This place is very hot and still today. It’s also very quiet because there’s no electricity. This is  maybe because of the heat, a storm or the early retirement of the man who apparently pedals a generator that provides us with intermittent current so long as the weather remains at its most clement: this means no wind, rain, snow, frost, sun or anything else untoward. The silence throughout the hamlet reassures me that I had not forgotten to pay the bill.The bees seemed very loud in this silence so I set off to market.


Every Wednesday morning, in the summer months, there’s a small market nearby which is comprised of two or three stalls. stall_Foussais_17jul_0263Between them they sell mussels and oysters, fruit and vegetables and hats. Hats have the largest stall and the least customers.people_Foussais_17jul_0252 Maybe hat buying takes place later, as the sun gathers in strength. Noticeably, there’s no sense of urgency here, no anxiety in waiting for one’s turn to be served as those waiting are conversing with each other and are happy just to be there. Bunches of radishes or single potatoes are turned over and examined: this is shopping for eating. The small gathering of customers swells and diminishes like breathing.


On the way home the scent of wild mint is intoxicating. The hedgerows are being cut and trimmed, causing every wild herb and flower to give up its fragrance into the warmth of the summer air. The “fauchage”, at this time of year, always leaves a cloud of aromatic perfume in its wake.

Home and electricity courses through the  dangling overhead cable once more. I feel that I’ve stepped out of one time into another.

About Food,Photography & France

Photographer and film maker living in France. After a long career in London, my wife and I have settled in the Vendee, where we run residential digital photography courses with a strong gastronomic flavour.
This entry was posted in 2013, Digital photography, food, Food and Photography, Food photographer, France, French countryside, Fruit, Herbs and Spices, Landscapes, Photography, photography course, Photography holiday, Uncategorized, Writing and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

40 Responses to Powerless….

  1. Sounds like a blissful day, Roger.

  2. A beautifully written post.

  3. Wonderful Roger I can smell the herbs and gear the bees buzzing! so peaceful.

  4. Glad it came back; but you have encapsulated that contrast, Roger. This is so atmospheric today.

  5. So lovely.
    Our neighborhood street back East lost power for random reasons too. Very frustrating to see lights on in the houses behind and across from us. Especially when it was freezing cold, or blistering hot.

    I’ve never had such good potatoes as the ones in France.

    • I’m learning to live with the vagaries of overhead electric cables…slowly. We live in a fantastic potato area. The ones from the nearby Ile de Re are the only AOC potatoes in France. Apart from that, the Marais Poitevin, which are the drained marsh areas leading to the coast provide amazing vegetables. Eleanor of Aquitaine had this vast stretch of marshland drained back in the 12th century.

  6. Like time standing still. 🙂

  7. This is a beautiful post Roger. I wish I could step into your time there for a day 🙂 PS I hope your generator guy starts pedaling soon 😉

  8. thomas peck says:

    Lovely post Roger. I wish I had a French food market to pop down to! Love the photos…

  9. Michelle says:

    Wonderful, Roger! (Ah, country living. And the attendant power outages. How well we know.)

  10. Eha says:

    Peaceful sentences floating afore my busy eyes: thank you for slowing me down . . . and, sorry, am reaching for that melon in your bag – you won’t mind going back for another . . . ?

  11. Ah, I love the look of those potatoes.

  12. That was beautifully written, I could feel the stillness and the silence. I love markets outside of the UK where you are expected and indeed encouraged to prod, sniff and taste the produce before buying!

  13. Lulu says:

    You are waxing very poetic today. Your mentioning the Wednesday farmers market reminds me that I forgot to go yesterday which means I missed my favorite goat cheese lady.
    Heat has lessened a bit in Maine thank goodness.

  14. Roger, every time you write a post like that I get this immense urge to raise my middle finger to the telephone, my email, the gas company and the bank; to sell our house, throw out the clothing and the laser printer; and move to rural France. Yes, I would miss the opera, the theatre and the movies, but to idly watch the man picking the fruit that will be on my table tonight, to visit Bresse to buy a chicken, to stroll through the Cote d’Or and dream of grand crus, to only buy food from markets, to not do anything to a timetable; that would be bliss indeed. In many ways I envy you. – James

  15. Mad Dog says:

    It sounds like perfect summer food and an afternoon in pool 🙂

  16. Rachel says:

    You need a button for those of us who *love* your posts… sometimes “like” is not enough. I can almost smell the wild mint. Mmmmmm….

  17. Karen says:

    The smell of wild mint and bees buzzing sounds wonderful. My kind of a summer day.

  18. Beautiful post. I can just imagine the incredible scent in the air. What a perfect day!

  19. Lori M-I says:

    What a lovely post. I live in rural SW Ontario Canada and quite often we have the power go out but it’s usually due to turbulent weather and not the early retirement of the generator peddler. We had no power this evening so it was bread grilled on the barbeque with salsa di parmigiano left over from yesterday for dinner as we watched the storm clouds roll in. Your environs sound much more soothing.

  20. Very evocative.. I can’t imagine how wonderful it would be to wander through town without the buzz of electricity in my ears.. Well, now I can after reading about your day:)

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