Les poissons en France

Sunday, December 31, 2017

Obsessional about chopping trees

It doesn't matter what size they are!

We had talked about "shaping" the field maple tree in the courtyard as part of creating the Japonaise garden however I was a little surprised this morning when the chainsaw and ladder appeared.

He has been in Bonsai mode recently as they need repotting, shaping, training etc before the sap starts to rise. However as he is a "Herring, ie his father's son, (those of you who knew Alf will understand perfectly) repotting means buying new pots and whilst your there you just happen to bump into one or two other shrubs that just cry out to be turned into bonsai. Extending the Bonsai bed is already scheduled.
I dont think the hard hat was really necessary for the bonsai!!

Wednesday, December 27, 2017

So that was Christmas!

Christmas Day duly arrived and Sue insisted that it was necessary to go for a walk before lunch (to work up an appetite?)  We left home in lovely sunshine ... and arrived at our destination (Lac Vert) in mist and cold.
So, back home to the sun and Christmas dinner.
Boxing day here in France is just a normal working day and we all went to Lalbenque for the Tuesday Truffle market.  It was packed, not only with lots of curious folk (and a few buyers) but also an astonishing number of sellers.  There were 2 rows of stalls in the middle of the road.

It's always a fascinating display of country folk who still adhere to old ways.

To round off this festive season we waited till it was dark and then went to Lunegarde where the whole of this tiny village decorate their houses.
So that was Christmas.  Must pack the tree away now!

Thursday, December 21, 2017

Christmas is coming!

Things are hectic here with almost every town and organisation holding Christmas markets or concerts.  At the weekend Sue and I started with a small local Carol Concert on the Friday evening.  It was held in the church of a neighbouring village which was, as they all are, decorated with illuminations.
The church has been redecorated at some point, in a very 'naif' style.
Saturday we went into Cahors for an Artists Market which was held in a part of the Medieval City which we have never discovered before.
The stalls were spread along the streets but it was cold and so, as Sue needed a toilet, we had to go into a bar for a glass of vin chaud (the french version of mulled wine).

Sunday we were going to go to a local tourist spot for another Christmas market but it rained all day so we chickened-out and stayed at home to have our own private celebration meal (and champagne!!)

Yesterday Sue's cousin Linda, and her husband Mike arrived for Christmas week and we started them off in style with a meal at the local Catering College.  We all enjoyed it, made more interesting as the pupils waiting at table were being watched and marked for an exam!

And then ...this morning Father Christmas arrived.
He is a lovely man in the village who spends this time leading up to Christmas visiting lots of local events in his role as Father Christmas.  Everywhere he goes he leaves joy behind him.

Monday, December 11, 2017

Good Customers

Last Saturday we went to our usual local Garden Centre to look see what suitable shrubs they had which we can use in the developing 'Japanese' courtyard.  We didn't see anything instantly inspiring ... but, in wandering amongst the Hedging section I saw a potential bonsai!  It was a Norway Maple and so its main drawback is the size of its leaves, however the trunk showed great promise.

We went home and I managed to convince myself that it would be 'worth a go', so this Monday morning we returned.  As it was the only one there, in a battered pot, which they had obviously had for some years, and was in a condition which no French person would buy (and not even most English!) I was ready to haggle on the price of 35 euros.  So you can imagine my delight when the proprietor (who now knows us well!) looked at the tree and exclaimed, "Where did you find that?".  He then said, "It's a gift for you"
That's what you get for being a good customer!

Saturday, December 09, 2017

Braving the Dark

As qualified 'old people' we do find it a little daunting to go to events in these dark, cold winter evenings when we could stay comfortably indoors in the warm!
However yesterday evening we braved the elements to go to a concert in a church in Cahors.
The Chorale de Cahors were performing an Argentine Mass, the Misatango, with a string quintet, a bandonĂ©oniste, and the composer of the piece, Martin Palmeri, on the piano.  We have been to a similar work by another Argentinian composer, Astor Piazzolla, and we really enjoyed both the concept of using tango rhythms and also the Bandoneon, the iconic instrument of the tango sound.
We got to the church about a quarter of an hour before the start, and to our amazement the church was nearly full.  We had expected, as usual in France that most people would arrive just before it started and that it would start half an hour late!!!
The first half of the evening was a performance of Spring from  The Four Seasons: After Vivaldi
This was an instrumental work featuring the String Quintet, the bandonĂ©onist and Palmeri, the composer, on piano.  And we both loved it; very different to the Mass which was the second half of the evening, and it was great to watch the interaction between the conductor, the musicians and the choir.
It was an evening which repaid the effort to go out on a cold, dark night and sit on uncomfortable, little wooden chairs in a vast church.