Samedi 18th

Hello,

Forgive the delay in updating you both regarding our time en France.  However, sat on a lounger in my shorts after a pleasant walk in the sunshine rewarded by a Bounty choc ice (all together now “Yer bounty”) I thought I’d better get up to date.

In chronological order as always here’s what we’ve been up to.  Firstly we went to Poitiers which is about two hours north of Limoges by train.  We drove to Limoges and hopped on an early train arriving back of ten and wandered into the town centre past the most exotic municipal Post Office we’ve seen before.  It’s a pretty place and we had a fortifying drink before wandering further.  There is a cracking open square (rectangular) in front of the Hotel de Ville and then some nice wee winding old bits.  There’s a Romanesque Church, market and the like as well as a Cathedral – were I opened a door at exactly the same time as a girl opened the inner door causing us both to nearly have a connery.  Miraculously we both lived to tell the tale.  On the way back up a narrow road we went past some road works thinking nothing of it.  Just behind us an old Mini came up the road and obviously deeming the signs and barrier to be tiresome bumping up on the 18 inch wide pavement to continue his route, no doubt as a homage to the original Italian Job.  However he was foiled, as the junction he had to traverse next was impassable, grounds for a road closure!  We left him and his passenger trying to shift signs, barriers and goodness knows what else so he could merrily continue on his way.  Sometimes a self preservation society just doesn’t work.  Anyway we lunched where we had coffee and I had a confit de cunard (duck) which was excellent.  S had an oeufs coquette with an egg flouting in it that had been partly cooked by its addition to the dish.

By the time we’d finished it had started raining and we meandered a little more before heading for the station.  I hopped on a bus and discovered it went past so we made a train by a minute or two, saving us from avoiding getting wet for two hours in shops.  Talking of which there was an artisan parapluie place (an umbrella maker to you & me) which we hadn’t visited earlier – in light of the rain we should!

On our return to Limoges in what was by then heavy rain there was some confusion in the car park as the pay machine wasn’t working thus preventing our departure.  Rather than talk to a person at the other end of the Help button I said how difficult that would be to a similarly incarcerated chap, in that we were on holiday.  He asked where from and when I said Ecosse he said, “I know Scotland” and he did as he agreed that the rain was Scottish weather…  Anyway I pressed the button and was told parking was free and to press the call button at the gate.  That was fine with me as I was on the other side of the car but S managed – grammatically correctly – to get a disembodied voice no doubt far, far away to open the gate and we were free.  They don’t teach how to deal with that in language courses!

My pal Jose from the fitba had invited S and I around for a drink and we visited one afternoon.  He came to France in the late 60’s from Portugal and is very patient with my attempts no doubt mangling the language of his adopted home.  Anyway we had a good time ate some splendid apple tart his wife had made and blethered reasonably efficiently for over three hours.  Much of the chat was about fitba but also more general stuff too which was all very good.  They leant us a CD by a Scottish band – The Flavours – who’d played locally.  They get some air play on Kaolin FM the local station.  I asked my Uncle who’s been gigging in Embra since I was a small boy and he replied to my e-mail saying he’d been practising with the bands Bass player the night before.  Small world.

Bigger fitba

On Saturday the 28th I toddled up to Limoges where I ate a very un-French tea (who knew they do Chicken fried in a Kentucky style here) while enjoying text updates about a late winner from Lewis Vaughan for the Rovers against Hibs.  I wandered along and knowing Limoges FC charge 8 euros discovered the window selling those tickets was shut.  I asked at another and was so obvious in my foreigness that the person who helped said I was Scottish and a friend of Alain’s.  Alain runs the Limoges FC Supporters group on Facebook which I’d joined.  He and I had exchanged a few messages and I’d said along with many others I was going along to that match.

Inside the ground I spotted one of the chaps from SYlP games – Phillipe who was there with his son – I also found Alain who’d been kind enough to send me his mobile number and suggested we meet up.

It ended up the four of us (A, P, P jnr & I) sat watching the game together.  Limoges were promoted last year to the fourth tier of the League and have struggled.  They faced a mid-table side Plebannec.

The match was played at quite a pace and a reasonable standard compared to the Scottish game (which isn’t that much of a compliment really).  Limoges had an early goal disallowed and scored the opener when the visiting goalie dealt with a shot as if was pass the parcel and fumbled it in.  Plabannec however scored at the back post from a good cross before Limoges restored their advantage when a deep cross was headed in.  The Referee who at times was hilariously myopic tried to hand the away side an opportunity by awarding a corner for nothing but one of them missed a great chance.  The visitors later hit the bar with yet another free kick

As time ran down in the second half more and more free kicks were awarded to the away side for offences only the whistler could see.  However, a brilliantly timed run from half-way saw a Limoges chap score a good goal to his relief as he’d missed an absolute sitter from about four yards earlier.  The visitors were helped back into the game as time ran out when a heavy foul on a Limoges player was ignored and as the crowd, players and anyone else blessed with sight waited for the free kick Plabannec carried on scoring to make it 3:2.  Pleasingly justice was done when a decent young Limoges winger broke away and ran in on goal dinking the ball over the keeper with coolness of a veteran.

It was a good match and 6 goals is pretty good value for only 8 euro’s.                                                                                                           End of bigger fitba

My Birthday on the 29th was an hour short due to the arrival of summer.  Not that I think that was just for me.  I got a few cool pressies and noted that a couple of people understandably sent smaller parcels than at Xmas having realised how much the postage was too late then!  During the day there was some confusion about the actual time, we’re used to the UK TV being an hour behind and though we thought we’d sussed it it became clear when Keith came to get us we were an hour out.  Jan and Keith our lovely hosts had invited us for dinner it being our last weekend and my Birthday.  Rapidly joining them and apologising we had a lovely meal and great evening.

The last few days spent at La Porcherie were organising and packing stuff up.  Somehow we have rather more than we arrived with despite steps being taken to avoid that happening.  We drove the short distance to our new hosts for tea, biccies and a blether with Fran and Mike the day before, leaving some stuff in the new place using the top box.

On the Friday we moved proper, arriving with a car load and Mitsy in her box then after unloading going back to get the rest.  Helpfully it isn’t far and it meant we got to say goodbye to Jan and Keith twice!

The three of us are now nicely settled in La Petite Maison where we’ll remain for the next three months.  Fran and Mike we already knew were nice and seemed a little surprised at my willingness to help out with a bit of weeding.  Here’s hoping they manage to put up with us (mainly let’s face it me) as easily as Jan and Keith did.

The cat seems to like here as there are no other cats to chase her and her limited contact with next doors border terrier Archie didn’t go badly.  She seems to like chasing the lizards that enjoy basking in the sun.  Details of what she does with them when she catches them I’ll spare you both.

Otherwise due to continued car problems we have been a little more limited in our mileage fearful as we are of the hassle of getting the AA’s French cousins out to rescue us from a roadside/rueside.  Plans are however afoot to address this side of things.  We remain in easy reach of Saint Yrieix la Perche for all the essentials for life and visited another restaurant there lately where I tucked into the buffet starter and had steak and chips.  Sadly S couldn’t be catered for as freely as normal due to a table of 22 older un-supervised school kids being in at the same time.  They behaved pretty well but were no doubt causing no end of havoc via their phones which they somehow managed to eat while using.

Local Fitba

Fitba wise SYlP continued their good run with a 3:1 win over the orange and black clad second team of La Geneytouse on Saturday past.  Limoges meanwhile drew.  The home side opened the scoring via the chap who works in the shop in town (see earlier updates) who’s fist time volley whipped past the large and slow moving keeper.  The visitors captain wearing number 4 seemed able to foul anyone and did so largely unpunished by the worst referee I’ve seen at this low level.  Anyhoo SYlP got another goal before my former colleague in the stand who remains the first choice goalie was beaten by a good effort.  Ricardo the Portugese lad who wears number 9 did well to score the third (and his second) sealing the win late on.

Phillipe was there, as was the ever patient Jose who I returned the CD to.  I’m now greeted and my hand shook like all the other regular fans of whom there are a few over a dozen.  Which is good.

SYlP are second in the league and it looks like a crunch tie at Occitane, who are from St Germain le Belles, will decide the League.  I aim to go along if the results between now and then go to form.  I bet you can’t wait!                                                                                                                          End of local Fitba

Otherwise I got the last one of the Living France magazine in the local Intermarche and on page 33 there’s my name as one of the Runners Up in the Writing Competition.  To my surprise they have increased the number produced of this edition to 30,000, their most ever, which was a surprisingly large number.  Though you can subscribe it’s mainly available for free in various places across five or six regions around these parts…

We had a trip to Limoges where it was discovered our dongle was not working, (insert childish rude comment here).  Also at Keith’s recommendation we went to a Chinese buffet place – which was excellent.  There was no plain boiled rice and lots of lovely varied dishes including prawns and scallops.  They even lad nine flavours of Carte D’Or ice cream that you could help yourself to!  A bit different from my experiences in UK places, the less said about the results of a trip to one with Christine from the North Office a few years ago the better…

Otherwise we’ve had a quiet week in the sunshine.  I’ve been doing a bit of walking, as has S, and my tan is developing nicely.  Web access is still a little limited so pictures will have to wait.

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