We do our best to be good and after a recent PC crash I’m a little behind with my work. Having ripped out the hard-disks and installed them in an external drive box (“boitier pour disque dur”, if you ever have the same problem) I have regained access to my documents and can get on.
Then the sun came out and a friend rang up to suggest we spend the afternoon picking cherries with her. I got an hour in on the lap-top, Chantal cleaned up a room ready for weekend guests and we shot off with a large basket to help out. A few glasses of wine and three hours later we returned with several kilos of fruit which needed dealing with quickly. A trip to the supermarket provided a 20kg bag of sugar and a de-stoning machine and Chantal set about making jam. In the mean time we thought about preserving some cherries in alcohol but were not sure where to buy it. We enquired of a gardening friend who produced a bottle of Armagnac for us. We also dropped in on the chemist who sold us two litres of pure alcohol and seals for our bottling jars, so we were sorted.
This sort of thing happens all the time and is definitely what we signed up for when we moved to central France. A living does have to be earned however, so we welcome occasional dull and rainy weather to help us concentrate. Not that we had poor weather when we visited a client in the Dordogne recently. This is not a region where we would choose to live but an awful lot of Brits do and it is extremely pretty. Our client was interested in discussing how to deal with her soil and wanted assistance with the design and planting of her garden. They are renovating an old stone farmhouse with great care and style, learning many new skills along the way.
The growing conditions down there are very different to our own but as this work in progress shows, plants grow pretty well if selected carefully and nurtured through the first summer. The land also supports a wide range of wild flowers, including orchids that we do not see in the Centre.
On the same trip we had to go to Bordeaux and dropped in on the Parc Bordelais to walk the dog and admire the trees. This 28 hectare “Victorian” town park is undergoing a series of renovations and is highly popular with the locals. Our dog was not impressed by being kept on a lead when she wanted to play with the ducks so we soon left and visited the countryside in the wine-growing region of Cote de Bourg and Blaye, somehow finding ourselves in the local co-op where we tasted and stocked up on the red wine.