Paul’s DIY expertise

My modest husband will be the first to say that he is not so good at creating anything from wood, however I would strongly disagree. We needed several book cases due to the fact that we have about five hundred books between us. At first we looked to buy a few bookcases but we could not find anything that we liked, or the ones we did like were far too expensive, so Paul set to work.

First, a detailed list was in order due to the fact that if you run out of screws it is a half a days drive to the DIY store and then they may not stock what you need! The Perigord is improving for DIY stores since we first visited in 2010, but they do not have a wide selection of products and they are a distance apart. However, a morning or day out looking at the Perigord Noir gorgeous scenery on route is always a pleasure.

DSCN1003Paul, working on the veranda cutting the wood for a bookcase.

After that came the sanding down of the wood, a quick measure just in case of any problems, and then the assembly followed by a final sanding down before a tinting to match the rest of the furniture and applying several coats of varnish.

 

DSCN1011The finished bookcase, just need to make a few more!

 

DSCN1001This is the bedroom that I have always wanted.

New wardrobe, vintage chair with shelves (by Paul) that are used for my sweaters, t-shirts, hair drier etc.

DSCN1122Another bookcase.

The last one in the lounge to accommodate the last hundred or so books!

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Truffle Market

Packed into a relatively small area in Sarlat, we found two close ranked lines of men standing proudly to attention behind their prize of black truffles. The aroma was breathtaking; truffles have a distinctive smell of their own, earthly with a delicate touch of wild mushroom.

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Truffle sellers who were being filmed for French television.

Prices ranged according to the quality and weight of the truffle, selling for eight hundred to one thousand euro per kilo.

Truffles are so expensive due to the fact that they are very difficult to find in the oak forests in Perigord Noir. Years ago a truffle hunter would use a trained pig to sniff out the truffle but they had a problem, pigs are partial to truffles so the truffler had to pick the truffles before the pig had eaten them! A few truffle hunters still do use pigs, and it’s quite a sight to spot a man taking his pig for a walk on its lead! But now, most use trained dogs who do not like the flavour of the truffles.

The many uses for truffles were on display including truffle oil, macaroons, pâté and even chocolate.

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Truffles in chocolate or with added nuts and fruit, delicious.

You could buy your own oak tree sapling with instructions on how to encourage truffles to grow. The down side is that you would need to wait about one hundred years for the oak tree to grow sufficiently in size to accommodate the truffle.

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Grow your own truffle tree

We opted to taste a truffle macaroon, it sounds terrible just like the truffle ice creme we had years ago in Italy, but like the ice cream, it was as delicious.

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Truffle macaroon

This is our truffle, we placed the truffle into a bowl with eggs to infuse in the fridge over night; the aroma permeated the egg shell, to make the most wonderful omelette.

IMG_20160116_133346Tiny but gorgeous

Stormy Weather

The Art of Rain
Falling down, pooling up
Out of the sky and into my cup.

What is this wet that comes from above,
That some call disaster, and others find love.

The harder it falls, the less it is nice,
The colder it falls the harder the ice.

The rain has an art that I may not get,
So I stand still and get soaking wet.

By M.D. Wilson

 

This was our first major power cut during a violent storm last Monday afternoon. Thunder, lighting, rain and hail hit our village at about one thirty in the afternoon.

I was working on our computer at the time, when everything just stopped, lights, heating, computer and even mobile phones until about six hours later. Luckily we have a wood burning fire, a gas cooker and candles.

DSCN1091Our problem was what do we do? Play cards, cludo, or read my Kindle book!

But first and foremost we needed to inform our son in England who Paul managed to contact by driving to the next village which did not have a power cut.

I in the mean time went all Jane Austin and decided to write a letter by candle light. Candles flickered and the fire was warm and cosy, so it was quite nice for a few hours, then we got the message that the power may be out all night! Thoughts of defrosted food and freezing beds came to mind.

My heart goes out to the people in the North West, and Yorkshire in England who have had rain since last September, causing extreme flooding, where people have been made homeless, bridges collapsing and roads being literally swept away by the force of the water.

DSCN1092The Ceou River that passes through our village, almost breaching the bank on the right and bringing down part of the defence wall near the top of the picture.

 

DSCN1098On the outskirts of the village things were a little different

 

DSCN1097This was just one of the waterlogged fields that we saw on our way to Sarlat.
You can just see the campsite notice on the tree.

 

Back to the romance of the area –

DSCN1072bCastelnaud in the fog and mist, just looks like a castle floating above the clouds – magical.

 

Events :-

Truffle Festival this weekend in Sarlat.

Wrap up warm for this the temperature will be in minus figures by the weekend. There will be workshops for truffle identification. A truffle hunting demonstration. Chefs from Sarlat will be demonstrating how to cook truffles. Truffles for sale, small to large (the large ones sell for hundreds of euros)

La Galette

La Galette is an ancient French traditional cake which is said to bring good luck for the coming year. It is a puff pastry filled with apple or almond frangipane which you can buy from Boulangerie all over France until the end of January.

After cutting it, under a towel the slices are given to members of the family or friends. Or you can ask everyone what slice of the cake you would like.

Baked inside the galette is a “feve”, it used to be a bean or a chick pea, but now it is a small figure made of porcelain or plastic. If you find the “feve” in your slice of galette you become King or Queen for the day in your home and can wear the crown. Tradition dictates that you can have a rest day while other people work for you.

This Galette symbolises the gifts brought to baby Jesus by the Kings.

DSCN1070aThe galette comes in various sizes which are adorned with sugar crystals or crystallised fruits.

 

DSCN1075aThis is our galette.

 

La GalettePaul found the feve in his first slice, it’s a mini porcelain Faberge style egg, which we are going to keep; it will be the first of what will no doubt be a growing collection over the years.

Bonne Année