If you like the kind of holiday that visits lots of new places and eats in lots of different restaurants, then this isn’t the spot for you. The mill is set beside a small river in a valley north east of Bergerac and there are no diversions anywhere close at hand. If we want a good meal we would drive to Lou Peyrol, but because this is Tim’s first visit to France, and he’s not very old yet, we will forgo that pleasure. Leaving him on his own in a strange house would not be kind. Apart from that, we mow grassland, hack at the accumulated greenery, divert springs, build bonfires and cook our food on the barbie. I have to say it is healthy food, too. DH did the shopping last week, and to this day, a sweet biscuit has not passed my lips. He didn’t buy anything from the patisseries counter, either. So the diet has been fresh meat, salads and fruit. Oh, plus a morsel of cheese with coffee.
The mill’s owners have not been here for six months due to a health problem, now happily solved, and boy! does it show. I swear trees have grown twenty feet since we were here. It doesn’t help that we didn’t come last year because we’d just got Tim, so we are looking at two years growth and change. Some trees have died, some have fallen, a lake – a hundred feet, not yards as I think I said earlier – has been formed. Lots of change, yet everything is the same, except for the pool.
Left unattended for six months, a pool of sludgy green slime had collected in the pool cover. Once the cover was off, the pool had to be cleaned, scoured, hoovered and the filter system has been running constantly since we got here. “Three days,” they said, “and it will be clear. You should be able to see the bottom.”
Well, we can just see the bottom of the pool now, but the water still isn’t crystal clear. It seems to me that pools are a lot of work. “If you are here all the time, no problem,” we were told. “If you leave them, much work.”
We were gently kippered yesterday, and it looks like the process will continue today. A man has come to burn les bois. There’s a huge stack of dead wood in the middle of the field. Dead trees, odd fallen branches and no doubt some rubbish lurking in the middle. Within minutes of this man’s arrival there was a huge bonfire and clouds of smoke coming back toward us on the breeze. He stayed with it for four hours, patrolling to see the fire didn’t get out of hand. At midday he left, and I should think he was pounds lighter than when he arrived. So much heat! I was perspiring just sitting in the sun. I stood on our balcony and watched the local farming family picking their asparagus by hand and felt hot just watching them.