The mist that enshrowded a recently slumbering Sigoules rousing, stretching, and rubbing its eyes this morning augured as well as yesterday’s clear sky. We were not disappointed. We had a gloriously sunny day when Mo, John and I later ambled around Bergerac and did some shopping.
As I walked up past Les Caves, from which, on our return from Bergerac, my friends chose some wine for a December wedding, I turned left along a simple road leading to rustic lanes I had not explored before. There I saw yards and sheds full of materials for various farming activities, allotments with, among others, some fine pumpkins, and windfall apples beneath a gnarled old fruit tree. Somewhat surprisingly I emerged from these, to me, ‘untrodden ways’ opposite the cemetery. I spent most of the rest of the morning discussing the work with Saufiene, after which I and my two friends lunched at Le Code Bar on vegetable soup; stuffed eggs and pastrami; roast chicken complete with heart and liver; and pear flan, all prepared to perfection. We shared a half carafe of red wine.
Then came that champagne moment. When we returned to No 6, Saufiene greeted us with a puzzling question. On my arrival two days ago, we had all shared a bottle of Metz champage. Saufiene had immediately extracted the bottle from the fridge and placed it on the table. John grabbed it and proceeded to open it. We all enjoyed a couple of glasses. Alex, who speaks no English sat in a corner rubbing his eye (into which he had scraped some grit) in discomfort and smiling when Saufiene or I translated. Neither he nor Saufiene questioned John’s action. Today, as we entered the house, Saufiene asked John: ‘Did you buy the last bottle of champagne?’. The question puzzled us both. I had to translate for John. I knew the words, but I couldn’t understand the question. ‘What last bottle?’ I asked. ‘The one we drank on Monday’, was the reply. ‘Yes’, said John. By now, I hadn’t a clue what was going on. Saufiene burst out laughing.
This lunchtime, Alex had found an identical bottle in the boot of Saufiene’s car. He had been delegated to put it in the fridge on Monday. Saufiene thought he had. John hadn’t realised Saufiene was supplying the champagne. One Frenchman and one Englishman had had the same thoughts and the same taste in champagne.
Jackie and I, it seems, are soon to have our own champagne moment. Yesterday she had told me that ‘The Old School House’ was a goner. The owner had not replied to the agent’s e-mails and the father was insisting it be taken off the market. She had therefore made an offer on The Old Post House. Today the offer was accepted. The Amity Grove House sale should be completed by Christmas.
As I wrote up this post in the bar this evening I managed to fall over backwards and do the chair ireparable damage. Two young frienchmen hauled me to my feet. I was unscathed.