Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Happy Holidays!

The Cantal Countryside
 The family who had booked the gîte arrived from the UK on Saturday evening having done the journey in one go – a mammoth effort. They arrived tired and hungry but everything was ready for them and after sharing the meal I had prepared they retired to the gîte.

They sadly left after a few days. The parents loved it here, beautiful scenery and quiet and peaceful, just what they needed after their stressful working lives. The children (a boy of eleven and a girl fifteen) were bored with country life. They wanted entertainment, bright lights and, probably, companions of their own ages. They bickered and squabbled, forcing their parents to abandon the holiday and leave. They are a nice family I hope they found a more suitable holiday elsewhere.

So, for anyone else considering a visit to Moulin du Clout I shall spell it out. This is France Profound. Life is simple here and we mostly make our own pleasures. We have no swimming pool, no games room (although that is being considered for next year) and no television (either French or English).

What we do have is lovely scenery suitable for walking in, exploring nature (flora, fauna and rocks) or just lounging around in with a book in hand, glass of wine at your elbow. Other pursuits could include painting and sketching (Jim does this), writing (poems, stories or that novel you are always meaning to have a go at), photography, fishing (small fry), blogging (you could write your own holiday journal), studying (yes, I know it’s a holiday, but brushing up on your French verbs or Napoleonic history is never wasted) and learning Bridge (I can teach you!) Any other ideas for entertainment (polite, clean and suitable) would be welcome. We already have bareback riding and ping-pong, thank you.

Apart from the nature walk (still under construction, wasps nest gone) we have plans for a boules piste and for turning the wood-chopping barn into a games room (as previously mentioned). The wood-chopping will be relocated to the old stables. Adjacent to the barn is the bread oven so if some renovation takes place to this area pizza parties can be held under cover whatever the weather.

Jim is always happy to have help in and around the domaine, ‘playing’ with the tractor, cutting logs, hacking undergrowth and fixing fencing etc.

I never go anywhere without taking some sewing, embroidery or knitting and my Sudoku book.

There are some interesting places to visit – but not many chateau of any note, mostly small towns and villages, the volcano area and the lakes where there are beaches suitable for swimming and other water pursuits, but the rest is up to you.

My previous posts have shown how we have entertained ourselves and the rest of this one includes some pictures (many donated by Andre and Marcelle taken during their stay here) of other activities.

If the weather is inclement you need to be more resourceful and self-sufficient. I have provided some books and games in the gîte and we are able to show some films on a large screen in the house. If things get really bad we can all hunker down in the house in front of the woodburner watching ‘A Sound of Music’ and opening bottle after bottle.

Look forward to seeing you soon.
Dino, Bo and Saskia shopping in the market

Firing pottery

Fired clay tile
Dino and Bo toast marshmallows
The beach at D'Espinet

Using the tractor

Shield Bug - Coreus marginatus
Brief glimpse of a deer through car window
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1 comment:

  1. I think the bareback riding suggestion is a terrific one. How many horses have you got? You mention stables in the plural which is optimistic. If you've more than one horse then riding could be expanded into racing and then you could encourage the village to come down and lay bets - always a good source of extra income. When the horses were not actually racing or in the stables perhaps they could be taken hunting and then you might get more than the fleeting glimpse of the deer. In fact the horses could be used - as they are in the Camargue I believe - to round-up the local wildlife each autumn. Just imagine cantering down the hillside, splashing across the river and then racing away through Didier's field, just like the Wild West. If, you really have only one horse, or the other is lame, perhaps, then there's always driving. You must be able to procure an old cart and with the help of some old tyres or straw bales you could make a course and time yourselves around it. Or in winter a ploughing competition with the horse plough. In fact, bring the village in and you could be having a Gymkana! I'm sure you could run up a few rosettes on your machine!

    How on earth two teenagers could possibly become bored at the Mill is way beyond my comprehension. They must be singularly unimaginative.