Skip to main content

Figs. And doors opening. And writing prompts.

Yesterday evening we said goodbye to the last of our summer guests. We chalked up 19 this year, a little lighter than the 34 during our first year here. Today I’m packing and closing up the house as we leave tomorrow morning for two weeks in the UK. Then we’ll be back for a month to, hopefully, finalise the sale and move permanently back to Kent.


I’m putting aside the fridge goods, fruit and snacks we’ll take with us for the journey and calculating how much Tony and I can manage to eat of what’s left. I think watermelon does go with chopped cold chicken in crème fraiche, mayonnaise and curry spices. Well, it will today. There’s also a lonely Mille Feuille in the fridge and I can bet money that Tony will get to that before I do!

Some of what’s left is breaking my heart. Figs. Our three fig trees are plump with fruit that’s now ripening on a daily basis. I’ll take a bowl of them with us in the car and I’ve told my house and cat-sitter to pick and eat as much as she wants. I’m also hoping there'll be a few left when we get back at the end of the month so I can make Pim Techamuanvivit’s fig tart.

We don’t stop for full meals during the drive. We have brief grazing sessions in a few of the bountiful, and often very beautiful, French ‘aires’, with their picnic tables, trees and toilets, that are dotted along every motorway that leads us west then north towards Calais. They put British motorways and service stations to shame.

Hard-boiled eggs with celery salt, fresh tomatoes, peppered salami, some creamy French cheese, a baguette snapped up when we last stopped for petrol that fills the back of the car with the scent of its fresh-baked crust. Even the thought of this today comforts me a little when I think about the 12 hour drive ahead.

And the figs, of course. These little green baubles heavy with sweet flesh. They will always remind me of our house in Antibes, wherever I am in the future. The sunlight slicing through lavender shutters. The smell of bread riding on a sea breeze up Avenue des Chênes.

There’s a line from a poem of mine painted on the paving stones in the garden. I wonder if the new owners will keep it?

une lumiere qui me fait penser à des clefs de porte et je suis la porte qui s’ouvre
a light that makes me think of keys to a door and I am the door opening
I always want to be the door that opens.


Hungry Writing Prompts
  1. Write about packing a suitcase.
  2. Write about what’s left over.
  3. Write about picking fruit from a tree.
  4. Write about a picnic.
  5. Write about a door opening.

Popular posts from this blog

Pie, pie glorious pie

So often when we talk about food we are talking about family. In fact that was how the hungry writer blog began, nearly six years ago: weekly memories or life stories linked by the theme of food. Food is nurture and love. It can be celebration and anxiety too. It can also be a battleground, as the parents of young children know so intimately! Which is rather a satisfying segue into the family featuring in this week's blogpost: The Radfords. Because if anyone understands the feeding of children, really, really understands, it has to be Sue Radford who, with her husband, Noel, has 19 children. You can read about the family on their website but don't rush off yet as what I really want to talk about is pie. And specifically Radford's pies.
Noel Radford has been a baker for 25 years and opened his own bakery in 1999 in Heysham, Lancashire and makes pies with locally sourced ingredients. That, along with his skill as a master baker, means that the pictures of the 'filled to t…

Eat, laugh, cry, remember: Baked Camembert

Once, on a holiday in Malta, I dressed Tony up in my gypsy skirt and stretchy white vest, used two satsumas for breasts and made up his eyes and lips with the brightest colours I had with me. Then I took a photograph. He didn’t seem to mind, in fact he seemed quite tickled by the fuss and attention to detail, but the quantity of rosé we’d shared at Snoopy’s restaurant on the seafront in Sliema earlier in the evening might have had something to do with that.

This was 1988. There were no digital cameras for instant viewing (and, praise be, instant deletion). The only instant photographs at the time came courtesy of Polaroid, with their packages of square film and box-like cameras, and slid out of the front of the machine on shiny thick card that everyone huddled over and watched develop. But they tended to be party cameras, appearing at Christmas, birthdays, engagements. You captured your holiday photos on a proper camera, one you had to load and feed film into, then unload and drop off…

The Mythic Biscuit: Oreos

My childhood biscuits were mainly plain but had lovely names: Marie, Nice, Rich Tea. Quiet biscuits. The kind of biscuits that would never interrupt a conversation. Polite, not pushy. At the other end of the spectrum, and only irregularly present, probably a result of practical economics, were cheeky Jammy Dodgers, irritable Garibaldis, and self-contented and reliable Bourbons. And even more irregularly, the flashy inhabitants of a Christmas Box of Biscuits: Pink Wafers. I ate them at the same time as not liking them very much, a bit like Miss World Contestants in sparkly dresses, too much eye make-up and a saccharine idea of world peace. 
I'm in the mood to think, and personify, 'biscuits' because the lovely team at Oreo sent me some samples of their new Oreo Thins. I hadn't heard of Oreos until the early 1990s when a friend asked if I would bring him back a packet from a Florida holiday. I forgot and pretended I couldn't find them. 'But they're everywher…