What's a "marsouin"? + French garden tour!
How to say "snapshot" in French + photos from Sanary-sur-Mer

How to say "stranded" in French?

A calanque somewhere in the south... (c) Kristin Espinasse
A calanque is an inlet from the sea, ideal for walking your dog, picnics, and snorkeling!

être coincé (etruh-kwen-say)

    : to be stranded

Audio File: listen to Jean-Marc: Download MP3 or Wav

Nous avons été coincés deux fois cette semaine: une fois sur la mer et une fois sur la terre.
We were stranded twice this week: once at sea and once on land.

A Day in a French Life... by Kristin Espinasse

My dad and my belle-mère arrived on Saturday for a three-week visit, ready for a month of surprises.... 

Stranded Twice in One Week
When Jean-Marc offered to take Kip and Marsha out on a boat ride along le littoral, my family were game. (I stayed behind, not because of the previous scare... but because I wanted to avoid any more sun.)

As I drove to Sanary-sur-Mer to meet my family for lunch I began to notice all the white caps across the sea. Arriving at the cove where we were to meet, I found it empty and guessed Jean-Marc must have had to anchor in the previous port of Bandol. But as I turned to get back into my car, I saw the boat stranded on the beach!

My dad was drenched and he and my belle-mère, Marsha--along with 6 beachgoers (who had swum out to help pull the windswept boat to shore)--were busy assisting Jean-Marc.

The boat secured, we huddled into a seaside cafe for lunch. But when my dad could not warm up, we let him thaw inside my car (nice and hot from the sunshine!). During the 15 minutes it took to bring Dad's temperature back to normal, I sat in the driver's seat, learning the story of their sea adventure, which began smoothly (in time to enjoy a swim at Port d'Alon) until they carried on towards Sanary... where they suddenly encountered all those white caps, or moutons.

Next it was a flat tire...
The next day we joined Phyllis Adatto and Tim Smith, our wine-importing friends from Texas, for a visit to Chateau Margui and La Mascarone. Only, while exiting the first vineyard along a long and secluded dirt road, Jean-Marc hit a nid de poule and blew out one of our front tires.

Philippe, the owner of Chateau Margui (along with his lovely wife and winemaker, Marie-Christine), rescued us. We all piled into his red van, some of us sitting on wine cartons, others on duffel bags full of Philippe's diving gear.

Piano-Piano, or "slowly slowly"
Yesterday we took things piano-piano. Marsha and Dad snorkled in a nearby calanque and Jean-Marc finally took the time to treat his jelly fish bite (or what he calls his yelly fish bite), a souvenir from that stormy trek to Sanary.

One more thing
My mother-in-law and I share a growing interest in permaculture--and are having fun mapping out a forest garden. Early this morning Marsha followed Jean-Marc up the hill, to see the bees, when the two discovered a giant stone tank. We had noticed the stone wall, during previous walks, but never realized it was part of an old water reservoir. The discovery is serendipitous as we have been thinking over ways to trap water (or to create un étang to attract insects and wildlife).

How to Say Water Chestnut in French?
So I'll say goodbye, now, and see if my belle-mère would like to hike over to a newly discovered watering hole, and dream about a new host of plant possibilities: water lilies, water chestnuts, and even buttercups!

Wishing you all a lovely weekend, and thanks for reading!



la belle-mère = step-mother (can also mean "mother-in-law")
le littoral = sea coast
le mouton = white cap (also means sheep)
un nid de poule = pot hole
un étang = pond 

Jackie and her grandfather, catching up

Marsha and Dad, outside the tasting room at Chateau Margui, near Brignoles

Philippe, who rescued us after the flat tire--and his biggest fan, daughter Pearle.

One garden's beginnings: the last of the favas--but the snow peas are ready to pick. The zucchinis are growing, raspberries too, and roquette, or arugula.... Very excited to have planted comfrey yesterday. I hear it is a good "chop and drop" fertilizer. Comments welcome here.

Belle-mère Marsha helped me rearrange the furniture. See a before picture (scroll way down this page. You will also see my beautiful mom!)

Jean-Marc and Dad making dinner above the kitchen garden.

We had Phyllis and Tim, of French Country Wines, over for dinner. Marsha set the table... then ran back to the house and carted out one of my mom's paintings. How thoughtful! (Mom, it felt like you were here!)

Phyllis pictures kristi2
Phyllis Adatto took this picture of me. Marsha picked the wildflowers and made a gorgeous bouquet. The vase was a gift from my Mom and John.

And you will find many more pictures at Phyllis and Tim's album "Our visit with the Espinasses". You can read Tim's account of our vineyard visits, here.

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For more online reading: The Lost Gardens: A Story of Two Vineyards and a Sobriety