Dawn over Sigoules

Filigreed leavesThe pastel shades of the marbled paper that was the dawn sky over Sigoules looked promising this morning.  I walked the La Briaude loop.  Filigreed leaves along the Eymet Road confronted the rising sun whose light gradually crept across the fields.

Birds sang, cocks crew, and hens cackled.  The enraged bellowing of a man seeming to occupy a house in the middle distance ceased as an anxious-looking woman drove up the winding road leading to it.

Field at dawnCabbages grown by the gardener I have often seen toiling away coolly glistened.  We exchanged greetings as I stepped into the now otherwise empty maize field to photograph his produce. Cabbages He had, as usual, nicked the edge of this land to sow his seeds.  Slugs were doing their utmost to produce filigreed greens.

Saufiene has said he likes to approach No 6 as if it were his own house.  I have told him to feel free.  The consequence is that I am receiving ‘presents’ over and above the contracted work.  Benoit is in the process of redesigning the garden to accommodate plants that can survive in the prevailing conditions with limited maintenance.  A long wooden table, chairs, and a parasol have appeared there.  CurtainHeaterAn extremely efficient and unobtrusive electric heater now stands in the fireplace of the sitting room which has new curtains.  Light in back passageTable coverMo just happened to bring a cover for the table that matches these and the bergere suite.  She has also donated a couple of attractive bowls.  A light has been fitted in the back passage.

SarlatLunch at Le Code Bar consisted of superb onion soup; avocado with a prawn dressing, coarse pate and cornichon; pork cheeks and rice; and profiteroles.  Mo, John, and I shared a half carafe of red wine.

This afternoon John drove Mo and me to Sarlat and back.  This is a most attractive town full of history and fascinating shops. Its church, although building commenced in the thirteenth century contains artefacts from its first conception in the eleventh.  It was a pleasant trip.

Fingers Of The Hero

Yesterday evening I watched a DVD of The Interpreter, Sydney Pollack’s gripping, tender, sensitive, and spell-binding thriller starring Nicole Kidman and Sean Penn.  The two principal characters are played magnificently by two of the best modern thespians.  I use ‘thespians’ because the word has no gender.  (I don’t know what Ms Kidman would prefer to be termed, but Sheila Hancock has asserted that she is an actress and proud of it.) The protagonists are depicted in much greater depth than often in the genre, and these two have the range to do it justice.

I won’t reveal the story for anyone who may wish to watch the film.  Suffice it to say that it hinges on Kidman, as a UN interpreter, overhearing an assassination plot and Penn’s efforts to prevent it.  For my money the male lead is one of the greats.

The credits tell us the production was made ‘with the help of ‘The Interpreter’ by Suzanne Glass.

Fingers of the heroWhen the team arrived this morning, Benoit had two fingers heavily bandaged.  In response to my question, he uncomplainingly showed me small blisters on others and explained that he had earned them grappling with the bathroom piping.   This man had removed the side panel and worked at arms’ length underneath the plug hole.  I said I just had to photograph ‘the fingers of the hero’.

After the arrival of Renov Conseil 24 (the name of the company), I walked the La Briaude loop.Landscape near La Briaude  A panting, but otherwise silent, black labrador expended its energy attempting to clear its fence for a cuddle.  It has always tracked me along the fence, but has seldom displayed such eager amorousness.

A field was being ploughed.  Along many of the verges, escapee cornflowers from this and others cropped up everywhere.  Except ouLeaping labradortside the house of the gardener I had seen on 17th May.  He has beautified the roadside with a fine array of flowers.  On his own land he has stacked up logs for the winter.PloughingFlowers on vergeLogs

BeetleAn unseen goat bleated in the distance.  Closer to foot an African masked beetle evaded my steps.

Lunch at Le Code Bar consisted of a splendid soup containing vegetables, beans, and noodles; a crisp cheese and bacon quiche; a luscious layered lasagna; and a tempting pear tart with chocolate sauce.  As I finished Benoit and Sandra came in for a drink and told me that all the joints under the bath had needed replacing.  Fortunately there were no more blisters.  Benoit bought me a coffee.

Tending Livestock And Crops

Purple flowersPoppiesWriting three-quarters of a millennium ago, Geoffrey Chaucer, our earliest great poet, in his classic ‘Canterbury Tales’ displayed a talent for capturing characterisation with simple descriptions of clothing and habits.  Whether or not she was inspired by this writer, the modern P.D. James has this facility in abundance, as demonstrated by ‘A Certain Justice’ which I finished reading this morning.  Her descriptions of place are equally poetic and add enormously to our understanding of the natures of her subjects.  Within this elegant writing she weaves an intriguing and credible murder mystery.

Landscape from Eymet road

In a not wholly successful attempt to dislodge yesterday’s stubborn mud, I grated my shoes along the gravel footpaths leading out of Sigoules as I set off on this much brighter but still chilly morning to walk the La Briaude loop.  Apart from the rather raucus distant cawing of rooks, the birdsong was glorious, and the day fresh.

CattleUnlike the New Forest ponies, who refuse to be distracted from their grazing, the more inquisitive Dordogne cattle would often lift their heads and stare.

Stony track

BarleyTempted by a stony uphill track, I took a diversion, and was rewarded by a sight of burgeoning barley.  Through trees, this led to a road on which I turned left.  Miraculously enough, this led me to La Briaude.  I had discovered a wider loop that I will use in future.

Gardener (1)Walking on towards Sigoules, I heard a tender male voice.  Peering through the trees I saw the gentleman was addressing sweet nothings to his obviously well groomed donkey.  We exchanged greetings.  The man and I, not the ass.  Further on, another man was tending his garden.  Beyond a crop of bright yellow tulips, stretched rows of vegetables, at the end of which he tilled the stony soil.Gardener

The sometimes low and relaxed, sometimes more shrill and desperate cries of the as yet unmated woodpigeons drowned the cheerful chirruping of smaller birds as I set about sorting the sitting room.

Jackie will be pleased to learn that today’s Code Bar soup was yesterday’s veg one amplified by noodles.  There followed shredded pot-au-feu beef with a tangy tomato based sauce including little tomatoes and accompanied by half a hard-boiled egg on lettuce.  Not necessarily my favourite food, the main course of lasagne could have me converted.  Profiteroles completed the Italian theme.  Fred paid me the compliment of asking me the English word (strawberries) for the French fraises.  A group of English diners were having them, but I had them yesterday.