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Saturday 22 November 2014: En famille

Spoiled for choice for blips today. In the ended opted for this - not the best photograph, but it best summed up the day.

We drove down early to the wine producing region of Gaillac where I was to sign books during an open doors event at Domaine Sarrabelle. This was the vineyard that I used as the basis for my fictitious vineyard, Domaine La Croix Blanche, in my book "The Critic". So there was huge interest, and a table that was groaning with books at the start of the afternoon was empty at the end of it. I have to say, there were a few empty bottles, too.

The blip was taken during lunch with the family who own the vineyard, la famille Caussé, in the same kitchen where we first lunched with them seven years ago while researching the book - since when we have been firm friends. They wanted to send us off with six bottles of their best wine. But since we leave from our hotel early first thing tomorrow on a three-day drive to the south of Spain, we simply didn't have room in the car, so left with one! Lovely people!!

In the evening we dined at our favourite local restaurant, Le Romuald in L'île sur Tarn. Since they, too, had received a mention in the Le Monde article about me in the summer, they had been inundated with curious diners, and so we received an extra warm welcome from owners Marie and Patrick.

In Le Romuald they braise meat on the embers of a huge open fire, and melt the sugar on their famous crême brûlées with irons that have been resting among the same embers. Smoky!

Our day was nicely rounded off when Marie and Patrick refused to take payment for the meal. We really are blessed with some wonderful friends.

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