NEWS FOR AUGUST 2011.
We said that the weather was improving so yesterday we went out in the Peugeot with the roof down and enjoyed the sunshine. As it was a Sunday there was a Boot Fair in a village near Lauzun so we ended up wandering around there. The usual load of stuff that nobody wants but we did see this wonderful sight of a little dog who had got it right. I suppose that if the boss bought things to go in trhe backpack he would need to walk.
Because Joan had a late appointment with the Physio this afternoon, we were able to meet up with Stewart and Barbara for lunch. We met up at the restaurant we took Anne to, in Seyches. As usual a super fixed price lunch of four courses and wine and then, for us on to Duras for Joan's treatment. Personally could have done with a nice afternoon snooze.
Stewart is off to Cyprus on Thursday to help out his old friend Richard with his new Bookie shops, something close to Stewart's heart.
This coming Sunday is the annual suimmer fair here in Loubes Bernac village, so Barbara is coming over to us for the evening meal and the fireworks, so guess that would be a sensible overnight stay for her.
This weekend is the time for the annual village summer festival. A number of festivities are planned starting with a meal this evening and culminating in a full day of activities tomorrow. As this is our first full year here we felt that we should see what it is all about.
The evening feast today is advertised as "Mouton Grille" ( Mutton Grill to you then) but included an aperitif, melon with liquor, mutton served with haricot beans, chesse and salad, fresh tart and coffee, a veritable feast for 20 euros per person especially as there seemed to be a regular supply of the old vino, but then that is not surprising as some of the local vineyards are sponsoring the whole.
The evening was supposed to start at 1900 hours, but as Joan and I had been forewarned about French timekeeping at these events we turned up about 8 o'clock. We settled on some benches outside to await the festivities, but then the wind started to blow up a real storm and the rain came down, so it was everybody rushing indoors. Fortunately the village has a Salle de Fete for these occasions, but the guys with the open fire BBQ for cooking the old sheep had some problems.The committee members, that's them in the lime green T-shirts with Loubes Bernac printed on the front, who were looking after us, with great enthusiasm, saved the day with an impromptu singalong, this involved all the locals standing on their chairs and waving their arms from side to side which we are lead to believe is quite normal.
When Joan and I settled down inside we found ourselves seated next to a really nice group of Dutch people, a definite advantage for us, but then most of them spoke almost perfect English anyway.. They seem to have been in residence here in and around Loubes Bernac for a number of years and one couple in particular, Hannie and Henk Dam run a lovely holiday home near here. You can see this on their website www.arbrederose.eu (copy and paste in to your browser) but having looked it seems to be almost always fully booked, probably repeat business. However should you be house hunting in the off season period, they are defintely worth contacting for the longer lets.
A super evening and we hope a meeting with new freinds for the future.
This evening Barbara came over to join us for the festivities. This evening there is a "Soiree Grillades" supposedly at 7 o'clock. The feast is simple and only 7 euros per person. Wild Boar Sausage and Chips followed by Ice Cream, which turned out to be a Cornetto. We had a G & T at home then got there at around 8 o'clock which turned out to be quite good timing as we only had 30 minutes to wait for the food to be served.
Must remember the French name for the sausage as it was really tasty and definitely to be repeated, goes well on a BBQ.
We were entertained by a Counrty and Western Dance Group from Miramont towards the end of the BBQ and the the traditional disco started, this even tempted Barbara and Joan on the floor. Me I was on handbag guard, that's my excuse and I am sticking to it.
The end of the evening and this summers festivities, was the tradiotional firework display which culminated in the big bang to a classical music background. An excellent weekend and for sure Joan and I will be back for next years event.
The end of another week and this time fairly uneventful. On Monday I had already planned a day in the garden as it takes quite some time to get around the whole plot, first with a strimmer around the edges and then finally on the tractor mower. I had just nicely finished when the heavens opned for about 20 minutes and wet the whole lot. Who was a lucky boy then?
Tuesday was another physio session for Joan so she went off around 2 o'clock and managed to get a lttle bit of shopping in on the way home.
Wednesday we went over to Bordeaux to root out some sales places that sell Motor-homes. We have for a little while now been pondering if one of these would be a good idea. From where we live now the whole of Europe spreads out before us and if we were to drive around and stay in hotels we could find that it could get expensive. Our thinking is, buy a nice, good sized motor-home, use it for 3/4 years to see all those places we want to see, then sell it on, recuperating some of the capital invested. There were lots of them for sale in the three second hand showrooms we visited and we found new ones that were in excess of 100k euros, but in terms of space and layout we only found one that we felt suitable. This was coach built on a Citroen chassis and offered beds at the rear end, either two singles or convert into a large double, cooking and bathroom facilities in the middle and a dining area near the front. There was also a large awning along the side for sitting and dining alfresco. We will continue to look, maybe in UK when we go over to Liverpool, as right hand drive would not be a problem and the UK styles seem to suit more. Sort of watch this space then.
Thursday was supposed to be Joan's last physio session, so we went to Duras together and had some lunch first, then I sat in the car with my French vocabulary notes preparing for tomorrows lesson. In the end it turned out not to be the last sesson for Joan, she has to go back next Tuesday, the day before she visits the specialist.
We got home this afternoon to find a little note in our front gate, inviting us to a BBQ party over at George's place, as he has visitors from UK at this time. We called him to say OK thanks we would love to come, only to find out that the note had been in the gate for 3 days. Just shows, we park our cars in the garage and go out through the back of the garage to the house, so had not used the gate for last few days. Oh well, a party missed we thought, but George said they were going to BBQ this evening but just with his small group, so come on over. Joan thought she would make a pud as compensation for gate crashing, so an Eaton Mess was gratefully received by all. We had a very pleasant evening round there and from what we heard, much more sober than the original evening event.
Joan went off to Duras for her last physio session this afternnon and I got some more gardening done. Was I really pleased to have completed that today, as during the night we had this tremendous thunder storm. The lightening was almost constant at around 2 a.m. and the man up there was for sure banging on his big bass drum. It lasted around 1 hour in total and then we were able to go off to sleep again.
On the Wednesday morning we went together across to Marmande to see Dr Dupart and he was very pleased with progress. He says that if she gives it another month or so the swelling should have gone completely, but in the meantime has given her a note for 4 more sessions with the physio. She has booked these to start just after we get back from Liverpool.
This evening, Shelagh came across with some peaches off her tree and she had left poor Phil doing the washing up over there, so I had to go and rescue him so that we could have a drink together. They actually go back to Inverness this coming weekend after eight weeks here. Can't remember what it was like to have to go back to work after a holiday, must be getting old.
Because it is almost the end of the holiday period for Phil and Shelagh, Danielle had decided to do dinner for us all at her place and a really lovely meal it was too. She says that she enjoys cooking when it is for number of friends and this was quite obvious as she had made a real effort with some delicious dishes.
We wre able to sit out on her terrace until very late so it was a real candle light dinner. At one stage we were joined by the friendly local Magpie. This bird, which we believe to be just a fledgling yet, pops around from garden to garden in just this area and will steal anything he fancies. It's a lovely thought that he is not worried by all the people around, but he can be a bit of a nuisance.
This evening, Joan and I wre sitting out on our terrace eating dinner, when I spotted this tabby kitten stalking along just on the other side of our fence. Joan of course, couldn't resist, and went to say hello to it, so it found a gap under the fence a came over to us. Now we remember when the group of Dutch ladies were here, in Gert and Corrie's house, they had been round to ask if we knew who owned a tiny little kitten. Guess this must be the one!
Joan gave it some water in an old plastic bowl and it then sort of settled, even to the extent that it curled up on Joan's lap whilst we watched some TV later. Come bedtime I put it out through the back door, saying things to Joan like Cat, Motor-Home, Holidays etc. do not go together.
Got up this morning to make us a cuppa and low and behold, there it was, sleeping on the flower bed at the bottom of the garden.
When we went shopping this morning we of course had to buy "Junior" Friskies for the kitten. When we got home around midday it quickly ate more than one bowl of these things, turned round, jumped up on the settee and has been curled up on there ever since. Big problem coming I think!
This afternoon Barbara came round for a BBQ lunch with her friend Brenda. Brenda used to live in TRNC also and Barbara had called her and said why not come for a girlie week whilst Stewart is in Cyprus.
Anyway to cap it all the BBQ went down well, but it was very very hot out there and the humidity was quite high. Shades of being back in Cyprus.
We went down to Eymet this morning to ask Charlotte to check out if we had the all clear for the new "Smudge".
It turns out that it had in fact been round to see Madame Guery last week when they were over here with the family and she admited to having fed it for a couple of days. Anyway she was more than happy for us to keep it here so that is another point won and something that of course dleighted Joan.
We called Danielle and she agred to come in and feed when we go to Liverpool next week. We had stated it off on Junior Friskies biscuits only, so that will be easy to do.
This week it is the penultimate night market of the summer down in Eymet. We had spoken to Kim from "Kismet Restaurant" when we were in Bregerac on Saturday and she had told us that Paul was making a Thai Chicken Curry for this evening, so it seemed like a good idea to go down there. We had agreed to meet Barbara there also as she had taken Brenda back to the airport earlier this evening.
These markets are very busy with tourists at this time of the year. We had an enjoyable walk around and you can see from the pics just how busy it is. At the eend of the day we also had a super meal, but then Paul is a great chef and we have never had a bad meal there.
Now it is back home and lets see how Smudge has got on without us.
Spent some time yesterday putting in a cat flap so that Smudge can get in and out. The installation was not as big a problem as trying to persuade a 4 month old kitten that this is a real door........
We left young Smudge in the capable hands of Danielle and went to the airport to get our flight to
Having picked up our hire car we found the hotel along the new Liverpool Waterfront and having checked in went wandering. Wow has this place changed.
The whole of the Albert Dock area is now converted in to shops, restaurants, apartments and geared up very much to the tourist trade. There are lots of people around and many different tongues being spoken and of course many opportunities to part with your money.
Having wandered around the docks area we then went up to Liverpool One, a massive shopping area with every name in the high street and then some. The sun shone for most of the time so we were able to sit outside on a pub terrace and watch the world go by. An interesting thing, people watching. I have to say that
In the evening we walked from our hotel up to
This morning we walked across to Starbucks coffee shop, where they have Wi-Fi connection, free of charge, had a sausage buttie each with coffee and searched out the phone number of Keith and Fiona, friends from
We went to three different dealers for Motor-Homes that I had researched on the internet prior to coming over. We had said that there was a particular brand that we wanted to see as all reports seem to favour this make and they seem to hold the price well. We finally settled on this Autotrail Cheyenne from Marquis in
At just after 7 p.m. we made it to Keith and Fiona’s place so all four of us went out for a pub meal to one of their recommended places. Lovely food and great company and as they also own a motor-home we were able to swop some ideas and get some tips. Fiona said that there was one particular model that she would have liked and it turns out that Joan had also fallen in love with this vehicle also, but, big snag, it is 3800 KG and as I am now classed as an oldie, it is over the weight limit for us.
Today, as it was absolutely pouring down, we decided to go across the river and visit some of the places where I had lived. The Woodchurch area when I was younger and then eventually in Heswall. We were able to find the old houses but I was very upset to see the house I knew as Pinewood in Heswall, which I had sold when we went over to
From there we drove over to
I think we must be getting really old now as every place we revisit seems to be rundown and shabby, we don't remember it like this.
In the evening we got back to Liverpool and walked in to the town to find a restaurant. Extreemly succesful this time again a nice meal at a reasonable price.
We had arranged to go back to the Motor-Home dealers today to drive around a bit and then to do a snagging list of things we could identify as faults. Interesting to drive this as it feels quite top heavy in comparison to a car so clearly we will need to be very cautious until we get used to it. I suppose that one thing is we will not be racing around the roads in something as big as this. Visibility is however very good with huge side mirrors and a clear view through the rear window. Maybe this will change when we get a couple of bikes on the back rack.
Snags, there were not many and a good clean is promised before we pick up. Having left the dealers we had time on our side so decided to detour through Southport. We always remember this as being a windy place and today was no exception. It would have been nice to have walked down to the shoreline but unless you fancy kite flying, this was not the day to do it.
Again back to Liverpool for an evening meal. Yesterday we had spotted the "Bistro Franc" near our other restaurant. They had a Sunday special deal, two courses and a bottle of house wine for only £14.95 each, very good and I suppose set up to tempt people to eat out at the end of the weekend. I acatually had the old "Moules & Frites", very French.
Our 31st anniversary today and we both remember that in 1980 it had also rained like this. we waited for things to die down a bit and then walked over to the Albert Docks, had a late breakfast and the spent about 2 hours in the LIverpool Museum and then later in the Maritime Museum. Both of these are really interesting and serve as reminders of Liverpool as it was in the days of big shipping etc. There was a huge shipbuilders across the river at Cammel Lairds and many of the big Cunard liners were built there as well as the first two Ark Royals. The docks were always full of cargo vessels and were the links to USA and to China. Because of these docks and the war cargoes we were bombed out of our first home in 1942 although I was too young to actually remember this. My mother went across the river to live with my grand mother and I was evacuated to Llandudno Junction for the remainder of the war. When you see all the pics in the museums, much of this past comes back.
The weather remains quite bad so we spent some time in a coffee bar, with internet access and then walked up town again for dinner. Not a late one tonight as we have to be up at 4.30 a.m.
Because of the early flight, 0640 to be precise we stopped off to do some shopping and then got home at around 11 o'clock. Two things struck us immediately, No Smudge and No electricity.
I called Daniella and she said that she had not seen her this morning, but had seen her yesterday evening, so obviously a search was going to have to happen. First things first though, two freezers full of smelly food. I have checked with the bank and it would appear that we are insured so just a question of listing and values for everything.
Later in the early evening we did another little walkabout and found the kitten so now everything will be OK and Joan is relieved that she has come to no harm.
Tomorrow we will have to do some shopping for ourselves and try to wait for the electrician who is to come and check why our main trip went off. It has happened on one previous occasion, but being used to Cyprus style electrics we did not take too much notice, silly of us really.
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