Bandol Banter

Tue 13 May 2014 16:33
We sit here in the sunshine ma femme et moi drinking an after lunch coffee
and eating delicious macaroons purchased (amongst numerous other delights)
from a stall in Bandol's extensive Tuesday morning market. Most boat jobs
done we have a free afternoon before closing up Pamarzi tomorrow morning and
catching the local bus to Toulon Hyeres airport for the flight home. Rob
left immediately after lunch, for his flight is from Marseille and a hire
car and overnight stop in Aix-en-Provence turned out to be the best option.

Sunny it may be but even here in this protected harbour the Mistral vents it
mountain air. There is constant movement aboard as our mooring lines are
stretched and tugged and the wind whistles through the rigging. In the Golfe
du Lyon today a force 9 is blowing, that is constant wind speeds close to 50
knots and gusts in the high 60's! Combine that with very big rough seas and
it's pretty scary stuff. We are glad to be here in Bandol, it's a charming
town, very French, very Provence with a long history back to Roman times and
earlier. Little English is spoken here so we are exercising our rusty French
but it's great fun.

Last evening we found a terrific little restaurant in the back streets
rather unimaginatively called Bistro Pauline. Obviously set up on a shoe
string by Pauline (who waits at tables) and her petit amie (who cooks in the
tiny kitchen). The furniture and décor on the shabby side of shabby chic but
the food...........ooh la la! Confit du canard, fresh caught (l'apres-midi)
Dorada, filet de boeuf so simple, so perfectly cooked, so delicious. I would
have finished with the crème brule but j'etait complet. I did succumb to a
mouthful (or two) of Lynn's lemon meringue pie; short buttery pastry,
lashings of not too sweet, intensely lemony fill topped with mountains of
meringue perfect in consistency, probably the best we have ever tasted. Did
I mention the whole lot washed down with a pichet de vin rouge came to just
over twenty two Euros each. Just seven tables in this petite maison, the
other six last evening occupied by local folk. Having had a beer or two
earlier I needed to make myself comfortable before dining and on asking was
directed to the large hand written blackboard displaying that evenings
offerings on the back wall. I stood before it bemused till the couple at the
table immediately adjacent indicated that I should slide the board, which I
duly did revealing the lavatorial porcelain to me and every other customer.
Inside this tiny cubicle was another door obligingly marked Mesdames, the
hand washing facilities being shared. Ah the French and their lavatories.
Imagine the scene: Madame on being taken out to dine requires to 'powder her
nose', she slides back the aforementioned menu to reveal (to her and the
assembled diners) a corpulent Frenchman , pantaloons around his ankles
seated on the porcelain! Bon soir madame he cordially responds. Bon soir
monsieur she replies taking the door to the right. Picturing this scene had
us giggling into our vin rouge for the rest of the evening.

Still chuckling it was back to the boat through the friendly streets of
Bandol for a small brandy before bed. Lounging in the salon scanning the
Bandol guide I had purchased earlier in the day brought more laughter as we
read the translations. Now don't get me wrong, I really like the French but
they can be a bit full of themselves when it comes to matters cultural. The
particular piece was headlined Marche Nocturne, when according to the
translation, " Between the 15th June and the 15th September all along the
quay local craftsmen will be displaying their pieces in the moonlight".

Well I shall avoid displaying my pieces tonight either in the restaurant or
in the moonlight on the quay. Flight home tomorrow, the blog will recommence
for those of you not too weary of my musings, on our return around the 24th

Roger & Lynn

The crew of Pamarzi