Tuesday, 19 September 2017

Chestnuts Roasting on an Open Fire

I’m sure Sarah and Kat didn’t think they would be roasting chestnuts on an open fire when they came out for their ‘summer’ holiday but that’s exactly what we did last night.  They came home from walking Ricky through the chestnut woods with their pockets bulging with chestnuts.  They were delicious.  I couldn’t resist bursting into song until Kat muttered something about Nightmare Before Christmas.

This morning we have woken to a countryside bathed in fog.  I took Rick out early and it was quite spooky walking through the dripping woods.  The weather is not doing a good job of convincing Sarah to move back to Europe.

We are off to explore more castles this afternoon. Rick is coming with us.

Sunday, 17 September 2017


Today is wet and cold.  I am cooking red pepper and tomato soup for lunch, Sarah and Rick are curled up in front of the log fire while Kat has been press ganged into helping her dad cut logs outside.   

Our logs are delivered in metre lengths and have to be cut in half so that we can feed them into the log burner.  The chain saw always makes me very nervous so I shall be relieved when they’ve finished.  Kat seems to be making light work of lifting the metre logs and putting them in position for Paul to cut; no doubt she will demand extra wine rations for her work.

fixing the chain saw

Saturday, 16 September 2017

Maison Forte de Reignac

Maison Forte de Reignac
"Rick can come with us."
"No he can’t."
"Yes, he can, it says dogs are allowed."

So Rick came with us to visit the Maison de Reignac, a fortified chateau set into the cliff face overlooking the Vezere valley.  Dating back to the 14th century the dwelling has only recently been opened to the public. The rooms are presented with their period furnishings and as you enter it’s like going back in time.  It’s slightly sinister with all the shadows and stuffed animals and I gave the exhibition of torture instruments a miss.  Rick got completely spooked by the animated suit of armour.
Sarah in the kitchen

Kat in the dining room

One of the smallest rooms is called the Billy Goat room after 'The Billy Goat of Reignac’. This lord of the chateau exercised his right of 'jus primae noctis' (right of the first night) over the women and girls of the region with a particular brutality. Men had to present their wives to the lord of the chateau on their wedding night for him to amuse himself as he wished!

Rick rescuing Paul from the dungeon
It’s an impressive place to visit but the best part for me were the views from the caves above the roof of the house overlooking the valley.

Friday, 15 September 2017

Dinner at the Chateau

Sarah outside l'hotel Edward 1er

Dinner last night at the Restaurant Eléonore was a delight.  The setting was elegant and quintessential French chateau, the clientele in the restaurant was mainly Dutch and British.  Arjan and Marije, the Dutch owners, gave us a warm welcome. It was all very posh and we were on our best behaviour.  I will let the photos do the talking.
Sarah's vegan menu

Darling your flies are undone...

Thursday, 14 September 2017

Retail Therapy

did you buy me anything?

There’s only one thing to do when it’s pouring with rain outside – go shopping!  The girls were very eager to partake in a little retail therapy, especially using Daddy’s credit card.  We are dining out tonight at the little chateau in Monpazier and Kat declared she didn’t have a thing to wear.

We visited the Prêt-à-Porter boutique in Montayral and Sarah quickly found a mini skirt and two skinny rib tops. She is very petite and most clothes look good on her.  Kat was  not so lucky, she is tall, athletic with a tiny waist and it is hard to find clothes that fit her well.  The shops close at midday in France so we were under pressure now to find Kat an outfit.  The second boutique looked like a non-starter and then she tried on the jumpsuit.  It looked fab.

“But I haven’t got any shoes to go with it...”

Half an hour before midday closing we hit the shoe shop.  Paul was laden with boxes when we returned to the car. 

Tuesday, 12 September 2017

Chasing White Vans

tomato soup for lunch
We were having lunch today when Rick started barking and alerted us to presence of a white van driving past the house.  We were expecting a courier to deliver Sarah’s suitcase today so Paul ran outside and chased the van up the road.  He managed to catch up with the courier in the middle of Monsieur Escalier’s farmyard and eventually re-appeared trundling Gandalf the Grey across the field.  At least Sarah can ditch the big white pants now.

Paul trundling Gandalf back home

It is wonderful having both my daughters here and when they are sitting on the sofa giggling and laughing, watching rubbish television, it’s like the clocks have been turned back about fifteen years.  Sarah is putting on a brave face but the veneer is very fragile and I can see that she is struggling.  Hopefully the time she spends here will give her the strength to re-build her life; we can give her plenty of love, laughter and wine while she is here.

Rick and my girls