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French pears

Have you eaten French pears when they’re fully ripe? When they’re at their perfumed buttery best only then can you understand why they were once only for the monarchy. Well, it’s still been a “hit or miss” thing with me since I can’t wait for that precise moment when texture and sweetness blends to perfection. 

Nothing can match a pear in its prime when it’s neither crunchy or mushy. Smell a mango for its ripeness, same with a pear! That particular perfume seizes the whole essence of autumn. This year’s pear harvest has been particularly shorter due to the damage across the E.U. with a cold and wet spring when bees were supposed to do their job of pollen action. Suffice to say that it’s useless talking about pears unless you’ve tried them when picked unripe but only eaten when ripe. The perfume intoxicates you so that one realizes the opportunity lies on luck and blessings from the earth. One good reason to come to France! 

My favorite French pear; right, Mila Gelvezon holds fresh mushrooms found in the garden*
Artiste Ofelia Gelvezon Tequi serves homemade quiche to l-r sister Mila G, hubby Marc Tequi and Pål Larsen*
ELG posing in the 14th century hearth of the Tequi residence; middle, the Tequi’s villa (with blue shutters is the largest property in the village of Limeuil in Dordogne, with the basement dating back to the 14th century.) They transformed the keeper’s house into a bed and breakfast good for 6-8 guests; right, Marc Tequi serves fresh raw oysters for lunch*

Well, it’s finally fall, Dahlinks and I’m obliged to sort out my overcoats, fur and scarves that have fallen to disarray since my absence of the longest two years in my life. I was about to crack my head in despair on my marbled floor at home in Bacolod with the high humidity that made a pleasurable walk in the sidewalks seamless daily exercise not only for the body but for the soul. What sidewalks am I talking about? The Montelibano era sidewalks and spaghetti free main streets are gone, jumbled into messy urban jungle that infects, repels to the sight or have disappeared into a heaving, jigsaw of over signage pollution that forces one and all to take refuge in dirty, unruly public transport definitely not worthy of a highly urbanized city. 

I’ve been traumatized with two years of Third World awareness and ineptness that I shall take solace into searching for that perfect French pear. There’s no instant gratification of an apple preferred in the islands by all and sundry. Pears according to Enlightenment naturalist Pierre Daubenton were not popular to “the common people.” Apples could be eaten unripe but pears before being ripe aren’t even tarty and end up banal and sort of turnippy. 

The Marqueyssac Gardens is the latest attraction in Dordogne; middle, my discovery in the Marqueyssac Gardens was this fern covered grotto; right, Marc Tequi showed me the Chateau de Beynac, most famous and well preserved of the Dordogne region*
The gardens are found in the grounds of the Belvedere chateau in Périgord*
All sorts of organic shapes are trimmed from boxwood hedges*

Sweeties, if I got your gustatory senses aroused, turn to the native guava which evokes that pungent smell when it’s ripe and sweet enough to be endeared upon by royal colonialists. Like the French pear, it has to be ripe enough to open its sweetness and perfume just for you. Savor this double pleasure of smell and flavor that this present pandemic has wrought havoc on. I urge one and all to look for that native guava, small and soft to the touch of your fingernails whose wound will open up its superiority to guapples and reveal to you the treasure of the islands, Third World though it may be, to me. It definitely won’t have the perfume of a French pear! 

MY PRAYER. Righteous Father, though the world does not know you, I know you, and they know that you have sent me. I have made you known to them, and will continue to make you known in order that the love you have for me may be in them and that I myself may be in them. John 17:25–26, NIV*

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