Family matters, I'm afraid

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

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camping du port

Flag of France  , Midi-Pyrénées,
Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Hi there, just checked the date and can't believe it's only been a week since setting off for France.
Days have been packed, on the go go go, but that was to be expected 'en famille.'
Where to begin?
I wont go into all the ins and outs of the family dynamics, but we were travelling in two cars, one to be left behind at the cottage later, and as my boys have not yet managed to secure a driving license, I suddenly realised I would be driving one myself all the way, more than 1000 km, when I had intended to sleep through the journey, having left the packing till far after midnight and an early start was planned.
Neither of the boys was in a hurry to be my passenger so it was a toss-up and Dick lost.
I think it went just fine - except for when I parked my car behind Peter's and misjudged the space - everybody knows I can't park - and bumped into the newly acquired little convertible.
The first dent - someone has to do it, might as well be me.

Anyway, we arrived at Cledat safely, Rose, Twan and their friends Jorn and Jenny welcomed us for the night with wonderful Indian curries and freshly made beds. Only I wanted to sleep in the barn and in spite of cries of protest, I insisted on placing the airbed on the rusty bed-springs of the antique French bed that lives in the door-less barn. It is literally heavenly sleeping there, you can see the stars and hear the sounds of the nocturnal animals. (With a little imagination.)
Unfortunately the mattress sprung a little leak and I had unquiet dreams of trying to crawl out of a ditch.
Next morning we went on our merry way to camping Du Port in Creysse, a favorite spot of mine, situated at one of the best parts of the Dordogne river.
It was packed, completely 'complet.' For all the years we've been coming here this has never happened, it has always been a tranquil place, the odd traveller, fisher, we always had the place to ourselves.
The owner, Pierre, came to the rescue. If we didn't mind we could camp on the river bank, normally forbidden because of possible flooding. I was delighted, I had always wanted to camp there, and it was perfect. Loved it - there was an old fisherman's boat race that finished right in front of our tent, the beautiful little nearby village had a festival going on - I have written about these events before -  very sweet and old-worldly, that ended in, to our surprise, really beautiful fireworks.
We joined a communal barbecue, bring your own food, massive fires and a good, friendly crowd. Dick spent hours fly fishing, Ezra read Papillon for the third time, and together they built a crescent-shaped dam, like they used to do as kids.
Sheppie had the the time of his life, rushing into the water, barking for stones to be thrown and then bringing them to the tent - his treasures.

Somewhere in between, we went back to our cottage to accommodate our dutch friend Bart and his father Paul, for a night. They are on a sentimental journey, returning to places they visited many years ago. Both of them a bit of a prankster, meaning you never know where you stand, till they double up laughing and you know you'd been had - again.
I hope they are having fun on their journey - I hope they realise the French might not get their sense of humour, and most of all, I really hope someone will pull one over them.

Back at the Dordogne river we went on a canoe trip, Shep was a bloody nuisance, wanting to jump from boat to boat, shifting about, unsteadying the canoe, but otherwise it was lots of fun and the scenery more than worthwhile.
We've returned to the cottage for the remain of our stay. Rose's friends left and the six of us just fit in now.
We visited the recently discovered and just opened to public caves in Tourtoirac, fascinating, though the smell of our guide, a mixture of Pernod, perfume and body odor, was rather distracting.
And now I am sitting in the garden, Rose and Twan are getting dinner on, that makes a nice change, Coq au vin, mmm.

That was yesterday, and yes, it was very tasty. Nico prepared us a gourmet dinner Tuesday, as per usual life in France means gaining more than a few pounds. Oh well, I just wont eat a thing in Africa, that's all there is to it.

The children will be leaving on Sunday, it'll be quiet without them, though they seem to think the same about me.........
I'm just going to send this off, it is taking forever and it will only interest close friends and family, I guess.
I'll probably manage another before leaving, see what that brings.
Oh, and the heated discussions? Still going strong, and I can tell you this: I still have a lot to learn :)

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rooster on

ah, back to the grindstone, lose a few...

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