Sunday, September 26, 2010

Bridges and Beaches

Nice dog at Prunet
 We finally managed to do something that we should have done a while ago – get our hair cut. Jim was looking like an aged hippie and I had to scrape back my fringe to see the computer.
Jim made a note of some useful phrases like ‘short, back and sides’ and ‘no lacquer, thank you’ in passable French and we went into Maurs in search of a unisex salon where we could be shorn together.
It wasn’t the ordeal we expected and it had the added benefit of not being asked where we were going on holiday or if we had somewhere nice to go that evening. No picture of us with shorter hair so look at this instead:

Bob and Eleanor getting in their Xmas holly last week
 We have been having a palaver with French bureaucracy about getting the car insured. We discovered when our British insurance came up for renewal that, in fact, it was only valid anyway for a month after our arrival in France and that we had been driving around uninsured for weeks! Our usual insurance broker told us that they could not reinsure us for driving in France, we would have to get it insured in France. The French insurers would only give us cover if we got the car registered in France – a process we trying to avoid but it appeared we were going to have to do it so we set the wheels in motion – as it were. All kinds of documents had to be produced and we needed to go to Aurillac to get something rubber stamped.

However, when we reported this state of affairs to friends and family many people came up with suggestions. The winner was Peter S.L.B. who recommended Zurich who were prepared to cover us for 60 days, thus covering the period of the rest of our stay here and no need to have the car reregistered.
Peter and Jennifer with wrong chateau at Muret
We collected Peter and Jennifer from Rodez on 17th Sept and we crammed in a lot of activity during their stay here. On Sunday I proposed a trip to visit Chateau de la Servayrie about an hours drive to the South. The idea was good but the planning was bad. I left the guide sheet on the roof of the car as we drove off so when we came to choose the route later we mixed up the place name Mourat with Muret and went to the wrong chateau which was up a steep climb and wasn’t open to the public – only discovered after we had made the effort. Luckily, I discovered the right chateau wasn’t too far away and it was still open when we arrived. It was worth the visit. I have added it to the visitors book.

Chateau Servayrie at Mouret
 On Monday the Cowbridge hordes descended en masse. The Knapps and the Bakers arrived for two days. I put them in the gîte and the rest of us cosied up in the house. Together we had a very jolly time – the wine and whisky flowing. And into Figeac on Tuesday where we were treated to a meal – thank you. 
Pictures of this next time when Mike Baker emails his photos to me.
We saw them off on their separate ways on Wednesday and as the weather was warm and sunny we four went to the lakes. This time we tried Espinet beach and liked it. We sat reading and browning for a couple of hours.
Beach at Espinet
Thursday was a day out to Millau to the bridge again because Peter was interested to see it. The weather was fine and we arrived at Millau in time for lunch. We did the same trip as before - under, round and over the bridge, stopping in Peyre for a walk and a viewing. Excellent day and anyone else visiting can request the guided tour – no extra charge.
View of Millau Bridge from Peyre
 In between the outings, visitors, shopping and whatever, Peter found time to almost hack his way through the brambles to complete the first part of the nature walk. However nature intervened as on Friday morning the rain, which had started the night before continued in a business-like way and put an end to the work.

Garage at Peyre
 We watched two films this week. Certified Copy – only the French version. They were talking in English mostly with French subtitles but frequently broke into French or Spanish. We were mystified. On the S.L.B.’s last evening we saw White Christmas, which three of us had never seen before. We loved it – some great dancing and singing.

Peter and Jennifer have gone and the French brothers, Malek and René are here again for a few days. Then we have no visitors for four weeks until Matthew and Andre arrive. I am taking bookings now, its not too late and the nuts are ripening.
Toad on front steps

Free night in the gite if you know what this is

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