Monday, September 23, 2013


I do my wine buying at "Ye Olde Wine Shop" in Graton. It's a bustling little place taking up about an entire city block. One has to be careful not to get run over by the forklifts running around but the place smells good.  One of the perks of working in wine country is the accessability of of places like this. I have done design work for the winery over the years so I get an employee discount. Therefore, every couple of months I have to pick up a few cases of cabernet & Zinfandel, maybe a few Reisling from the Mosel Valley during our hot summers. I made my own wine for 25 years but it got to the point where I could buy really good wine for less than it cost me to make. But that's not the point, right? One must learn to be self sufficient, right?  I am proud that over the years I have taught about 15 people how to make wine. Some of them (Like Dodson) even won " best of Show" of the amatuer group (non-commercial).

You will occasionally find me at a sidewalk cafe in Paris sketching the inhabitants and environs.
However, I'm gearing up for a Tuscany Spring , one of my favorite haunts.
   With all the brauhau about the cost of medicare & such, I would like to relate some of my experiences with medical emergencies in Europe.  A few years ago we visited a medievil town in France called Danard.  We had a nice lunch at a Pizza place on the terrace but our waitress had a bad case of the snuffles & we didn't like the sight of that. Anyway, we traveled on and found ourselves in Brugge, Belgium and I wasn't feeling so great. We had a room on the 3rd floor of a small hotel just a block from the main Kirk (Church) and square. But I developed such a profound coughing fit that I began to see large bruises on the outside of my stomach. Here we were, in a small hotel with restuarant & bar with 26 local Belgian  beers on tap!! and I was too ill to drink any of them. Time to get professional help. Our concierge reccommended a doctor who I called and was able to see us  that afternoon.  We walked over about two blocks , found the doctor's office and waited for about one half an hour before she could see us. Joy was having similar problems, but fortunately less.  There was a waiting room, an examining room & probably a small office. She looked younger than my daughters but did a quick examination of us both, gave us about five different prescriptions , different for each of us.  When finished, we asked how to pay for all this, and she said she could charge it, but it would cost a lot of paperwork, but if we paid cash , it would cost 30 Euros each.  Really!! We laid 60 E on her and boogied to the farmacia, next door to our hotel.  We loaded up on all these drugs, paid about 40 E. each, and began our treatments. In a few days, we both were feeling fine & able to search out Belgian chocalats, Belgian waffles (hard to find) and began tasting some Belgian beers, even visiting/tramping around in  a 300 year old brewery. Viva la Belgique!