Sunday, July 1, 2012


Jim and Rufus at the weir
Sunday - off to Cransac for a vide-grenier. We have driven through Cransac but never stopped here. It's a strange place - part of the Decazaville, Aubin basin and an area with an Victorian, industrial past and rather run-down looking. I got the following information from a web site, translated by Google from the French: 'A story with three faces, fruit, over time, the development of its three assets: the curative waters, the coal, the thermal gases.
Cransac Waters: The waters of Cransac know their heyday in the nineteenth century. At that time, they are known for treating diseases of the liver, while the steamers (small wooden huts) treat rheumatism. In 1805, nearly 4,000 attending hydrotherapy baths. Tour guides at the time Cransac place among the first spas in France. With the start of coal mining, the approach end sources: underground drilling and lead to the diminution of their flow. Waters cease to operate in 1888.
Cransac Mines: With industrialisation, the changing face of Cranbrook. Galleries are dug, huge heaps form, "discoveries" are emerging. Thirty mineshaft quadrille the village from north to south. More than 3000 workers work in the mines. After a century of mining, Cranbrook will be the first mine close to France in 1962. 
Cransac the Spa: The spa is reborn with the use of combustion gases from a natural underground in 1963. Acres of industrial ruins today suggest the way to a welcoming spa park and green.'
Well, you get the idea, but I'm not sure where the fruit comes in. We didn't try the waters.

Back to the vide-grenier - we couldn't find it and upon asking discovered it had been yesterday - we got the date wrong!

On the return home we explored areas we hadn't seen before and found this fort and clock tower at Aubin.

Tuesday - We couldn't understand where the bees were coming from in the kitchen until Jim investigated and opened the doors of the woodburner. There was a wild bee's nest up the chimney. Bees don't like smoke so we lit a fire to send them packing. A little while later we had a kitchen full of bees and smoke. We looked up at the chimney from outside and saw bees flying around the chimney tops to the woodburner and the cooker hood. We seem to have driven them from one chimney to the other. We are lighting a fire now from time to time to discourage their return to the first site and will keep an eye on the other one which is not so much of a problem.

The black redstarts which have been nesting on the mezzanine floor of the hanger have fledged and we have had to keep Rufus indoors to enable the young ones to find their wings, so to speak. Mother black redstart sheparded them over to the bank of trees behind the barn for safety.
We have spent several hours this week  listening to bird song and trying to identify the songsters. I have no skill at all with this. There is one call, Cyprien told us it was a bird, that makes one, dull repetative note all night long. It's very like a dripping tap. We cannot find out what it is, but we don't think that it is a bird. Any ideas on a postcard please . . .

Didier mowed the fields this week and had several hot days in which to do so. We think he probably got a couple of bales from them.
Grass cut and dried
Grass being baled
We found this in the River field after the grass had been cleared:

It is a deer skeleton minus the head and legs.

Saturday evening after eating out at 'Le Sphinx', the restaurant in the market place, we attended a concert in Figeac (Francis Mitterand Centre) given by The Blue Lake International Southern Winds Orchestra. This is a youth orchestra from Michigan, USA.
Not a good picture - taken with my iPhone and flash
As usual, there being no written programmes, we were unable to grasp the names of the pieces being played. During my interval visit to the cloakroom I asked two members of the orchestra what they had been playing - they didn't know! I got this information from their website: 'The 2012 Blue Lake Southern Winds, under the direction of Bill Monroe, is comprised of the instrumentation found in a traditional symphonic wind ensemble, with woodwind, brass and percussion sections. The group's repertoire will range from traditional American symphonic literature to orchestral transcriptions and classic marches, such as Sousa's Stars and Stripes Forever'. We enjoyed it, anyway.

At the restaurant earlier Jim was persuaded! to buy a kiss from a strangely dressed girl. I think she was collecting for a charity.
Why is he looking at me?

Jim has been attending to the Nature Walk this week as it had become very overgrown and wet in places where the path has been breached by streams. Rufus hated the thistles growing in the grass.
Strimmed pathway

Cutting back the brambles

Water diversion
We like to send walkers from the campsite down the road on this loop - it adds about 15 minutes to their itinerary.

Spreading Bell-Flower (Campanula patula)


  1. What lovely times you are having. Summer in la France profonde. Interesting information about the Cransac mines, the gas and the coal.Not much baling of hay here. The rain continues, the jet stream is well set in its unorthodox position and there is nothing we can do. Rain and grey cloud almost everyday.

  2. That walk through the woods - like an aisle in the most beautiful church or a garden designed for weddings - lovely.