Mother’s Day in France…..and another lazy day in Languedoc. We woke with the sun in our eyes but were in no hurry to start the day. Today’s agenda was simple….a cruise down the canal to Capestang for Sunday’s market day and lunch at La Table du Vigernon.
After a light breakfast, we climbed aboard “Joie de France” and were on our way. The weather was clear and the waters were calm. Bev and I sat out front in the bow cockpit while Craig drove…..happy that he was finally….FINALLY….taking the boat out on a cruise.
Life is unhurried on the water…..your blood pressure lowers, your pulse slows and you become keenly aware of your surroundings. As the boat moved steadily toward our destination, Bev and I, feeling the warm rays of the sun on our faces, watched swarms of bright blue dragonflies hover just above the water, mother ducks taking their ducklings on outings, coypu’s swimming toward their canal bank homes, horses grazing above the banks. Cruising along, there are no worrisome thoughts pushing their way to consciousness, there’s no guilt over doing “nothing”…..there’s just complete, utter relaxation. I could tell Bev felt this, too, as we cruised along wordlessly…..silently pointing out sights along the way.
Hours passed in this quiet, almost meditative state…..but as Capestang’s gigantic Collegiate Church appeared…..looming larger and larger…..we knew the trip was nearing an end. When we caught sight of Capestang’s small, stone bridge, we knew we had reached our destination. Craig pulled over to the bank and Bev jumped ashore…..holding tight to the boat lines until Craig could secure them to stakes pounded in the soft soil. With my still somewhat limited mobility and fear of falling, I could only offer encouragement but we were soon safely moored and walking into town.
It was market day on the plaza…..we wandered through the tree-shaded square looking at all the goods for sale…..flowers, cheese, produce, wines, clothes. As noon approached, the merchants began packing up their wares……readying for another market in another town on another day.
We strolled a few blocks over to La Table du Vigneron….a restaurant in the courtyard of a winery. We arrived a little early, but our table was waiting for us. We sat under the shade of a large Plane tree and perused the “carte” (menu) and, as usual, decided on the three-course prix fixe menu.
We started with the house salad…..a melange of lettuce, carrots, beets and beans crowned with a tapenade-topped artichoke…..a feast for eyes and mouth. Craig and Bev moved on to Pork with Prunes while I had Basque Chicken. Both dishes were simply and deliciously prepared. Desserts were chocolate mousse and crème brûlée…..good but not outstanding.
Our lunch companion was a dog….sent to the raised bed next to our table by his nearby family to keep him from being underfoot. He minded his manners and actually added to our conversation on occasion.
We opted to have coffee on the plaza…..market day was over and the square was once again filled with the tables and chairs of the town’s two competing cafes. You can tell them apart by their chairs…..blue for “Cafe de la Paix” and maroon for “Cafe de la Grille.” Not wanting to offend either, we patronize each in turn. Today, it was Cafe de la Paix. We sat in the shaded square, enjoying the comings and goings of the locals and the boaters, eavesdropping when we could, nursing our cups of coffee until we were ready to head back to the cottage.
The slow cruise home was, if possible, even more relaxing than this morning’s. It felt time had stopped as we passed the grazing horses, the swimming coypu’s, the mother ducks and the blue dragonflies. The hours passed quickly and all too soon, we were back at the cottage.
Still sated from lunch, we sat on the patio enjoying apperitifs while we watched an ant colony move from the back yard to the front yard…..carefully carrying the eggs that would be their next generation to their new home. It never ceases to amaze me how engrossing these simple acts of nature can be…..how many have I missed over the years while doing more “important” things?
“Believe me, my young friend, there is NOTHING–absolute nothing–half so much worth doing as simply messing about in boats”……Wind in the Willows