21 October, 2000

Goodbye for now

The two chefs - Annie & Annick - in the service of extra kilos.

10 o’clock in the morning, the team is ready to go home – the harvest is over for this year – and it is a bit sad to say so long. We have lived like one big family for the last week. It has been fun, hard and different, and now wit is back to everyday life for everybody.

Also Annick who with Gerards wife Annie has been cooking again and again, preparing three dishes for both lunch and dinner and filled the basket with coffee and cake for the breaks for the last week. We have eaten well – everything from rabbit over Boef Bourgignon to Choucroute, kilos of Clafoutis-cake with cherries or apple, prunepies and puddings and pan cakes en masse – during the grapeharvest it is not unusual to gain 2-3 kilos even though you work hard fysically. And there is a reason for that. The two ladies have for nine days again and again asked their dinner- or lunchguests to have some more of their heavy food, and eventually some will stay.

Gerard must get used to work alone in the farm again. Muriel, Jean-Michel, Michael, Philipe, Jovelyne, Jean, Laurent and Nathalie all take the train back to Le Havre, while Laetizia, Alexandre and Xavier stay one more day. The men have another days work cleaning the boxes before these are stored in the attic for the next year.

In the late afternoon we go back to Verzy. The excitement has gone or maybe more correctly have been turned into good experience and most of the seasonal workers here has now left the scene. A few places along the road – for instance Louvois, Avize and Mesnil-sur-Oger – they still harvest. Bended backs along the rows, boxes full of grapes at the road, heavy tractors on the way to the press and the smell of fresh grapejuice in the villages tell, that the big week of Champagne has not yet come completely to the end.

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