9 June 2010

The Bread Maker

We get lots of smells up here on Cupples’ Mountain some of which I cannot really comment on because J sometimes reads this but there’s the perfume factory smell which, depending on the direction of the wind, sometimes wafts across the valley and if you think that must be quite pleasant, it’s not. A cross between a cheap bathroom air freshener and a bad aftershave, it’s quite sickly. Every time we drive past the factory and the odour eventually works its way through the car ventilation system, Guy and I always say the same thing - ‘ooooh Kitty’. She gets upset, a row breaks out and the rest of the journey is chaos!

Then there’s the unfortunate ‘septic tank’ smells which we get wafting around after we’ve had heavy rain and there’s some sort of atmospheric pressure which prevents it from dissipating. Thankfully, this only happens around a dozen times a year – but why does it always happen when we have visitors round for lunch on the terrace ? Do you explain it or hope they don’t notice it? If you do explain it, you find that you’re drawn into a lengthy detailed discussion about ‘septic tanks’ their design, construction and function which is not always the best way to start a nice lunch.

Then of course we have Shadow smells. He’s usually quite clean, in fact he’s always clean but just occasionally, he has that earthy doggy smell which permeates the lounge. I suppose we’re quite used to it but I do feel conscious when we get visitors. Do they smell it? Do they think our house always smells like it?

But of all the smells we get, the one we’d probably like to get and don’t get is from the bread maker up the hill. All of maybe 100 yards as the buzzard flies, the guy makes bread 2-3 times a week and in ten years living here I’ve never smelt a thing!

Rumour has it that the guy won the French lottery and gave up his job to follow his passion which was making bread. He’s French so a passing wave is all we get from him. We’ve never spoken, although years ago when his goats strayed onto our land and Shadow did his impression of a sheep dog and tried to round them up, and I carried a young goat back to him, we must’ve exchanged a few words – but maybe not!

Anyway, he’s a specialist bread maker or an artisan. He has a sort of stall just outside the village which comprises several large granite blocks erected in a sort of Stonehenge fashion and there, two days a week at 4pm he sells his breads, cakes and brioches.

Such is his reputation and the quality of his fare that queues start to form about 30-40 minutes before he even unloads his bread from the van. Despite my aversion to queues, I have actually hung around to buy his chocolate brioche, which, if you can buy it when it is still warm, is utterly delicious.

Last week, Julie came back from his stall with some cheese brioche which neither looked, nor smelled particularly good but once I’d tasted it, I was hooked. A meal in itself.

But back to the point I was making – we know he makes his bread up there because we see piles of wood on his terraces which he obviously uses for his ovens and his large van trundles down the hill past our house on the days his stall opens and last week about 6am when I was having a wander I looked up and there were clouds of steam coming from what must be his ovens – but absolutely no smell!

Would I like to have the smell of newly baking bread wafting down the hillside and into our house? Well, it would probably make me hungry and those on those rather infrequent occasions when I’m being good and only have a banana or a cup of coffee for breakfast, it would no doubt ‘force’ me to have a good old fry-up which would not be the plan, but then again when J entertains her lady friends for those frequent champagne breakfasts on the terrace she insists on having, it would probably be quite nice for the smell of newly baked bread to be drifting around – after all, they say that when you’re selling your house, you should stick some bread in the oven – the smell apparently makes the house seem nicer than it actually is! That probably goes for the ladies as well!

Now I did take a photo that morning of the bready-steam but with all the problems I’m having with my PC, it’s got lost so you’ll just have to do with one I took the same morning across the valley.

No comments: