A Summer in Gascony is the story of a perfect summer, a golden experience, a never-to-be-forgotten memory of how good life can be.
The story is set during a memorable summer spent living and working with a family of Gascon farmers in their ferme-auberge in a remote hilltop village in southwest France. The author was thrown in at the deep end and had to adapt quickly to being a shepherd, slaughtering sheep, watering the crops, feeding the cattle and harvesting the wheat. He rode a horse for the first time and even helped with riding lessons for village children. He did the round of village festivals and on Saturday nights went with the locals to a nightclub, which was little more than a wooden shed in a field.
As an Englishman in Gascony, the author found himself more welcome than he expected. Old affinities exist between England and Gascony. For centuries, Gascons fought with the English against a common foe – the French! Gascony exported huge quantities of wine to slake the thirsts of medieval Englishmen and introduced claret to the English. This book gives some surprising insights into the turbulent history of Gascony, and shows how the land and the history have shaped the unique character of the people.
The book is full of colourful characters - the charismatic and convivial Jacques-Henri, the hardworking farmer and his family who take Martin into their home and hearts; the yoga-practicing Germans; Pattes, the mischievous and lovable stray dog who brings havoc in his wake; Madame Parle-Beaucoup the town gossip who has a secret of her own and the memorable Monsieur Fustignac whose pride in his Gascon heritage is unforgettable. This is a tale of country carnivals, dusty roads and sunbaked wine country.
Written with charm and gentle humour, by someone who has got to know the people, and who understands their way of life, this book will make you feel what it is like to be there. A Summer in Gascony generates a warmth of feeling and tells a story that you will not want to end.
A Summer in Gascony is published by Nicholas Brealey Publishing.