Trip Start Jul 19, 2009
Trip End Oct 25, 2010

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Flag of France  ,
Thursday, May 8, 2008

My beloved is a master in the art of stating the obvious. I mean, it drives me mad.
'Look, there's a pond, a ruin, it's raining...' Yes, yes, I can see perfectly well for myself.
Followed by facts: "that must be the west, because...., the farmers grew different crops last year......., the French word for fence is actually...etc.etc.. I know it's his way of communicating he's enjoying the walk, but I'd just as soon feel the sun, the breeze on my skin, smell the flowers and grass, listen to the birds sing, the trees whisper, and wander on, without plan, destination or explanation.
Of course, we are neither unique in these matters, it's a male - female thing. He helps me through the mud, lifts the brambles so my hair wont get caught in the thorns. Looks endearingly worried when we're in for a particularly rough scramble, even though I'm secretly convinced, when push comes to shove, I've more stamina than he.
People tend to underestimate you when you're small, but I am as strong as a horse, hard as nails, and never give up. Well, at least, that's what I like to think.
The weather was perfect today, couldn't be better. Sunny without being hot, a little breeze every now and then. We walked across the field to a hamlet, slightly bigger than ours, called Marsingeas. It's built up against a pretty little castle that's surrounded by a lush garden with ancient trees, one a magnificent chestnut tree, now in bloom.
I said earlier that all the trees were green, but I should have said, all but the walnut trees, for they are still skeleton-like.  They stand bare between the leafy others as if waiting to be touched by a magic wand and brought back to life again. (If you enlarge the 'approaching cledat' picture, you can see them in the middle.)
Walnuts are big business in the Dordogne. Walnuts and foie gras (goose liver).
Walnut oil, walnut cake, plain nuts, sugared ones, postcards picturing them - walnuts galore.
In autumn, when all is quiet at night, you can lie in bed and hear them falling from the trees, click-click. I asked my very shy old neighbor Rene about the trees. He told me they would be alright, just a bit late because of the frost, but he shook his head sadly at the apple and peach trees. They were not to bear fruit this year. Ruined by the winter that came back with a vengeance when spring was expected.
I was very sorry to hear that - I love gathering the fruits from under the trees by the road. Ah, well....
I'm going to add a picture of Rene's shutter, I'm so scared he might paint over it, it's the first thing I check when I get here. Another one of the irises by our wall, and one of a small village near by. You can see the grapevines on the hill - that's unusual for this area, even though we're not far from Bordeaux, with it's famous vineyards.
I'm told there were lots of vineyards here too, in the olden days, but they were wiped out by some disease and never replanted because of some superstition. But more and more, small patches are appearing. We have our own vine in the backyard, a present from my brother who grows grapes in the south of France, the Corbieres.
I'm getting thirsty, all this talk of wine. So, if you don't mind.
Oh, just in case you were wondering: we had fish for dinner.....
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