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

 
 

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The Best parts of a Picnic are:-

1 – The temperature had dropped to about 22C this morning so an ideal time for a picnic on the banks of the river at Castelnaud-la-Chapelle.

2 Just to take time out and enjoy the views. One of which is the old transport barges called ‘Gabares’, which now transport sight seeing tourists up and down the river Dordogne.

The one above runs from La Roque Gageac to just before Castelnaud. If you recall the movie “Chocolate” with Juliette Binoche and Johnny Depp, you will remember the barges.
 

3 Picnic itself consisted of a poached salmon pizza and gorgeous petit gateau we bought from Maison Carré

Once again I must diet for another month!
 

4 The friendlessness of the wildlife. He came to stand right next to me. You can just see the end of our picnic table at the bottom of the picture.
 

5 A relaxing canoe ride on the river. Paul was trying his best to convince me that we should hire a canoe, I am still thinking about it.
 

6 The best is the last. To come home to be greeted by a surprise, M. Guichard, the baker from the Boulangerie next door who has cleaned the pavement and the road in front of his shop and our house while we were absent. A very big thank you.
 
 

Event :- Daglan Brocante this Saturday (3rd) and Sunday (4th).
 
 

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.
 


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.

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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.

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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…

 

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

 

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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?

 

Artist at work in and around Daglan

Imagine our surprise when we popped out to the supermarket next to our home and found an artist at work creating La Place de La Liberty (village square) in water colour. The painting was wonderful the colours depicted exactly the golden colour of the stones when the sun shines upon them. This particular artist resides in Beynac, he travels around the various villages of the Perigord painting village squares, buildings and people.

 

DSCN1561 Artist at work at the corner of our home.

 

DSCN1553This is definitely a scene that I would love to paint.

 

Artist at workAnother artist capturing the still waters of the Dordogne river.

 

 

DSCN1558O.K I could not paint this scene so a photograph will have to do! A field of gorgeous sun flowers with their heads turned towards the sun near Castlenaud.

 

DSCN1567We had two sketches of our home commissioned by a local artist called Ray. One was a present for our son’s Birthday and the other is above. Brilliant work, I will be buying a few more sketches from him, a sketch of a Château or Monpazier would be great.


Events:-Daglan 31st July Garage Sale and Promenade en Gastronomie with demonstrations of dog truffiers. Which is great fun, a few years ago we watched the dog truffle finder who was more interested in the nearby sausage seller than the truffles!

La Roque-Gageac

La Roque-Gageac is listed among the most beautiful villages in France, Its southern exposure and the mass of rock provides it with a microclimate that sustains a wonderful Mediterranean garden. The car park by the river is five times the size of the small village, which says much for the popularity of village among tourists; it is well worth a visit.

 

Shops and café’s Just a few of the many shops and café’s situated at the bottom of the cliff face.

 

Dordogne River The morning started overcast but the Dordogne River is still magnificent.

 

Market dayMarket Day is every Friday morning; I was heading for the wine stall.

 

Some of the nice wines Some of the nice wines on sale were grown and pressed in Monbazillac which is just South of Bergerac, the chateau and vineyards are also worth a visit.
http://chateau-monbazillac.com/en/

 

Sloping roofs The sun came out so Paul and I climbed the cliff path, through the tropical gardens and up to the top where you get an excellent view all the way to Castlenaud. The sloping roofs of the ancient village are typical of the Perigord Noir.