No, it's not Laura or Alex. Read on...
Trip Start Nov 27, 2009
147Trip End Ongoing
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What I did
Katie's Blog Hijack
So what have we been getting up to? Well every day, twice a day, we potter down to the land to feed / water the animals / veggies. This also involves taking supplies like freezer blocks to the guests and training the dogs not to harrass the rabbits (Laura has almost succeeded in this..
There are rabbits in hutches, the best being called Starsky and Hutch, one of whom tried to make a break for it (possibly let out by a chicken accomplice) only to be bravely cornered by myself and Alex. It managed to get its revenge by almost disemboweling Alex as she carried it back to its hutch. Those things are brutal... good job they is for eating. Mwah, ha ha!!!
The pigs have a low electric fence around their enlosure in the woods that has to be checked morning and evening to make sure it's still live... they squeal like nobodies business when they accidentally crash into it so it must be working. They are currently quite cute, but apparently you eat them when they get mean
The allottment has been an amazing source of both food and frustration this week. We've eaten tomatoes, courgettes, raspberries, strawberries, aubergines, carrots and beets harvested there which have been delicious. But the deer think so too. Laura is on a mission to try and catch the little buggers... to the extent of going down in the middle of the night. We've put the scarecrow back up and even resorted to some less obvious and more gross techniques but to no avail. It keeps coming back.
Saturday is change over day at the yurts, so goodbye to one family including a little boy of 5 who helped with the animal feeding (and testing the electric fence) and hello to lovely young couple. Laura and me on yurt cleaning duty... like being JLo in Maid in Manhattan but in yurts. Lovely fresh bed linen, sunflowers on the table, apple tart baked and mountains of washing up later and the site is ready. Good job as guests are 2.5 hours early. We are pros.
As well as keeping the small-holding ticking over and looking after the guests (who don't really require too much looking after to be fair) we have been doing some projects and trips
Flushed with having been so useful a lot of time was then spent celebrating in a hammock with a good book or eating. I have eaten VERY well this holiday. We made pizzas from scratch, risotto with garden veggies, chips and eggs from the chickens, bacon in suet pastry, pasta bakes... I have never been so full. And what with all the fresh bread and cheese we are all now waddling a little bit. But in a really happy way. We've walked down to the local town Lalinde for bread some mornings, eaten brioche others. Lalinde is beautiful, right on the Dordogne river and has a wide selection of bakeries. Cakes very good. Almost too good.
We went to market day at Issigeac, an amazing medieval town south of Lalinde. We met the only crap crepe maker in France - tasted good but 2/10 for style. Amazing overhanging buildings and winding streets. Good fun times in taking pictures making it look like we were supporting the buildings... we are so mature. And not at all touristy.
We then got all prehistoric and took a trip east to the Vezere Valley where there are more caves than you can shake an acacia stick at. We chose the Grotte de Rouffignac. You arrive early and get on board a little electric train which takes you 10km down into the most incredible cave network
I have not until now mentioned the pets. I am trying not to get too attached as I leave tomorrow but this is hopeless. Hairy (named after Hairy McLarey) is a small, black dog with poodle-like hair which is constantly picking up burrs, leaves, straw, bits of dead thing. He is like a very small What-a-Mess. I have spent a not inconsiderable amount of time grooming him this week and in one memorable instance bathing him in a wheelbarrow when after having a little accident he was surrounded by a cloud of flies
Today, my second to last day, we went to a chateaux. It had towers. It was big. It was awesome. Chateaux de Biron is south of Lalinde, close to Monpazier, and amazing old bastide town. Biron looked to have been built over a many centuries with very little in the way of a plan but some very good ideas. The towers were cool and for some reason it had a porticoed courtyard with fairly minimal defensive purpose but looked damn smart. We had ice-cream. Good visit all round. Then into Monpazier where we ate too much pizza and almost died. Gorgeoous little market town though, with amazing arched walk ways around a market square. We waddled back to Brian and then had a very lazy rest of the day.
I've had the most amazing time, and it's been great to sit and chat to Laura and Alex about the places they've been, the people they've met and the things they've learned. It's an incredible way of life. There's so much satisfaction to be had from seeing the tree you felled, stripped and made into something useful, or eating veggies you harvested from the garden that afternoon with an egg you collected. Simple things but a lot to think about, and I'll be going home with my head in a slightly different place. Thank you guys for an amazing holiday and thank you to Alex, Clare, India and Finn for letting me stay in your lovely home. You are so lucky... it's a magical place.