We’ve been back at Les Terraces for (incredibly) just over a fortnight now. We arrived tired, but in one piece, just in time to turn the Ground Floor around the following day. It’s quite a big switch from “Alex the Administrator” to “Lucy the Laundrymaid” roles. I suspect that the “Alex” role is financially more rewarding, but the “Lucy” role is clearly better for my fitness!
We’ve welcomed a wonderful range of guests renting the various flats – a group of 4 friends from varied backgrounds, all currently based in the UK; a Mexican/Dutch family, an Australian couple, an American family doing a whistle-stop tour of France and a single English lady – and enjoyed meeting all of them.
We’ve not had the chance to get out-and-about much, as greeting guests, cleaning, trying to get the car “immatriculated” here in France, trouble-shooting the occasional glitch that inevitably arises in a house of this age, and preparing to make our case with the Architect des Bâtiments de france, who has turned down our planning application for changes to the top terrace (we have a rendez-vous for 7th September in this regard) has largely put paid to such leisure activities.
We have, however, enjoyed what we can of the weekly market and the accompanying people-watching while doing turnarounds and been lucky enough to catch 2 “Marchés des Producteurs de Pays” here in Sainte-Foy-la-Grande. These events, organised by our friend Trudi, the Cultural Officer at the Mairie, are part of a nationwide celebration & promotion of France’s patrimony. They are events where the producers of food (beef, duck & foie gras, cheese, organic beer, wine, ice-cream, oysters and so forth) set up stands where they prepare the items that they specialise in for consumption on the spot to the accompaniment of live music. The first week that we went Graham enjoyed faux filet de bœuf with sauté potatoes, while I tucked into magret de canard ave pommes rustique. Each main dish cost 9€. A bottle of silver-medal award winning red set us back a further 5€ and we enjoyed some excellent Celtic music on fiddle & mandocello. This week we had a houseful of guests and chose to go only for some bread, cheese and duck rillettes (5€ for more than the two of us could eat) plus another excellent bottle of red for the same price.
Today, Sunday, we have enjoyed a day of rest (after taking care of cleaning our flat, of course). Being a true product of my upbringing – my father is as much of a going-seeing-and-doing-things as my mother – it was time to go and see/do something new for ourselves. I settled on going to see the bastide town of Monpazier. Our new Australian guests were heading off to Issigeac to see the market, so we offered to show them the route down, as it was on our way to Monpazier. It has been a blustery day of sunshine and showers, which may have been in our favour, as Monpazier was surprisingly devoid of tourists. It wasn’t a day for taking pictures, which is a good thing as the battery of my camera was pretty much dead. That said, the original taxation system did catch my eye ….
However, I walked around some of the town (including a surprise access to one of the fortified gates to the town) and we sat and enjoyed a pression in the town square in what little sunshine there was. While we were there a little girl, who can’t have been more than 4 and tired, caught my eye. She was dressed as only a French child would be and her red-and-white gingham 3/4 length trousers (embroidered with cherries) along with her little red shoes was too precious not to save for posterity……….