30 September 2017

Soggy Vendange

one of Philippe's brothers driving the tractor

Yesterday was a beautiful warm and sunny day.  We lunched outside on the terrace with our friends and spent the afternoon lounging in the sun and chatting.  This morning we awoke to torrential rain (Paul and Rick got very wet on their early walk).

Philippe’s vendange went ahead regardless of the weather.  We wonder why he didn’t choose to pick the grapes yesterday when the sun was shining.  We can only speculate that the date for the vendange is set in stone and Madame Mas’, the matriarch of the family, would have prepared a special harvest meal for the occasion.  They didn’t pick a huge crop, thanks to the late frost, but there were quite a few healthy looking bunches that went into the cart.

(Apologies for the quality of the photos but it was raining!)


28 September 2017

Girl Gone

Rick saying goodbye to Sarah

We set off for Toulouse airport at 3.00  a.m.; Sarah is currently just taking off from Abu Dhabi for the final leg to Sydney.  I have been very composed, the tears will probably come when I find the packet of tofu at the back of the fridge next week.


24 September 2017

Parasol Mushrooms - safe or not?

Paul and Rick came home from their early morning walk triumphantly carrying two giant mushrooms.  They look like parasol mushrooms.  But are they safe to eat?  I consulted my Mushrooms and Toadstools of Britain and Europe book; they appear to have all the characateristics of the edible Macrolepiota procera.

Then I turned the page and see they also look a bit like the poisonous Lepiota cristata, or Stinking Parasol!

No, not going to risk it.

23 September 2017


Kat flies back to the UK this afternoon, Sarah sets off on her long journey home to Australia on Thursday.  The time together has passed all too quickly.  The goodbyes are always so painful, we are going to miss them.  Rick will miss them too, he instantly accepted them into the pack and absolutely adores them.

It has been wonderful watching the two sisters together, a magical and precious time for us.

22 September 2017

Rick gets some more culture

Nobody gets through this door without me (you'll probably break your neck falling over the shoes first)
looking after the pack
Beynac - nice view but I'd rather sniff the stones

I don't like heights

I really don't like heights, put me down

Can we stay home today?

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.

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

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.