Dimanche 22nd Mars

Quick update after a good if largely animal free week. (Ok, there’s a cat and a kestrel type bird…)

 

Firstly the car is fixed on Tuesday and our impression of French garages is as follows – they patiently put up with my attempts at French and charge for how long they took not what they quoted.  I largely failed to explain the Bagheera in the garage was in my Trump Cards when I was a small boy, I start trying to say stuff and have to see it thru…  On Monday our car (aka car) had lost gears twice within a 100 metres much to S’s annoyance as she was driving and toots from passing motorists didn’t help.

Accordingly were more than happy to pay the rather lower amount than discussed.  What’s more it seems that I agree for once with Putin and Kim Il Sun in that there is a place for re-programming in modern society.  I now know it helps with car things but I think the other two approve of that sort of thing more generally.

A Fiat Bagheera was in the garage...

Fiat Bagheera… COOL!

To test the car we had a run south to Excideuil in the Dordogne – where we had muffins back in early January from a nice chatty English bloke.  This time we spent a bit more time, having a look at the Chateau and wandering into said impressive building/grounds.  We think you’re allowed to in that there no signs indicating you couldn’t and no-one shouted at us.  In fact there was no-one at all.  There we watched a small bird of prey chasing off a couple of crows displaying some fantastic flying.  Funnily enough there was more life in the place than in the first days of January and the market was just finishing.  It isn’t as big as SYlP’s btw.

Anyway we had a wander and after deciding to not go to the same place a second time – not that there is anything wrong with it – we ate at the Hostellerie du Fin Chapon.  It had been shut up when visited the first time but you’d never have guessed.  I menu de joured – grated carrot starter with endive, nice bit of beef with chips and green beans followed by a very, very good bit of apple tart.  S had an omelette and wine!  Excideuil is a friendly place in our experience in that the hostellerie’s cat was trolling about quite the thing pausing by those with interesting smelling main courses.  Of course she was getting nothing from me – I have a developing reputation for being a glutton – however on her second lap of the room she decided to clamber, with a little help from her claws, onto my lap where she settled down happily.  S nursed her coffee that little bit longer as I was clearly not allowed to go yet!  Eventually I rose carefully lifting my new pal but the couple of diners behind us who’d also been meowed at were also going so the poor wee thing had to find another lap for herself.  The car was fine on this 60+ mile round trip which was good news.

 

I continued my assisting Jan and Keith in their spring gardening efforts.  The task this time was decapitating a Bay tree which despite the complexity of the task we all survived.  Some Bay leaves are drying as you read on the window sill as is some fresh Rosemary.  What better excuse can there be for lamb for tea?

Bay leaves

I was dunted on the head with one of the larger branches moving them after we’d finished the difficult bit (don’t tell Jan!).  It’d smacked myself a cracker on the low doorframe the day before however there is no sign of any lasting damage/improvement.  Hopes for the later have been cruelly dashed…

 

On Friday I got a hair cut at the same place as before.  My barber had a colleague with a brilliant French moustache and I chatted a bit more successfully.  Explaining that I had a lump on my head and making clear it wasn’t the wife skelping me as he hinted.  What a very good judge of character he is.

We remained in SYlP for lunch going for a second time to the Creperie.  They do rotisserie chicken which is a winner for me every time.  Can you get a DVD of revolving chickens?  I know you can get fiery hearths and fish tanks but it’s an idea.  (I’ll have 15%, ok, 10% of any profits if either of you make a fortune out of that idea).

The reason for a second lunch was that very much to my surprise I’d had a cheering e-mail that morning.  There a few English language publications here available for free at various places.  The glossiest is Living Magazine, it’s bi-monthly and they had a writing competition in the Dec/Jan edition.  I had a little think and deciding late against a piece of fiction sent them a bit about the benefits of going to watch local sport as a way of getting into life in France and meeting people.  No surprises there I suppose but I didn’t think that much more about it.

Anyway on Thursday morning I checked my e-mail and there was one about the competition.  Our modem does its best but is often slow so I just saw the preview lines talking about the high quality of entries.  Eventually I managed to open the message at the third log back in and saw that due to the number of entries they’d shortlisted some before choosing the Winner and two Runners Up.  Scrolling down to check if I had sneaked into the short list I was more than flummoxed to see I was a Runner Up!

I still can’t quite believe it and am pretty chuffed to be honest.  I didn’t think that my choice of topic was the best for an all women panel of judges (2 authors, an ex-script writer & the magazine Editor) however they obviously saw something in what I did.  It’ll be on the magazine’s website along with the next edition and I’ll provide the link then.

Having written loads of match reports – the audience for which is pretty captive – this result has been a shock and means I should really try and enter a few more similar competitions.  However, I can only really do worse from now on…

Surprising result!

Surprising result!

 

We saw most of Charlotte Grey the other night – Cate Blanchet playing an SOE (Special Operations Executive) person who is parachuted into WW2 France to help the Resistance.  Having seen it before we couldn’t help feel our perspective has been changed by being near where it was set and after seeing so many roadside and town centre memorials…

The village that part of it was filmed in is not too far away and we may go there at some point.

 

Despite my efforts to find a nearby match there was no fitba for me this week.  So like many I switched over from the rugger to BBC Alba where the Rovers beat Alloa 2:1 with Vaughan (aka Voghan) scoring the winner.

 

Next week we have a longer distance trip planned and S and I are going for tea/coffee at Jose’s house (my pal from the fitba).  To be frank I’m more worried about that than I was about the car being at the garage!

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