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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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.