More Bastides

Having received no response from the estate agent, I decided to print off, sign, and post the document to the French solicitor complete with the errors. There are only so many times I am prepared to point out mistakes. This meant popping over to Shelly and Ron’s for my signature to be witnessed. Ron performed the task; I e-mailed scanned copies of each signed page to the agent; then posted the original to the solicitor.

the // website claims that ‘the “Bastide” towns of southwest France are a growing tourist attraction, and comprise one of the largest collections of well-preserved mediaeval townscapes to be found anywhere in Europe.’ In yesterday’s post I featured

Beaumont 4 9.03

Beaumont-du-Perigord, being a fine example.

Unfortunately I cannot be certain which was the next such town I visited with Maggie and Mike in September 2003, but I think it was Monpazier, founded by the English to keep out the French in 1285. It was to change hands between these two nations several times in the following few decades.

The main feature of a bastide is the central square surrounded by colonnaded arches now housing shops, such as wine merchants and toy suppliers. I enjoyed seeing baskets of diabolos, such as those brought back from holiday by my maternal grandparents.

Colourful market stalls fill the square which is

surrounded by grids of streets linked by narrow alleys or ruelles.

Weathered walls, iron gates, and tended gardens invite attention.

Maggie and Mike 9.03

When we passed a church which had recently held a wedding, my friends thought it would be a good wheeze to pretend it was theirs.

I drank more of the Malbec with our evening meal consisting of Jackie’s chicken chow mein and Tesco’s won tons. Mrs Knight enjoyed her food , and did not imbibe.





The Diabolo

It was time for another haircut today.  Donna-Marie being on holiday, I was attended to by another pink lady.  It is now clear that to work in this delightful hairdressers one has to be dressed in a magenta smock-like garment clashing or, according to taste, blending nicely with the pink decor, and have a champagne personality.  Victoria, although a long-standing friend of Donna’s, has only been working for her for eight weeks, and is clearly enjoying it.

kendamaVictoria’s teenaged lookalike son visited his Mum whilst I was in the chair.  Great fun then ensued, with lots of banter following my joking ‘I’d never have guessed’, when informed that Elliott was her son.  She then held up a bulky envelope addressed to him.  They live across the road from the establishment.  The envelope would not fit into their letterbox.  The postman knew where Victoria worked.  He delivered the parcel to her.  That is what I call service, and comes from a good knowledge of one’s customers, and probably some continuity of employment, possibly more likely to be encountered in a country town than in a city.  Elliott was delighted.


Elliott was asked to open the envelope to show me the contents.  The young man was now the proud possessor of two kendamas.  He is apparently very skilled in manipulating this Japanese toy. Yo-yo Like the diabolo of my youth, the kendama is a variation on the yo-yo.  Apparently the fundamental idea is to toss the ball in the air and catch it in one of the wooden cups, or skewer it on the spike.  It seems a little more physical than the average computer game.

I must have been somewhere around ten or eleven when our maternal grandparents brought Chris and me each a diabolo from one of their holidays abroad. 220px-1812-Costumes-Parisiens-diabolo-color Two long hand-held poles are linked by a length of string on which one balances, spins, and tosses an object shaped like a wasp-waisted tube, as shown in the accompanying illustration from 1812.  This is the diabolo.  Modern diabolos are, I believe, made of some plastic substances that are stronger, more rigid, and less prone to deterioration than our rubber ones. We two boys spent at least one 1950s summer obsessed with improving our skill.  The requisite long dress made for somewhat restricted movement, but we managed well enough.

Jackie had driven me to my appointment and gone on to Ringwood.  I walked to the car park to meet her, arriving just as torrential rain hit the town.  Either it tracked us all the way home, or it had struck Minstead simultaneously.

Jackie produced an excellent sausage casserole this evening.  It was followed by lemon drizzle cake and ice-cream.  She had a glass of yesterday’s Pedro Jimenes wine.  I drank a First Cape cabernet sauvignon 2012.

Mo and John, who will be spending some time in Sigoules came over for a drink and helped me finish my bottle.  I showed them some photographs of numero 6, and Jackie took them on a Google maps tour around the village.