Welcome to the Les Bassacs Blog. This is a blog about life in Les Bassacs, a small hamlet in the South of France, where we organise summer painting courses. You can find out about the courses by going to our website.

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Rebecca Hind

We are very sad to learn that Rebecca Hind, who taught here at Les Bassacs for many years, has died.  She was a popular and talented teacher who will be missed by all who knew her.

She died in the early hours of Tuesday the 4th of July. Our thoughts are with her son and daughter and her partner Brian Catling, who will all feel her loss keenly.

Her funeral will be at 11 am on Friday the  14th of July at Dorchester Abbey , Dorchester on Thames  OX10 7HH
There will be a collection in aid of AGBI instead of flowers.
The service will be followed by refreshments in the Abbey and cloister gardens.
All those attending  are encouraged to wear colour.

Thursday, July 6, 2017

Les Bassacs wildlife

We are in the middle of a drought, the summer has been lovely and hot but dry.  We have been treated to visits from a variety of fauna with some unusual sightings.   We have seen three snakes in the garden , this one David spotted making its way up the wall after bird's eggs.  We identified it as a ladder snake.

We found this tree frog clinging onto our front door!

A giant grasshopper by the pool.

And some exhausted painters too!

Tuesday, July 4, 2017

Burying the wires

The hameau is having its electricity and telephone wires buried which has led to a great deal of hole-digging, noise and dust.

Little by little the work has progressed during the spring.

Now we are waiting for the EDF to come and disconnect the old supply and connect us to the buried wires.  In the meantime the work has finished and they have resurfaced our little street!

For a couple of months we were having to go across country to get into the hameau as the road was closed.  Driving through the garrigue made was such a nice diversion.  The wild thyme was in full flower and I often stopped with a car full of shopping to cut some for the afternoon cooking session.  I also happened across a tiny clutch of garlic flowers blooming under the olive trees between Les Bassacs and Les Cordiers.

Tuesday, May 9, 2017

RIP Hazel Evans

We are very sad to say that Hazel Evans, the co-founder of Arts in Provence died on May 1st, aged 88.  Many people will know her from her hosting of the welcome drinks on Saturday evenings, an occasion that she never lost her enthusiasm for.  She started by running painting and writing courses as an experiment with her friend Anne Christie in 1989, but since she was working full time as a journalist she felt her talents lay else where and David and I took it on from her in 1990.

She was always happy to be in Les Bassacs enjoying the social round, and entertaining everyone with her many anecdotes.  She will be missed by all who knew her!

Friday, December 23, 2016

Happy Christmas from Les Bassacs

As elsewhere in Europe, we are having very mild weather so its hard to feel as though Christmas is just around the corner.  We went in to Apt yesterday evening to finish our Christmas shopping and the doors to the cathedral were open.  The cathedral is mostly Romanesque but parts are Roman and Baroque.  The lower crypt is part of the original 1st century Roman building. We visited it by torch-light which added to the drama. The upper crypt dates to the 11th century. The altar is a pre-Roman engraved table on top of a Roman funeral stele.

At Christmas churches house the "crèche". These elaborate nativity scenes are peopled by santons - little saints -  which are small clay figures in traditional Provencal dress. The Apt cathedral crèche is one of the best.

the vineyard

Thursday, November 17, 2016

Programme of Workshops for the summer of 2017

The programme of workshops for 2017 is on the website now!
We are looking forward to welcoming you to another great summer at Les Bassacs.

Thursday, October 27, 2016

Faire la Bise

Thursday market, Roussillon

When to faire la bise? In southern France you kiss people you know well, when you are invited to ("on se fait la bise?") and friends of friends in an informal setting like a dinner party.  How many kisses you give is determined by region.  Here in the Vaucluse we kiss three times and it is common for men to kiss their friends.  Have a look at this interactive map to see the regional variations!

Monday, October 24, 2016

Season of mist and mellow fruitfulness

I have news of a giant parsnip from our friends Will and Bea who live near Rustrel.  Apparently the mild autumn has produced bumper crops in some things - pears, pumpkins, parsnips and walnuts.

A neighbour generously dropped off a huge basket of fresh walnuts this morning. I have made a delicious light walnut cake for tea!

Walnut souffle cake

6 egg whites
200gr caster sugar
20g plain flour
200gr of walnuts finely chopped
knob of butter for greasing the tin

Heat the oven to 180 C
Whisk the egg whites with a pinch of salt until they are stiff.
Fold in the flour and sugar and then the nuts.
Generously butter a 20cm cake tin.
Put the cake mix in the tin.
Bake for 30 minutes.

The cake rises but will shrink back as it cools giving it quite a rustic appearance!

Sunday, October 9, 2016

No sign of autumn yet

Although there is a chill in the air, there is still no sign of autumn in the fields around Les Bassacs.

Usually the vine leaves would be bright red by now

Friday, September 30, 2016

Christabel's paintings

Christabel Forbes has been our artist in residence and general factotum since August.  She studied at Falmouth School of Art, (as did Mark Cazalet and Kieran Stiles) and then went on to do the drawing year at the Royal Drawing School.  She joined us in August and has been happily painting in the landscape since then.  She has produced an exuberant body of work using oils and oil pastels which very ably express her joy at the colours and light of Provence.

Christabel's painting of the woods at Les Bassacs

This last painting was done in situ on a huge board propped up against the trees and with a thunderstorm threatening - intrepid stuff!  She is now off to teach painting in India for three months, something we know she will enjoy greatly.  Christabel's website.