Tales from Nouvelle-Aquitaine #73


“…Fortes chaleurs”

We had had fun with our English guests it had been a great week having Alyson & Martin stay. It was barely 09:00 and the heat was rising. An incoming message from our Mairie warned of a heatwave. It was a good idea to get our shopping done before the midday heat.

Leaving the supermarket was similar to getting off of an aircraft in a hot far flung destination (remember those)? The temperature in the car read 38c and it was only ten o’clock in the morning.

We were relieved to walk into the cool of our hallway thanks to the metre thick walls and stone floor. They certainly knew what they were doing when they built this place. By mid afternoon the thermometer in our garden read 45c as we sat in the shade of the trees adjacent to our newly gravelled pétanque pitch with some cool water.

Our West Wing Gite was ready to welcome our next guests. They had chosen to stay here at Le Logis de Limalonges as it was a convenient mid way point between Paris and Southern France bringing family together. In no time they were enjoying our pool to cool off from the afternoon sun.

With our guests had settled in for the evening we headed to neighbours Terry and Linda’s for a soirée. Linda had worked hard preparing a huge buffet of lovely food. We had a great evening catching up with our neighbours, socially distanced, of course.

The next evening, Kry and I made the short walk to our village bar ‘Chez Bebert’ to celebrate his twenty-fifth year in running the bar. The lights were dimmed and one of our neighbours presented Bebert with a homemade cake complete with a ‘25’ candle. Bebert cut the cake with a huge kitchen knife and was presented with the first slice. 

I said to Bebert that his bar really is the heart of the village community. 

“pas de bar… pas de village”…. He was very touched by that and I meant it in all sincerity. Normally he would have hugged me, but…

Early next morning we saw a swoop of Hirondelles that soared high into the blue skies above. In one collective movement they flew a couple of daring circuits along our tree lined alleyway and up again high into the sunshine before resting on the electricity cables that run along the street. Sat in formation, resting like notes on a stave.

They must have been trying to tell us something.

Asperitas clouds (formerly referred to as Undulatus Asperitas for you keen meteorologists out there) lined the skies as far as the eye could see.  

The church bells tolled as thunder rumbled in the distance. Krysia and I decided to head off shopping hoping for a break in the weather. No such luck.

Forked lightning struck in the distance as we drove through the now flooded back roads. Shopping done we made a dash to the car with the shopping trolley traditionally steering it’s own course completely opposite to where I wanted it to go. 

Typically it stopped raining the moment we got out of the car. It’s good for the gardens, but sadly not so good for our Dutch visitors who had decided to stay in our East Wing Gite putting off their shopping trip until later that day. A wise move! We had a fun week with our new friends. We really appreciated the lovely comments they had written for us in our ‘livré d’or’ (guest book).

Without exception all of our guests had appreciated the fact that we hadn’t opened all the Gites at the same time this year. This avoided drawing up timetables for the pool and all those other possible complications. It’s been difficult, but considering we didn’t expect anyone to book at all this year we have really appreciated those who had.

Friday night and a break before our next guests arrived the next afternoon from Belgium. Matthew and Donna had arranged dinner at Le Marais in nearby St. Macoux.

Le marais saint-macoux – Accueil | Facebook

Matthew had very kindly offered his chauffeuring services that evening.
The car windows were all wound down fully open, we all wore masks and used hand sanitiser. This, is our ‘new normal’ when out and about.

He had prepared a chilled Lychee Martini for us passengers all to enjoy which he poured into glasses from a flask. Soon he was driving us through the back roads lined with sunflower fields. Now that’s style! 

Le Marais is a charming spot set in former marshland with a man made plan d’eau used for seasonal swimming and fishing. It was a beautiful evening. We looked at the menu and Matthew reminded me he had also pre-ordered deep fried “cuisses de grenouilles” for he and I.

Contrary to popular opinion, frogs legs are not as common as you expect these days in France. This was the first time I have had them here and they were delicious! Kry and Donna’s smoked salmon starter was an excellent choice as well.

We all opted for a salad dish to follow. The ladies opted for chicken caesar salad and a prawn salad. Matthew and I chose the salade chaude aux gésiers, one of my favourites.

A pichet or two of vin rouge maison had been quaffed by the time the sun set casting a golden glow across the lake. The waiter poured a ginger based liquor as a digestif and it was time to head home. We could have sat there all night. We had such fun in the best of company and haven’t laughed like that for what seems an age. Then, we haven’t really ventured out further than the village lately. It almost felt normal.

Our Belgian guests had spent a quiet week around the pool and gardens with their young children. They seemed a private family so of course we respected that. They left kind comments in our guest book which was very much appreciated.

Sadly, our English guests had cancelled for the following week due to the quarantine UK government imposed restrictions on returning back to the UK. That’s how it goes at the moment, we never take anything for granted and have operated our Gite business as safe as possible.

Sunday 23rd of August, our sixth Wedding Anniversary. That day back in 2014 had been the best day of my life. 

To mark the occasion Pete & Laura had very kindly offered to drive us to Verteuil where I had booked a table for lunch at the cafe Portebleue ( https://www.cafeportebleue.com/ ) to celebrate Kry and my sixth Wedding Anniversary. How time does fly by. We must pause to thank everyone for their good wishes I will reply to each of you in turn, it may take a while!

We were really pleased to also note their was an open air live concert in the chateau grounds. I was especially pleased to see Alexis Evans and his band were on the bill. Heard a lot about them but hadn’t seen them play live. They didn’t disappoint with their brand of soul that was refreshing to hear. Tables were set up two metres apart and we had to wear a mask unless seated.

Nobody seemed to mind. We have all got used to wearing masks which we have done for the past six months. People danced as the sun went down creating a beautiful backdrop of colour behind the stage as the band played on.

We certainly thought the event was a success. It proved the point that local authorities and businesses could pool resources in order to find a way to make these events happen. After all it’s amazing what can happen when we all pull together.

Philippe passed us in his little van as we walked Archie in the early morning sunshine. He waved and smiled. I said to Kry that Philippe always has a smile on his face.

“Well, he would do” said Krysia “he’s lived here all of his life”.

Until next time….

à votre très bonne santé! x 🇫🇷🍷🍷❤🇪🇺

Paul & Kry x

Le Logis De Limalonges

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