Sunday, 15 April 2012

It has been a long 4 months or so since I last put finger to keyboard, and a lot has happened.

In January our lovely niece Teri, who lived in Vancouver, had a stroke. In hospital it was discovered that she was suffering from cervical cancer, and despite a really tough fight she passed away a couple of weeks ago. The whole family is devastated as you can imagine, and our thoughts have been with her mother, Judy’s sister Carol, and her sister Lesley.
In Corr├Ęze we have come through another of those “never known one like it winters” – apparently it was one of the coldest on record. At the start of March the weather perked up and we have just had a couple of weeks of lovely sunny days with temperatures in the low to mid 20s. Judy has been sitting on the balcony watching the squirrels and doing her crossword. Of course now, getting into April – it’s pouring with rain and the temperature has dropped.

The cold spell caught a lot of people out – especially those with holiday homes. A friend who has been restoring two houses just South of us in the Lot called in on her way back to UK. She had arrived at one of her properties to find burst pipes and radiators, frozen waste pipes and a ceiling down. Even some friends who live in a new build had problems with frozen pipes – we must have been very lucky!

Our library venture has actually reached fruition. We had a fascinating time registering the library as an official Association, but we eventually managed it and I am now a President! Quite proud that the others had asked me to take the top spot until I discovered that the only person legally responsible is…..yup. We had been offered the books as duplicates from the library a friend runs, but had to find somewhere to put them. At this point Janie, who is in our Writers’ Group, said that she had a spare empty library! No, seriously, Janie has a lovely chateau which she runs as a B & B / Gites. After lots of work we moved a huge number of books into the library, and Janie and her granddaughter Ashley catalogued and shelved everything. We had an Open Day a couple of weeks ago, which went very well, and we opened properly the following Saturday. See https://sites.google.com/site/englishlibraryinthecorreze/ 

We have had the normal day to day excitements and expenses. Judy had an enjoyable shop at the Sales in Brive – remember in France they are only allowed real sales twice a year for a few weeks at a time and during a period the government decrees. Slightly less inexpensive were new springs and shock absorbers for the Discovery – badly needed but not cheap.
Occasionally one of the local cinemas shows a film in VO – Version Originale. The French protect their language as much as they can, so nearly every non-French film is dubbed into French. Anyway there was an afternoon performance of George Clooney in “The Descendants”, watched by an audience of three including us. With French sub-titles it was actually quite a good learning experience. Picking up a kebab in Objat on the way home was also a learning experience, though perhaps not quite so enjoyable.
Our American Chateau owning friends were invited to as small ceremony in their village used to welcome newcomers. Representatives from all the Associations in the village turned up to tell anyone new what is available – from rambling, bird watching, petanque, hunting and lots more – very impressive.Their village also hosts a wonderful travelling still, the local farmers bring their nuts, peaches etc and take away the liqueurs. Apparently the permission or licences held by the people who are allowed to do this will die with them – didn’t think that modern bureaucracy could cope with something like this.


Our village already has a Mairie (from which the Mayor and his staff run the commune of 1400 souls) with a small Foyer Culterel (hall) attached, and a large new village hall on the edge of the village. However apparently we need a new Marie, so a nice new building is rising up in the rear of Place de la Republique.

Every Sunday there is a really good market in our local town of Objat. I decided to take Faust for a walk around a couple of weeks ago and he thoroughly enjoyed it. The most popular dogs here seem to be the tiny “handbag” Yorkshire terriers and toy poodles, so I think he may have come as something of a shock – although he has a number of admirers.
Last month SSAFA Forces Help France, the charity I work for as a caseworker held their annual conference and training day in Bergerac – about two hours away in the Dordogne. There were about 80 people there, and we stayed a couple of nights in a local hotel. It was all very enjoyable, and I learned a lot. It was nice to meet other people from all over France and to learn more about the charity as well.
Judy and I both had flu a few weeks ago – so bad I actually completely lost my appetite, and for me that is serious! A few weeks after that I found I had shingles – chickenpox for old folk. Really quite unpleasant, and although I am well past the worst it’s still very uncomfortable. Poor Judy – thought she was past nursing old people!
The really big news in Objat is that Jonny Halliday   is playing a concert there in July. The signs have been up for 6 months already. If you haven’t heard of him he was France’s answer to Elvis – sort of a gallic Cliff Richard. He is 68, has been very ill and vowed to stop touring a few years ago – yet here he is hitting Objat!

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