set up at a cafe near Vic’s stall that had Internet and worked a bit. After the market was over, we joined Vic at the Bar des Halles for a glass of rosé, and Mel marveled at the teensy street cleaning machines that made the town look as good as new.
We then all met back at the Salamander, and Vic’s husband joined us, and we had a feast of breads, cheeses, meats and of course, more rosé. Then it was time to crawl into my way-too comfortable bed, because we were about to have even more fun somewhere new!