I speak very good English!

While I was watching our cats playing in the lane at the side of our property I overheard a group of tourists chatting outside the supermarket which is situated at the side of our home. Pointing at a temporary sign one lady asked the group “Do you know what it says”.
“No idea”, said the other people in the group.
So I turned around and explained that the Boulangerie is closed for annual holiday, but that they could buy fresh bread in the supermarket, and it is delicious.
The response was “Wow, you do speak very good English” !


You can just see the sign propped up against the wall on the right of this picture. The Supermarket is the building on the right.
 

As with many French village houses we don’t have much in the way of garden so we need to make the most of what we have.

This red rose bush is in glorious bloom at the moment, unfortunately we had a thunder storm here last night which explains the droopy flowers which took the full force the heavy rain.
 

Our living wall is nearly in full bloom.
 

A red theme continues on our veranda.
 

With a jasmine plant in the corner, the aroma fills the veranda with its gorgeous perfume.
 

Cleo found a cool and shady corner yesterday in temperatures of over 30C.
 

 

Event:-

Art competition in and around Daglan this Sunday, May 21st from 8am. Open to all artists, children and adult, choose your site in the village, by the river or in the surrounding countryside , create your masterpiece and submit it for judgement…

Bonne chance

Information from :-
Mairie de Daglan, 05 53 28 41 16.
Tourist office 05 53 29 88 84.
Couleurs d’Aquitaine 06 50 85 36 14

 

 

The Green Finger of Knowledge.

Last Sunday morning we needed to replace a few of our plants because our kitten Cleo had sat on them a few days earlier. Being squashed to pieces did not do them any good at all. Usually we get our plants from Sandrine at Daglan Sunday market but she was not there.

Sandrine is truly a marvel with information on plants, tell her what type of plant you are looking for and she will advise on colour, flowering period and instructions on where and how to plant them. If you plant them in an unsuitable place she will wag her finger at you advising you to move the plant.

This she did a few weeks ago when we bought plants from her. She ran across the main road pointed to the plant we had just bought and said ‘non’ and them spread her arms on the wall to show that it should be planted against a wall with a trellis. Yes, we moved the plant! Well she is the expert and we are only the learners of what will grow and where in our village so any help is always appreciated.

Back to the story, Sandrine was not at Daglan market but we’d seen posters that Cénac et Saint Julien was holding a flower festival so off we went. We found the main road in Cénac was closed to traffic to be used for their Flower Festival.

I am on the right buying basil from one of the many stalls.
 

I was so tempted by these gorgeous roses, the colours, the aroma, wow, but space being at a premium, practicality won.
 

We did buy flowers to replace the squashed ones from the stall above.
 

We found Sandrine with her magnificent display.
Just a few of the large selection on offer from the expert gardener.
 

I think that we need more help from her in order to achieve the above.
 
 

Event:- France Election this Sunday for the second and final round of votes for the two remaining candidates. Keeping fingers crossed all day!
 
 

One of our dinosaurs is missing!

One of our dinosaurs is missing is what I was thinking when Paul and I went to Marqueyssac Gardens last week for their Grand 20th Anniversary open day. As garden ornaments go, having your own dinosaur is very OTT. Could we find a dinosaur… no… and we looked everywhere. I thought that it would be lurking behind one of the many high bushes in the garden, like the dinosaur that I remember in the Natural History Museum in London. I turned a corner in the museum to be face to face with a dinosaur. Lets just say that I was making more noise than the dinosaur exhibit.
 

The gardens are magnificentI must say that the gardens are magnificent, the views of the Dordogne valley are wonderful and well worth a visit or two.
 

rosemary in lavender.Above is a favourite on our walk through the gardens, the curling rosemary hedge in a bed of lavender.
 

Tree HouseThis is just one of the hands on displays that are new to Marqueyssac this year, the double tree house.
 

Play TimeAlong the “Esplanade” were new musical animations designed and constructed by Alfred de la Neuche for children of all ages to play with, (including myself).
 

Tree ClimbingWe were informed that we could have a go at shimmying up the ropes to the top of the tallest tree for a breath taking view over the valley, and even after reassurances that it was easy we said ‘no thank you, we will watch you’.
 

flowers and perfumeThis bicycle train looked like old style bird cages, they were full of flowers and perfume.
 

in the ChâteauI love this room in the Château from the wallpaper to the furniture gorgeous.
 

 peacockStill looking for “dino” we spotted this peacock, what magnificent plumage.

After looking everywhere Paul and I decided to ask in the gift shop. It turns out that we were too early for the unavailing of the dinosaur which would take place in the late afternoon.

An Allosaurus named KanThe above was as close as we came. No problem, we shall have another visit in a few months time to see a 7.5 metre long and 2.5 metres high, 150 million years old Allosaurus named Kan.
 

Other events at Marqueyssac will be the Great Easter Egg Hunt on Easter Sunday and Monday, where eggs will be hidden around the gardens.

Curious about Nature? Arts and Crafts workshops, creating animal masks, mobiles and dolls. During Easter and All Saints Day, plus every weekend during the school holidays in the months of May and June.
 
 

Daglan Spring Festival – Part two.

The variety of plants on display at the Daglan Spring Festival was amazing. Just one problem, I have a terrible memory for plant names, I just could not remember the names of any of the plants that I wanted for our balcony and courtyard. Luckily for me I have an expert on hand to help me out of this predicament. Sherry, an absolute marvel, from my description of the plants that I wanted she was able to tell me what I was looking for. Brilliant and thank you so much.

Taken from our balcony as the stalls were setting up, from pansies to fruit trees and plenty in between.
 

This is a local wine grower serving one of the older residents of the village. I can recommend his wine especially the rosé. In the lower left of the picture you will see a tray of ‘make your own wine kits’, various young grape vines.
 

Gorgeous variety and colour,
 

This flower seller has a stall on Daglan market every Sunday morning, she always has a wonderful variety of plants for sale.
 

I asked Paul to take a picture of an array of exotic bushes then I spotted an outstanding red rose and went in to investigate so spoiled the shot a little!
 

Children’s works of art around a bush in the Presbytère garden.
 

It does not matter what event is taking place in the village all the community works together. These lovely flowers were made by the children from the school in Daglan
 

Paul and I bought tickets for the tombola and what a surprise, we won a prize, a gorgeous apple tree. Which was presented to Paul by our Maire Pascal Dussol, who informed Paul that the tree will produce wonderful Daglan apples.
Paul brought the tree into the kitchen for me to look at, Cleo loved it so much that she gave it a large cat hug!
 

Only yesterday morning Paul and I where wondering where we could place the fat balls for the birds, problem solved, the branches of our prize are perfect… brilliant.
 

Event:- Happy Birthday Judith and a very happy ongoing 25th Wedding Anniversary to you and Paul.
 

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.
 

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 Purple Pansy Eater of Daglan!

After filling our tiny border with pansies last Spring a curious thing happened over night, something had selected pansies to eat and not just any pansies but only purple flowering pansies! Whatever it was left the yellow, orange and the white pansies alone. Thank goodness my sister was visiting, she remembered an old Yorkshire trick of putting a glass in the soil which was part filled with beer, the slugs love beer and would fall into it quite happily. No more problems we thought… incorrectly, during the Summer months another curious thing happened, again it seemed at night when another selective insect or slug had arrived which eats every leaf in sight except our jasmine plant!

Purple Pansy

An example of one of our tomato plants which resembles worn lace curtaining after a cat had played with it for a while – large and small holes on every leaf. After a few weeks the beast strips the leaves and in a few cases it kills the plant. We tried several home made remedies and some shop bought repellent which the insect or slug seemed to love because they returned for more. Then friends of ours were talking to an artist, who was exhibiting his paintings in Daglan, about garden problems and he told them that this problem was new to the area and had happened in his garden in Beynac. He went on to tell them what the problem could be and how it could be treated.

DSCN1656

The culprit that the artist described was this particular moth, it’s the larvae that does the damage. So armed with this local knowledge we can now make up a spray for the moth larvae and a backup of slug pellets which are both animal and environmental friendly. So far so good no more problems we hope!

If you have this problem the moth treatment is called Pyrale du Buis and the slug pellets are called Anti-Limaces Ferramol which you can buy from a DIY store or Garden Centre.

DSCN1664

Now for the wow factor in our garden, two bunches of grapes ripening in the sun. I know not many and we will never be in competition with the local vineyards in our area but it is our first ever grape vine, so our first babies. The vine was bought as a twig which blossomed, the instructions said not to let it set fruit for the first year, but…

 

DSCN1739

Now they are nearly ready to eat, Paul and I just tasted a couple of grapes – wow

 

DSCN1738

A couple of new additions to our meagre garden, we have a well which we were not using until a few weeks ago. Now we have a water pump that has helped tremendously in the hot weather to water our plants which seem to thrive on the fresh spring water.  We also have a water feature that looks great and our cat, the birds and bees use it to drink from.

Event:- Brocante 4th September at La Roque-Gageac.

News:- Johnny Depp has relisted his French estate for sale at wait for it … €50 million, which is double its original asking price. The former village near St-Tropez was marketed by Sotherby’s International in June 2015 but was removed from the market after a few months. It centres around a village square and includes a church which was converted into a guest house, his former five bedroom home has a pirate themed wine cellar, two pools and a art studio… any takers?