Super Summer 2013

The pool at Les Rosiers, our home, did not turn ghoulish green as it has in past summers.  None of the precious roses died. We had wonderful tenants in our rosiersstudio rental apartment, plus fun family visits.  The crumbling pergola was replaced (but that’s another story, see previous post, “Pergola –or State Park Picnic Shelter”).  We enjoyed a terrific visit to Antwerp, tasty meals at local festivals and parties with friends.  Summer 2013 was better than good: Super

It kicked off in June with the arrival of Klaus, an Austrian from Graz.  He and his wife Eva have been staying in our gite (French for vacation rental) for a month every year since 2010.   Klaus arrives first, by car, roof rack loaded with supplies, including Austrian beer and food staples. On the way home, a large supply of wine takes the place of those goodies.    Eva is a legal secretary.  She comes by plane a week after Klaus arrives.


They know the area well, have friends here, enjoy revisiting favorite places and hanging out poolside.  Klaus loves to cook.  He brought his own knife sharpener this year.  The one I supplied was not up to snuff.  And, he loves to grill – lamb and sausages are his favorites. This year his grilling almost led to disaster.  The morning after a previous day’s use of the grill, he emptied the ashes which he assumed were dead in the wooded area of dried leaves behind and adjacent to our house.  That afternoon I was in the pool.  I noticed smoke, but I assumed he was grilling again.  Suddenly BB (husband Bicycle Bob) came flying down the steps from our balcony.  He had seen flames.   Indeed, the ashes had sprung to life and a fire had started.  It was frightening.  But, all to the rescue with hose and buckets of water.  Catastrophe was averted.

Filippo kept our tenants entertained.
Filippo kept our tenants entertained.

Eva is a walker, often up at 7 a.m., setting out on a trek in the area for two to three hours. Klaus also hikes and gathers herbs and berries (juniper) and other treasures from the forests and fields.  He left me with a supply of bay leaves which I have dried. Another of his favorite pastimes is visiting flea markets.  During summers here, there are many on the agenda.  He always finds interesting bargains.

Lang and Samuel
Lang and Samuel

Stepson Rob and his boys, Samuel and Lang, followed Klaus and Eva. The boys, both swimmers, loved the pool, as well as jaunts on foot to the bakery every morning with their dad.  They could not get their fill of croissants.  According to Rob, Samuel still asks when he can come back and get more of those croissants, which he called “amazing.”

Bob, Samuel, Lang and Rob
Bob, Samuel, Lang and Rob

The Gorges du Verdon, the Abbey of Senanque and Colorado Provencal were highlights for Jean and Alex, a charming couple who stayed for a week.  He is French, lives and works in Colmar.  She is German, originally from Leipzig, and now working for an international organization in Geneva.  They both are multi-lingual, and, like many of our visitors, especially enjoyed the “calm” at Les Rosiers.

They were followed by a couple we felt were a bit strange, if not unpleasant. He always had a scowl on his face, never a smile,  and once complained that the refrigerator was not cold enough (easy to fix – just turn up the dial.)  They went off sightseeing and came back to lounge by the pool, but barely said a word to us.  I assumed they were not happy with our rosesaccommodations.  I dared not ask them to write in our guest book.  Wonders never cease.  They did write:  “Thanks to your hospitality we have discovered the pleasures of Haute Provence…we have appreciated the coolness of your gite, the refreshing swimming pool and the calm of the surroundings.”

Roberto and Francoise from Fribourg, Switzerland, are fantastic. She is a teacher for handicapped adults – and a cat lover .  She was smitten with Filippo, my rambunctious male cat. Roberto, originally from Uruguay, came with hisbicycle.

Roberto and Francoise
Roberto and Francoise

Unfortunately Francoise fell in our new pergola/State Park Picnic Shelter (SPPS) and broke her foot. They took it in stride, did not complain, and continued their stay.

As her mobility was limited after the accident, Francoise was content to sit in the yard, often with Filippo at her side, and read while Roberto rode his bike.   Like Klaus, she was into wild herbs:  garlic, fennel, rosemary, thyme.  And oils – lavender, almond and olive. She gave me instructions on treatments using lavender oil.

Elaine and Paul
Elaine and Paul

Time for the British, Elaine and Paul from southeast London, who kept on the move and visited sites near and far (Arles, Pont du Grad, Gorges du Verdon, Bonnieux, Gordes).  Elaine is an assistant for children with special needs at a secondary school. Paul is a quantity surveyor for a construction company. They also enjoyed Filippo’s shenanigans.  Paul said Les Rosiers is “the quietest place we’ve ever been to.”

Elizabeth and Igor from Normandy stayed two weeks.  They overwhelmed us with dinner invitations. Igor also likes to grill. While I was away, he invited Bob for grilled sausages. When I returned we were invited for grilled beef.  And, yet again for an apero.  We expected the usual chips- nuts- and- olives apero.  But this was an “apero dinotoire,” something new to us,   a multi-course meal:  crackers and tomatoes, then grilled lamb with a rice/tuna salad, a potato salad, and fruit.

Igor and Elizabeth
Igor and Elizabeth

Igor arrived with easel and paints.  He set up in the yard and created lovely scenes. We received one as a going-away present.  He is a financial consultant in Paris, and commutes home to Rouen on weekends.  Elizabeth, who was recovering from breast cancer surgery, said she came to the Luberon to “relax.”  They did visit some neighboring towns.  “We like typical, tranquil, original villages,” she said, mentioning nearby Viens and Vacheres.  They also raved about an attraction we have yet to visit, the Ganogobie Abbey.gite.3

Summer wound down with the visit of stepdaughter Kellie.  She gave BB a chance to live up to his name.  They bicycled a few times before her boyfriend arrived for a week.  We all set off to Marseille together and were in awe of the new architectural masterpieces.mrs.5

It’s still warm in Provence, but the pool waters have chilled. We’ll put the pool to bed for winter soon.  But, I can look forward to starting swimming early next spring.  We’ve purchased a heat pump for the pool.   Summer 2014 may top summer 2013.

For more about Les Rosiers, see

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10 thoughts on “Super Summer 2013”

  1. Leah:

    So should Les Rosiers be on my bucket list? I think you’re in the best part of France – but I say that knowing that I haven’t been to Normandy or Brittany, still love Paris and the Loire, and of course could manage to enjoy Bordeaux, Burgundy, Alsace and Champagne as well……

    Patrick has graduated from Gonzaga and is now working for them as an Admissions Counselor. He calls on Colorado and Southern California and has spent almost half his time since his August 1st start visiting in one state or the other. We just put him on a plane this morning back to Spokane, and he’ll be in Denver again this weekend. We expect he’ll stay in Spokane for a few years – but we know he won’t be coming back to Los Angeles for anything more than visits home.

    Matthew is a freshman at Creighton University in Omaha, Nebraska, and settling into life outside of Southern California. He had a good ride during High School, hooking up with several well-to-do families from either Pasadena or Pacific Palisades (both higher-level suburbs of Los Angeles), so he’s going through a bit of culture shock. Being mugged his first week at Creighton along with his roommate certainly didn’t help things, but at least he only lost money and not his brand new i-Phone.

    He’s working in the office of the Dean of the Business School, and just worked a reception for the re-naming of the school. They were out to raise $10 million and wound up raising $93 million, including an “over-$50 Million” donation from the Heider family of Omaha – friends of Warren Buffett, and apparently long-time investors as well…

    I’ve had some bumpy times the past four years, including losing my job in April when the company I was with gave away half of their portfolio to a larger distributor. Long story, bottom line was I was out of a job. They’re not hiring many old white guys in the wine business these days, but I’ve found a position in a retail store with BevMo, so at least I’ll have some pin money. We did pay off our rental townhouse about 2 re-financings ago, and were lucky enough to re-finance our home about a year ago at 3.375% for 30 years fixed – a stupidly low rate but one we’re thrilled to have. Our property tax payment is about 1/3 of our mortgage, but at least the mortgage portion isn’t going up any time soon!!

    We will be in North Carolina in June for an annual Pasta Party with a group of friends with whom we’ve been gathering for probably something like 25 years – no one can remember exactly when we started, but at our ages I guess that’s not too much of a surprise!! Then in 2015, we’ll have our bi-annual family re-union up in Friday Harbor in the San Juan Islands of Washington, where my niece’s husband just started working as the County Manager.

    This is sounding almost like a Christmas letter – I’ll have to keep a copy and use it for a template!!

    Hope all is well with you. Your retreat sounds idyllic to say the least!

    George Ronay


  2. Hi Leah,
    What a full-to-the-brim summer…billiant shots of all the participants…stunning Marseille photo–in all the MP2013 coverage, never have seen one so comprehensive–super!


  3. I’m not here long enough to be blasé about this place yet so I’m still in awe of it all! I love the mini-portraits of your guests, such a lovely idea! But where is M Frown??
    You will love Ganagobie, but don’t set your expectations too high…. it’s a special place.


  4. Thank you for reminding me how lucky we are to live in this “backwater” of Provence! A wonderful post full of interesting things and people. It made me relive a great summer, something I should never take for granted.


  5. You seem to attract interesting guests who appreciate the culinary and
    peaceful atmosphere of Les Rosiers.
    I would like to make a reservation.


  6. Hi Leah, YOU’RE BAAAACK!!! So how was Corse? Guests arrived yesterday so we’re off to the races. More later. Love, Gayle



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