Naked Gardening and Celebrating Bread

I did it! I put my money where my mouth is and I did my bit for world naked gardening day! The website urges you to put up a photo of yourself participating, so here goes:

Don't tell my kids this photo is here!

As well as grass cutting, I transplanted these peanuts into the garden and got some more planted in the bowl:

then I watered the veg, relocated some stag beetle larvae from a pot to a suitable spot with plenty of rotting wood for them to eat:

fed the chickens, checked the llamas and planted a few flowers a neighbour gave me. And all in the buff! It was the perfect weather for it, and I have to say it was enjoyable. All very one-with-nature-ish.

Now with my clothes back on, this week is fête du pain or bread party week! For fifteen years now, the week that includes St Honoré’s Day – St Honoré is the patron saint of bread – is the time to celebrate French bread. Different departements have different baking related activities. Creuse, sadly, is never amongst the forefront of these various national celebrations. According to the official website, all the boulangeries in Creuse are happy for you to come in and talk about bread with them this week. I’m sure our local baker would, but it’s not the most exciting thing to do! Other places are having special masses at Church, displays of old baking equipment, workshops for children to get their hands into dough and pastry making, decorated baguette competitions and visits to bakeries or mills.

A few facts and figures. Every year around 10 billion baguettes are baked, 90% of them in small boulangeries with less than 10 employees, and the majority of those with less than that. Baguettes, and the larger pains, make up three-quarters of the sales in boulangeries, followed by viennoiseries (croissants, pains au chocolat, pains au raisin etc) and then patisseries (pastries such as milles-feuilles, éclairs, tartes etc). I imagine in Creuse the pâté de pommes de terre is well up the sales list. This is a regional delicacy, a simply scrumptious potato pie.

On average, there is one boulangerie per every 1,800 inhabitants. And these inhabitants love the boulangerie – most people cite it as their favourite shop, due to the friendliness and helpfulness of the staff and the quality of the products. However, our expenditure isn’t that high at a boulangerie. The average amount we spend per visit is around €2.50. I’ve been spending €2.46 there every day the last fortnight for two pains – pretty much spot on!

There’s a website at www.lafetedupain.fr with information, recipes, games for kids and a list of what’s on.

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