Angouleme and Lageyrat

The weather has been a bit unpredictable (though for me still T-shirts every day, Delia less so). Delia touched on our trip to Angouleme last week and I’ve inserted some of my photos. A centre for cartoons, graffiti is an art form there. Not your standard tagging… some real intriguing ideas, trompe l’oeil and in your face stuff. Some of you who have visited us will have come out of Angouleme station and seen the illustrated tower block over toward the hilltop on which old Angouleme sits. The streets are replete with so much art that “genuine” graffiti (ie  the product of “vandals”) is hard to separate from that which is art. In fact one of my French courses had a case study of graffiti as an art form and the different forms it manifests – I guess the core fact is that it is in the street.

Few of you can have avoided the deluge of emails asking you to consent to new privacy policies. As for my last fortnight of work, I’ve been up to the eyeballs in Privacy Policies. Glad its over for now. GDPR is a four letter word!

This morning was a lovely walk with Siena before breakfast. Here’s a barn door and roses.

Today, after breakfast we went over to our nearby village, Lageyrat where Châlus holds its annual fête. Yes fête season, begins, probably every village and town will be having one over the next few months. Châlus has few roads it can close without disrupting most of South West France so it chooses Lageyrat which is otherwise a sleepy hamlet the rest of the year. It is local to us and our neighbours are heavily involved in the operation of the fête. Giselle was preparing beaucoup de carottes yesterday for the lunchtime communal meal of some 300 guests. Jean Claude was running about at the fête carrying pancake batter, beer barrels and all sorts. Giselle served us our crepes and replied “jamais” (never) when I asked when she was going to get a chance to eat. Delia went specifically to look at plants and we have now finally spent all the money that her mum gifted us (two years ago) on the garden. Today we bought a bottle brush and a jasmine. The plan for the jasmine is to climb up the fence posts of the newly painted fence panels we have just put up.

The beer “tent”
Limousine locals

A lovely day out – 20th May 2018

Sorry this is a day late but yesterday we had a lovely day trip to Angoulême with Pat’s camera club. This was the 3rd attempt at getting there as the other two days had been rained out. Thankfully this weekend we are having glorious weather. The sun is shining and while not hot in the sun it can be warm. I did forget my jumper yesterday and did have to buy myself a light jumper (the price was reduced) as I was cold in just a t-shirt.

You do know you live in the country when a farmer is prepared to stop traffic on a relatively main road to allow his cows to cross from one field to another. That was the start of our journey.

For those of you who don’t know Angoulême (or have only visited the train station) the town is built on top of a plateau above the river Charente, it was a paper town. Previously during the 100 year war it had been considered part of England! As it sits on a plateau you can get some amazing views out over the Charente landscape. It the present day it has the tour de ramparts, which is a vintage car race around the ramparts, and various painted walls in the city (cartoons) some are absolutely amazing. I’ve got a few photos below as we did walk around the city looking for these cartoons and paintings to photograph, we did also walk around some of the ramparts. All in all it was a great day.
One of my first photos is actually of a painter, painting a control post (these are used where cars are restricted in access).

Today is also looking fabulous and I think it is time to do some gardening. The job I just love (not) but it will be nice to have a freshly cut lawn and to do some weeding where it is seriously needed. It is also time for me to de-pot my tulips and daffodils. I’ve decided some pots will be used for tomatoes, some for dahlias and others just for some fun colourful flowers such as petunia’s. However as garden centre’s are not open on Sunday’s a lot of the planting will just have to wait until next week.

So for now, à bientôt, from our wonderful part of France – Delia

La Musée de Mineralogie

It’s mostly still T-shirt wearing morning walks (when it’s not raining, which has only been today). Unfortunately we had postponed a photo-club field trip to Angouleme a few weeks back due to rain too and once again today due to the rain. However; yesterday was lovely, so much so that when friends came for dinner last night we sat out and ate. Here’s a couple of shots from my walks this week, La Garenne de Beaulieu and also Siena pretending to be a cow, she does love to eat grass!


The meal was interesting in that we put the diet on hold whilst still choosing a main from the diet “book”. So I prepared a strawberry balsamic salad with halloumi. Strawberries marinated in balsamic vinegar with ground black pepper and extra virgin olive oil with rocket and watercress on a bed of grilled halloumi cheese. Delia’s main was chicken breast stuffed with feta and olives with a salad of green beans, cucumber and baby spinach (except we couldnt get baby spinach so a reprise of rocket and water cress). Dessert was brought by our friends and was a gorgeous strawberry tart (which, to help with the diet and to my disappointment was sent back with our friends only half eaten). By the way, although I don’t yet pass Jamie Oliviers “string test” (waist measurement of half my height) I am down to 72.2kg from 83kg just after Xmas. I still have what can be affectionately called “pat’s paunch” though shrinking. As a diet it doesn’t feel so strict, I can easily imagine it as a lifestyle change rather than just to lose weight. Lots more vegetables and salad, nice chunks of meat, just less carbs.

So last week was my birthday. I’m still accepting gifts so hurry, but then I’ll accept gifts 365 days of the year! Anyway, Delia won’t argue that she hasn’t been the most successful at organising things for my birthday. She’s told me what she had tried to do or what she had thought about but this time she hit the nail right on the head. She gave me headphones that I could use to block out her tv whilst I’m watching my stuff (ok that also means she can’t overhear the “leakage” from my ear buds). And she organised the whole day. A late breakfast and off to Ambazac for lunch, I got to choose between two restaurants and the food was excellent. Then we went to “La Musée de Mineralogie et Petrologie” Certainly not something for her though she did a good job of seeming interested, even in the “Uranium” room. A great birthday, well done Delia!

And then there were two – 05 May 2018

Our hedgehog is back and very active, enjoying the food I’ve been putting out for it and getting stuck into the snail and slugs in our backyard – and whatever else they eat. So the other night when I took Siena out for her final toilet break of the night before going to bed (she goes out on lead now that we have the active hedgehog), the hedgehog was unfortunately on the gravel patio which meant I couldn’t really get Siena out and on to the grass. My solution was to take Siena out the front and let her wee on the little bit of grass opposite our house – but guess what there was another hedgehog snuffling about. So Siena was just put to bed, and a second lot of food was put out for the new hedgehog. It is nice to have them around, Pat just needs to be careful when he gets out and mow’s the lawn this afternoon.

Two weeks ago I mentioned that I had been painting my cupboard, well here are some photos of the completed item. Unfortunately I didn’t get a proper before shot, but in the photo to the left you can see the cupboard to the right of the wardrobe – where I’m testing out paints on the door – but it does give a good idea of the colour.

This week was also Pat’s birthday, so I took Thursday and Friday off work and we had ourselves a nice day out on Thursday. After a leisurely breakfast we took Siena for a nice long walk, before driving north of Limoges to Ambazac – a large village with a couple of restaurants and a museum. We decided where we wanted to go for lunch – a nice restaurant as part of the hotel in the village – where the service was very good and our lunch superb. After lunch we wandered up to the museum (via the church which had a relic in an amazingly decorated box). So what was so special about the museum, well it was the “Musée Minéralogie et Pétrographie” which translates as Mineralogy and Petrography Museum which for an ex geologist was an interesting place to spend some time. There was also an interesting photographic exhibition from a photographer who hid, and was hidden, in the village during WW2.

All in all it was a lovely day out.

This weekend, will be spent with time in the garden and for me finishing a drawing assignment which I have taken way too much time to complete.

So for now, à bientôt, from our wonderful part of France – Delia