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

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Flag of France  ,
Friday, May 29, 2009

Dear me, I'd better start writing for I'm getting complaints.
That is funny really, seems I'm not living up to expectations when I didn't realise there were any.
I've only been here for a couple, no, 6 days have gone by already, still, I hadn't given the blog a thought yet.
Thing is, it seems so perfectly natural to be here, it's hard to imagine I was ever anywhere else.
I think it's just over 1000 km from Amsterdam to Cledat, no great distance, but West European kilometers are different.
So many countries, each so individual, crammed into so little space.
In a day you can cross several borders and find yourself in other worlds; different people, languages, history, food, music - all without traveling that many miles.
And now I'm in France, the Dordogne.
Getting closer to the cottage, I didn't even sit up straight to check the fields, the crops and cattle, as I usually would, anxious to make sure all is just as it should be. I simply let the countryside roll by, smiling to myself, for this would never change and would never feel more than a few steps away.

These past days were pleasant but uneventful, none the less I will try and fill you in.
There was one surprise. Behind the grange is a small garden with two terraces, one shaded and one in the full sun (I give that one a miss). Naturally after 6 months absence we expect it to be a bit overgrown and gone to seed. But we weren't prepared for the sunny terrace to be completely taken over by an army of giant poppies looking positively threatening.
The blooms are multi-petaled, like a cheer leaders pompons, and a gaudy pink. I think they are shocking and wish Peter and Mieke would chop them down, but they refuse and say I should let them have their day, they came this far, wait for them to finish flowering.
But they give me the creeps. Remind me of Vietnam, I'm half expecting a soldier to jump out from them.
I fantasize about getting up in the middle of the night and picking big bunches of them and leaving them on the doorsteps of our neighbours in Cledat. That would give them something to talk about.
Of course we have lunched and dined at the familiar restaurants, gruffly greeted by the waiters not sure whether to welcome us back or pretend they hadn't noticed we'd been gone.
Writing this I realise there will be many more copious meals awaiting us. Again, I intend to lose weight, or at least not to gain any. Which is a euphemism if ever I heard one - you gain fat.
Ah, not my favourite subject. Next.

The Terrasson market, always a nice way to spend a Thursday morning.
My Moroccan friend was not there and my big, slow, dreamy, dark, dark African sat sadly at the very edge of the market as if he didn't belong. I met his competition at the heart of it all; a bouncy, wiry, exhilarated, happy West African. A cretin, hallelujah, praise the lord and one wife only (he thought Peter had two wives).
Every time I put something back I'd been admiring, it's price dropped. Of course we bought some things, all this joy was hard to resist. Hmm, I'm going to have to toughen up for Africa. Lovely necklaces though, made of shells and coconut, real African. I'm sure I'll find loads of them over there, ah well, he's got to feed his children too.

Weather is just fine, a little hot in the afternoon, but I am so happy for Claire and Rolf (if anyone remembers from past stories) for this must be the first time they actually got to use their pool.

Jacques visited yesterday, and yes, with his new girlfriend or lady friend.
She doesn't take alcohol so neither does Jacques now, except in a coffee cup, so he thought he was getting away with it until he started sneezing, and sneezing. We were all counting, we couldn't help ourselves, he paused at eleven and went on.
My goodness, can a person die from excessive sneezing?
When he finally stopped, he felt he had to give some explanation for this extraordinary phenomenon. Red faced and teary-eyed he laughed: Sorry, it's an alcohol allergy; leaving his new love looking very puzzled.

Well, a few bits and pieces for the time being. I'm not sure when I shall surface again but I hope to come up with something more substantial then.
Peter and Mieke are away now, I think I'll just go and chop, sorry, check the poppies........

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