Naturale Magick Specials

Original, handpainted Mandalas by Summer, Cindy Guilbert.

Rainbow Mandala
Rainbow Mandala
Cindy Guilbert, Summer by another name.
Cindy Guilbert, Summer by another name.
Naturale Magick Mandala
Naturale Magick Mandala
WildRose
WildRose
Rose Sugar
Rose Sugar
Lavender sugar
Lavender sugar

Violettes in bloom

Have you ever wondered what it is that makes us like somebody?  Really like somebody.   Is it their warmth, intelligence, elegance, or maybe their sense of humour and Occasion?  Maybe there is a song you've just got to sing out loud (loudly) together, or an irresistable draw to the sea; a beachcombing buddy who wanders with you back through endless summer days.

My friend's name is Summer, born Cindy Le Sauvage, "the Wild One". Her French roots are a particular Guernsey cultivar, raised up with a little patois and a lot of savoir-faire (literally "know how ,as in "knowing how to" respond appropriately to any situation). Her birth isles sit snug off the coast of Normandy, a British Crown Dependency in the English Channel. Summer grew up surrounded by the sea.  Ten years ago, she and her husband, drove their camper van, "Bernice", off the boat onto the dock at St Marlo and found their way by backroutes and birdcalls to St Laurent de Cerdans.  It's a village most have never heard of, but it is just up the valley from the "Centre of the Universe", located at the Perpignan train station, according to Catalonia's own, Salvador Dali.

Over time, Summer became known in the village as Madame Violette, as even her garbage bags were purple.  That's Summer for you; rose hearts, lavender sugar, violet specialities, wisteria-along-the-windowsill.   Look for that extra dash of purple, and find a heart to treasure.  She knows how to play by the rules and when to toss them to the wind and dance barefeet in the dew.  In every elegant action there is a footstep of an elf nearby or a light ripple of laughter, ringing out like a bell over the green, green hills.

Marcel is the practical hand that makes sure his Cinderella's glass slipper stays on.   She crafts fine delicasies in soft wrappings; fruity liqueurs in dainty bottles, and fresh chocolates when the weather allows. She says she's got her feet firmly planted on the ground, so I often wonder how it is that she weaves the fairies' tales into our world so effortlessly.   It just might be her absolute delight in their ways.   If she sees a rose in bloom, or conkers, pine cones, old bits of wood, beads and baskets, she gathers them up and prepares the most exotic range of local craft I have ever seen.  She creates her "Summer's Originals", with that certain "je ne sait qua", (which roughly translates as "something I know not what"). As always it is wise to look at the words from all sides in French, to catch those elusive "double entendres", that a girl would be better knowing she has said.  The French are as flirtatious as they are discrete. That's the ticket round here.  Its not quite about keeping-up-appearances, but much more about being able to carry anything off, in style. The romantics have all come to sit by these coasts, drink the wine, sing the song.   I guess that's partly why this story is written; for the women. It is written for Solange, who runs the corner store and has risen at 4am for forty years to deliver the morning paper. She is the "pennie sweets" and "lucky scratch card" lady, and soon she will be offering a range of Christmas baskets, made by Summer and Mi and a whole lot of Naturale Magick.

Originally our cottage-herb industry was to be called, "Les herbes de Madame Violette". However, my French husband at the time suggested that the nuances of "Madame" might be taken as an invitation to a whorehouse rather than a herb house, so we took the tip on putting the good French foot forward.  In most cases its a well-booted shoe on a forest path or a pair of thongs on a sea-side market.  Cindy is a collector and her home reflects her love.  When she and Marcel first arrived they waited for their island belongings, including marcel's kilt, to catch them up in water-proof, blue barrels. The weeks passed but the barrels did not arrive and a big family wedding in Scotland was rapidly approaching. Just in the nick of time, the barrels turned up, and Cinders sailed to the ball with her charming, kilted-prince on a huge sigh of relief. They returned to unpack their lives into their very-own-French-cottage and turned over green fresh leaves all over the place.


Berry berry Special

Raspberry Special
Raspberry Special
Blackberry Special
Blackberry Special
Strawberry Special
Strawberry Special

Summer's Seasonal Specials

Summer has a recipe for "Specials", but its one that the fairies whisper in her ear. It starts with fruit, sugar, alcohol, water, time...but exactly how much of which depended on .... that certain "je ne sait qua".
Summer has a recipe for "Specials", but its one that the fairies whisper in her ear. It starts with fruit, sugar, alcohol, water, time...but exactly how much of which depended on .... that certain "je ne sait qua".

Sugar and Spice

In her latter years, Cindy's mom, a Guernsey netball-star, had moved to the beaches round Benidorm, in the province of Alicante, by the western Mediterranean Sea. Now Summer lives those endless sun-kissed days in the hills further to the north of her mama's beach of choice, though winter is winter, even so close to the sea.   We live life as a quiet adventure, one day at a time.  If its time to make soap we make soap.  If its time to collect elder, we collect elder.  We get each other up early for markets down in valleys still cloaked in darkness, their lights twinkling far below.

This summer, she was pure Summer. Instead of the usual endless French supermarket epic, we dropped over the top of the hill, through cork oaks and sheep farms, down to La Costa Brava and a beach in Roses that we claimed as our own. Halfway-there we found a second-hand shop, run by an Auzzie couple who shared our delight in local trade and home-made healing. So we spent our summer on "working-holidays-to-the-sea".  Originally we were drawn to the shop because of their sign; a bold, red, hand-drawn graphic saying "Mi-spot". My nickname is" Mi", so we stopped!

Talking over the garden fence, sharing stories, swapping fresh food, these shops and villages are held together with hard-won smiles.  Cindy's neighbours are delightful. I n fact, Gertrudes' family owned the house where Cinders now lives. In days gone by,  Gertrude grew up in the family manor across the river. Now she and her husband, Joseph, live in the "gate-keeper's cottage", keeping their garden and a neighbourly eye. The manor is now a horse ranch, for "the green valley riders",  Les Cavall'espir". French puns may be lost on the newly arrived, but one catches on quick enough. The French can be very funny. (Cook that well in red wine and a spicey Catalan stew, add a Spanish taste for deep-fried peppers and you realise you've got a lot on your plate to get on with.)


The village name for the hillside-inhabitants around here is the "wooly-ones", in Catalan, in reference to the extra amounts of hair, beards and dreads. There are tipi's, domes, hogans, caravans and horse-drawn carts. I wouldn't call Cindy a hippy, especially not a wooly one; a flowerchild in the strawberry patch maybe, who would probably have quite happily run off with the gypsey's as a child, or set up her potion-making in the local fairy market down the garden, if given half a chance.

So we did it here, instead. We both "ran-away-with-the-gypseys" in some ways and have set up potions annonymous for any out-of-work fairies who are in need of a friendly cuppa and a little light relief. A friend who always sees you shining, even when your colours are murky and your heart a little sore, is a friend that you can count on. I guess that's one of the ways you find out, you really, really like them.

The Green Valley Riders

Cavall'espir, mountain horse trail ranch.
Cavall'espir, mountain horse trail ranch.

A "Special" Royale

Chambord Black Raspberry Liqueur
Chambord Black Raspberry Liqueur
raspberries
raspberries

Raspberry Cognac Special

Chambord Black Raspberry Liqueur is inspired by a raspberry liqueur produced in the Loire Valley of France during the late 17th Century. The liqueur was said to have been introduced to Louis XIV during one of his visits to the Château de Chambord. It was common during that time for liqueurs and cognacs to be consumed with elegant meals.

Chambord is made from raspberries, blackberries, Madagascar vanilla, Moroccan citrus peel, honey and cognac to create an all-natural Black Raspberry liqueur.

Chambord is made on the premises of a traditional Loire Valley Chateau, using all-natural ingredients. Whole raspberries and blackberries are steeped in French spirits for a period of several weeks to achieve a rich fruit infusion. This infusion process produces a distinct natural raspberry flavor and aroma.

After the infusion is extracted, a second layer of spirits is added to the fruit and allowed to rest for a few weeks. After this second infusion is drawn off, the remaining fruit is pressed to obtain the natural sugars and juice. The fruit-infused spirits and juices from the final pressing are then combined, and finally, the berry infusion is married with a proprietary blend of cognac, and natural vanilla extract, black raspberrieshoney, and herbs and spices.

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

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Comments 2 comments

Bazza 7 years ago

Ekskallent bit of writin' there missuz........all this stuff suits you greatly I reck'ns:

Bxx


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chara.earth 7 years ago from Saint Laurant de Cerdans, Pyrénees Orientales, France Author

thanks bazza, I appreciate your enjoyment. xc

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