Sunday, 20 October 2019

Les Bastides du Périgord.

Here is a visual tour of some of the 'bastide' villages around my area; most of which are within spitting distance of chez nous. In just 5 mins, it'll give you an idea of what the S W of France is like. You may even think of visiting.

Villefranche du Périgord is my nearest village.

Sorry about the funereal music;... what WERE they thinking!

Saturday, 19 October 2019

Let them (not) eat cake.

There was a delicious aroma of freshly baked cake in the air, so Lady Magnon decided to play just one more game of Dominoes with Boo Boo, whilst the cake cooled on the kitchen table.

Unfortunately the smell of cake is appealing not only to humans, but also to dogs; and a certain young Border Collie I know had already been tucking in.

No supper for you tonight m'lad!!!

Friday, 18 October 2019

The fate of that old Tobacco Barn.


Readers of this page may remember me writing about a nearby disused Séchoir that was nearly blown to bits in a gale in May 2018 (above). I had considered buying it myself to convert into a large ground floor studio, with small apartment above, but it has now been snapped-up by a Dutch lady.

M, who will later make a small house in part of the barn, has for the moment laid a concrete floor, and installed a rather nice replica 'Gypsy Caravan' (in which she lives). M is the owner of Billy's new girlfriend 'Ami' (more about Ami later).

I have no Gypsy blood in me, but Gypsy wagons have been a part of my life even since before I was born. My mother bought one with her best friend, Pud Cumpsty, when they were quite young, and they used to spend weekends there. Later in my native Surrey village there seemed to be quite a few pukka Gypsies around, and our village wheelwright saw to their wagons repairs. In more recent times I've met several Gypsies, and we even had some non-Gypsy friends turn up here in a horse-drawn Irish wagon. 

I don't know how long M intends to stay in her caravan, but it does look very cosy for the coming winter.

I have often considered buying some woodland, obtaining an old wagon, and parking it in a central clearing (much as my mother did all those years ago). I can think of no more pleasant way of spending weekends, holidays, etc.

I'm quite jealous of M's home; but I think I'd prefer a more sylvan location.

Kushti bok.

Thursday, 17 October 2019

Light snack.

It's usually either a handful of Olives, or some crisps, but at this time of year we eat a few cooked Chestnuts with our regular pre-supper glass of wine. The two go perfectly together.

Having cut a cross into the pointed end of each Chestnut, I boil them for about 15 mins, then, having allowed them to cool a bit, they are eaten with a very light sprinkling of salt.

This year's nuts seem particularly tasty. They have a creamy texture, and a deliciously sweet nutty flavour. I like to think the nuts are of especially good quality this year.

You may not be given the name of the Chestnut variety when you buy yours, but these above are Bouche de Bétizac. A very popular variety, delicious, and one to look-out for.

I'm eating more this year than I usually do; normally a dozen would be the maximum. This year I may quadruple that; they're very good.

Wednesday, 16 October 2019

One man and his Dog.

Border Collies are not really lap dogs, but Billy thinks otherwise.

He occasionally 'leaps' onto my lap from a great distance, often without my having noticed his launch. Luckily (?) Lady Magnon was at hand with her iPad to immortalise this particular leap; performed whilst I was busy sketching.

Thank goodness he's still reasonably small and light; otherwise I might be speaking in a much higher voice.

Tuesday, 15 October 2019

Multi Pack.

I very rarely buy 'special offer multi packs', but in this particular case it was almost impossible to refuse.

I do like Lentils, they are versatile, healthy, and delicious; especially when cooked a l'Auvergnate.

These are the dark Puy Lentils, rather than the more popular pink Lentils that one tends to buy in the UK. These large tins each hold 820 gms, and cost me a ridiculous €4 for 6 tins. How could one say no?

Lentils of this type used to be the traditional accompaniment for Confit de Canard, but these days Pommes de terre Sarladaise has become more popular. 

We shall be eating these tonight rather like a cassoulet (but replacing the beans for lentils) accompanied by Toulouse sausages, confit de canard, and thick slices of Pork petit salé.

The above photo is NOT of my finished dish, but you get the idea. If you wish to see the pukka recipe, look for Petit Salé aux Lentilles. It's what we peasants eat.

Monday, 14 October 2019

Billy and Marley.


First it was Bok and Marley; they were great buddies, and played together for hours.

Now it's Billy and Marley; again great buddies, although Marley tends to treat Billy as a rather inferior, young whipper-snapper. 

We love having Marley around, he's a really lovely dog, and the children adore him too. Sadly I think he'll have to be a little bit careful when he visits, as Lady Magnon recently witnessed some nasty man, who lives nearby, chucking stones at him (and possibly at Billy too). As Kant so rightly observed "You can judge the heart of a man by his treatment of animals". 

There's no excuse to throw stones at such a lovely dog as Marley, all he wants is to be friendly; whether that be with other dogs or humans.

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