Friday, October 06, 2006

Just call me Donna!

Today I came over all Donna Hay-esque and wanted to work with stacks of white bowls, piles of stainless steel and silver cutlery and the odd lemon or fig. I became fascinated by the stacks of dishes when clearing the table after we'd had our meal last night, and it wasn't just down to the lovely red wine we’d been drinking. I started thinking about shadow and form and especially how this would affect the reflections in the shiny cutlery. I’ve also started flicking through the piles of food magazines with a rather critical eye and not just thinking about the food, as I normally would be looking at the composition and styling. How very curious for me!

Fortunately K agreed with me and we spent a pleasant morning staring at stacks of bowls and folded white napkins through a lens. Hopefully Donna Hay would approve! I also got rather obsessed by a silver apple we’d borrowed off George, which after spending ages trying to eliminate my image from the shiny contours of the apple, I then decided I might as well give in and it actually would make an unusual self-portrait!

Photographing empty bowls all morning meant we were quite keen to have a procur ourselves a full bowl. A popular place for lunch is apparently the local supermarket - Super U. Which I am assured is the local equivalent to French Waitrose! The chef is occasionally seen hot footing it down the aisles to grab a missing ingredient and like to remark with an expansive hand gesture behind her 'this is my larder!' K had a Chicken and Chips, which she said was rather good. Instead of the Croque Monsieur that I'd been hankering after I plumped instead for the today's special of Salmon with Pasta in a light sauce. I even managed to successfully request a portion 'sans tomates, si possible'! And I didn’t get any tomato!

After yesterday's disastrous chocolate tart, which was so wrong I, had a craving for a little chocolate hit and discovered that the best part of having a meal in a supermarket is that if you don't fancy any of the desserts you can go shopping. And being rather far from the nearest Gü I opted for another Pot au Chocolate in little glass dishes which was okay but I feel Gü could clean up if they desired!

We’ve been dodging inclement weather nearly every day but after lunch we decide to finally head off to the local vineyard though we opt to stay inside and not bother which schlepping through the regimented fields of vines, as I can’t really photograph in the rain. Christian who, nine years ago decided very unusually to establish a new vineyard on an old sheep farm escorts us round the quite small operation. They had never grown vines on this land previously but Christian was convinced that he would be successful and whilst working for one of the wine houses laboriously planted the vines every evening and weekend. Apparently it is almost unheard of to plant a brand new vineyard, old land gets replanted but Christian having this kind of epiphany has only been done once before in recent times. When the first harvest was ready 2003, Christian gave up his day job and worked exclusively on his precious vineyard. All the large vineyards look at him and think it odd that he doesn’t force his vines to work harder but he wants to nurture them and make small quantities of high quality wine. During the harvest, Christian employs travelling grape pickers who pick select the grapes carefully and pick everything by hand. Christian then checks all the harvest for quality and presses the grapes. Then depending on the colour the resultant juice ferments in a serious of vats or vats and oak casks. We got to taste the grape musk at various stages from recently pressed and sweet and fizzing on your tongue until a few weeks before bottling. It was a very interesting education. K purchased a couple of bottles for testing purchases for us all later!

After the visit to the vineyard it was more piles of white crockery and learning about hot windows, which many photographers would have to simulate in a studio but we have some fine windows in the cottage to utilise instead. Roger is keen to start cooking the evening meal but there’s so many lovely thing to photograph in the kitchen, it is difficult to give way for the chef!

We have a lighter dinner again, as we intend to go out with a bang tomorrow so we have a starter Ham and (the excessively photographed) Figs, the main of a very tasty Courgette Frittata and Green Salad, then Cheese and an Eton mess as a finale.

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