Firstly, Delia wishes to apologise for her lack of blog last week. As my blog will tell you, it was a busy weekend.
After a relaxing five weeks (for us at least) Delia’s mum flew back home to Aus on Friday 16th (and I guess Saturday too since its a long flight). However since two of our friends from Leicester arrived on Thursday, to make room for them Frances had kindly stayed her last night in a nearby Chambre d’Hote – coincidentally in the same room that we had stayed in just before we moved into our Beaulieu house over five years ago.
On Saturday we went for a stroll around the lac St Mathieu, now refilled and enjoyed a cornetto as reward for the effort. Robert and I tried the macho thing and messed around on the outdoor gymnastic rings – I actually hung upside down but then fell on my posterior after losing my balance.
That Sunday we visited a new (to us) Chateau Hautefort. Delia and Frances had passed near this chateau on a previous visit and so Delia decided to visit it. Set on a hill the chateau dominates the surrounding countryside. The approach consists of a wide area of white gravel – dazzling without sunglasses.
The entire renovation was impressive, interiors and the gardens – all beautiful. Impressive especially since it had had a massive fire in 1968.
We were able to leave the chateau and go into the small town at the foot of the hill. There we chose a restaurant and ate a four course menu du midi (though Delia thought she’d eat a bit more lightly by having just a steak but which was an entrecote that hung over the edges of her plate).
I was able to catch up with some work on the Monday when the others went to St Estephe with Siena. On the Tuesday before our friends left for the UK we wen to a brasserie in Limoges that Delia had sourced to satisfy Robert’s hunger for mussels. Whilst Teresa and Robert both had moules frites, I had a salade perigourdine (salad with smoked duck breast and duck gizzards – not like they sound but instead, delicious). Delia had a hamburger. Dessert for me was a sample of 4 different items whilst the others had tarte aux pommes – apple tart but not as we know it Jim.
We have been reading reports on Chateau Chalucet for several years. These were articles about its renovation and readiness for the public. So this Sunday we decided to take Delia’s mum to visit it. It was about an hours drive away but well signposted and easy to find. There was a reception centre that I went to look at and got a guide leaflet in English. This centre also had models of the site that showed the main castle on its isolated hill and the associated small settlement at its foot. It was quite a large site with several walking routes marked out. These routes were not just around the ruins of the chateau and its surroundings but also along the bank of the River Ligure.
We chose a route to take us around the ruins. Although mostly consisting of low walls there were some higher walls with arched windows. There were also some inside walls showing the remains of hearths. At the foot of the castle hill there was a tower. We climbed the solid metal framework of stairs inside the tower. This led us to the top with a view and almost at level with the chateau.
We set about climbing up to the castle. The paths were well made though showing wear and the weed control fabric in places. Clearly we had been reading the reports of the renovation for a long time. When we returned to the car, we noticed many more cars than when we had arrived. This place seems to be popular for locals taking advantage of the cooler and later evenings for picnics by the river.
Delia and I were working during the week with Frances spending much of her time on crosswords (as well as doing our laundry 🙂 ). On Thursday, since her hair had been coming out in clumps, Delia had booked the hairdresser to shave her head completely. I was surprised how it affected me. Her bald head said “cancer” to me in a way that the operations before had not. The surprise was brief and I quickly came to see Delia’s bravery and beauty shining through.
The next day I had a two client visits – at about 100km away it made sense to do two together. The first was an interesting rural location set amongst huge wind turbines. I stopped and listened to them and their soft whirring was quieter than the rustling leaves in the surrounding trees. My second client was a cattle farm set on an 18th century estate. The main building was a three storied house with 7 bedroom and many more rooms as well as an attic divided into two 100 sq m. rooms. Much had been renovated but more remains to be done. I will be building an interesting website, in three parts; their farm, their meat and their gite.
It’s been a relaxing week, which has been nice. The weather has been pleasant, not too hot but sunny. Unfortunately it was very wet last weekend but it did give us the opportunity to go to an art exhibition (all watercolour) in a nearby town; something that we all enjoyed a lot. The rest of the week was as normal as Pat and I worked, mum did the washing and her crossword puzzles.
On Friday mum and I headed into Limoges to do some wig shopping, however as the sales were on, our first stop was Galleries Lafayette, as I needed an outfit for a wedding in September. So I’ve bought my trousers now I need to find a shirt. After our little bit of shopping we found the first place for a wig and it appeared to be closed – it was just after 12:00 noon. So mum and I headed off to find somewhere for lunch. After a lovely lunch, as we were near the cathedral and mum was certain she hadn’t been inside we took some time out and had a look around the cathedral.
Then on to the next wig store – which was a hairdressers I didn’t feel confident enough to go in and ask about the wigs so we headed on to the next place. This place was very much like the first, in that it was tucked away and we had to buzz an intercom to get in, however in looking a bit more at the information at the door it appeared that we needed to make an appointment. So at this stage we decided to call an end to our day and head home. Pat will have to make some calls on Monday for me. Ultimately it does appear that there is no such thing as a wig shop in Limoges. They all seem to be hair specialists which help with all different things.
Saturday was spent just doing normal things, such as cleaning the house, washing and food shopping so not anything too exciting. Today (Sunday) however we are heading out this afternoon to visit a ruined chateau that has had some restoration. It is a place that Pat and I have been wanting to see for a while but haven’t yet visited. So looking forward to that and hopefully Pat will tell you all about it next week.
For now, à bientôt, from our wonderful part of France – Delia
Here’s a photo mum wanted to take of the very large pine tree out the front of our rental.