15 June 2009
My friends from South Africa, Cathy and Steve, were due to arrive today after spending two days watching the Le Mans 24 hour car race. They were travelling the scenic route from Le Mans and only arrived at 11h45, in time to relax with a drink before sampling my courgette and chard quiche for lunch. I might add that it was raining again on their arrival, but it did clear up ready for us to take a short walk around the hamlet later, ending up at Jean and Nicole’s for a drink. I cooked paella for dinner that went down very well and as we were all quite tired we had a fairly early night.
16 June 2009
We went into Angouleme in the morning and headed for the daily covered market on top of the hill. We bought oysters for Steve and me and mussels for Cathy, who is not an oyster fan. We strolled around Angouleme old town and returned home for French bread, cheese and a glass of wine for lunch. In the afternoon, we took a trip up to the Resistance Memorial and then we drove over to the lake at Cherves Chatelars. The Chasseneuil-sur-Bonnieure National Cemetery and Memorial (Nécropole nationale et mémorial de Chasseneuil-sur-Bonnieure) was erected shortly after WWII to the memory of soldiers killed in action and of the 1,465 martyrs of the Resistance.
On our return home Steve had a quick lesson from me on how to open oysters and after the first couple he was opening them like an expert. I cleaned the mussels and we all sat down to a magical sea food dinner served with salad from the garden.
Sadly Steve and Cathy had a plane to catch in Paris to go to the UK, so they were on the road by 05h30 to make sure they were there in time. It was such a short visit and it was great to see them again but I hope that they will come again in the not too distant future to stay for a longer time.
The weather today was beautiful so I managed to catch up on all the washing and spent quite a lot of time working in the garden
18 June/ 7 July 2009
On the 18th I went into Chasseneuil on my bike and then did a circuit of 22 kms home. As I cycled past Jean and Nicole I saw them in the garden and stopped to have a coffee. I later sprayed all the potato plants and tomatoes for blight; after getting blight on these crops last year, I am watching over them carefully this year.
On the 20th I cycled into the market in Chasseneuil; it was quite chilly and the wind was cool, so I just bought a couple of things and returned home. I cut the grass on my return and David came round with a petrol edge trimmer and cut around all the grass edges, under the hedge and around the trees. In the evening, I went down to look at the Chasseneuil night market, but there was not really a lot there, so I only bought a few saucisses. Vitrac had a fireworks display in the evening and although I had plenty of clothes on, it was still very cold. It started late and I was standing with several shivering neighbours. The display was really quite good and I eventually got home just on midnight.
The next few weeks were spent doing very much run of the mill work around the house and garden with the odd visitor dropping in from time to time. I did cycle a couple of times including one trip to see David at work which was a 40km (hilly) round trip.
On the 27th there was a charity fete in Chasseneuil in aid of a cancer charity and I had offered to work on the book stall. Luckily the weather was good and it was a pleasant day, with quite a number of customers. The people who ran the fete had previously put out a quiz which we paid €1 to enter. With quite a bit of help from friends I somehow managed to get all the answers but one correct and ended up as the winner. I only learnt afterwards that the winner has to set up next years quiz and provide a prize. Maybe I would not have tried so hard if I had known!!
I took many pictures of David’s ‘old’ house and set up a website for him to help him sell the property. The site received many hits and it was not long before a sale was concluded. We were both more than happy with the result. I have met the new owners, but as they only moved in just after I returned to the UK for winter, I have not really got to know them properly yet.
The garden was thriving and I had more than enough to eat and the freezer was filling up fast. In between gardening, the Tour de France had started on 4 July, so quite a bit of time was spent watching it on the TV. Nigel arrived on 7 July and we got back from the airport in time to watch a very exciting time trial.