So what’s happened since the last update I hear you cry? Only a few things have as we continue to potter along. One thing that happened was winter – or what seems to be the worst of it anyway. We’ve been told by various locals that winter here is in January and February. As it’s now mid-Feb the worst appears to be over. I said last time it’s not been as bad as we’re used to. The last few days have been very pleasant and on Thursday I sat by the front door being gently warmed by the sun.
Otherwise we have sorted out our third hoose for our stay – which like the second is also not a huge distance away. Again we visited and had a blether with our potential hosts and despite meeting me they seem happy to house us! Our calendar has filled up a little with visitors, mostly at the next place but the Tour de France trip with Chris H is falling nicely into place for July as well.
Things we wanted to do have been sorted out (I have new trousers) and S has seen some improvement with her back/legs issues. We’ve again begun doing trips and the camera has been utilised. We’re enjoying being the only tourists during these visits and it’ll be a bit odd when others are doing the same thing and getting in the way of our photos…
Anyhoo we went to Rochechouart which regular readers will remember was at the second attempt having taken a wrong turn the first time. As seems to be the norm there is an impressive Chateau and I, rather to my surprise, was “discovered”. It’s a nice town near one of the next house options and despite having sorted out somewhere else we went there for a look around anyway. We wandered around the narrow streets of old town centre around the twisted spired church before trying to go for lunch a little too early. To kill time we went into a shop next door where S bought a top she was very happy with in the sale. As she tried it on at the insistence of madam patron, a couple of English women were debating their purchases. I was asked to model a jacket more as I was a similar shape to one of their spouses rather than because of any as yet undiscovered cat walk credentials… C’est la vie! Anyway the pair continued to shop loudly as they tried, it appeared to uneducated me, to buy all of the Sale stock. One loudly imploring her pal to remind her to “Not forget her tights!” which appeared to be a regular cry of hers… My mind was boggling while S was able to chortle away behind the curtain in the changing cubicle. Money spent and time used we lunched very successfully in the Hotel de France’s busy restaurant where I had a gorgeous beef dish.
The next journey was a scouting trip when we found one of two potential properties for our final stay. During sun and snow we had coffee at Chez Marie in Sarrazac saying that sleet and sun was not unusual to us Scots. Thereabouts we had seen a rather odd local wandering about his garden very smartly dressed but carrying a trowel. We’d criss-crossed the area in our failed attempts to find the potential rental.
The other option near St Solve and Vigeois was much easier to find and looked good however said villages were quiet and lacking in amenities. Which underlines again how fortunate our current choice of location in the Pay de Saint Yrieix is.
Another excursion took us to Uzerche which has a tunnel which takes the main road thru a large hill the village has expanded over and around. The old heart of the village is a perched high above a kink in the river Vezere. Much of the old walls and buildings remain and we had a good wander around the cobbled streets and looking out across the valley. We found an open eaterie where I had veal and vegetarian S was as always catered for. She’d survived the walking about despite having forgotten her coat and having to make do with a kagoul – see I told you it’s not been too cold.
Back here at La Porcherie S continues to paint and all is similar. The main news is that the four chickens have moved on, they were enjoying their free range life having been freed from the confines of their enclosure. However they were doing a lot of damage to the gardens around the property. As the business is the two Gites Jan and Keith decided that they should be re-housed rather than eaten. It’s a bit odd not seeing the four of them wander past a window and checking for them as we arrive – the fear of knocking one down had been a worry! We’ve been into SYlP regularly and had a lovely wander around in the sunshine the other lunchtime. I also got my hair cut again but there was much less chatting as it was busy. S took the opportunity to buy a handbag – tho I had to bully her a little – she’s only two with her so it seemed fair and it was half price.
We went to Limoges but decided it wasn’t “the trip” of the week. Visiting a new to us shopping centre for more Winter Sales we singularly failed to buy anything despite going to C&A which they still have here. We lunched (of course) in a place on Place de la Republic where the Xmas market had been. At Cafe de la Republic S had veggie Soup and veg while I tucked into a poached egg salad with lardons and a herb covered piece of chicken with excellent potato gratin. We got pudding on the way home…
For a day or so we had no TV!!! This ‘crisis’ was survived easily and Keith fixed the problem the next day despite the shock of him seeing me half dressed after S had happily invited him in despite me being just out the shower… Thus we have been able to keep up with the details of the Dominic Strauss Kahn trial here in France. Putting aside certain references to his sexual preferences that are now in the public domain the highlight for me was a Belgian Pimp who also faces charges protesting that his good name was being besmirched by being linked with DSK!
As I popped out to get wood one night there was a screeching/screaming and I saw two Barn Owls having a real go at each other, (no doubt boy ones…). I’d only seen a Barn Owl in the wild once before 30+ years ago and these two were pandering to the striking bird’s usual image of serenity and calm. Another oddity in Ribiere du Nord was a massive lorry delivering huge chunks of wood to the neighbour who sidelines in firewood, (see the previous woodpile pic). The road is wiggly and narrow the lorry was long and very skilfully driven without incident despite our fears and that of the others watching.
Our latest trip took us South beyond Brive to Collonges-la-Rouge and on the way back via Turenne both of which are striking. The former is built of red stone and was deserted as we wandered around trying to see if anything wasn’t good looking enough to be photographed. We lunched as it was lunchtime, my pizza had smoked duck and fois gras on it which worked better than it sounds.
Having spotted Turenne on the way down we headed that way and stopped, further testing the camera’s memory capacity. If you saw it in Hobbity film or a fantasy computer game you’d think it was all fancy Computer Generated dunno what the I stands for (maybe Images?). Stood in the sunshine we found it difficult to comprehend just how remarkable it looked, properly spectacular and impressive, just beautiful. The pictures don’t really capture it I’m afraid.
Football watching in person has been foiled by a SYlP postponement and bad weather last night (Sunday) delayed my plans to go see Limoges FC. Instead I had to make do with a Rovers win over Falkirk on BBC Alba then an amusing and thoroughly merited win over Rangers in the Scottish Cup on the BBC. Beating Rangers at the moment is easy, it’s like kicking a man when he’s down but that would match the play of Lee McCulloch Rangers’ increasingly discredited, mediocre and frankly embarrassing Captain.
Mitzy is recovering from an allergy issue thanks to a friendly Vet. She is enjoying going out more and brought in a shrew the other day that from its loud squeaking was clearly not happy at her attention. Our furry wee bundle of fun then woke us up the other night chasing a mouse about under the bed! This lead to us both being wide awake, if sweary, in double quick time. It’s the first time it’s happened despite us being in a converted barn. The little scamp did it again two nights later. Rural life is a joy for her if not in this respect for us!
Till next time, be careful out there…