Monday, 19 July 2010


This picture of Bergerac missed the cut last night because my electricity supply was playing tricks. It shows one of the things I love about France - the odd mixture of old and new side by side. And how the old buildings are maintained and renovated. These people have chosen to put modern windows in, but lots choose to get the old style made new; then it becomes hard to tell sometimes, how old a building really is. Fontevraud is a bit like that; so much renovation work has been done it difficult to see what's old and what's "new." Some critics say that renovation means renewal in France. I can't make up my mind , and sway one way one day and the other the next.

I didn't get to describe the meal we had, but rather than bore you, I'll just describe dessert. Imagine a ball of stewed rgubarb inside a blob of fresh cream surrounded by halved strawberries and topped with a ginger "lid" about three inches across, wafer thin and studded with chopped nuts. Yum. The house is typical of the region and sits near the river in St Marcel.

Our wildlife continues to impinge on our lives here at the mill. This morning over breakfast coffee at the table I looked up and saw a mouse, bold as brass, scouting for crumbs around the sink unit twenty feet away. We watched it for two or three minutes. Dh was all for rushing over and doing goodness knows what, but I restrained him. 'Let's see where it goes.' Another half minute and it vanished over the end of the worktop and into the bowels of the dishwasher. We don't use the dishwasher, and anyway the owners of the mill are coming down soon and the entire old kitchen is to be ripped out and replaced. They know the mice are there. When they told us of this plan we jovially said mice would run in all directions, but Sam the labrador would sort them out. 'Oh no he won't,' said his owner, with a rueful laugh. 'He'll go behind you when he sees them.'

Then later, doing what you do in bathrooms, I wondered if my eyes were deceiving me. Coming in from the 31 degree glare outside, the little brown lump in the corner behind the door looked rather like a frog. I waited; my vision sharpened, and it was a frog. Crouched in the corner between the wall and the door, its a wonder it hasn't been squashed when the door opened. So dh put on his gardening gloves, retrieved said frog and we took it down to the stream and set it away. We don't know how long it has been trapped in the bathroom, as we haven't used the downstairs loo for about three days.

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