31 July 2017

Encounters of the Owl Kind

Rick was very restless on Saturday evening.  He was pacing to and fro to the kitchen door so we thought perhaps he needed to go outside.  Paul got up to let him out and then called me over.  “You’d better come and see this.”

Rick’s reason for pacing was a newly fledged owl sitting on the doorstep.  He seemed totally unfazed by two humans and a dog staring at him through the glass.  Rick didn’t bark or whine, he just cocked his head from side to side.  The owl swivelled its head and looked a bit spaced out, he had probably just been kicked out of his nest in our tower and was waiting for some food from the adult owls.  We tiptoed away and left him in peace.  He was gone by the time I went to bed, just a load of owl poop for me to clear up.

Last night, at dusk, I checked to see if he was back and sure enough there he was sitting on the bench.  He looked very vulnerable but there was no sign of him this morning.

Paul went into the barn (aka the man cave) this afternoon to find some floor wax. It is very dark and cluttered in there.  Guess who waddled across the floor to greet him?  Yup, one young owl.  He must have flown through the upper open window, perhaps because he couldn’t quite make the very high, small window into the pigeonnier last night.  I do hope he is reunited with his parents tonight and is able to fend for himself soon.

30 July 2017

Fountain of the Three Bishops

Rick reluctantly posing by the sunflowers

Yesterday we drove to Lavaur, a small village just a few kilometres away.  The name of the village comes from the Gallic word for ravine and this place is famous for the Fountain of the Three Bishops, a place where the borders of the old ‘counties’ of Perigord, Quercy and Agenais meet.  In all the years we have lived in the Perigord we have never actually visited this place before.

The walk was enchanting, walking alongside the path with steep limestone cliffs on one side and sunflower fields on the other, then into the shady woodland of oak, chestnut and ferns.  Sadly the stream was dry and we weren’t able to see the fountains flowing but they are clearly marked.  Legend tells us that the bishops of Agen, Cahors and Sarlat would dine at the fountain, each seated in his own diocese.  This custom was revived in 2006 and the bishops continue to meet every Easter Monday at the Three Bishops Fountain.

Paul and Rick sitting on the dry river bed

We stopped at the old washhouse and then continued past the ruined watchtower of the Knights Templar.  There were two more fountains, the Fountain of Marty and the Fountain of David, but alas no more than a trickle of water.  We really must return after some heavy rainfall.

the old 'enchanted' wash-house

Rick spotted a deer ahead and nearly pulled Paul off his feet as they charged after it.  We climbed the path up towards the village, not very much there apart from a ruined chateau, the Mairie and a few houses, but magnificent views across the valley.  Then back down the steep road to where we had parked the car.  It was a delightful walk and I’m just surprised that we have never discovered this place before.

29 July 2017

Sardines on Toast

This morning we dusted off our bicycles and set off for an early ride, only to do a quick u-turn and head for home as another storm blew in.  I decided to catch up on some housework instead and sent Paul and Rick outside while I swept and vacuumed.

We had sardines on toast for lunch, embellished with onion marmalade and herb salsa (are you sure I can’t tempt you Rachel?).

The stormy morning turned into a beautiful afternoon and we took Rick out for a walk along a hidden valley that we had never explored before.  I’ll tell you about the walk tomorrow, it’s time for my dinner now, Paul has cooked paella.

28 July 2017

Tomato Glut

I've just been in the garden gathering a few things for lunch.  My blueberry bush has been giving me a handful of berries every day for weeks now and the raspberries are still producing.  Apparently blueberries maintain brain function and improve memory; I can't remember how many you have to eat for that to work. Not many plums on the tree this year but enough for Paul and me.

Apologies to any gardener who is having problem with their tomatoes this year! It's a good thing I love homemade tomato soup.

I asked Rick to pose nicely by my trug but he just rolled onto his back and asked me to tickle his tummy.

His favourite posing spot is by the gate with his tennis ball.

27 July 2017

Separation Anxiety


Rick with very muddy paws

Today we left Rick at home for about three hours while we went shopping.  Rick was fine being at home alone but I fretted all the time we were out.  I just wanted to get back to him.

Yesterday we took him for a walk across the meadows and tried letting him off the lead.  Immediately he bounded off into the distance and it was a bit nerve wracking.  Mostly he will come back to us when we call but if something particularly interesting distracts him then he will totally ignore us.  When he disappeared into the woods Paul went off in pursuit, charging straight through a bed of nettles. Rick soon reappeared wagging his tail.  We really need to feel more confident about his recall so our next Amazon purchase (this dog is costing us a fortune) is a pair of dog whistles.  This should get his attention and will be a constant sound, unlike my feeble squeaky voice.  We really want him to have the freedom to run loose but we need to be more in control.

Rick managed to find a muddy, stagnant pond on the way home.  Oh the smell!  Why the heck do I love this mutt?

Come back Rick!

26 July 2017

Changing Rooms

The bedroom makeover is complete and I’m very pleased with the overall effect.  It has a much lighter French Proven├žal style now.   We left the wardrobe untouched so the room doesn’t look over co-ordinated.  The only thing I’m not happy about is the orangey pine picture frames so we are going to experiment with some dark wax and gold paint.

 Not a bad transformation for the price of a pot of chalk paint. (Autentico Vintage Dark Pepper)

24 July 2017

Lighten Up

The Tour de France has finished so Paul is restless and looking for his next project.  After his success with the red dresser he was itching to get his hands on some more chalk paint and wax.

Our guest bedroom on the ground floor is furnished with brown furniture; we inherited it with the house. It is reproduction, traditional style complete with sleigh bed. Paul has always had a particular dislike of the sleigh bed.  In a careless moment I said he could do what he liked with the room and before I could blink he had sawn the end off the bed.

It is a work in progress.  Rick has been helping.

23 July 2017

Scotch on the Rocks

Last night was whisky and chocolate night.  I sank down on the sofa, broke my chocolate bar up into tiny pieces, stretched out, grabbed my Scotch whisky on the rocks and the ice cold glass just slipped through my fingers and crashed onto the terracotta floor.  I screamed, Paul swore and Rick went and packed his bag.

Amazingly, the glass was still intact and just bounced off the hard floor; the only casualty was the loss of my whisky, which was quickly replenished.  I have some exquisite crystal glassware and a china dinner service that never see the light of day.  This was a moment when I was really happy that I was using a cheap, chunky glass.

This morning we went for an extraordinarily long walk just so we could check out an old ruin that is being restored in the chestnut woods.  This project has been many years in the making but it looks as if the owner has finally employed some craftsmen to do the work.  Rick enjoyed the trek and was able to show off his new harness. I spotted this strange looking plant in the woods, anyone know what it is?