Page 33. " The first true intimations of spring came not from early blossom or the skittish behaviour of the rats in Massot's roof, but from England "

Each year the Brits flock to France in search of some much needed sunshine and the anticipation of an exotic blend of food, wine, language and scenery. In fact France attracts more foreign tourists than any other place, 78.95 million in 2010, making it the most popular tourist destination in the world. It is little wonder that France, especially the south, draws a large percentage of the English crowd with its picturesque natural geography, unlimited eating and drinking options and an envious balmy climate.

Page 35. " As an appetiser, we would consult the oracular books, and came to depend more and more on the Gault-Millau guide "

The Gault-Millau guide is a rating system for eateries in France where points from 1-20 are awarded for the quality of food. Additional comments on atmosphere, service, prices and overall experience are also included but are separated from the food and do not affect its score. This system therefore offers an individual rating for the food rather than a combined score which is affected by the overall dining experience.

The concept was created by Henri Gault and Christian Millau in 1965 and has gone on to become one of the most influential restaurant guides for France alongside the highly esteemed Michelin Guide. The Gault-Millau guide has been used for other countries including Switzerland, Germany, Austria and the Benelux and is regarded as a priceless companion to eating out in France.

Page 39. " The Almond tree was in tentative blossom "

Mayle uses the flowering patterns of the Almond tree to hint at the shifting seasons from winter into spring. The awakening of this deciduous plant brings with it the news that warmer weather is on its way, as the Almond tree begins to produce leaves and whitish pink flowers at the beginning of spring. It will begin bearing fruit during the autumn months but takes five years of growth from a sapling to become fertile enough to do so. Its nuts (really a fruit in botanical terms) can be eaten raw, salted, toasted and sweetened, can be turned into almond butter, milk or oil and are a great addition to many dishes. Furthermore the nut is packed full of vitamin E, rich in monounsaturated fats (the good ones) and is gluten free!

Page 44. " He wanted to watch Santa Barbara, his favourite television soap opera "

Santa Barbara was an American television show broadcast between 1984 and 1993. It's popularity saw it aired in over 40 countries and gain a collection of awards including 24 Daytime Emmy Awards and 18 Soap Opera Emmy Awards, among many other smaller awards. The show revolves around the eventful lives of a select few families of Santa Barbara, California, especially the wealthy Capwell family and the rival Lockridge family. Other characters included the more modest Andrade and Perkins families.