Monday, 9 February 2009

Dear Sally

Some of you have noticed I haven't been around of late and I was touched to receive a few 'Dear Sally' letters from folks wondering if Le Chateau and myself were still all in one piece. I'm happy to report that we are still around but there are times when its best to sit quietly by yourself and say nothing until of course you are ready to stand up and say something.

It's true that it's the year 2009 and that we are lucky enough to live in a civilized European society where free speech is allowed, everyone's entitled to their opinion aren't they ? and whinging that your human rights have been violated seems to be a very popular bandwagon on which to hitch a ride. Depending of course which European country you live in.

Recently, or perhaps more accurately over the years that I have been in France I have watched with disbelief as the French systematically destroy their country. I see housing developments mushrooming in area's of outstanding natural beauty, I saw only last week, a line of ancient plane tree's that have lined a straight road as far as the eye can see being felled. Unbelievable when you consider that France still rates as one of the most popular European destinations for visitors and that part of the undeniable charm is its unspoilt open countryside and that the avenues of magnificent trees are as much a part of the French experience as its cuisine and culture. Never mind eh, these days I wouldn't so much as raise an eyebrow if anyone asked me what I thought, wouldn't want anyone accusing me of being free with my speech, no sireeee I just sit under a tree quietly minding my own business, that's whilst there's still some left to sit under.

One of my regular readers wrote to me and told me to stop 'candy coating' it for a change, far more believable, far more appealing and hugely popular by all accounts. So if it's sunshine and South of France escapism you're yearning for today you're in the wrong place, I won't wax lyrical that todays weather is positively springlike and mild and that my new 'find', another Godin woodburning stove is installed and awaiting fresh new logs to spring into life when the inevitable evening chill descends.

Finally after being bombarded with misery everwhere you turn, whether it be the snow, the credit crunch, the number of rising repossessions, the news of dear friends being forced to return home, the news that one million pound bonus's are being doled out (again), the news that some very wealthy people have lost an awful lot of money and that Jonathan Ross is back on the screen I'm thrilled to announce some heartening news that flies in the face of the recession.

My friend who runs the French Patisserie (the irony of which is not lost on me) Le Vieux Four in Beaminster, Dorset has expanded. In the old inglenook fireplace which has been unearthed there lies a brand new woodburning stove. The entire place has had a revamp and is now running as a coffee shop with the delicious aroma of homebaking wafting through the room. Think of a Tarte Citron that melts in your mouth. Beaminster is actually seeing a champagne launch for a business that is expanding and most importantly thriving, defying the doom and the gloom. And I have to quietly interject here too and add that so am I, now whether this is down to the flavour of France or the fact that we are both business's run by woman is open to debate. Just be careful where you debate it naturally.

So I wish her the very best of luck.

The best of British luck.

I can't get into hot water for that, surely ?


lampworkbeader said...

If only I lived near Beaminster, I'd be round there like shot.. a bit of cheer would come in handy. It's pouring with rain here. The whole of Europe is disappearing under concrete and no one seems to care. One good thing about the credit crunch, at least they've put the house building, that was going to cut down all our trees, on hold. It's an ill wind...

Pondside said...

Not your typical Sally post, but as usual something to think about. If I were nearby I might have chained myself to one of those trees and then would surely have ended up in a French jail.
The dream of the aroma of Tarte Citron - that will stay with me all day.

Elizabethd said...

Please do not mention Ross. Here we all are , losing at least a third of monthly pensions due to exchange rate, while he swishes around on his 6 million......

muddyboots said...

good blog there sally, agree with everything you have written, has the whole world gone mad? the french being politically correct felling trees that 'might' cause a danger to health if driven into at high speed?
Now, corrupt government officials that sounds a bit close to home, don't even get me started on banks, spit & splutter.......


I so understand what you are saying about the French and their ability (like the rest of the world it seems) to ruin the beauty that they have and which defines (defined?) their country and which people travel to France for. They are mad. I cannot bear all these ghastly out of town shopping developments which now surround almost every French town and which you have to fight your way through to reach 'centre ville'. It all began with Carrefour...
And the trees, the trees. All my childhood memories of France are defined by those endlessly straight tree-lined roads. I believe they are being cut down partly because they induce epileptic fits when the sun shines. Funny how the entire country and all its visitors have survived for centuries without this being a worry until this Health and Safety obsessed world took hold. Ah yes, the N roads of France are being systematically destroyed, stripped of all their character. Roundabouts is another of their more recent obsessions. 20 years ago the French didn't know what a roundabout was (and they still don't know how to negotiate one which makes them more lethal than the overhead traffic lights they seem to have replaced). Tis very sad. The thought of those plane trees makes me weep.

CAMILLA said...

Hello Sally.!

Well I would not hesitate to come over to France, I would be there quick as a shot. Only today I saw on TV of a couple moving to France, and thought wish it was me... HL won't bud an inch.

Very sad indeed about the felling of tree's, complete madness. I love the header picture and the other picture you have posted Sally.


Frances said...

Sally, I have read this after a very difficult day of my own at the show, so forgive me if I have bad grammar, and make other faux pas.

I loved this post. No place is paradise. You have always delighted me with your posts from the chateau. I always try to decypher them, thinking ... how did she make that evening so grand? Was that drive only to see that site, or was something else on the tour?

Managing a shop means that I also have to set a stage every day, and hope that my regular staff players will understand their parts, their roles without too many hints from the prompter.

I always hope that the customers will not see our seams, and will love their visits, and want to come back.

Lots of work doing that, week after week.

I so admire you! xo

Pipany said...

I may be reading between the lines incorrectly Sally, but if someone has criticised your writing then take no notice. They are clearly barking!!!! I come here for precisely the way you write, thank you.
Of course the businesses do well because they are run by women...nuff said! xx

Mrs ElderBerry said...

hmm, my dear you are British, keep you upper lip as stiff as can be and talk loudly and slowly.

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Maddie Grigg said...

Would you believe it but I have been invited to the do at the Beaminster patisserie this weekend. Mr Grigg, however, has other ideas and is whisking me off to Exmoor for a romantic Valentine's weekend, the old softy.
At least you don't have a mock Louis XIV model village near you. Love it or hate it (and I HATE it), Prince Charles has no problems with the planners when it comes to expanding his Disneyland carbuncle at Dorchester.

Suffolkmum said...

When I'm in grumpy mode I always like to think that everyother country does it better - it's actually quite sobering to realise that, er, they don't. Madness about the plane trees.

Alegria said...

Oh Sally, I do feel so bad about the trees being cut down and all this madness about making things 'safe'. I have yet to see a tree leap out into the road but have seen many many drivers go way too fast! Here in Australia we have the same daft mind set and true some trees are a danger in some areas but do we really want ALL the trees cut down? This is your blog and you say what ever you want to, damm any nosey poke who says something about 'political correctness' and whoever coined that particular phrase I would like to strangle! You still live ina lovely place and have a lovely view and many of us would love to sit and have a cup of tea with you. One day I hope to. Chin up, women unite!
Virginia K

KittyB said...

Well, perhaps I have no taste but I do rather like that sugar coating, a slice of sunshine - rather like a fine tarte au citron, leaves you wanting more. Your blogs are pure, escapist delight Sally and don't let anyone tell you otherwise.

Tessa said...

Oh my goodness - it is SO nice to have you back, Sally!

Three rousing cheers for Le Vieux Four and for Sally's Chateau. Both a glowing testament to the power of the fairer sex.