Saturday, 2 November 2013

On September 30th we marked our 4th anniversary in Voutezac!
We are great users of Kindles – so useful to be able to download books easily. I bought a Kindle Fire HD, with all its extra features as a tablet it seemed an excellent compromise. The main downside was that it recognised I was in France, but had a UK Amazon account, so would not let me buy apps from either store! Not very international. Unfortunately it took the Fire part too literally and started to overheat quite badly. I checked in the net and this is a known problem. Eventually Amazon France agreed to send me a replacement, but that obverheated as well. Amazon gave me a refund and Judy said that to shut me up I could have an Ipad Mini. It’s great.
Our old friends the Makepeaces have settled into their holiday home near us, and we have seen them a number of times, plus their daughter Bethany and her partner James. It is so nice to have someone else fall for this part of France as well, although technically they are in the Dordogne – which of course is inferior to the Correze.
Every so often we feel extra guilty about a lack of exercise for both us and Bertie. One of favourite walks is a delightful circle around the Lac de Poncharal, about 20 minutes from us. For most of the year it is a fishing lake, and used by walkers. In the summer there is a campsite and a nice sandy beach for swimmers – we are quite a long way from the sea here!
Talking of dogs I have been having Irish Wolfhound withdrawal symptoms, I really miss poor old Faust. However we have agreed that such big dogs are a real tie, and expensive and difficult to look after.  I did spot a clumber spaniel bitch which needed a home some 4 hours from us ( and they are very rare in France), but it had already found one by the time I contacted the owner – so Bertie can breathe again.
We also had a great walk along the bank of the Vezere river in the neighbouring village of Le Saiilant. We got as far as the hydroelectric plant that, presumably, provides some of our power. Back in the village we had a coffee in the local café, which opens on the first of July, and shuts on the last day of August.

I had a very enjoyable floorplan job to do in the Dordogne, outside the village of St Julian. The property was an old farm house, literally right on the bank of the Dordogne river. The owners are going to make an up market B & B out of it, and it should be fantastic. Judy came with me and after I had finished we had a picnic by the river. And I got paid for it!
More friends to visit in September. The Clarkes came from Liverpool to Limoges, and when we picked them up we were a little disconcerted to see large buses full of gendarmes at the airport. However this was actually because President Hollande was visiting the area, and nothing to do with a plane load of scousers arriving. Anyway Fred and Di seemed to enjoy their break with us, and we always enjoy showing off the area to visitors.
On one of our drives I found some caves on the edge of Brive in the guide book. When we got there we found that the Grottes de St Antoine are actually part of a monastery – although all open to visitors. The caves were apparently used by St Anthony of Padua in the 13th century, and they now contain shrines. From there we went to the Lac de Causse, another large public lake with beaches and lots of facilities, as long as its July or August – which it wasn’t.
Around here you can see a lot of sign for farm shops, or places selling farm products, they are quite rightly proud of their produce. However, often when you find the place you discover yourself in a farm yard with no sign of anyone selling anything. So we were pleased to find a local farm shop which sells cheese, butter and yoghurt made from the milk of the cows in the adjacent fields. They also sell fresh whole milk, normally only found in half a dozen bottles in the supermarket.
Had my annual check-up at Brive hospital, X ray, scan and appointment with the consultant. All very swiftly handled, and you get copies of the X rays and scans and lab reports. All good, white cell levels climbing very slowly and we just have to keep a watching brief.
Library news – we had an article in the Connexion, the English language French monthly newspaper. Nice picture of Judy and me and some good publicity. We went to a writers’ club meeting in Sarlat, where we had lunch with members of the Dordogne writers’ club – very interesting. We then had a curry lunch at the chateau as a fund raiser. Not as many attended as we hoped, but the food was excellent and everyone enjoyed themselves.
Rachel popped over for a quick visit, an we were back in Sarlat again for dinner with our friend Diane. Before that we had driven around some of the tourist sites on the Dordogne river, and had a visit to the Chateau at Beynac – highly recommended. A couple of days later we were back in the Dordogne to meet up with the Hulses, old friends from UK, in the lovely town of Brantome.  Ah, this mad social whirl…

Sadly Rachel left the day before we went to watch Brive play Newcastle Falcons in the Amlin Cup. A late start (9pm), but an excellent game and Brive won. We are always amazed how friendly Brive stadium is, all the fans mix, young men bring their girlfriends and there are loads of small children.

Because the roads around Voutezac are quite scenic, we often get old car rallies passing us. It is a little thought provoking when a classic car proves to be one that was our daily transport 30 or 40 years ago….Anyway a couple of days ago a fabulous Bentley swept past, British registered, that’s what I call flying the flag!


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