Saturday 12 September 2009

An interesting day

Lovely start to the day viewing the deer in the bottom of the field. There seem to be two that come first thing. They may well come at other times but we can see them from our bed and they certainly go by about 8 am.

Later in the day we discovered from the paper that the chasse starts tomorrow and there will be about 140,000 hunters registered in Aquitaine out to slaughter anything they can find. This afternoon we have been to the local DIY shed to buy a CHASSE INTERDITE sign which the mayor had said was all that you needed to stop the hunters coming. Him Outdoors has now put it up so we have done the best we can. Look out Bambi................ and Arthur come to think of it.

We went to the market this morning which was lovely. At about 9.30 there were no tourists at all, just french people marketing and not many of them. We met American Carol and had a coffee in the sunshine and then went to the Tourist Office to collect a Blue Disc. You pay 1.50 € and you have a blue parking disc that you can use anywhere in France forever. None of this it only costs 5 pounds for a year that was Lymington and then next year it costs 8. The Blue Disc only gets you into about 4 places outside the bread shop but you never know when you might need one!

Then on to La Journee Forestiere which turned out to be a testosterone laden exhibition of huge machines for cutting up trees. Every version of turning some poor unsuspecting oak tree into logs for the fire. There were men up an oak tree cutting bits off and huge machines chewing up the branches and spitting them out; a slightly out of place hippy woman carving delicately on a plank; examples of sheds and pigeoniers being built out of the raw materials; stalls selling baskets and stuff. Nearly local men, very few tourists. By the time we left there was a huge table laid for lunch under the trees they hadn't cut down. I think we were glad we weren 't there in the afternoon when all the men controlling these huge machines were well oiled!

One of the stalls was a local man who writes local history books. Why here??? He was talking to a local man whose grandmother was spanish and from what I could gather this local man was writing about the history of the spanish in the south west of france and was interested that this other man had a map with the family home in spain on it but had never been. The spaniard thought he had cousins still there and there was someone in Toulouse with the same name.

He was then talking to us - or rather talking at me. He was one of those that I mostly understand and then lose and when asked to speak more slowly he just looks at you but speaks in exactly the same way. I did learn that he knew our house and was yet another person who had known the hollandaise who had lived here and died in a car accident quite close. Everyone knows them and seems to have liked them. Anyway I decided I needed a book (20€!) of his stories of the area at the time of the french resistance. The bit that I have so far deciphered is a series of short tales of his life up to his time in the resistance when he was in his late teens. Lovely pictures of him at about 8 looking exactly the same as he does now at nearer 80!

Time for supper.

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