Monday, 26 July 2021

How was your Saturday evening?


Regardless of the time of day, the heat, or the inconvenience, Billy always wants to play 'Fetch the Ball'.

He can start early in the morning, and still wants to play well into the evening. Saturdays are no different for Billy than any other day of the week.


It's still hot, about 31 C. We sit in the shade of our au vent with a pre-dinner glass of wine and maybe a stuffed olive or two. We discuss the day's events, both here and elsewhere. 


Meanwhile over in London, people are protesting. They insist that they should be allowed to catch Covid-19 (and/or any of its variants); and are doing their best to do so.

Piers Corbyn was there, David Icke was there, and even dear Katie Hopkins was there, a more typical trio of anti-vaxxers would be hard to find.

If they were in France and they caught the virus, as non double-vaxxers they would be refused hospital admission!


And look (below), the grapes hanging on the front of the au vent are just beginning to ripen! They will soon all go to the compost, after some juice has been made.


Sunday, 25 July 2021

Favourite Restaurant.


My nearby town has four restaurants. One is quite 'high-end', and serves local specialities. One is rather 'nouvelle cuisine', and is not really my cup of tea. Another tries very hard, but relies on 'water bath' cooking; I once ordered a Lamb knuckle dish there and was told it would take 20 minutes, a real give-away that some bag would be re-heated in a water bath. I want my food to be cooked in the restaurant kitchen, not coming from some boil-in-the-bag food-producing factory in Paris!

But the one we go to regularly serves just really well cooked, good quality, dishes; and the staff are all nice.

That was our table, bottom right below.


The restaurant's location is pretty spectacular too. It is situated under the covered arched walkway of the original 1270 bastide town, which surrounds the main square. 


Looking out from the restaurant, on the other side of the square, is the ancient Halle, which is used as market place, a weekly marché des producteurs, dance floor, and any other outdoor event that requires a roof. Keen-eyed car spotters might also notice the 'Compact Royce'.


We went this last week and had a spectacular meal. We are creatures of habit, and always eat and drink the same things. Entrecote steaks, chips, and salad, with a bottle of local Pécharmant.

Our steaks were simply stunning. Large, very tender, and delicious. Possible the best steak I've ever eaten. It makes me hungry even writing about it. If you are ever passing this way, I recommend it; it's called the 'Café de Commerce'; just say Cro sent you!

 

Saturday, 24 July 2021

Recycling.


Lady Magnon is the Queen of Recycling in this house. She religiously cleans all the tins, bottles, and plastic yoghurt tubs, before putting them in their appropriate boxes, and taking them off to the recycling 'receptacles'.


She also recycles more everyday items, including birthday cards.

This is the fourth year running that I've received the one above, and I'm hoping it won't be the last.

Thank you m'dear!

 

Friday, 23 July 2021

New Camera.




I've just had to replace my old, and well loved, Fujifilm AX280 camera. The centre of the lens had become blurred, and for some reason the SD Card wouldn't stay down in its position.

I'm not a Photo-Phreak, and have no desire for a £1,000 Nikon. The new €80 Chinese-made job (above), with no discernible maker's name on the body or instruction booklet, is all I need; and Amazon supplied within two days.

Considering that it cost a lot less than my week's shopping, it's a remarkable bit of kit. Small, light, and full of gizmos, it really is a miracle of modern technology. It takes very clear pictures, and combined with the laptop on which I'm writing, I can have a good quality photo anywhere in the world within seconds.

I expect most of us remember the days when we took our 35mm film to Boots, waited for a week or more, then threw away about 80% of the snaps that came back. What a difference to today's instant photography.

My Fuji had a more solid feeling (it had a metal casing), and all its actions felt crisper, but the new one is very light (plastic casing), has better quality pictures, and is re-chargeable from my laptop (no more AA batteries). All photos on this page will now be taken with it.


Thursday, 22 July 2021

Villefranche du Périgord - Villages du Périgord


This is a very short film (with annoying music) about our nearby village/town. It doesn't show a lot, but does give some idea of the age of the buildings.

One of our favourite restaurants is beneath the hotel shown at 28 secs, it is situated on the other side of the road from the wonderful stone-pillared covered market place. I'm sure we'll be eating there quite often over the next couple of months. Eating in the shade of its beautiful exterior ancient arches is a delight; and the food's good too. The town was established in 1261.


Wednesday, 21 July 2021

Summer


Yet again it's a strange Summer. No children making a racket in the pool, no inflatable Crocodiles left lying around, no clothes shoes or towels strewn on the lawn, and no constantly trying to find things for people to do to keep them busy. It is very quiet.


There are a few tourists about. The converted Pigsty next door has been regularly booked, the Metal Container homes have had one or two visitors, and some of the nearby Gites have just started their bookings. 

We see strangers wandering around the woodland footpaths, there are plenty of NL registered cars in the car parks, and we notice people sitting at bars wearing 'holiday clothes' and sunglasses.

For the moment the temperature is around 30 C, meaning that we may start taking post-lunch siestas before too long.


Talking of 'lunch' we try, as much as possible, to eat from Haddock's and the Orchard. Plenty of green vegs are now available, and Peaches are on the trees (above). My good friend J has offered us as many Tomatoes as we like (mine are hopeless again), and we shall go this evening to pick a few Beans. 

Our oldest nearby farming friends (the one's we've known for 47 years) are wonderful; they are generous, friendly, and always have time for a long chat. If only some of the newcomers were thus!


I like Summer; it's definitely MY season. I was born in July, so it's in the blood.

Tuesday, 20 July 2021

Apples.





I would suggest that the humble Apple is the National Fruit of England; the Bramley and the Cox being the two main favourites.

Where would we be without Apple pie, Apple turnovers, Apple sauce, or even baked Apples?

Pears and Plums come a close second in the popularity stakes, but, also as a very big Cider drinking country, it has to be the Apple at No 1.

One of the first things I did with both our own house, and the barn, was to plant fruit trees; mostly Apples. There is nothing nicer than walking through an orchard at the bottom of the garden, with the trees full of fruit. 

Back in the UK, at my people's home in Shropshire, they had a 44 tree orchard; mostly of very rare varieties. Sadly, the plonker I sold the house to had racehorses and a helicopter, and the first thing he did was to pull the whole bloody lot out!!!! I wouldn't have sold to him had I known his intentions.

Lady Magnon is a World Champion Tarte Tatin maker (well she would be if they held a competition), so the growing, preserving, and eating of Apples is quite important to us. We have 6 Apple trees, all of different varieties; from the tastiest to the bland. All have their uses, and I wouldn't wish to be without any single of them.

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