Concours des Maisons Fleuries.

Flower competition in the village of Daglan.

This year one of the well deserved joint first prizes for Concours des Maisons Fleuries goes to Sherry and Angus for their gorgeous garden. When you think that not so long ago their garden was a wilderness which was full of overgrown shrub and weeds, you’ll appreciate the time and effort they have put into creating a prize winning garden. The wow factor was produced by Sherry’s expert eye and skill of planting is outstanding.

Garden flower competitionThe front of their property, an array of colour from the hanging baskets to the borders and pots.
 

Garden flower competitionSherry relaxing in her garden.
 

Garden flower competitionTo the winner, Certificate, champagne and a voucher to spend in the supermarket in the village.
 

Garden flower competitionI particularly love this ancient stone which they found hidden in the undergrowth.
 

Garden flower competitionExpert planting was used to create this beautiful garden. I am terrible at remembering the name of plants, so sorry, but I will find out if anyone would like any more details.
 

Garden flower competitionSherry and Angus petit lane in the shade of the garden.
 

Garden flower competitionFrom the colours of the stunning plants to the lighting, gorgeous.
 

Garden flower competitionJoint first prize also goes this year to Madame Allo.
 

Garden flower competitionHere is her stunning garden and pool, which is to be found at the edge of the village near Pont Neuf.
 

Garden flower competition1st Priz for flowered balcony – Monsieur Salamitte.
 

Garden flower competitionHere is his gorgeous balcony, congratulations.
 

 
Event:-4th September a Brocante at La Roque-Gageac
 

Fête de la St Louis

The annual Fête in Daglan is something that no one should miss. When you think that each year Daglan undergoes metamorphosis from a small picturesque village to a four day long festival of wow, a fun packed party place to visit, it is quite outstanding.

Our only down side was that we were far too near to James Bond! In other words the bumper car ride was positioned very near to our home and was playing extremely loud fairground music which made the house tremble until 2 am each morning.

Fête de la St Louis, Daglan

I never thought that I would ever say this but ‘too close to James Bond!’

So we are feeling a little bit fragile at the moment, however, the band that we went to see on Saturday eve were fantastic.

Fête de la St Louis, Daglan

The band Mission, excellent and great to dance to.

 

Each year Daglan has a stunning themed parade and this Sunday was no exception. For 2016 the theme was Civilisation.

Fête de la St Louis, Daglan

The thought and skill that goes into making the costumes to the floats is truly outstanding.

Fête de la St Louis, Daglan

The master and me, I think that Maire Pascal Dussol enjoyed his role as Pharaoh!

 

Fête de la St Louis, Daglan

The Vikings are coming… around the corner towing their long boat by tractor.

Fête de la St Louis, Daglan

Long boat accompanied by raucous shouts of Odin, Odin, and complete with shields, swords and captives, the warriors spraying the crowds with water pistols and glitter!

 

Fête de la St Louis, DaglanNative Americans – they had captured the covered wagon, wonderful.

Fête de la St Louis, Daglan

This was one of our favourites – African Tribes, apparently they were drinking jungle juice made from strawberries and lemonade liberally laced with white wine.

 

Walk like an Egyptian.
DSCN1704

Le Thé Vert transformed into the Oasis of Nefertiti.

Always good, not only for the lunches but for costumes, pyramids, not forgetting the sphinx which was made from plastic bottles, and papier-mâché. The face is actually papier-mâché mold of a real person, wow.

Fête de la St Louis, Daglan

I loved the hieroglyphics, which translated to the Oasis of Nefertiti. Brilliant well done all at Le Thé Vert.

 

Fête de la St Louis, Daglan

And the fireworks had the awesome factor, so in short we had a brilliant time.

Problems of the undulating floor and walls of our corridor.

Old property in France does seem to have the same problems, the undulating floors and walls that meander at irregular intervals. Personally I love the quirkiness of our home, it has character but not so much when you are putting down a new floor covering along the corridor which runs past the bathroom and the bedrooms.    Paul measured the floor, the walls, the distance between the walls, scratched his head, and said “there could be a problem”.  The corridor zigzags past the bathroom, turns left by the stairwell then right to the long stretch past the bedrooms, you guessed it, the corners are not right angles.

DSCN1606To work, the first problem was the carpet which seemed to be stuck down with super glue. But not to be deterred Paul battled on, a centimetre at a time.
The second problem was, as I stated earlier the floor which is not level but kind of slopes down to the bathroom and then undulates down the main corridor. After careful consideration and several failed attempts at laying the flooring Paul started from the centre of the corridor and then worked towards the walls.

 

DSCN1612A good plan but frustrating when you lay a piece of wood down which is straight at one end and is up at the other. Another plan cut the floor boards into smaller lengths then jigsaw them together, it worked. You can see from this photograph how the corridor goes from wide to narrow and back to wide as you go towards the door to the veranda.

 

French propertyAngel, always vigilant for a game decided to play hide and seek with the box.

I thought that it would take weeks to complete the corridor but Paul had it finished in a few days, bravo.

 

The event of the year in Daglan.
IMG_20160811_154309bWe have four days of sleepless nights to come, the speakers for the music are usually placed at the corner of our home so very, very loud but on a positive note we shall certainly enjoy the parade, fireworks and the bands that play. Just hoping for rock music and we shall be happy.

Enjoy

Fête médiévale à Belvès

Each year in early August the city of Belvès turns its clock back to Medieval times, this year the Fête was held on the 6th and 7th August. On the 6th August was a medieval banquet and on the 7th August was the Fête Fantastique.

I have been wanting to visit Belvès at this particular time of year for a long time, due to the fact that the whole city recreates the Medieval period. Everyone from the shop owners, restaurants, market place, local people and children are all dressed in costume. Hand made merchandise such as leather goods, wooden toys, shields, pots and pans, costumes, jewellery, street food etc. are offered for sale at the stalls that line the market square and byways.

 

IMG_20160807_101407This was the head of the procession through the Medieval quarter of the city. On the left are the English Knights and on the right a French knight and his Princess.

 

IMG_20160807_100958The Knights and Princess set off and were followed by clergy, musicians, pagan dancers, people of the city in costume, Vikings and beggars.

 

IMG_20160807_102901The Vikings were called “Berserker’s” and they lived up to their name at every opportunity they would suddenly stop for combat manoeuvre’s and go berserk by hacking at each others shields, the object to beat your opponent to the ground.

 

IMG_20160807_104406Very authentic looking beggars.

 

Fête médiévale à BelvèsGorgeous costumes of the pagan dancers.

 

DSCN1630I was approached by “a wicked step mother” wanting me to taste her rosy red apple. It is not everyday that you get to play Snow White!

 

DSCN1641There were various encampments around the city, this was part of the Viking camp. Where you could watch a sword being made, it was totally fascinating watching the blacksmith at work, the skill of his workmanship was wonderful.

 

IMG_20160807_113654Again in the Viking camp was a wood turner, creating table legs, door knobs etc.

 

Unfortunately, all the afternoon events seemed to start at roughly the same time so we had to pick which event we really wanted to see the most, the Knights won. We could have seen the falconry display and the Viking Combats at a later time but we had to get back home, but no loss, we will just return another year.

 

DSCN1649Cheval Spectacle – was a series of equestrian competitions between the English and the French, to be fare I think that it was a draw. Of course the arrogant Knight was Sir Steven dressed in English colours. There seemed to be a lot of British people in the audience, they certainly gave Sir Steven a lot of encouragement when he rode past at full speed to cut apples in two with his sword. He also won shooting an arrow from his horse while galloping by a picture of a wild boar. The French Queen won the silk purse, defeating the English Knight at the last minute.

It was a great day out and we can recommend the Fête médiévale à Belvès very highly, a must to see and a great experience.

Trapped in our home by a large rotisserie oven!

When I came down stairs this morning I could smell the aroma of roast chicken and paella, then I noticed how dark it was in the lounge. On investigation it was found that the ‘promenade en gastronomie’ had started early with a very large rotisserie being placed at our front door. Surly they had noticed that someone was living in the house, planters at the front, the house being painted recently!

All right I thought, try the side door, but no, a large van was parked there blocking the door. At this moment I thought that perhaps we could arrange a delivery of paella through the letter box, when the van had to move due to it blocking access not only to us but to the entrance of the supermarket. It did not go very far, it just moved further up the lane to block the gate to our courtyard and preventing anyone from accessing the lane and houses further along. Food parcels to the family who were holidaying in a home at the top of the lane did spring to mind, but no… after hearing a few well chosen words of French the family had made their escape.

Our turn to escape through the side door and into the square.

DSCN1603Our front door is hidden by the large rotisserie, we were also not able to open the shutters for fear of sending the large pans of paella to the ground!

 

DSCN1602Stalls of food and drink covered the square

 

Balade en GastronomieAlso along the road and around the bend, ice cream, sorbets, honey, wine, garlic, organic foods, cooked food, bread and cakes.

 

DSCN1599A few days ago a small portable forest was being erected in the square for the truffle dog demonstration. This event is always entertaining because the saucisson seller has a stall nearby so that the truffle dog can not focus its efforts on finding the truffles. After various prompting and pointing from the truffier the dog was encouraged to find a truffle or two and get its reward of a dog chew.

 

DSCN1604A brilliant surprise in the afternoon was the young man playing the bagpipes. He was so good that one man came over and dropped his wallet into the boys hat. Encouraged by this and shouts from his family he played two more tunes, wonderful.


Event:- Belves Fête Medieval on the 6th and 7th August

Le Thé Vert

On an extremely hot day the option was to start taking up the carpet on our long corridor floor that leads past the bedrooms and bathroom to the veranda at the back of the property or to go to lunch at Le the Vert for a treat. Lunch it was, the corridor renovation can wait a while longer.

 

Le Thé Vert is one of our favourite places to eat in the Perigord and it is only a five minute walk from our home. It is run to a very high standard by friend’s of ours Judith and Paul. It has that home from home feel about it due to the friendliness of the proprietress.

You can have English or French food, breakfast or lunch. If you do not want a full meal there are snacks, sandwiches, scones and cakes all served with fruit juice, tea, coffee, beer or wine.

Special evening meals are organised regularly, for example ‘curry night’ or ‘fish and chip night’, (main course supplied by the excellent Dordogne Chippy). These soirée’s are always well attended so you’ll need to make a reservation in advance at Le Thé Vert.

DSCN1494Le Thé Vert to be found just by the bridge going into Daglan. To discover the full menu visit http://lethevert.fr/

 

DSCN1493Paul and I both picked the tomato and Brie baguette with a side salad and crisps. With a pot of Yorkshire tea, delicious.
 

We sat on the terrace shaded by a canopy out of the sun.

Le Thé VertTurn your head right and you see the forest which was alive with the sounds of birds and cicada’s and the various homes which are dotted about along the long winding road.
 

Le Thé VertTo the left is the bridge over the Céou River which finished the idyllic scene.

Judith and Paul’s pool looks gorgeous, the sight of water always makes you feel cooler and more relaxed. You can have use of the pool if you buy the property, yes sadly it is up for sale. The couple will be missed a great deal. So if you are looking for a good business in a prime location this is it.
 

Well no renovation work today but we did enjoy our lunch and we got to meet a couple and their dog who are having a holiday in the area. So we chatted while eating our lunch and introduced them to interesting places that they can visit while here in the Perigord.

Totally relaxed we walked home, so relaxed in fact that no work was completed. Start tomorrow!… maybe…

 

Wow, Wow, awesome, wow … !

Train A Vapeur De Martel in the Lot Department

A steam train my goodness, a dream come true. I have been wanting to have a ride on this particular train ever since I saw the painted metal advertisement for the railway on one of the pillars of the viaduct going into Sarlat in 2009.

As soon as I saw the train I was instantly transported back to my childhood in the fifties, when I would walk down the road to the station to see the steam trains.  The station Master’s wife would give me a cake or biscuits and a drink, served on a small table, then the station Master would tell me when a train was arriving at the station and I would run outside to greet it.  Once the train was in the station the station Master would let me sit on the train in the first class carriage and I would look up at the pictures of places that I would imagine the train would take me too.  Then after a few minutes he would shout “Christine, it is time to leave”, and I would jump down and run to the overhead bridge to see the train depart.
 

IMG_20160727_103500The society, Association du Chemin de Fer Touristique du Haut Query was formed in 1991 by a group of volunteers interested in restoring the line and turning it into a tourist attraction. They have cleaned the track, repaired bridges and points and replaced several hundred sleepers. A rock climbing club cleared loose rocks from the cliff face. They then acquired rolling stock which consisted of a Vesta (small steam shunter built in Lille 1927) and classed as an historic monument! Plus two diesel powered and two track maintenance crew vehicles, and a diesel shunter. In 2002 the society obtained a more powerful steam train, four more shunter’s and a diesel railcar to restore. This is a post war train nicknamed Picasso due to its raised control position is very off centre and therefore like a Picasso painting.
 

Train A Vapeur De Martel

“Le Truffadou”, line which ran from Bordeaux to Aurillac took from 1880 to 1884 to build. It came into use in 1889 and competed with the boat traffic on the “River of Hope”. The rail lines were taken up in 1917 for use in the first World War effort. Later in 1919 the US Government replaced all of the rails and that is what is in use today. The trains were used to transport truffles and therefore the line was nicknamed “Le Truffadou”.
 

DSCN1576The power house, my goodness I so wanted to be an engine driver when I was a child. We sat near the front of the train so that we could get a good view of the engine and the driver. My “oh wow” moment continued for about another hour or so with the train hitting all of the senses, sight, smell and sound, the heartbeat of the engine was wonderful.
 

DSCN1578The Mirandol tunnel with its turrets and spiral staircase inside which was erected by the constructors to celebrate the lines safe completion: it is now a listed building.

In the first tunnel the conductor turned the lights off and everyone on the train shouted “Wow” as loud as possible. He then stated that there was to be no acrobatics when taking photographs of the magnificent vistas, he would prefer passengers not to fall out, and the only one allowed to smoke was the train.
 

DSCN1585Magnificent viaduct, the train stops here so that you can take photographs and buy refreshments.

On the journey back the train went at top speed through the tunnels, the smoke curling around, in and over the train, wonderful.
 

DSCN1581At 260ft up the cliff face you get a gorgeous vista of the Lot.

The train runs from Martel to St Denis and back again which is about an hour and twenty minutes.  There are two trains that you can ride on,  the diesel or the steam train.  A good tip is to arrive about an hour before the departure time to get a seat.  We arrived at about ten o’clock, the train was due to depart at eleven and there was already quite a long queue of people waiting for tickets.  The trains run at eleven, two thirty and at four o’clock each day during the summer months and it costs 10,50 euro each for the steam train and 8 euro for the diesel train.

Well worth a visit or two or three.