Heart of gold – Our first year in Daglan

I was reminded by our son that it was one year ago today my husband, son and cats began the long drive to Daglan. I followed by plane a few days later and the year has just flown by so quickly with some ups and downs along the way, we made it here and eventually so did our furniture!

When we look back over the year and through our extensive photograph collection, the pictures that mean the most to us are our pictures of the people here in Daglan, they are truly “the heart of gold.” We have meet so many new and interesting people that it is those people that stand out the most in our lives. From the very start of our new life here a warm “Bonjour” made us welcome by the doctor, dentist, government officials, the plumber and chimney sweep, our new friends who gave us lavender plants and friends that we have known for a few years thank you so much, it has been a good year.

Before I start to shed a few tears here are some of our most memorable pictures from the past year.

Le La VertDaglan fête was a time of celebration at Le Thé Vert.

 

Daglan fêteThe parade with our Maire in the middle of the picture, wonderful.

 

Sunday market at DaglanThe view from our balcony over looking the Sunday market.

 

Train A Vapeur De MartelI so loved this steam train ride, fabulous.

 

SunflowersPeople here have asked me what the weather was like in Blackpool during the Summer. These are a few words that I jotted down before we left England.

July in England. Billowing wind that has whipped up the many seagulls from the coast and has now drifted inland across the house tops and buildings of Blackpool. Then the sharp, stinging drizzle fell growing in strength until the grey clouds were turned into black sheets of unforgiving rain.

In contrast.

July in Daglan. Summer gasped upon the village like the mouth of a great oven. Even in the shade of the canopy in our courtyard it was too hot for me to sit outside for long periods. This was the time of flowers, butterfly’s and moths which would glide and dance around our growing vine. We took our walk down the lane beside the river Céou to see the horses, dragon flies and lizards much earlier in the day than during the Spring time. The cries of the cicadas seemed to become more insistent with each hot day until they hit a crescendo. This was the time for barbecues, for visiting friends old and new and to sit back and enjoy our first year.

WelcomeWelcome to the village party, it does not get any better than this.
 

Our first year in DaglanWe have completed a lot of decorating, DIY and renovation work this year, from the completely new bathroom, to the corridor floor, to painting the window frames, shutters, balcony, and veranda and much more too tedious to tell. Our next project is to focus on the rear of the property, however, a rest is in order as our son is arriving from the UK this afternoon. On second thoughts a rest might not be the right word, for I am sure a Cro-Magnon cave or two will be visited, canoeing on the Dordogne and we will visit our favourite medieval town of Sarlat.

A final word, if your dream is to move to France but you are feeling a little trepidation, a new country, different culture and way of life. Do not let apprehension stop you, go for it, you will never look back. The French love life and so will you, Bon Courage.

 

 

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Cleo, the new addition to our family

We have adopted a two month old kitten who has been renamed Cleo. Last night was her first night with us and to say that she was frightened is an understatement. Around about four o’clock this morning little Cleo started shouting for her mother and siblings, low key at first which grew and grew until I am sure her voice could have reached the outskirts of our village.
 

CleoIt took her a few hours more to start to relax and feed, drink and explore her new environment. This throw became her comfort blanket for a while.
 

CleoExploring the kitchen-”this looks interesting”. After an hour or so exploration, I was able to pick her up for a cuddle.
 

CleoEnough for now, zzzzzzzzzz. Relaxed enough to fall asleep next to me on the chair, gorgeous.

What a wonderful week!

Our friend of many years, (about thirty five); came for her first visit to the Perigord Noir last week and what a wonderful time we had, catching up on the latest news from England and visiting some of the attractions of the area. There is never enough time and we were sorry to see her go last Saturday, however we were already planning her next trip while we waited for her flight at Bergerac airport, which will include vineyards and horse riding, wonderful.

I just had to take her to see the home of Josephine Baker, Château des Milandes and its park. When we were last at Milandes last May with my sister, part of the park was being transformed, so I was particularly pleased that it was now open to the public and we could look around.

In the 1900’s Charles Claverie had the entire park laid out by Jules Vacherot who was the landscape architect in Chief of Paris at that time. Through Jules Vacherot guidelines the park was then set out into a large grid with lawns, terraces, balustrades and sculptures to create and enhance the park.

Since 2003, a succession of works have been completed such as boxwood hedges surrounding the terraces and flower garden at the front of the Château.

In the spring of this year work was started on the “Renaissance” of the Château and the park. The restoration of Jules Vacherot park now blends the Renaissance Period, with Art Nouveau and the Modernism periods together.

 

Château des Milandes dscn1811One fascinating thing that I had missed on previous visits to Milandes was the bell at the front of the Château. Unsure what it could be used for I imagined sitting in the garden and ringing the bell to summon tea or perhaps is was a fire bell?
 

Château des Milandes dscn1807How gorgeous is this? It certainly has the Wow factor.
 

Château des Milandes dscn1802Cascading water features and the infinity pool.
 

Château des Milandes dscn1803This fountain is to be found on the right of the new garden with excellent seating area to relax for a few moments shaded from the sun.
 

Château des Milandes dscn1799I just had to take another picture of the gargoyle
 

Château des Milandes dscn1791This is Monsieur Steene the Chief Falconer at Milandes with one of the protected birds of prey that he presents several times a day until the end of October. I love the moustache on this little bird.

The falconers look after about seventy birds of prey at Milandes and their shows are always a treat to see.
 

Château des MilandesThis is a new bird which has been added to the collection of birds of prey. We do not recognise the bird, if anyone can tell me please I would be very grateful. It hopped and ran alongside the falconer and only flew when it could not keep up.
 

Summer is ending!

As Summer slowly passes in the Perigord I am reminded that one of my favourite things about living here is experiencing the advancing of the seasons. Each season arrives over a few weeks with gradual alterations to the countryside that makes watching the newly progressing season a constant treat. As summer winds down it brings cooler air in the mornings and more and more of the forest transforms to a wonderful rust coloured brown. It is still quite warm in the late Summer sun with temperatures in the higher twenties or lower thirties, but not the “wow I am so hot”, feeling that Paul and I have experienced over the last month or so. Eating alfresco and long walks are certainly more pleasant through the months of September and October.

“But when fall comes, kicking summer out on its treacherous ass as it always does one day sometime after the midpoint of September, it stays awhile like an old friend that you have missed. It settles in the way an old friend will settle into your favourite chair and take out his pipe and light it and then fill the afternoon with stories of places he has been and things he has done since last he saw you.”
Stephen King, Salem’s Lot.

 

changing of the seasonFirst signs of Autumn, the falling leaves in the lane as we walk towards the old mill.
 

changing of the seasonThe old former mill in Daglan on a gorgeous late summer day.
 

changing of the seasonTaking a relaxing few minutes, watching the gentle steam of water go by. It is hard to believe that the water level in the Céou has reduced so significantly over the Summer months.
 

changing of the seasonThe Summer months have exposed the various islands in the Dordogne river at Castelnaud-la-Chapelle
 

changing of the seasonHeron hunting for fish it completely ignored Paul while he was taking this picture.
 

changing of the seasonThe chalk cliff face on our walk from Castelnaud-la-Chapelle to Milandes. Well to be honest that was my plan but I think on that particular day we walked half way then had to turn around and walk back. We need to get fitter.

September is the ideal month for visiting the Perigord, with much reduced tourist traffic and more comfortable temperatures. On that note we are having two lots of visitors to our home this month. The first is a friend whom I have known for at least thirty five years. It will be her first visit to the area and I am so looking forward to seeing her and showing her our gorgeous village of Daglan and the surrounding area. The second visit is from our son, so we have been making a list of things for him to see and experience, One or two of the many Cro-Magnon caves in the area are in order and canoeing on the Dordogne with Paul, while I sit on the bank, camera at the ready ;-)… or read my book.

“What good is the warmth of summer, without the cold of winter to give it sweetness.”
― John Steinbeck, Travels with Charley: In Search of America.

Alien garden at La Roque-Gageac

Part two of our trip to La Rogue-Gageac.

 

Last Sunday morning we paid a visit to the brocante at La Roque-Gageac. We have been to see the tropical gardens there many times but this time after we had parked the car I noticed a small lane at the back of the car park that we had not previously explored. So after looking around the Brocante we meandered our way up the small lane and through the tropical undergrowth.

This tropical style exotic garden is well worth a visit or two. The variety of plants is made possible because it is backed by the south facing cliff behind the village which stores heat all summer long and protects the plants in winter by slowly releasing the heat, giving the garden an all year round tropical microclimate. It was created by Gerard Dorin in 1970 and has grown and flourished ever since.

DSCN1767Tropical plants with their curious alien like seed pods.
DSCN1769Here is a close up of the pods, they reminded me of a scene from the film “Alien”, not a pleasant thought for me, far too much imagination!
Tropical garden at La Roque-GageacThis view was taken from the car park looking up towards the cliffs.
DSCN1768I wish that I knew what this plant was with its gorgeous red flowers, if anyone knows let me know please.


Events:- 10th Organ Academy Master Class which is run by Michel Bourard and Yasuko at 8.30 from the 7th to the 11th September at Cathédrale Saint Sacerdos, Sarlat.

Also, in Sarlat:- on the 17th September at 8 o’clock Sarlat will be lit by ten thousand candles to celebrate European Heritage Days. This year the theme is; Heritage and Citizenship. There is also an evening concert in the Cathedral.

It will be the 17th Castelnaud Canoe/Kayak Marathon on the 11th September, everybody is welcome to join in the fun.


The last Crusade and the curious iron!

Part one of our trip to La Rogue-Gageac.

 

The Brocante at La Rogue-Gageac was wonderful and it was so large that it extended from the road to the water front, in one direction and from the cafes through to the end of the car park on its South side. Brimming with everything from Dinky cars, antique and not so antique furniture, paintings to linen and lace.

I love looking at the most curious items while searching for the particular pieces that I would like for our home.
 

La Rogue-Gageac Brocante, antique fair, DSCN1764This selection remaindered me of the scene in the film The Last Crusade, when Harrison Ford had to pick which chalice to drink from.
 

La Rogue-Gageac Brocante, antique fair, DSCN1761This desk took Paul and I back to the late 1950’s when we were at school learning while sitting at desks which were similar to the one above. I was lucky though I had fountain pens rather than the ink wells in this desk. You could also buy the class photographs from the 1930’s, 1940’s, plus end of term school reports.
 

La Rogue-Gageac Brocante, antique fair, DSCN1765Believe it or not this stack of cushions are porcelain, they look so real. They were so interesting that I was tempted to ask the price but where would I put them?
 
La Rogue-Gageac Brocante, antique fairTemptation over with, I have always wanted a flat iron as a kind of homage to the women who had to use them, who I have great respect for. This particular one is fascinating due to the fact that it seemed to have belonged to the Gendarmerie which is cast into the iron along with the Gendarme emblem. After we had purchased the iron we were talking to another antique dealer who said that it was unusual and rare!

I do seem to find linen and lace from a long distance away, I know exactly where the various stalls are, (Paul calls it my linen magnet). One stall had displays of manufactured lace and hand made lace. Resistance was very futile, this particular hand made lace is from about the eighteen hundreds and absolutely gorgeous. There are two possibilities for the lace, either on a pillowcase or a white linen top – It is so special that I think it should be the top.
 

Event:- the last Brocante in our area will be held in St-Cyprien on the 24th and 25th September.