I Made It To Castelnaud!

It was the first time that I had been out in our car for a drive since my operation so I was a little nervous, but I made it to Castlenaud with only a little back pain. In agony on our return journey but more on that later. So to celebrate we had a delicious picnic lunch on the banks of the River Dordogne and then settled down to relax for a while and people watch.

There was lot of action on the river.
 

It was a hot day but not too hot so ideal for canoeing.
 

The traditional gabarres are so relaxing for a journey down the river.
 


All too soon it was time for the journey back home. At first I felt alright then pain hit my back in a major way. So much so that I had to lay on my bed for the rest of the day. My first thought on returning home was my goodness what do I do on Friday when we drive for about one and a half to see my consultant.

Friday came, armed with a soft pillow, water, pain killers and cream we set off on our daunting journey. We had not gone very far, well nearly to Cenac when the extreme pain hit my back. Needless to say that it was not a pleasant journey and I was so pleased to reach the hospital. Good news, my consultant is pleased with my progress. The not so good news is that I have to continue his consultations for about a year. Back to the good news, I can come off my diet and I am now able to eat what I like… within reason. Chocolate, I bought my first bar today, I will only have a couple of pieces, I promise, just to see if my tummy will tolerate chocolate. I do hope so.
 
 

Events:-
Daglan, 28th July. Fête de la Gastronomie.
Sarlat 20th July to the 5th August, Theatre Festival.
 
 

Why the Perigord Noir?

This question has been asked by friends, family, tourists and house hunters. The appeal to us, is that this part of the Perigord offers the most stunning landscapes as the Dordogne River cuts through the unspoiled countryside. The landscape changes at every bend in the road and there are amazing sights as you drive past the villages clinging to the rock face.

La Roque-Gageac.
 

There are four distinctive seasons from short Winters where temperatures can reach below freezing (-7 this morning) to blooming Spring and gorgeous hot Summers. Which are reflected in the seasonal produce sold in the many markets of the area.

The cuisine is rich in its diversity from duck, mushrooms, truffles, cheeses, wine, fruit and vegetables. To match this there are the amazing food festivals. this month we see the truffle market in Daglan and the Truffle Festival in Sarlat. Summertime brings the night markets where you can enjoy fresh cooked local food in pleasant surroundings.

Historical features include the many Château’s featuring pigeonniers and of course the many wonderful Beaux villages of the area.

A taster for the first time visitor to this area are Milandes, Castlenaud, Beynac, La Roque-Gageac, Domme, Daglan and Sarlat.

Medieval weekend last Summer held at Château de Castelnaud.
 

Included sword fighting demonstrations.
 

La Mairie de Daglan, Such a beautiful building.
 

Le Tour de Daglan takes a short rest in the village square.
 

Most of all it is always the people that make a place worth visiting time and again, and Daglan is no exception to this rule. You will never meet more friendly and welcoming people who are always willing to help and to make your life here a little bit better by their presence.

The weekly Craft Session.
 
 

‘Tis the Season to be Jolly

Over recent weeks Sarlat has been transformed from a beautiful medieval town to a wonderful Christmas village. The highlight being Sarlat Christmas Market (this year with a Spanish theme) and outdoor skating rink. Open until the end of December, with up to forty wooden chalets selling traditional arts and crafts, mulled wine, cakes, hot roasted chestnuts and caviar! But I saw no tapas on our morning visit!

Snow flakes flutter down in this tableau scene at the entrance to the Christmas Market.
 

I particular like the traditional Christmas tree ornaments for sale in quite a few of the chalets. Glass baubles, wooden hearts, and lots of red bows that are very popular in this area of France.

Incidentally, many French Christmas traditions originate from Alsace and it was in the town of Selestat that Christmas trees first appeared in the 11th Century. People used to decorate their trees with real fruit but one year the harvest was poor and a local glass blower from Goetzenbruck in Moselle tried to replicate the fruit by creating glass balls to hang on the branches. However, I have heard of a few more places that have been named for the origination of glass ornaments! Wherever they came from, they are gorgeous.

Facade of a Spanish Finca welcomes visitors to the market.
 

I do love this little donkey standing outside the chalet of the Donkey Sanctuary where you can buy gorgeous soap, aprons, tea towels etc. The profit goes to the upkeep of the Sanctuary.
 

New to the Christmas Market is a chalet selling Neuvic Caviar.
 

Spanish Flamenco dancers or matadors decorate many of the chalets.
 

Prints of Salvador Dali paintings hang from the trees. This painting is a particular favourite of mine.
 

Paul admiring the traditional wooden Christmas tree decorations in this chalet.
 
 

Event:-Daglan Truffle Market every Sunday from 11am until February.

26th to 30th December Merlin at Château de Castelnaud-la-Chapelle. This is a narrative show for young children in sound, shadows and light. Shows are at 11 o’clock, 2.30 and 3.30.

Sarlat Truffle Festival 19th and 20th January.
 
 

Club de I’Amite Meal At Le Tourepique.

Yesterday was the Generations Movement, Club de I’Amite Daglanaise Autumn Meal. Where we all come together to enjoy each others convivial company while appreciating delicious food which is of course accompanied by a few glasses of wine.

At Le Tournepique restaurant in Castelnaud-la-Chapelle you can enjoy excellent Perigordian or Basque food. Or a taste of both. They have set menus or a selection of à la carte foods of a wide variety to tempt everyone’s palate. The Restaurant is situated on the bridge at Castlenaud overlooking the Dordogne River, below the Medieval Château.

We have eaten at Le Tournepique often and can highly recommend it for the excellent food and service. Not forgetting the terrific views of the River Dordogne. They also cater for Vegetarian or Gluten Free eaters.

Menu
For the Meat Eaters.
Kir
Soup Maison (pumpkin and chestnut soup deliciously spiced)
Terrine De Foie Gras
Roti De Veau sauce cepes with Pommes Sautees
Coupe De Glaces Aux Pommes (et Alcool De Pommes) – very delicious.
Cafe
Vins – Rouge ou Rose

For Vegetarian
Kir
Soup – same as above
Courgette salad with a gorgeous vinaigrette and walnuts dressing.
Fish cooked in a cream and white wine sauce encased in a delicious herb omelette.
Dessert – same as above
Cafe.
Vins – Rouge ou Rose.

Paul, enjoying the conversation while waiting for his soup course.
 

Looking good but where is George Clooney!
 

Bon Appétit Ladies.
 

Our Maire in deep conversation. I love the gentleman on the left facial expression and the witches hat in the background of the picture.
 

Wonderful seeing you looking so well Roy.
 

“Yours will be on the table in one minute”. Eyes down and enjoy.
 

Enjoying the alcoholic dessert. I must say thank you so much to our friend sitting beside me for being so patient in trying to teaching Paul and I to speak French over the Spring and Summer months.
 
 

Events:-
Halloween 31st October
All Saints Day 1st November
 
 

The Dark Knight from the Tower of London.

We had a brilliant afternoon last Saturday at Château de Castelnaud where a Medieval Heritage Weekend was being hosted.

There were artisans who make swords and armour, demonstrations of various techniques and moves in sword fighting and the why and when you would perform the moves in medieval combat. With the highlight being James Hester and Stephen Pasker Shellenbean giving their extremely interesting talks and demonstrations of sword fighting from the 13th and 14th Century.

James and Stephen are historical experts in Medieval combat. James was curator of Tower Collections at the Tower of London no less. Both of the men gave talks and demonstrations in English and it was translated into French.

James Hester the Dark knight.
 

Waiting to start the tournament.
 

Stephen and James demonstrating how to win against a larger and stronger opponent.
 

James stated that the swords were extremely light and that every part of the sword could be used in hand to hand combat. Unlike those epic tournaments depicted in movies a typical fight would only last three or four strokes of the blade. While Stephan talked about the education of the Medieval Knight which consisted of geography, sciences, Latin, mathematics and music. For example, mathematics for judging how near the opponent is to you, their arm span, height and weight. Music for timing and movement, so that you strike at the key moment and move quickly out of the way. But first a knight was taught wresting from a young age, which helped to build muscle and agility so that they could use the skills in the practice of sword combat.

The tournament begins with a challenge from Kevin. The score was calculated by how many strokes made contact with the opponent.
 

A presentation of civil fencing in the 12th to 14th centuries by Olivier Gourdon and Franck Cinato.
 

An artisan describing his work producing amazing custom made armour. You could have a complete set made and be armoured head to toe in only two months for a suit of plain armour, somewhat longer if a pattern was introduced.
 

Amazing work.
 

I have always pictured myself as the next Arogorn or Legolas from the Lord of the Rings. Well a girl can dream. This sword was perfect, so light allowing me to give a good swing, it was excellently balanced.
 
 

Event:- Daglan this Saturday evening at 7 o’clock – Soiree Cabaret with Paris-Londres at the Salle Des Fêtes. With an aperitif and nibbles. Ten euro per adult and three euro for children.