Another trip to Sarlat in the South was needed. It was better that we go on our own without the furry children and it was quite amazing how quickly the wonderful folk on Trusted House Sitters and Home Carers responded to a last-minute request (the trip was a last-minute decision). Before we knew it, we had a wonderful couple who had spent 22 years in Malawi, some in the UK (born there) and now in France and they kindly traveled three hours across Brittany to meet us and take care of the mutts. We got on straight away, homely, nature loving doggie people who fell in love with the cottage and the pooches and were delighted to stay.
Anabel refused to start. We cajoled, spoke to her nicely, swore at her horribly and ended up zapping her with I don’t know how many vaults from the Estate Owner’s car. She sulked down the rode, into the local village and ground to a hiccuping halt right in the middle of a busy round about. The Estate Owner and our new mutt sitter came to our rescue and we bought Anabel a brand new battery. The trip was back on and off we went. About an hour out, she turned off her clock on the dashboard and refused to use her indicator lights. Do we turn back or not? We turned back and had the alternator checked. Dead. Great. Now we had no car and nowhere to sleep either because two wonderful people were sleeping in our cottage! The brilliant man in my life checked the fuses and fiddled. Anabel lit up like a Christmas tree. Clock came on, indicator lights worked..all was well. We decided to chance it and off we went hoping we didn’t drain the battery on the way.
The next morning we went off to get the alternator checked again. Voila! It was working! ‘Mazing what a stupid little fuse can do to ones nerves let alone a car.
But the Perigord Noir was more than breathtaking. Spring was well under way, it was warm, incredibly blue sky and the scent of flowers was so strong, the countryside was enveloped in a fragrant bath of lilac, wisteria, apple blossom and canola fields. When we walked through the ancient village again and saw the church dating back to the eighth century draped in wisteria, nearby houses with cascades of red geraniums and small stone courtyards graced with apple blossom you realize this is “true France”. The France of everyone’s dreams.
Just when my senses thought “this is it – enough!”, we walked early on Saturday morning through the market. It was divided into two sections, the main street held soft arty clothing (just up my street), jewelry, and beautifully made quilts and comforters in the old lavender, dusty pinks and dirty greens and greys, the colours of French shutters and elegant rooms. Felt hats, bags and felt flowers, shoes, paintings and other bits and pieces and then there was the food market….
It spread it’s aroma’s through the cobbled streets and ancient golden arches in a different part of the town and into the main square with black wrought iron balconies and blue grey shutters. Though still relatively early into the tourist season, the place was buzzing with both foreigners and french visitors along with locals. I’ve never seen rounds of cheese about 40 cm high and half a meter in diameter. Nougat of similar size and in colours and flavours that suit every taste. Breads! Vegies, Pates! Terrines! Wines! A mobile fish market, cold meats that I wouldn’t even begin to know the names of , hazel nuts in buckets, walnuts in barrels, olives in vats, pickled garlic, roasted garlic, preserved garlic. Fat, glossy sticks of fresh vanilla pods and smoky, wrinkly black truffles.
I think I must have looked like a combination of an owl with my neck swiveling in all directions, a chameleon with eyes going everywhere and the village idiot with a stupid grin on my face and it dawned on me how much happier I was in the food section than in the clothing and sun glasses section…now what does that say about me…mmm….foodie? I didn’t go down that road of thinking!
It was the strawberries that got to me. Every time I came across a table of them..I said to the “Dear One”…”What do they do? Sit and polish them? Why are they SO shiny and SO clean?!!” When you look at the gallery below..you’ll understand what I mean.
We sat in the square and had duck confit, fois gras, onion marmalade and crusty bread washed down with red wine. The sun went down at about 9.30 and we watched the lights come on…which, in this old “museum town” are made to look like old gas lamps and they come on as if they are…first a tiny pilot light..then one globe begins to glow, then all of the come on as if the gas has “caught”. Stunning..no wonder they want to make it into a World Heritage Site.
We love it there..the seasons are each specific with colours to match. Summers are hot and evenings are long. The surrounding oaks tell you when Autumn is on the way and we’ve now seen Spring in all it’s dazzling and rainbow shades.
This is a place where roots could go down deep.
A la prochaine and thanks again for traveling with me….