The market in Gueugnon is simple and glorious. Stands of breads, vegetables, sausages, fish, meats, cheeses alongside clothing, CDs, toys, shoes and mattresses all under the shadow of a Romanesque church. I am immediately hungry, and want to buy some of everything. But we are here as a group, shopping for the 6, and trying hard to plan meals.
We buy some spectacular, but ridiculously expensive mushrooms for Tim’s Thai fish stew. They are tan brown and oyster mushroom looking, but dissolve into lovely buttery softness when cooked. We accidentally buy two large bags (having divided into 2 groups of shoppers) and decide to use some in a large omelet for lunch, the rest for the Thai stew at dinner.
We arrive back at Bel Air with our treasures – exquisite peaches at a perfection of ripeness; fennel, aubergine, cougettes, and pepper for tomorrow’s planned grilled vegetable salad; a Lyonaisse sausage with olives; a huge loaf of bread (Grosse Torte); herbs to plant in the new herb garden; the most stunning lettuce I have ever seen; some flip-flops for Matt and a big, bright, brassy necklace for me to wear when I am dressing for dinner. Famished, we put some coffee on as we put things away, knowing that omelets and fresh bread are just moments away.
We cut vegetables – red peppers, shallots, the precious mushrooms – and Peta is soon at the stove heating butter.
The omelets are worth waiting for. We linger long over lunch, enjoying each other’s company with just a bit more wine, thank you, and great guffaws of laughter that seem to fill the whole valley below.