This is going to be my first attempt at describing some of what goes on when I am here in France. So far there have been no typical days, so this is just what my day was like last Saturday. Just to preface it a bit, I have been house-sitting for my friends who have a B&B here in the Lot while they went to a wedding and took a short vacation in Scotland. Saturday evening was their return date and since my friend David lives not far from Cahors, where they were coming in, I decided to spend the day with him before I went to the train station to pick them up.
Lucky for me, David’s sister Jacqueline was visiting so I got to see her too, as well as David’s partner, Bernard. David lives well out of Cahors high in the area where there is a lot limestone in the soil, hence lots of vineyards and, of course, stone houses. David lives in a collection of stone buildings…the main house, which is smallish, only 2 bedrooms and you walk through one to get to the other, the bathroom is out on the terrasse but is very cool now, but that’s another story…beneath the house is a bread oven. The floor in the room with the oven is cobblestone and the walls and ceiling are all stone. There is a 3 story pigeonniere that is now guest and storage space, a chicken house…which is also stone with cobblestone floors…a huge barn with various smaller rooms off of it, and other stone structures without names. There are low stone walls and smalls orchards and fields with horses and a view of the village, a couple of ponds and, of course, a cave. The drive in is lined with trees and shrubs, and looks very grand. It makes my heart glad every time I see it. Seeing my elf of a friend standing at the door makes it just about the most wonderful place on earth.
So, David and Jacqueline were making lunch when I arrived but Jacqueline stopped so she could show me the improvements around the place since I was last there. David loves to take the old plaster off the walls and expose the stone that the walls are built of. Fortunately he didn’t do all the walls that way. He left plaster on some of the walls and just improved and painted them David has a huge collection of art…of all kinds. The walls are full of paintings, prints and drawing, as well as shelves of porcelain and dolls and small sculptures. He also the largest collection of opera CDs anywhere! David has an odd mix of everything. While being a huge admirer of classical music and opera, he is also a huge fan of horror and action adventure movies. When it comes down to it, he enjoys almost everything out there, and if it’s sweet…so much the better! David has never met a cake or candy that he didn’t like. He also loves animals…all animals. They follow him around like he’s Noah. Always spreading sweetness and light, that’s my David.
The bathroom…when David first started living at that house, the bathroom was dark and ugly with a cracked toilet and 50’s tiles and one of those closet showers. I don’t remember the sink but I’m sure it was boring. David has removed the tiles and the concrete they were attached to, exposed the stone and put up a glass enclosure for the shower, extending the porcelain floor by adding small stones to a raised ledge to give more elbow room. He is in the process of installing a Victorian walnut sink cabinet he’s had for ages that has a marble top with a marble back splash and marble shelves. I still can’t believe he’s doing this…it will probably end up staying with the house that he is only renting. He also put in a new, sleek toilet. There is also an antique sideboard and a washing machine in the room…and it looks great! Of course there is plenty of art on the walls and even a mirror over the sink. So that was what he’d been up to since I’d last been there…along with the improvements to the house itself.
Lunch was next, chicken and veg and bread and wine. Apple cake, chocolate rice krispie treats (introduced by a new American friend), chocolates, and some other nameless cake…and of course coffee, for dessert (which I can’t get right in France, the pronunciation that is). During lunch we talked politics…at least Bernard and Jacqueline and I did, David has no real interest in politics…which is cool. Afterward we should have taken a walk but instead I took a nap. Naps are my thing these days.
I left about 6:30 to go pick up Wm and Rosalie. To get back to Cahors, I drive through vineyards and a village called Cemps that is a collection of very old stone houses and beautiful flowers. Springtime is great here, the wisteria is fabulous, and the peonies, tulips and redbuds, are all flowering now…along with other spring regulars and lots of annuals. My flower education is limited, one of many things I need to improve. I promised myself that next time I went to visit David, I would stop in Cemps and walk around. It’s just too gorgeous to continue to ignore. It’s all country lanes until it comes to the 9ll and it’s still country but the road is wider. The trip to Cahors only took about 20 minutes so I was early, of course the train was late and Wm and Rosalie were the last people off the train and off the last car farthest from the station. It’s France, no reason to hurry. After that it was stories of a fab vacation, food, whiskey, and a lovely wedding. Chinese for dinner before we left Cahors and an uneventful drive back to the Baran.
Easter was next but that was all flowers (big market!), food and tarot.
Hope you all had a lovely Easter weekend as well. Today I go home and hopefully see Nelly and Ives before they leave.