Life in the Loire on lock-down. 13th June. Day 34 of déconfinement.

The internet flickered back on this morning. Just for a brief moment the livebox starting winking at me and then… it was gone again.

I saw a man up a pole down the road. He looked like an engineer so I ran out of the house calling in desperation.

“Are you the man who ‘repaired’ my internet connection?”

“Yes he said”

“But it’s not working any more”.

“That’s because I’m mending the other lines that are not working. There are 4 in your road with a problem”.

Apparently a cable has recently been installed in preparation for the new, quicker, all singing, all dancing internet (hooray at least means we will get it eventually). But, it has taken several other lines down at the same time.

And so I ran back up the hill and yes, it was working again. But only briefly. On, hooray! Then off, what? On, hooray! Off, for goodness sake. And so I have a connection of sorts shall we say. It flickers on and off and is allowing my to write my blog but won’t allow me to send any pictures to it. Life in rural France continues.

A little trip out to Vouvray this morning to the little epicerie Les Bocaux d’Alex. We refilled the shower gel and bought some washing liquid to try, stocked up on a couple of lentil, rice, spice mixes and bought a couple of bamboo toothbrushes. Then we popped into the local boulangerie for bread (phew for Nigel, real boulangerie bread for once) and back home for a light lunch.

I made a salad adding some chopped cucumber, tomato and a liberal helping of the Mojo Rojo from last night so some ready cooked rice from the other day. I loosened the sauce with a little extra olive oil and added some cubes of Feta for contrast and flavour. A bowl of that with a chunk of fresh bread, a glass of chilled rosé and a yoghurt to follow.

Storms and rain are predicted this afternoon. We’ve certainly had a fair bit of rain in the past week. Brighter weather is due to return in a week it seems. We need it though. It’s been so dry.

Our love of animals is proving to be a bit of problem in recent days. Pesto is of course, top cat in this house but our regular visitors are becoming just a little too regular. Bigi (the little black cat who lives opposite – or does she?) is coming round every day and making a beeline for Pesto’s food and water. Meanwhile the more docile Monza (the tom who lives next door) pops in when he feels like it and also makes a beeline for her food.

Pesto doesn’t seem to mind Monza. They’re mates and often hang out together. We think he takes her up to the vineyards and they hunt together at dawn and dusk. Bigi on the other hand, is the little outsider. Neither Monza or Pesto are very fond of her and they make that quite clear, bopping her as they pass or hissing at her. We can’t help but feel a bit sorry for her, especially as she’s clearly feeding kittens at the moment but we don’t want to become the local cat sanctuary either.

We caught up with my parents on FaceTime this evening over an apero. The last few times we’ve called my Mum has mentioned that we always have a drink and they don’t. It just seems like a good time to call. We always stop for half an hour before preparing dinner. A glass of wine, a few nibbles and a catch up on our day (not that we have anything new to tell each other!). I think we’ll fix a day and have an ‘apero’ with them once a week. It’ll be something for them to look forward to.

A chilled glass of Touche Mitaine 2017 from Xavier Weisskopf made a great start to the evening along with a little Serrano, homemade baguette and a few crisps

Dinner this evening was a very simple affair. I seasoned some boneless pork chops with salt and pepper and sprinkled them liberally with smoked paprika. We had a few Noirmoutier potatoes so I boiled them and added a good chunk of salted butter. Finally a tumbling pile of crunchy coleslaw. The classic style – finely sliced cabbage, grated carrot, a finely sliced shallot, some mayonnaise.

Smoked paprika pork chops with buttery new potatoes and a tumble of coleslaw

A little of two different reds to match the dish. The Vau Jaumier St Nicolas de Bourgueil that we opened yesterday (savoury soft Cab Franc) and the trusty Cot Cot Codette Malbec (spicy ripe bramble fruit).