Bonjour tout le monde!
Well we are nicely settled in. S and I have got the hang of the wee hoose – which is better than we hoped. All excluding the gas oven which has been a bit hit or miss so far.
On Saturday we went into Saint-Yrierx-la-Perche and explored it a bit during the lunch hour (or two as they have here). That meant we could get our bearings nicely in peace and quiet but I’d be lying if I said it was on purpose…
It was lovely weather wise and we then sought out and found the larger supermarket and got some bits and bobs. I also found the fitba however missed the evening game of the First XI due to tiredness (they won 5:2). The Rovers managed a point at Hibernian in my absence, updates were provided by Chris, (Merci mon ami).
On Sunday we went into town and got more bits and bobs and had a pleasingly quiet day. We had got up early and watched the Grand Prix a bonus which had the edge taken off it by the Bianchi’s accident – hopefully he’ll be ok… L We have many English language TV channels but no French, we are however continuing to listen to Kaolin FM which we did via the interweb. Its studio is in SYlP. Startlingly Irn Bru is available in our nearest shop (Casino) at less than a Euro a can, I however opted for a locally produced cola. J
Today Monday we had a bit more of a wander in town and I managed to communicate reasonably efficiently with a few folk in the Tourist Information and a Pharmacy. S bought drinks successfully so that was good too. We got a bigger, more efficient shop in and decided against some of the more unusual items available – I’ll try pig’s brain and opt for chicken hearts some other time…
The last couple of days have been showery so an excuse to get the hang of the wood burner. Me man, man make fire!
Mitzy is becoming a bit more relaxed. She kept disappearing under the bed if anything unusual happened however is a bit less clingy today. She’ll get the chance to go outside on Wednesday so stay tuned!
On Mardi we chilled out in La Porcherie and went for a walk of about 3.2k’s. A tree threw a nut at Susan just missing her otherwise it was incident free.
Today (Mercredi) we were a bit more proactive and investigations have been made about getting connected – via a Domino – and have an appointment to sort out a bank account. We also had more of an explore of Saint Yrieix when it was not having lunch. We sampled some lovely chocolates (Bogue) clearly inspired by the autumn which looked like conkers but taster rather great, (a lot nicer than they sounded). They are not sold all year round – at least I think that’s what she said when I asked!
Mitzy had a wee go at the outside world and one of the local cats didn’t notice her which was handy. She had a bit of a wander about then had to catch her to get her back in! She’s recovering from the excitement as I type.
This evening there was a lovely warm breeze so Susan and I sat by the pool for a while reading and relaxing which was rather civilised.
Susan and I are settling into a routine. S pointed out as we haven’t had a holiday we should at least treat the first couple of weeks as being one. That and her continued leg/back/hip discomfort have been a good excuse for taking things easy. Accordingly we now are in the habit of sitting by the pool in the afternoon sunshine reading or in S’s case doing the odd sketch. Yesterday the pool was the temperature the Scottish news said it would be at home – which was handy as I twisted my ankle on a 6k walk in the sunshine. Thus I’ve been in it, to mid calf, of my left leg. It wasn’t a bad twist and I was fine the next day. The majority of days have been 20 degrees and warmer, quite a few 25 degrees or more (or braw in old money) well beyond ‘taps aff’ temperature.
Otherwise on Friday it was market day. We didn’t know what to expect but as it was the first time in the village that we had to hunt for a parking space we took that to be a good sign. The market is surprisingly large and varied. It extended up a wide avenue and along the pedestrianised High Street towards the small Halles building. There were many cheese, fruit ‘n’ veg and meat stalls as well as a few selling clothing* and others doing things like sausages, knives, bags, shell fish and macaroons. Also the Police and a couple of lonely Jehovah’s Witnesses as well as the opportunity to buy live rabbits and chickens – to what end I won’t speculate…
We toddled home with lots of fruit ‘n’ veg, I got a sausage (venison) just to be polite to a nice man with free samples and a couple of macaroons! He’d explained the genus of each sausage using pictures on his phone, which was a little embarrassing… You could buy chestnuts by the kilo – which we didn’t as they occasionally throw themselves at us from the trees by the pool and are all around our wee bolt hole. The walnut tree in the garden is also fruiting (nutting?) so we’ve a pile of them awaiting use.
* The beer commercial with Eric Cantona in which French farmers are lauded as if football stars seems to have nailed the rural fashions. Plaid and practical is how it’s best described and S had no difficulty walking past the clothing stalls…
I watched the Rovers game on BBC Alba – which was great for a neutral but rubbish for a Raith fan – why they play 4-4-1-1 at the moment with the players available goodness only knows. I had a can of Irn Bru in the fridge in preparation as the local Casino stocks it in the British bit – it’s our only purchase from such a section so far I hasten to add. It also costs less than some charge back home!
Otherwise we went to Coussac-Bonneville a few K’s away and looked at the Chateau from the outside. There are lots more around to have a look at.
The nearby field of corn was harvested which was a picture of efficiency tho I don’t know how the machine separates the cobs from the rest of the seven foot high plant which it sliced into tiny pieces.
Mitzy has had a stand-off with the male cat of our hosts and has had a few wanders in the garden ending in her being chased back to the hoose. S enjoyed her wandering over to the male cat who was sat on the outside of the French doors hissing and sauntering away leaving his view obscured by condensation!
Language wise unlike at home when walkers pass each other with a grunt it’s always Bonjour here – which we can both handle. I it seems can blether my usual guff here we got a couple of things in the patisserie in Coussac-Bonneville and having decided to share a cake I stopped them wrapping it up. We were then offered a sheet of kitchen paper and without thinking I was saying not for S but for me two sheets were needed! This amused the woman and her colleague.
This week we are seeing the Bank (well the Post Office has a bank bit) about setting up an account and thus we hope will be able to get web access sorted more readily. Also we need to buy petrol which seems to be via the pump rather than a person in a wee shop. On Thursday our hosts are going away and we have already been briefed in the process of feeding their three cats and four chickens. Updates and a tally of those who survive our care will be forthcoming…
Today went to Limoges which was more testing driving wise than the pottering about we’ve done lately. We were in Limoges in March and got to know the centre of town and around the famous station. Driving in however was a test as we didn’t know the geography at all. Anyway we left the main road and were heading for the Centre Ville when we spotted the top of the station and parked successfully. Thus we were where we knew and successfully changed some money and had a potter around.
We lunched in a place we ate in once last time – Le Bistrot Gourmand – which again hit the spot nicely. Research continued regarding web access – the main issue is you need to pay from a bank account. Our new pal Sixtine at Banque Postal helped us thru the bank account setting up but the process needs to be completed and cards issued, etc.. Cash wise we are okay living quietly as we are, taking advantage of having not much to do after an increasingly frenetic time before we set off south.
A few more afternoons in the largely lovely weather we’ve had have been spent reading by the pool. Susan has been sketching which she’s been enjoying and my tan is coming on… (No pictures will be provided at this time. Cash offers one way or the other will however be considered)
As of today we are alone and thus responsible for Jan and Keith’s four chickens and three cats. No pressure! The pool hasn’t been shut down so I’m keeping an eye on that too. If things go wrong we may be home soon…
The last few days have been a continuation of the relaxed theme. As the weather has been more the best a Scottish July can offer than any October we’ve ever seen before. Both of use having lived near the coast almost all our days we are unused to a warm breeze which is something I’m more than happy to adjust to…
Chickens and cats update:
One of the chickens likes to flap up at me when I’m getting their food which was a surprise the first time. She also likes her back stroked! All are still alive so far. We are getting three eggs a day and having been given our hosts surplus before they left it means S is using her range of culinary skills.
The cats are also alive, which is good. We hadn’t so far discussed our unfortunate record with cats which is probably a good thing when I think about it. The mum seems happy to have us talk to her in French or English answering back no matter, the clever thing. The daughter is elusive and the son still sneaks up on and chases Mitzy when he spots her but it’s his home after all.
It was windy the first night after our landlords left which meant I spent about two hours getting many leaves, a dead mouse and several elusive frogs/toads out of the pool. Frogs/toads are well designed for swimming but my admiration wore off trying the catch the buggers in the net thing. One was removed and as I tried to usher it back towards the grass it sold me a dummy and two hops later was back in the pool. I suspect that any nearby Limousin cattle in the field next door may not have heard such language before… My removing of leaves from the grass downwind has proved time well spent.
We’ve pottered about a bit locally. We had time in Segur-le-Chateau which is one of the select bunch of Frances most beautiful villages. It was indeed very pretty and it being October largely free from other visitors. Around every corner was another reason for getting the camera out, I ended up stopping putting it away (pictures to follow). As well as visiting there, in the Correze, we also drove into the Dordogne the other day. Not that we meant to but not that it’s very far away either, we were looking for the other Madeline factory!
We have filled in a form to get a “Carte de Fidelite” which, I hope, is a loyalty card for one of the supermarkets. If not I fear we may face medicals and we’ll decline taking the process any further – my tan isn’t good enough for that yet! This of course doesn’t mean we’ll stop shopping at other places and markets like the tarts most consumers are.
Fitba warning – those not afflicted with a love of football skip this bit.
I went to my second French fitba game last night. (I bought S’s understanding with chips and mayo at a Lille/Le Mans game a few years back).
Saint Yrieix la Perche were playing Foot Sud 87 Thirds in the League. Following another tactically inept humping for the Rovers I was not as gleeful as I may have been but set off early for the eight o’clock kick off. I had to pause as some cows where heading down the road under the control of one of our neighbours but was soon on my way again.
To summarise – and I could go on at length as some of you will know – it was good. The Visitors had a fat goalie, really fat, the fattest French person I’ve seen so far. I’ve seen bigger on holiday here before but let’s face it they were probably American tourists. He made a good double save but was rubbish despite being team captain. Several of his colleagues were not exactly moob free either and yellow tops probably didn’t help. Some of the visitors had some skill but clearly too many of the French equivalent of pies had been consumed over the last few years…
YSlP started well scoring within a minute and running out 9:1 winners. The home side looked pretty decent and are apparently benefitting from a new trainer. FS87 3’s did score a penalty and missed an absolute sitter but it still wasn’t as bad as Andy Kirk’s clanger at Alloa a few years back – they are village amateurs after all not ex-townie scum…
I will continue to attend and report back. Hopefully having learnt from my first game, not sitting accidently with the away fans and establish if my 2 euro entry gets me a free drink at the bar. I’d also better not have to explain my “equipe en Ecosse” got horsed 6:1 every effing week.
Foot Sud 87 had won 2 of their 4 games so far so that makes the result more impressive! End of fitba!
Today we went to a broccant – which is a flea market – there was lots of stuff like you’d get in the UK but more French also there was a bar, pony rides and horses. I got a pork sandwich thing (like a hot dog but with meat) which was very tasty. It held at the local Mart which is a couple of K’s away and good secondary use of the facility.
Some folk were visiting the next but one house, which isn’t usually occupied, and they played boules earlier by the road. J Really, they were!
Off for tea now, it’s crepes tonight and there’s an egg mayo starter!