February 27, 2012

MYSTERY WIRING

I find French electrics both fascinating and terrifying.

The electrics in our little house have obviously been through several incarnations of bodging on a grand scale.  We are gradually untangling the dodgy bits as they come to light – or not, as the case may be !!

For example, there is a switch by the terrace door that looks like a light switch but actually connects to two wall sockets on the other side of the room.  We have scratched our heads over that one many times.  But they work so we left them exactly as they are.  Apart from anything else we would have to excavate into several inches of plaster and dig up the tiled floor to change it.  We operate an “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” policy.

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However, we don’t have anything so nearly as pretty as this.

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It’s on a building near the château at Paulmy.  Definitely a thing of great beauty and intricacy. 

I don’t really need to know what it does – just knowing that it’s there at all and I can go and admire it at any time is more than enough.  On the other hand, if anyone does know what it does………

February 24, 2012

RANDOM YEARNINGS

letterbox

Every time I walk past the door in the Rue du Four Banal that has this lovely old letterbox I feel a twinge of mourning for our old letterbox.

A couple of days after we moved into our little house, the fearsome post lady arrived and declared our letterbox unsuitable and insisted that we go out and buy a regulation yellow metal box, which now sits on a pole outside the house, looking incredibly businesslike and very ugly.

The old letterbox was despatched to the déchetterie.  We removed it completely because it was ill-fitting and the cause of one of the many huge draughts.  It was not a pretty thing, like the one above.  It was also highly impractical.  The post lady would never have been able to stuff the reams of inevitable junk mail through it.

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Every time I walk past this door in Ligeuil I can’t help wondering “why”.  It’s such a handsome door.  Someone must have been proud of it at some time.

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Every time I see one of these I have to smile.  We see lots of them in our area, some immaculately restored, some completely battered with bits missing and straw sticking out of the back.  Mostly they are just running around, used as everyday transport, as if there’s nothing at all remarkable in that.

APR 2011 - za Every time I see one of these, my heart skips a beat.  One day.  And it will be lime green or purple.  With matching interior.  Unless I have grown out of my lime green and purple  phase by the time I get one.  Red like this is good.

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Every time I sit on my garden bench and look at the house with the château behind I pinch myself and think that if this is real, I must be the luckiest person in the world.

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Only another six weeks to go…..

Bon weekend !!

February 20, 2012

THINGS TO LOOK FORWARD TO

There is always something going on in our little corner of France.  Every weekend there is some kind of festival or a market to visit.

One of the great things about these events is that they are, in my experience so far, free.  You turn up and park your car for free, you enter the site for free and if you don’t buy anything you have had an afternoon’s entertainment for free.  So different to here in Derbyshire where you will have to pay through the nose to park and get in, you will pay way over the odds for a snack or a drink and it will probably be raining as well.

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One of the events we happened across by accident last year was the goat’s cheese festival at Sainte-Maure.

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It was on the last day of our May/June holiday and we had treated ourselves to a nice lunch at the fish restaurant at Pouzay, where saw a poster advertising the event.  We had yet to pack and organise ourselves for going back home but Saint-Maure was just up the road so we thought, why not?

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It was a baking hot day.  Well, baking hot for us anyway, our car registered 32°C as we parked (for free) and strolled up to the village trying to stay in the shade.

As usual, the event took over the whole village.  The main road through was not closed, and this is all we had ever seen before of Sainte-Maure.  Usually we just drove through on our way to Tours.  Once we left the main road and entered the old village we found a lovely place with all the charm of a typical Touraine village.

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It was a huge festival.  There were cheese sellers galore with lots of fabulous looking cheeses on display.  Unfortunately we were heading home the next day so we thought it would be silly to buy any.  We have made that mistake before, arriving home with a car smelling very ripe and something alive and furry being the cause of it.  (Not Lulu, I hasten to add.)

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There were also plenty of stalls selling scary sausages.  We resisted those for the same reason.

 goat8 goat9 goat9a There were lots of farmyard animals on display, goats, pigs, cows and chickens.  The chickens with the special hairdos.

goat9b There was the usual obligatory selection of old tractors and cars proudly displayed.

goat9c There was music to add to the entertainment.

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And dressing up.  The French love dressing up, it seems.  We couldn’t quite figure this one out but it was fun to see.

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And of course, the speeches.  We understood a few words but I guess it was along the lines of winners of best cheese and thanks to the lady who organised the flowers, perhaps.  How these people survived in these robes in that heat amazed us.  The attire may be traditional but if it was up to me I would have put them in a lighter summer version of the outfit.

The village was set out for the festivities to continue into the evening but as we got home the sun went in, the skies clouded over and we had a tremendous thunderstorm mid evening.  I don’t know if the event continued through it or not.

We really enjoyed our afternoon there and didn’t spend a single euro.  Which is just as well as lunch set us back a fair bit.  We are hoping to be able to go to the same event this year, if we have timed our holidays right, and next time we will be ready to buy some of the lovely cheese on sale.

February 17, 2012

JUST CLOSE YOUR EYES

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It’s the middle of February.  The nights are getting shorter.  I leave work just about in daylight but it’s dark by the time I get home.

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So I close my eyes and imagine the warmth of the sun on my face.  The golden light of evenings in the village square.  The chatter of village life as I sit and watch the world go by.  The regularity of the church bells.  First ring at 7am, last at 10pm.

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I can imagine the sparkle of sunshine on the water as we walk along the riverside in Abilly.

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The luxurious peace and quiet broken by the occasional splosh in the water as a fish rises to the surface.

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The unbroken blueness of the sky and the creamy crumbliness of the buildings.

Spring is not far away now……….

Bon weekend !!

February 13, 2012

CABIN FEVER

It’s that time of year again.  The snow is melting but the ground is rock hard and frozen solid, making the ice left on it lethal for walking on.  The evenings are just beginning to lengthen but it’s still dark when I get home from work.  Cabin fever is setting in.

So I trawled through last year’s photos to cheer myself up and prove that we have something to look forward to.

cabin fever1 A circus performer visits the village on market day.

cabin fever2A walk down by the river.

cabin fever3 Flowers in the planters hung from the bridge.

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An afternoon reading on the terrace beckons.

cabin fever5 A walk amongst a few vines behind the château at Etableau.

cabin fever6 Looking for bargains !!

cabin fever7 A walk in the park at Descartes.

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Market day in Loches.

lofty ideas Coffee in the village square.

cabin fever9 An occasional good lunch.

February 10, 2012

DOORWAYS FOR THE WEEKEND

boulangerie

The boulangerie in Le Grand-Pressigny sporting its very smart new look.

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The Hotel de France in Loches, very grand.

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The cake and chocolate shop in Ligeuil.

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The Montlouis boutique in Montlouis.

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The smart new salon de thé in Ferrière-Larçon.

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A humble outbuilding decorated for Christmas in Ferrière-Larçon.

Bon weekend !!

February 6, 2012

A SHIRT AND A SNOW SHOVEL

There is a man in Phoenix, Arizona, who makes wonderful shirts and decided to send one of them on a round the world charity tour.  You can read about it here. 

So far it has spent 18 months on the road and been to eight countries.

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I read Walt’s post about it and thought that if the shirt was coming to the UK on its tour, maybe it would like to visit Derbyshire.  And so it was arranged.

I had all sorts of plans to take its picture in front of Chatsworth House or Hardwick Hall, to show the rest of the world how wonderful Derbyshire is.

shirt

Unfortunately, after one of the mildest winters so far, the shirt arrived the day before the snow fell.  So instead I spent the day clearing our drive, and my dad’s drive, and took the shirt’s picture with a snow shovel.

Derbyshire weather – you can bank on it to ruin everything.

The shirt will be on its way to sunny Spain tomorrow.  Bon voyage !!