A week in a gite

Trip Start Nov 27, 2009
Trip End Ongoing

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Flag of France  , Limousin,
Monday, October 17, 2011

A little holiday for Laura and me. We deserve it. A little gite in Saint-Moreil near Limoges with a wood fire for those chilly October evenings and a tiny antique French double bed. The owner was very explicit that this was not a luxurious place. We thought it was with rooms (plural), bathroom, wood burner, TV, places to sit that are not the bed, and a bed bigger than in our van. Brian even had her own stable!

Saint-Moreil is on the side of a steep hill, surrounded by forest. A day trip to Limoges found us exploring the city's botanical gardens rather than the world famous ceramics industry. We did do a quick lap of the old quarter and the butchers' quarter and then back to looking at plants and their Latin names. So it is not surprising that our week of choice involved pottering around in the countryside foraging, plant id and carving with a couple of lakes to potter around too. I finished the oak spoon that Marc and Aimee gave to me (see previous blog "Mon Francais est terrible!").

The local "oldies" were very friendly. From the lady in the church, looked like she would have been a WI mainstay and flower arranged to impress, we learnt about the history of the village (named after a saint would you believe?) and the plaster on the walls. If I understood her correctly there are murals and friezes on the walls. The church dates back to about the 12th century and the paintings were something-old. About fifty years ago, a man (or was it a fifty year old man?) decided to help the church and replastered the walls, smothering the ancient decorations. Careful investigation has revealed a little of the art of red and yellow ochre with some blue and black too. But they couldn't or can't tell him off because it was fifty years ago or he is fifty or maybe both.

Later in the week, we caught the eye of an old local man, dressed in the rural uniform of shirt and baggy trousers over bowed legs. He might have noticed us because I was carrying a wicker basket on my head. Not in the fashion to be able to carry something in it. That was evident as it was upside down on my noggin with the handle forming the chinstrap of my helmet. Laura had seen a few small mushrooms a few days earlier and they looked like they might be the delicious parasols but they were too small at that time to be positive. So we went to investigate after a few days growth and harvest as appropriate. They'd gone. Clearly edible. All over France we have been delighted to see people still harvesting wild food. On our return to the village, the same man saw me with the basket held in a more orthodox manner. "What have you there?" he enquired, I think. I had to show him our less exciting haul of sweet chestnuts (there are loads and loads of them here, like they grow on trees) and hazelnuts (which we were quite excited about but not so for the locals, again they regard them as if they grow on trees). So we "discussed" the poor mushroom growing weather this year.

Again we tried to follow a sign that we have seen on a few occasions - Musee de Resistance. I've always wanted to know more about that side of the war. Well we failed again. A couple of years ago we were there but couldn't quite find it, too well hidden. Last year we didn't have time to stop. This time we were a few days late as it is only open for the long summer season. Not the cheapskate tourist season of October!

Well these end of season / out of season travellers had a wonderful time on the free attractions such as local waterfalls. "Brown signed" from miles away, with a small parking area and adjacent picnic area, and then a signed 1 km trek to the attraction, we expected something quite dramatic - they were lovely but not spectacular and we enjoyed drifting along the riverbank.  Limousin is a very beautiful, natural region.
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Linda Edwards on

Well girls I have really enjoyed reading about your adventures and looking at the photos.
From an "oldie" in Italy

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