Saturday, 22 May 2010

French Markets

Despite the best efforts of supermarkets, the French market continues to flourish.

Is it because prices are cheaper - probably not. It's just a lovely exerience. You stroll around, generally in the sunshine. You may meet people you know - and because of the throng, you can avoid people you know and don't want to meet (or is that just me) - and you soak up the ambience. You can buy most everything you'd want:-

Ste Foy la Grande, the nearest big(ish) place to Villeneuve has a Saturday morning market:-

You can even buy livestock:-

You can have a meal with friends, whilst watching the traffic go by:-

And you can buy things you never knew you wanted:-

Oh, and here's a picture of my dog, Molly the Collie.

Friday, 21 May 2010

I'm Moving to France

I've decided to take 'le plonge' and move to France.

Clearly, there are one or two things to sort out before that can happen. For example, I still work, so securing my retirement may take a little time to organise.

As a first step, I thought I needed to get a car and I've found one. It needs one or two things doing to it, but I should manage to get those done by the time I've retired. Here she is. Isn't she a beauty?

Sunday, 16 May 2010

Visit to Maumulon

On Tuesday, I went to visit John Marshall near Charroux in the Charente.

As John had arrived only the Friday before, and was still getting the house 'opened up' for the summer, I borrowed John B's strimmer and we set to work on the garden.

Having done that, we then got out the big boy's toy and did a supply of logs for the fire.

Remarkably, we finished both jobs without either of us bleeding. That probably means we didn't do it properly. Mind you, with a chainsaw I don't think you just bleed, I think you end up with a Long John Silver wooden leg.

Monday, 10 May 2010


I am reading a book by Peter Mayle, Provence A-Z, which gives a version of the origin of to fanny. To fanny someone in petanques is, as I said, to beat someone 13-0. A kiss from the waitress of the local cafe was the consolation prize for the unfortunate loser of the game. The original site of the kiss was the cheek, but the target changed to altogether different cheeks. A similar version appears on the attached web site.

Not many people know that. Probably not many people want to know that.

I must get one of those plaques.

Chez Blatchford

Chez Blatchford in this morning's sunshine. In fact, the sun has continued to shine all day today.

The house is in the village of Villeneuve de Duras, about an hour inland from Bordeaux. The house was bought in 1988 (or maybe it was 1989 - John's memory is atrocious). It was bought from Juliette Lagenebre, the village grand-dame, who lives next door. At 90 years of age Juliette doesn't look significantly different from the first time I saw her, which was some years ago. Chez Blatchford had been Juliette's family home. It had no running water and no toilet, although for reasons relating to French plumbing laws, a toilet was put in before it was sold. John has gradually improved the property over the years, and he has spent the summer here for years, the summers having got longer after he retired.

I sleep in the room at the top left, the one with the windows open. I call it the 'pigeon room', because in the morning, I waken to the sound of cooing doves. The view from the window is lovely too.

For dinner - melon and ham for starters, followed by baked aubergines with pesto, tomatoes and cheese. Must go.

Sunday, 9 May 2010

What a journey

Volcanic ash arrived on the day before my journey. My Ryanair flight was cancelled, so I quickly arranged a bus trip to London and Eurostar from St Pancras to Bordeaux. Bang went my cheap flight, but at least I got here. Once my stiff neck, from sitting up in a bus all night, has eased out I'll be right as rain.

I slept a large part of Friday. It is almost unheard of for me to be in bed at 11.30am, but that's when I rose.

Saturday followed a familiar pattern - Ste Foy market in the morning and petanque in the afternoon. I just love petanque. I like the game - particularly when I play well, which I did - but I also like the chat. The folk who play are very welcoming, with one exception - a man, we have taken to calling Fanny. I doubt he reads this blog, but I'll not mention his real name just in case. However, he shares his name with a herb that goes particularly well with tomatoes. I christened him Fanny after beating him 13-0 in petanque one year - and what a delight that was.