Monday, 23 January 2017

Running a bit late with the blog, unfortunately my PC developed a nasty case of the blue screen of death, got to love Microsoft! Anyway, I was able to find someone to rescue all my stuff, and it’s been transferred to a nice new laptop.

Asked by the local RAF Association to attend another ceremony in the Dordogne. It was in a hamlet called Beleymas, near Bergerac. It was to celebrate the 75th anniversary of the first drop of Special Operations Executive (SOE) agents and equipment into occupied France.  We hadn’t realised quite what a big deal it was – the two road blocks manned by gendarmes gave us our first hint.  The French Veterans Minister attended the ceremony, and there was a very good turnout.

Our village Auberge goes from strength to strength. We often have our post bowls lunch there on a Wednesday, and several of our friends have eaten there and approved. Fabio has had several special evenings – the Soiree Boeuf Daube and the Italian evening were both memorable. A couple of days ago we had an evening meal there for Judy’s birthday, and that was excellent too.

We have been selling poppies again this year for the British Legion, and thanks to all our friends and acquaintances at Vignol Bowls Club and the Connect 87group we raised the superb sum of 275€. When we attended the 11th November ceremony in our village we gave out a number of the small poppy badges, which seemed to be much appreciated. We have also become adept at explaining their significance, although many people here saw TV reports of the display at the Tower of London. A chap in uniform standing with our mayor spotted is wearing the poppies and asked to be introduced to us. He turned out to be the Prefect of the Correze, someone jolly important. He asked if we could let him have one of the small badges too!

I have been doing a lot more of my photography, trying to match old photos of local places with how they look now. I have made some of them into short(ish) animated sequences, and they can be viewed of YouTube. For some reason, they haven’t quite gone viral yet.

I eventually sorted out my state pension. After filling out a form listing everywhere I had ever lived and worked they graciously decided to give it to me. Ah well, every little bit helps!

The last of the autumn weather was lovely, we took Icare out for a few nice walks.

We have finally got our act together and our new windows will be fitted in February. As we are in a conservation area we had to submit a load of forms to both the local planners and the historic buildings watchdog. We got a letter back from the planners to say that we had made a mistake on the form which would delay everything by a month. I wasn’t surprised, in fact I would have been more astonished if we had got it right first time. However, I was quite puzzled to find that my error had been not saying what village I had been born in!

Went to the village of Aubazine to get some pictures, weather brightened up, so I got some reasonable shots. After taking the photos we had a quick walk round a disused quarry, which apparently had a cromlech near it. We couldn’t find it, but of course we had missed it by about a hundred metres. Lunched at the Auberge le Passadou, which is very remote but does an excellent and good value lunch, one to keep in mind when we go cromlech hunting again (it’s a type of prehistoric structure of course).

Had a flu jab and promptly went down with a bout. I got over it after a week or so, but gave it to Judy –the weather wasn’t great, so it was a good excuse to stay in.

Did some more of my photography in the local village of Donzenac – the first picture I took an elderly couple came out of their house, and asked what I was doing. I explained and they showed me a copy of the postcard I was using stuck to their mail box!

We got a note in the mailbox to say they had been unable to deliver a registered letter. Went to post office (in the Mairie) today, picked up letter which is from the Mairie and about our windows!!

Annual choir concert in the church - perhaps this year we can say that enthusiasm exceeded talent!

 Christmas very quiet, although we still amazed the lady at the post office with our 45 cards for UK. Really not the same in France. We spent the day itself just the two of us, and had some friends around on boxing day and the day after.

One sad task was when I was contacted by the RAF Association and asked to buy some stuff and take it to an ex-RAF engineer in Brive hospital/ We got the things to him, but unhappily he died a few days later. Nice to know at least the RAFA had his back.

An enjoyable evening going to the cinema in St Yriex with the Lushes to see Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them. Great fun.

On New Year’s Eve we had a little trip to Objat to see the lights. Not quite Regents Street, but very pretty, and we also took some photos of the ones in Voutezac.

 We’ve just had a nasty cold spell, with the temperature overnight dropping to minus 7. One Sunday our normal visit to the market was cancelled as I discovered that the road outside our house was covered in black ice, when I took the dog out and went base over apex. The day we had our oil delivery, it snowed….

When we went to pick up my new laptop we also visited a couple of nearby chateaux -  Montbrun and Brie. Obviously shut at this time of year, but very impressive. Montbrun (shown) for sale at 15 million euros if you’re interested.

Brive did a deal for three New Year games at a reduced price. We went with the Lushes to see Brive play Grenoble one cool Saturday afternoon. Then they were playing Worcester in a European Challenge Cup game on the following Saturday at 9pm. We had one look at the weather forecast and wimped out. The next Saturday was another European game against Newport, luckily on a lovely sunny and comparatively warm afternoon. Brive actually won all three games.

We have a bird feeder on the balcony which is normally very busy. However we had a new visitor recently a dormouse. We haven’t seen him for a while so I guess he is back asleep again.

Just finished working on my photos of Allassac and uploading the result to YouTube…it keeps me quiet.

Happy New Year!