A Praying Mantis settled on my arm!

This was a first for me, a beautiful praying mantis settled on my arm a few days ago when I was catching the last rays of summer sun in our courtyard. Startled, I think that the mantis and I just froze, then it turned its head towards me with its extremely large eyes. Of course I shouted for Paul to get the camera. Which must have unnerved it a little because it moved off my arm and onto the chair leg.

They are so much bigger than I anticipated them to be.

You can see the size of the mantis compared with the phone on the floor.

All mantis have enlarged forelegs which are adapted for catching and gripping their pray, their upright posture, while remaining stationary with folded forearms, has given them the name of “Praying Mantis”.

In the picture above you can see that our visitor tried with some success to camouflage itself.

Not so lucky on a white wall but such a gorgeous colour.

Mantis were considered at one time to have supernatural powers by the Ancient Greeks and Ancient Egyptians. They are among the insects most commonly kept as pets.

 

Events:-

15th October Saint-Vincent-De-Cosse Pink’Athlon for Cancer research.

14th to the 18th November Sarlat Film Festival.

 

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Up, Up and away…

…in my beautiful balloon.

Joseph-Michel Montgolfier was born in 1740 and Jacques-Étienne Montgolfier was born in 1745, they were paper manufacturers from Annonay in the Ardèche region of France. Both were inventors in their own right but are mostly remembered for their joint collaborations in inventing piloted hot air balloons. They launched the first ascent in 1783 which covered 2km and lasted ten minutes at a maximum altitude of about 2,000m. Success followed success and the Montgolfier hot air balloons were, and still are, a prominent feature in the “skyscape” of France, especially in the Perigord Noir.

 
Down, down over the forest at Castlenaud.

 
Slowly the balloon descended towards the house!

 
Apparently just missing the roof.

 
A companion landing in the field in front of the house and close to the road.

 
These pictures were taken a few weeks ago on our way to Sarlat early one morning. “Champagne breakfast over the forest anyone”?

 
They floated right over our heads and you could see the people inside the baskets. What a superb view they must have, not of us but of the Château’s, the Dordogne River and the surrounding forests and countryside, sight seeing at its best.

 
 
Event – Brocante at La Rock de la Gageac, 3rd September

 
 

Le Derrière

The renovation of the utility room at the rear of our home in Daglan is now complet, it took a while but I am so happy with the result.

As you can see from the picture below the utility room was made of steel and fibreglass, a horrible sight which sunlight light was unable to enter even in the height of Summer, leaving the utility room dark and dismal.

This eyesore just had to go.

First came the new roof, also fibreglass and steel that needed replacing. Paul laid down wood and fitted shingles which were a surplus from a friends renovation work. Thank you Angus they work a treat, as the last couple of nights have proven, completely waterproof. In the above picture Paul was working in the extreme 40+ degrees centigrade heat of a hot Summers day so a little shade was needed (top right).

Then it was guttering and down pipe, seen here with the new wood cladding.

Starting to replace the fibreglass panels and voila, we have light.

What a difference it makes to be able to see in and out.

Almost finished, Paul also panelled the inside of the utility room.

Looking great, Our cat Cleo loves to sit on top of the tumble drier and watch the birds in the courtyard.

 

On Hot Summer Nights

During the months of July and August the villages in the area host their “Marches Nocturnes”, which are a brilliant way of experiencing the local produce and culture of the region. What could be better on hot Summer nights than food, wine, music, dance and most of all excellent company.

During the evening markets tables are set up around a central square or along the main road of the villages and vendors sell everything you need for a good meal, including the excellent wine of the region. There is usually live music or a DJ and dancing well into the evening. Which is what we did in St Cyprien and St Pompon.

Saint Cyprien

Not even a rain shower stopped the revelry in St Cyprien.
 

Sherry and Angus ready for their dinner
 

Brilliant musicians topped the evening.
 

Saint Pompon

Such a delicious choice of food.
 

Wow, we had to try a selection of the scrumptious desserts above.
 

This gentleman danced around the bottles, sang, played an instrument of four harmonica’s, plus castanets.
 

You meet such a lot of interesting people. The couple at the end of our table were on holiday from the North of France. We were telling them about the places of interest in the area, including Daglan of course.
 

Angus and I had to get up and dance YMCA, great fun.
 

Boogie Night for Sherry and I. We had such a good time that we are all going to St Pompon again this Saturday… see you there.

You need to arrive early for a good seat and remember to take your own cutlery.
 
 

Events :-

It is that time of year again, four nights of no sleep but boy do we have fun.


 
 

Helping Hands.

My roving reporter Paul was on hand to capture the “helping hands” a few days ago. Imagine the scene if you will, a large lorry arrives in the square, loaded with stock for the Supermarket in the village. When voices were heard, “oh no we can not unload”, but in French off course.

What do you do?

Send out a distress call to the local builders yard of course.

Freytet, building material supplier.

Were soon on hand with a forklift truck.

I am always amazed at how helpful people are in our village. The stock unloaded and in the store is ready for another week of the tourist season.

Remember that for the summer season the 8 à Huit supermarket is open every day including lunch hour, except on Sunday when closes for lunch then opens again in the afternoon. They sell an excellent range of products from fresh, chilled, frozen and tinned foods, to wine, beer, milk etc.
 

Shared Garden Project

Shared gardens was developed by the children in the village Primary School has part of the common land development scheme, which was organised by our Marie this year in the residence of the convent.

All completely pesticide free and organic, grown to perfection.
 

Event :-

Promenade en Gastronomie this Sunday in Daglan.
Delicious food and wine to savour and enjoy. Will be served at the various stalls around the village this Sunday. Not to be missed is a truffle dog demonstration that will take place in La Place de la Liberty.

Have you seen the fairies dance upon a Summers night?

Marqueyssac by candlelight is amazing. Illuminated by over two thousand candles the gardens at Marqueyssac are a site to see. We arrived just before dusk and took refreshments at a table with a breath-taking view across the Dordogne valley where we could see Castelnaud, Fayrac and Beynac Château’s.

As dusk slowly arrived we walked through the candle lit gardens towards the increasing sound of music and children’s laughter. I would highly recommend anyone to visit the gardens at night, every Thursday evening in July and August from seven to midnight.

Fairies on stilts, “Les Marraines Fees” by the Lilous Company.

The faces of the children as they where sprinkled with fairy dust was brilliant. The costumes and the make up are outstanding.

A magical moment that the children will never forget.
 

Various niches, fountains and rocks around the garden are illuminated.
This particular fountain changed from yellow to purple to red and back again.
 

Jazz and blues on the Esplanade by Karima and Oliver. They are brilliant.
 

Classical music in a circle of light by DJamano.
 

I am unsure what dance Judith and I were performing in the above picture but we all had a terrific time. My friend Michelle was taking a selfy as light scattered around us.
 

At last we saw ‘Kan’ the L’allosaure which is new to the gardens this year.

 
 
Events:-
The Tour de France goes through Perigord on Tuesday, wow. 178Km from Périgueux, through Sarlat and on to Bergerac. Tour De France Stage 10

Daglan events;-

 

 
 

Out and About

Beynac is now open!

The main D703 road through Beynac has been closed to traffic for a few months while major construction work took place. I am so glad to say that it is now open with a new road and pedestrian walkway. Beynac is now ready for the Tour de France to pass through next month.

On our way to St Cyprian market this morning we bypassed Beynac on the other side of the river Dordogne.
 

Returning home we noticed the deviation signs were missing so decided to try the Beynac route.
 

Before our trip to the market we stopped for a breakfast picnic. There is nothing to beat fresh pastries from Maison Carré at Castelnaud-la-Chapelle enjoyed by the banks of the river Dordogne on a glorious sunny morning.

Still waters mirrored in the Dordogne river.
 

The water is so clean that you can watch the trout swim by.
 

And enjoy the terrific views. With canoes ready for the first customers.
 

I could not resist taking this picture of the two foals and their mothers sheltering from the sun.
 
 

Events:-
– Bouzic night market is on Tuesday evenings in July and August
– St-Cyprian night market, throughout July and August on a Thursday evening,
– July and August for Saint Pompon night market on a Saturday evening.

Night markets are a great evening out where you buy hot or cold food and drinks from a variety of stall holders, sit at a handy table to enjoy the entertainment and later dance to your hearts content to live musicians or a DJ.