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France 2011 Week 1 Part 2

Friday, June 3, 2011

Puilaurens CastleSeveral days of nearly constant drizzle and rain combined with winds stong enough to knock you flat on your @** have been fabulous for Joe’s world of writing inside the house…but not so great for my desire to clean up the gardens. A barbed, wheat-looking, highly invasive weed has taken up residence in every one of the upper terrace gardens. It’s wide spreading, shallow roots choked out the beautiful poppies of last spring and have all but strangled the lavender and rose bush. Looks like I’ll need to do major replanting. Remembering the nasty rash I got last year from the stinging nettle which hides among the other weeds, I donned long sleeves and gloves to begin tackling the clean up. But the rain & cold temps resumed, so I retreated back into the dryness of the house. Perhaps tomorrow…

Napping has become a regular occurrence for us on these damp, quiet days. Dozing during an indoor task, like reading or lacemaking, seems to lead to a full-on nap. Let’s just say, the cats are fans. Speaking of cats; they’ve had a little trouble with the 6 hour time change. Mihlaud turns into a ‘Siamese Acrobat’ somewhere between 3:30 and 5:30am as he walks the tightrope railing which surrounds our loft bedroom, giving me the illusion that he’s about to fall to the living room a floor below. Why would he do this?? For breakfast of course. How better to get his mom out of bed than to appear suicidal.

Dined out for lunch the other day at one of our near-local hot spots. Le Viaduc in Lapradelle sits at the base of the mountain where the ruins of Puilaurens Castle looms masked in gloomy, grey clouds of dispair. Even on a clear day this castle finds a way to create its own gloomy weather system. Legend has it that Dame Blanche was imprisioned in the tower here by her husband, the ruling Lord of the Castle. Not sure what she may have done to deserve such a fate, but when the opportunity came along to fling herself out a window to a nasty, rocky death…she took it. Some say she still roams the castle ruins bemoaning her unhappy life and subsequent suicide. But I digress.

Three FishDining at Le Viaduc for lunch in all months that school is in session means sharing the restaurant with 14 darling, fresh-faced pre-schoolers who (lead by the very strict looking teacher) march from the school a block away, single file across the busy D117, and into the restaurant where their Mideival length dining table awaits them. Even the smallest children in France dine in 3 courses – how civilized! Cutest thing was how they all banged their knives and forks on the table in unison between their entree and plat du jour. Their smiling faces and lack of admonishment from the teacher lead us to believe this were a daily ritual.

Today I told Joe it was Tuesday June 2nd….how surprising upon checking the cell phone for confirmation to find out it’s actually Wednesday June 1st. Funny how on vacation keeping the day and date becomes a goal often failed. Next week will be a bit easier for me to keep track as Monday Bruno (a local carpenter) comes to install the screen doors & a screen window he’s making for us at his shop, Tues-Thurs we’ll be wine tasting in Bordeaux, and Friday we’re being evaluated for a phone line: step 1 to get home internet…but don’t hold your breath on when we’ll actually be connected (we’ve scoured the walls for a T shaped phone plug-in which we seem to lack). But for this week I’ll likely keep guessing on the day and date (like it really matters anyway).

We had our first village annoucement today!! See there are loudspeakers strategically mounted on electric poles throughout the village and when something really groovy is taking place the Tourist Office plays Barry White’s ‘My First, My Last, My Everything’ through the speakers to get our attention (works for us everytime!). Then a nice lady tells us what the happening of the day is. Today it was that a fish truck has pulled into town and all of the villagers had the opportunity to buy fruits of the sea. Since Axat doesn’t have a poissonnerie, this was a big opportunity we promptly chose to accept! Mmmmm – fresh trout!

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