Sunday, 10 June 2018

Well it has been the wettest and greyest winter since we arrived here – not so cold, but without many sunny days rather more depressing.

We've been taking Finn out as much as possible to get him socialised, he's coming on pretty well. One trip to Brive proved a little too much – it was the day that the carnival came through town. Everyone throws confetti at all the floats – a bit too exciting for an Irish Wolfhound Puppy. We found some youngsters dressed up for the occasion – one of them as a wolf. I think that he eventually understood my explanation of what a wolfhound was bred for, but he refused to actually be hunted. Still not totally sure he appreciated my sense of humour – not alone there then!

For Valentines day we had a lovely dinner at the auberge, heart shaped dessert and all. We were even given our engraved aperetif glasses as a souvenir!

On our travels we have now found an American cafe in the small town of Excideuil, about an hour away. Nice people running it and a welcome bit of variety.

I spent a lot of time car hunting, and could never find exactly what we wanted. And Finn kept on growing....

Talking of Finn – to answer the usual questions I am asked when I am out with him, I have had a special sweatshirt printed – seems to help!

I have carried on with my photography, and am now concentrating on creating pictures that have the old and new views side by side, and you are able to slide between them:

I got in touch with a friend who lives near St Emilion and has his own commercial vineyard to ask why apple orchards were netted against hail, but vineyards aren't. Still not sure of the reasons – but he told me that he was selling the vineyard, and offered me a couple of boxes of wine for free. I had a nice drive to see him, gratefully accepted the wine and bought a couple more boxes – and very good it is too.

When our friends the Makepeaces were here at Easter I decided on a religiously themed day out – Mr M is an ordained C of E vicar. First to the
Grotte de St Antoine in Brive – an ancient site of pilgrimage that is now also a Franciscan monastery. A surprise less than a kilometre from the centre of Brive. Then onto the lovely village of Aubazine with its beautiful abbey and monastic buildings – which never seem to be open when we are there. From there to much more ancient beliefs – in the hills above Aubazine are a Dolmen or burial mound and a cromlech or stone circle. Finally on to a very nice restaurant nearby – Le Passadou. I like to think that we satsified the inner and outer person....

Judy and I then treated ourselves to a short break in Venice to celebrate our 45th wedding anniversary. We flew from Toulouse, and had five very enjoyable nights. The B & B we stayed in is a lovely old house dating from the 15th century and furnished with antiques right on a bend in a canal. In fact it's name Ca Malcanton means the palace on the dangerous bend!

We walked around a lot, went to lots of museums and art galleries, took some trips around the lagoon and generally had a wonderful time. Oh, and we ate far too much! One surprising highlight was the cemetery island of San Michele – a fascinating place to explore.

The inscription reads ..."who left us in peace"......

Back home and picked up the dogs – as always when Debbie looks after them they seem to have had a wonderful time!

Soon after we got back Finn managed to damage the tip of his tail. I am not sure why a dog needs blood vessels right at the end of his tail, but I can
assure you that when he then wags it, the house soon looks like a crime scene. Impossible to bandage it, so we got some spray on bandage which seemed to work. Apparently this is known as “Happy Tail”! Anyway we have managed to teach him to sit....

We are still trying to get out and explore the lovely area we live. We recently took a picnic to the Lac de Vassiviere, about an hour north of us. A beautiful large lake, which probably gets very busy in the tourist season. As there was a bitter wind blowing we had an excellent lunch in a hotel looking out over the water, and took the picnic home.

I had a couple of nights away in Bergerac for the AGM of SSAFA France and some training sessions. Very enjoyable socially, and I did learn quite a lot, but the Data Protection lectures were hard work!

Judy got me up (comparatively) early one morning as Finn had ripped up his bedding in cage and wound it all round one hind leg. He then tried to get out of the cage through the hinge side of the door. Bless him he kept very still while we spent 15 minutes carefully cutting him free. He never snarled or growled once . The cage is now in the cellar and he sleeps on a single mattress we had spare!

Fabio the chef at our village Auberge likes to have themed evenings every so often. We gave the Tete de Veau a miss, but the 7 hour cooked lamb sounded wonderful – and it was. Only two slight reservations about the evening; it was supposed to start at 20:00, we started at 21:30 so didn't finish eating until 23:00. Then it was Fabio's birthday, so we all had to have a piece of birthday cake and a glass of prosecco. We got to bed about midnight and my digestive system protested a little!

With all the rain we have been having, mixed with warm sunshine our garden is getting a little out of hand. If I don't tackle it with strimmer very soon I'll have to buy a machete...

At last we've bought a new car – new to us that is. It's a Renault Grand Espace and the dogs love it. There is so much room in the back Finn doesn't lie down – he just keeps on walking. It drives very well and has a few of those modern touches such as automatic wipers and a built in Satnav. Bliss!