La Belle France - Larroque-Engalin 32480 - Blog 6

LE JARDIN DU GRANDE CHENEwww.lejardindugrandchene.fr

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Another Day Dawns

I have hired an electric bike from the tourist office here in the village to go and find a garden everyone is talking about… Only it’s closed!

“C’est ferme” said Monsieur Bernard Hardy when I telephoned.

My disappointment was palpable. I responded,

“Je vis a La Romieu” – 

He hesitated – “ You can come now as it is not so hot?”

“Mai oui “ – and off I shot.

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Parking my electric bike, (made short work of those hills!) – I looked around the dense foliage in every direction. A wild and rampant, utterly wonderful natural garden surrounded me. 

I could hear the hum of a mower and started to walk towards it. Every time I got close his disappearing figure evaporated still deeper into the garden.

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He stopped suddenly outside a large chicken pen, opened the door and ventured in with the grass cuttings from his mowing endeavours.

“Tomorrow it will be three eggs and then the next day, only one” he said it was the reliable pattern. Then shrugged. “C’est la vie”.

A big smile that lit up his face as he registered my presence. He beckoned me in to show off his rare breed hens and collect the solitary egg laid that day.

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 A very easy and comfortable person to be with. Clearly at ease in the surroundings he had created and had opened to the public from May until September for the last five years.

“It is too hot this summer and the garden is tired, so I am closed to the public”

I expressed my delight at the privileged tour that followed.

He left me happily lingering, and capturing little pieces of this garden to take away with me.

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“You can pick or eat what you like” he said as he got back behind his mower, with more pathways to clear. A never ending task I am sure.

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He came in search of me finally, offering a coffee on his little side terrace leading from the kitchen. Laden with a huge tomato that had fallen and a handful of raspberries, I sat down with him.  We shared a squashed pain-au-raisin in my bag bought that morning from the Epicerie. A delightful moment and a lasting memory.

An hour flew past as we shared stories. He too had written a book, and disappeared for a few minutes to find me a copy which he offered to sign. 

I will reciprocate on my return to London.

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Such excitement gives one an appetite, see what I did with his giant tomato!

Early supper in my back garden.

An utterly memorable experience. I now have a new friend who lives locally and shares many values and activities...

Including local bike rides – great way to get about!

A favourite cycle route of mine… past the lake and gardens of Coursiana, past the plum trees, up to Cooper’s farm and my favourite avenue of trees…

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