Despite the forecast heat (over 30 degrees) we all agreed to walk again this week.  A short walk, we were told, as our leader this week had to be back home for a village picnic by 11am.

We started in the village of Le Roc down in the Dordogne valley and soon climbed way above the village.

Half way up the hillside

 

The temperature was 26 degrees when we left the village and the mercury kept climbing, so frequent water stops were needed.

Three of our intrepid lady walkers

We carried on through woods, thankful for the shade until we eventually reached the village of Nadaillac Le Rouge where we spotted a very interesting bread oven…

… and admired the musket fire holes in the little church

There are two versions of how they got there – the official version, according to a text attached in the church porch is that the awful English did it during the 100 years war.  The other version, according to locals is that it was a raiding party from the nearby Le Roc who wished to raid the village whilst the seigneur was away, however his lady was in residence and took pity on the poor tired raiders (who had allegedly just climbed the way we did).  She fed and watered them and suggested that before they return to their own village below, it may be politic to discharge their weapons, rather than take them home fully loaded.  Well, who know which version is correct!  The church itself is very beautiful and a popular spot for weddings.

There was just one last long climb across a field before the descent back into Le Roc.  We managed to do the walk in just over two hours and the temperature when we returned to the car was already way over 30 degrees, the clouds were hazing the sky though and we are promised a little rain later – not before time.

 

Staycation

August 1, 2012

La Vie is on holiday again – this time in my own backyard.  Do pop over and see what we’re up to at La Vie En Route

 

Labastide Murat walk

July 24, 2012

Just us two this week for the rando as others were busy or away it seemed.

As the temperature was set to soar to 30 by midday we decided to make it a shorter one this week, just a 5km walk from one of our local villages.  We had been unaware until recently that there was a lake near the village, and a very pretty one it is too.

Complete with lavoir  at each end:

This one had been newly renovated:

The path climbed up to the village of Goudou from where there were some stunning views

We skirted the pretty church (which was unfortunately locked).

 

Then we took a lovely shady, grassy pathway (having passed the house of some friends without realising they lived there)…

 

… more stunning views…

 

… before joining the road for a brief while, beside an old windmill…

… and a little detour on our way back into the village itself.

 

It was a hot walk and we looked forward to a good cooling swim before lunch.

 

 

 

 

 

The Tour de France just happened to pass by our door today so we felt the need to organise a gathering with friends.

Not knowing what the weather might do, we prepared the bottom of our field for a picnic space (and even put a loo for emergencies in the tent!)

 

Before long our little crowd had gathered, before the police closed off the road – nearly 3 hours before the ‘caravan’ was due to pass.

 

We rarely see the road this quiet.

And the gendarmes who were looking after our little sector were very friendly.  One came and suggested we block our lane off with a car to stop any potential picnic-ers but we just put up the bunting and brought our tables down.

 

Before we had even finished our lunch, the madness that is the ‘caravan’ filled the road, handing out useless free gifts – mostly key-rings, we have quite a collection now.

All the sponsors of Le Tour had their floats, some of them quite bizarre:

 

 

 

 

 

 

Finally, after a break for dessert,  the leading riders arrived:

Followed about 5 minutes later by the peloton and we all gave a huge cheer for Bradley Wiggins

When they were all past and the road was opened again, we dispersed, some for home to watch the end of the race, some back to the garden for a cup of tea.  Then we had time to shower and change ready for an evening of music in Cahors at the Blues Festival.

We finally rolled home at 1am and spent a little quality time with two hungry and, apparently, affection-starved cats before turning in at 2.

Yawn!

I missed the rando last week and although Jon did attend he didn’t take any photos.

Today’s was closer to home, just across the hill from us at St Germain du Bel Air.  We started in the village square and were able to park our cars under the chestnut trees – necessary today as there was no cloud at all.

We followed a lovely box hedge-lined path along a pretty valley

…before passing the obligatory small holding with two dogs wishing us in the opposite direction.  Unusually one of these took a great dislike to Rusty, one of our walking dogs – many yelps and yaps followed until the owner, a charming lady, came and took charge.  Unfortunately then Rusty and Fanny (the other walking dog) chased off after a small group of young bantams but they luckily were close enough to their coop to find safety.

Our walk took us up a shady woodland footpath to way up high behind the village of St Germain.  From one vantage point we were able to spot our friends’ house in the distance.

Last time it was donkeys but on this walk we found these two beauties who were only too willing to trot over and say hello:

Eventually we trailed our way back down to the village and some of us took a little detour around the lake which was buzzing with cicadas, frogs, and these two ladies who were delighted to find some water to cool down in.

Friends recently suggested that, as their normal walking group like a full day of hiking, some of us might like to get together once a week or so during this hot (?) weather for a ‘gentler’ half day walk.

So we gathered together, three men, five women and two dogs to set forth at 9am for a gentle 12km hike.

We started off in the village of Payrac, travelled down, down, down through some woods – and of course, what goes down has to come back up again (my least favourite part).

We did see some lovely old buildings and a beautiful house on the way…

Although the annex could do with a little tidying

We were delighted to find this little chap too – luckily one of our group had a sugar lump or two in her pocket. She had obviously passed this way before.

When we finally got back to Payrac, at midday, the dogs were delighted to find the lavoir and a source of cool water to drink.

It was the hottest day we have had this week but we had a really good time, walking and chatting then a quick lunch before the cultural event of the week – music group.  We confess that we both struggled to stay awake through it.

As thick as….

June 10, 2012

We had one of those rather silly conversations on our drive yesterday.  We had been to visit our little English butcher in a nearby village for a twice yearly stock up on sausages;  I usually make my own but have been increasingly lazy in this respect recently.  He also has an excellent supplier of plump chicken breasts from the Netherlands, rather than the rather scrawny French ones we usually buy in the supermarket and always supplies the one thing I can never find in the supermarket, lamb mince – lamb being just about the most expensive meat over here, it’s a bit of a luxury in our house.

After the butcher we went to the supermarket-with-the-best-view-in-the-world.  The view has been a little spoiled since the completion of the A20 autoroute which now cuts through the valley, but is still pretty stunning if you block out the hum of vehicles passing.  Labastide-Murat is our nearest good-sized village with a lively market once a fortnight and a good selection of reasonable shops.

Copyright Labastide-Murat.fr

On the way home we passed the sign for a local 9 hole golf course which also has a camping area.  Here began the odd conversation.

‘I’m not sure people would be happy to be woken up by golf balls raining down on their tent in the morning’

‘Crikey, these hailstones are the size of golf balls, oh, wait a minute, they are golf balls!’

‘Why do golfers shout “fore”?’

‘I don’t know, I’ll look it up.  You’d have to be thick as two short planks to pitch your tent on the 18th hole, wouldn’t you?’

‘It wouldn’t go down well with the golfers.  Why do we say “As thick as two short planks?”

‘I don’t know, I’ll look it up.’

And so it continued in a similar silly vein.  Soon we spotted an elderly lady wheeling her household bin to the collection point in her hamlet so that she could empty its contents into the big bins which are emptied about once a fortnight.  She was smaller than the communal bins so I wondered how she managed to empty the smaller bin into it without ending up with rubbish all over her head.  She was rather smartly dressed and her make up was very neat; as she turned away from the bins she smoothed her skirt and straightened her blouse.

On her feet were a pair of carpet slippers.  On her head was a shower cap.

We were thinking about this as we turned the corner onto another little lane where we happened upon a couple trimming their hedges.  Monsieur was as well dressed as the bin lady and was standing watching his wife who was up a ladder clipping the top of their laurel hedge.

Madame was wearing a nightie and a short silk dressing gown.

We said nothing for all of 10 seconds but then turned to each other and said ‘Is it us?’

Oh, yes I did look up ‘fore’ and ‘thick as two short planks’ but there are so many possible explanations I will leave it to you to look them up for yourselves.

Spring is here

March 23, 2012

After a couple of days of horrendous gales and freezing weather, this morning it would appear that spring is springing.  We have heard our first cuckoo and my little friend Hyacinth has some new additions.

All before breakfast

March 6, 2012

I’m working.  I have a little (time-consuming and poorly paid) project transcribing old television programmes in preparation for sub-titles to be added.  This morning, unable to sleep, I have been up early working on a wildlife programme.

It’s a very interesting programme and the latest scene is on killer whales.  Beautiful animals, graceful despite their size but cruel hunters.  The orcas are hunting seals.  I am trying to type the script without looking at the pictures, I know it will end in tears.

I was right.  ‘Oh, they’ve got one’, the presenter says, ‘Poor seal’.

I’m watching this programme through half-closed eyes.  I think that now is probably a good time for a tea-break.  7am, just light.  I put the kettle on and look out into the garden, musing on the inevitable cruelty of nature.

I see our boy, Figgy.  He catches a mouse and swallows it in two bites.

Breakfast, anyone?

Image

It’s been a while

February 25, 2012

Winter seems to have been a long one but we have been fortunate enough to take a few days off in Spain.

Now we’re home again things are looking up.  The frozen days before we left are gone and if my friend Mr Meteo is to be believed we aren’t going below zero degrees again for at least the next 10 days (mind you, we all know how reliable he can be!).

Winter was spent hibernating, keeping warm and we threw in a smattering of social occasions to keep the spirits up.  We were delighted to host a little gathering here for 20 of our friends and to feed them a selection of curries – a convivial evening which appears to have gone down well.

Two guests missing from that evening were our good friends and almost neighbours who have had various health problems over the last couple of years and who have had mostly house-bound, and for part of it bed-bound time since last September.  How delighted we were when we got home to find such improvements that we immediately issued an invitation for lunch today.   They both looked so well, and it was a true pleasure to have them visit us for the first time in such a long time.

These two dear friends mean a lot to us and we are delighted to have them back socialising again.

On the house-sale front we had another viewing while we were away;  two parties are still interested in buying if they can just sell their own houses.  We are encouraged by the interest but it would be nice to get an offer or two and plan our next move.  Meanwhile we are still happy here, the sun has been shining and spring is around the corner.