Monday, 14 September 2020

Postcards from a new patch of the Earth

New to us anyway.

Yesterday's dog walks revealed baby deer (moved to fast to be photographed) pumpkins in abundance, poplar forests and quiet, leafy bike lanes to be explored - when I have a decent bike...

Bali, our younger greyhound (above and below) has discovered the joy of lying about on warm grass as well as sofas, although the older lady, Gala, still prefers the latter.

Dogs and husband after a long dog walk

Today we explored the small towns immediately opposite our patch; two of which are classed as 'plus beaux villages de France. And they are: very beautiful, full of pretty streets, roses climbing the pale stone buildings and wine caves/boutiques. People we have met here so far have informed us that our side - Rive Droit, is where the peasants live, the the Rive Gauche is the haunt of the bourgeoise, and apparently it's always been like that. I am of firm peasant stock - gardeners and servants for the well-to-do, so the Right Side suits me well, but it was fascinating to nip over the river and suddenly be in Chelsea-by-the-Sea, or similar. We happened upon the excellent 'flea market' that is held in Montsoreau every other Sunday, along with an excellent food market. It was up-market brocante prices but not madly so, and we managed to buy a couple of things for the new abode without feeling guilty.

A bookseller at the brocante.

Sunday, 6 September 2020

Plastic ban

In our new (old) house we have been inspired to use even less plastic than before. We need a washing basket as the old one finally died before the move but I can't bring myself to buy another huge chunk of plastic with holes in it which will break within a few months. Yesterday while exploring the magnificent town of Chinon we came across an excellent Emmaüs (recycling emporium par excellence) and there were a whole stack of them, a euro each, but I'd run out of cash - will return. 

The cash was spent in the same place on cushions and a magnificent white tureen which has become the new dog food bowl - the old one went the same way as the washing basket. Why not have a mad china vessel that cost two euros in which to house ones dog repas? After all it does go rather well with this particular race of dog... 

Thursday, 3 September 2020

Familiarity upload

It's happening. Little by little, the maps of our previous part of France being overlaid by new ones. I don't think the maps of before will ever be erased as nearly twenty years of being somewhere lays them deep, just as my knowledge of London is still ever-present if not a little suspended in the 80s and 90s.

Dogs are great for forcing exploration. I now know all the small roads, fields, rivers and paths within a couple of kilometres of the house. Not that I needed forcing but I might have put the walks off knowing there are still about 400 boxes to undo and masses of jobs to undergo. The house is now our home for sure, as I hoped it might become when we saw it on the first viewing. There's lots to do but most of it on the creative side (hopefully!) I've tracked down a couple of local craftspeople who will pass by to give their opinions. There are a few main repairs to do, like completing the little roofs that sit over the dormer windows - wonderfully named, Chien assis (sitting dog), and the dreaded Fosse Septique - septic tank, but I'm hopeful that we will be able to spend the money (scary large amount) on putting in a relatively newly -allowed system called phytoépuration which uses plants to filter the grey, and other, water and to be able to use the result in the garden rather than flushing it away somewhere.

Further afield from our small patch of the Earth there are exciting towns to explore such as Saumur, Angers, Tours and Chinon. I drove through the latter this morning after going to look at and subsequently purchase two sofas from Le Bon Coin - excellent online site for second hand anything and everything. I didn't stop in the town as it was market day and therefore nowhere to park but admired from a distance the very handsome buildings and the chateau crowning the tufa cliffs.

Back home - yes, I can say that now - we ate lentil stew in the garden, wrote lists and waited for the local electrician to turn up to look at moving the boiler. He didn't, not because he was one of those artisans who specialise in not turning up but as he couldn't locate the house - the previous owner did say it can be difficult to find . . . Later in the afternoon lovely new neighbours appeared with a bottle of Saumur fizz and we sat in the garden quaffing wine and eating cake Mark had made using the garden peaches and hedgerow blackberries. Stories were exchanged and very useful information given; how wonderful to come across open and friendly folk. Yep, familiarity upload well on the way to completion with loads more to explore and learn about this, and now, our, region.