Thursday, 1 November 2018

One of the few drawbacks to living here is the number, and viciousness of the local mosquito population. To be fair I seem to be particularly susceptible, and I have had a few visits to the doctor when I have reacted badly. Luckily the mozzies like me much more than Judy – so she has been fairly unharmed.

I have been keeping up my photography, both to make the sliding then and now photos and slideshows. Good fun in the summer! I have visited some lovely villages to do so. See my YouTube channel at CliftonDJ.

Our new Renault is going well, there is plenty of room for the dogs in the back, and it is a very pleasant car to drive. All the modern features take a bit of getting used to – key-less door opening, automatic lights and wipers, but they do make life easier.

We found a real bargain in a local brocante, a French school map of the UK. Always nice to know how others see us!

Healthwise, (apart from the French insects hatred of me), we have both been pretty well. Judy had a cracked tooth, which has been repaired with a crown. We also went to the optahlmologist – Judy for her cataract operation to be declared fine, me just for a check up. Very few opticians here give thorough eye checks, only ophthalmologists, who are very busy.

We had a very enjoyable visit from Barrie and Leslie Munday, old RAF friends. We showed them the delights of the Correze, and they seemed to enjoy an evening at the Marche des Producteurs and another at our village Peach Festival. Really nice to have such enthusiastic visitors!

We decided it would be a good idea to apply for Cartes de Sejour – basically French identity cards. Got all our paperwork together, including the only translation we needed, of our marriage certificate, and took it all to the Prefecture in Tulle. Two of the things we had to prove were that we had been resident for over 5 years, and that we had sufficient income not to be a burden. We had lots of photocopies of electricity and local tax bills, plus proof of pension and bank statement. We also had our income tax bill to show the address, and the (helpful) lady at Tulle pointed out that if we brought her copies of the income figures on the back of the bill, that would cover that aspect. Quick dash home, copies made and back after lunch. Everything accepted, fingerprints taken and we were given a receipt – just waiting for the actual cards.

Being France everything is done differently in each department. The Dordogne, which adjoins the Correze, only accepts applications by appointment, and won't even make those at the moment. In the Haute Vienne to the north of us you send off all you copies of supporting evidence and if it is okay, they make an appointment to speak to you. Guess we have been quite lucky!

The weather has been pretty good over the summer and autumn. Last Thursday we were in Brive and the temperature was 26 degrees. Since then we seem to have moved straight into early winter – yesterday (October 29th) saw 3 degrees here, and snow in other parts of the Correze. Today there is a severe snow warning in place for the Correze – the department starts at less than 100 metres above sea level, and climbs to over 970 as you move towards the Massif Central. Ar 214 I think we are safe for a bit!

Just a quick moment to do the proud grandfather bit – Jake has started at University of East Anglia reading history, and Esme got 5 grade 7s, 4 grade 8s and a grade 9 in her GCSEs and has moved to Grammar School for the sixth form.

A few weeks ago we had an art exhibition which took over much of the village. All the artists showed there work in the streets and alleys of the old part of the own, and it was cleverly named "Remp'arts". We had an artist outside our house, and he made a delightful sketch of it, which we bought from him.

One weekend a year there is a Jour de Patrimoine, when many historic places are open to the public which are shut or private for the rest of the year. We went to Segur le Chateau, and joined a guided tour, the highlight of which was a visit to the Chateau itself. It is still in private hands, and the owner, who I understand is a duke, showed us around. There is a lot of building work going on to repair and stabilise the older parts, and we had a brife glimpse inside the Chateau itself as we moved from one part of the grounds to another.

The village has started English conversation classs once a week, and I am doing my poor best to supply the English side. Much harder than I thought!

We have had several enjoyable picnic days out while the weather was nice. Particularly memorable was a picnic overlooking the lovely village of St Leon sur Vezere, after which we visited a wild boar farm near the town of Le Bugue.

The annual Levriers or running dog show came to Pompadour again. I didn't show Finn, but we saw his breeder who said he looked fine – but need a good brush. Very embarassing.

We don't forget Icare – still "top dog"!

As always at this time of year I have been selling poppies for the Royal British Legion. I have two tins, and have been moving them around a bit, so I am quite optimistic this year!

The History Society in our village have commemorated the 100th Anniversary of the end of the Great War with a superb exhibition in our village hall. There are boards with the names of all those who fought, details of the 88 who died, and many mementoes provided by their relatives. I was asked to provide some details of the history of the poppy, which I was very touched and pleased to do.