Monday, July 11, 2005

The Heavenly Fragrance of French Lavender

DH and I have been sharing a summer flu that seems to be going around. When we staggered home on Saturday, after a miserable day of work, heat, and rain, the heavenly fragrance of French lavender greeted us at the front door. If that wasn't happiness enough, the good odor was emanating from a package from my Secret Pal, who sent it from Marseille.

How to explain such flawless timing? I know not and can only say, Thank you, Secret Pal! You are the best!! Or should I say, Merci, la pal secrète! Vous êtes la meilleure!!

Photo of Secret Pal goodies

Needless to add, I opened the package at once. Inside was the most thoughtful assortment of goodies, including a beautifully written letter explaining everything, the official program for the 2005 Tour de France, the Fall 2005 Phildar magazine, two skeins of Phildar Lambswool sock yarn (and a Phildar logo bag!), Haribo Fraises Tagada candy, and lavender soap from a Marseille soap-maker, a fine example of the local art. I love everything, including the Phildar bag. Distance can turn even everyday items into rare treasures.

Never having seen Fraises Tagada before, DH and I have been conducting a thorough investigation. For others who don't know them, they're marshmallow bonbons about the size and shape of a small gumdrop, covered in crunchy red sugar outside, white inside, with an intense strawberry flavor. They turn one's tongue bright pink (sorry, no photos). Apparently they are as nostalgic in France as marshmallow Peeps are in the US. Sometimes as a change of pace, I like to microwave Peeps. Hm....

The Tour de France program is a lot of fun. By some incredible chance-of-a-lifetime, a member of my bicycle club, Tom Nee, was an official in last year's TdF. Last month he gave a fascinating lecture to the club about his experience, complete with video of Richard Virenque's gutsy Bastille Day stage victory. The main effect has been to make everyone very keen to visit France, especially the parts outside Paris. I don't think I'll attempt those mountain stages by bicycle, though.

Phildar magazine is great. The photos show the sweaters clearly and the detailed schematics and diagrams are easy to follow. There are many ponchos! Also eye-catching are the mitaines, which to me look less like mittens and more like arm warmers (just the thing for cycling), and #16, five variations on a lace dress.

Despite these many temptations, I think the Phildar Lambswool yarn must become a pair of fancy socks to wear to Rhinebeck, as the New York Sheep & Wool Festival, held October 15-16 in Rhinebeck, NY is called. The serene blue-green color should show stitch patterns very well. Progress photos to come.

The soap dish is currently occupied by a strange green bar scented with green tea and cucumber which is trying hard to be wabi-sabi and perhaps not fully succeeding. Ah, these summer infatuations! The lovely Savon de Marseille is going to grace the linen closet while it lasts.

Thanks again to my Secret Pal for these wonderful treats and to fearless listmom Rox for keeping track of all 600+ of us in SP5!

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Happy happy happy me! I am glad you enjoy the Tour de France program, it could have been an odd present to send to a fellow knitter but I wanted to share this very French event! The tour is in full swing right now.

As for the yarn, I am very curious to see what it will turn into in your hands :)

Enjoy the Fraises Tagada. I kept a bag for myself when I sent yours.

For Phildar, needless to say if you need any sort of translation it comes with the present : just let me know which model you are interested in and I'll see what I can do!

Your SP.