Saturday, 30 July 2016


A gentle place, where time stands still

This great photo was taken by Nicolas Neyret, a photographer living in Boussac whom I met on the day I left!

What is it about Boussac? ... I have asked myself and others this question so often.  Boussac is a small market town in the Creuse - a rural Department slap bang in the middle of France.  It is a town that is difficult to get to.  There are numerous ways to get here, by train and plane, but there is always a drive involved and it does become tedious!  We have been wondering whether the TGV will, in fact, be routed nearby as was once suggested... 
  Of course,  this also ensures that Boussac remains in some sort of time warp as tourists seldom choose Boussac as their destination.  

We have loved our quiet holidays here and this time was no exception.  I love to cook when I am in France.  There are the markets where locally grown fresh produce is beautifully displayed in colourful wooden crates.  I love Thursdays in Boussac when the markets come to town.  I normally sling the basket over my shoulder and take the short walk up to the square where the hustle and bustle of the stalls going up begins at 6.00 in the morning.  

My first stop is usually the  mobile Poulet Roti van where I buy a farm reared, roasted chicken or poulet fermier.  There is usually a queue and it is always good to get there early!   Predictably, Thursday lunch is cold chicken and a salad!   Poulet au Pot, seen below, is one of my favourite things to cook in Boussac as the chickens in France are so delicious, always tasting like 'old-fashioned' chickens!  This dish is so easy to prepare, so hearty and comforting on a chilly evening.

My preparations for Poulet au Pot

This year, we arrived in Boussac just in time to catch the last of the white asparagus season.  I adore the subtle flavour of these ivory spears.  The photo below was taken just before I cooked them.  I usually add the white spears to a salad or alternatively, serve them with lashings of butter and lemon juice!

Although I love cooking in France,  I also like to prepare dishes that are easy and summery.  Loads of roasted capsicum,  grilled zucchini, green salads, gently saute'ed fennel and new potatoes, always accompanied by plenty of fresh herbs.    Duck breasts, cooked on the BBQ, beef fillets, veal cutlets and fresh fish are our favourites.

Our beautiful 14thC church square.  There are sometimes wonderful concerts held in this church - piano recitals and opera are delightful to experience inside these ancient walls.  Sometimes, we loiter outside enjoying the sounds drifting out of the doors and windows...

When the weather starts warming up the doors on the small balcony off my bedroom stay open all day.

The warm sunlit evenings means eating in the garden which is such a pleasure.  We have an old Tulip tree sitting in the middle of the parterre garden and the table beneath is in the shade all day.  

I also took to walking each evening at 9.00pm with my neighbour and dear friend Deirdre.  We were grateful for the street lights which guided our return as the evenings grow dark around 10.00pm.  
The 15thC Chateau de Boussac which we pass by on our evening walk.

One of the little cottages which nestle on the flat area beneath the Chateau.
The little river and waterfall beneath the Chateau is always such a lovely sight.
Some random photos of the house and garden follow.
The seating area in the library

View out of the library window onto the garden

The other side of the library
The Long room early one morning

The table in the dining room before lunch, when the weather was chilly.

Taken early one morning with the first rays just touching the house. 

We get exciting electrical storms in Boussac and the two photos above show the build-up.  There was lots of thunder and lightening and hail after this particular storm!
View to the dining room from the tiny kitchen

One sweet corner of the garden

View from my bathroom window

The tiny kitchen where everything is possible!

Happy weekend everyone!

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