Bonjour from rural France …

We are now relaxing in rural France at ‘Sept Fonts’, after a very busy time in Ireland! Well maybe not relaxing … 60 chickens, 5 sheep, 2 lambs, 8 ducks, 4 geese, 3 rabbits, 2 ginormous pigs [he is probably 300kg and she is probably 250kg – at least], 2 cats and 1 gorgeous dog are keeping us busy!! And also a couple of dozen geese /duck eggs in an incubator!! Which is not good when the power cuts out!!! One of our sheepees may have lambs over the next 10 days, although I think I would prefer them to do that when the Home Owners are back, although it would be very cool if we had brand new lambs! What an adventure πŸ’–

I love pigs, but this girl isn’t the cute pink 🐷 I was thinking of πŸ˜‚. They both love a scratch, but you wouldn’t get me in their pen, for all the money in the world!!

We applied for this sit a couple of months ago [it is in rural France] and we decided that we were up for the challenge and something different. The ‘home’ is an old Priory House which dates back to the 15th century. The current owners (from Ireland!) have decided to restore it and are currently 3 years into their project. It is going to be amazing [when it is finished], but in the meantime it is a labour of love!! I would love to visit here if we are ever back this way. Louis XIII stayed here in May 1621 during the seige of Saint-Jean Angely [Aulnay] – there is a plaque on the wall to commemorate his stay.

The walls of the ‘house’ are a couple of feet thick and are just amazing. It is the most beautiful limestone. There are several out buildings, but I think that they are past the point of restoration! In fact this beam blew down in the recent stormy weather we had!! It is so heavy, so it must of been some wind we had! I feel like I have been staying in my very ‘own’ castle …. if only I had servants πŸ˜‚ 🏰 πŸ’–

Our small village (Aulnay) has a supermarket and it sells wine [but not paracetamol?!?]. We sure don’t need to buy eggs though!! We are enjoying making our own meals again after our few weeks in Ireland – believe it or not, you get very disinterested in eating out night after night. It is only just up the road, so really very handy for us, which is great – less things to look at [because it’s small – although they do sell a variety of household decor things, gardening and a few clothes] It can be trying to decide what things are in French – I wanted tomato soup and got tomato purΓ©e – well it did have pictures of tomatoes it!

The landscape that surrounds us is really flat and grows wheat, barley and sunflowers. For as far as the eye can see, it is a kaleidoscope of greens and browns. Spring is in the air but the trees still look ‘lifeless’, bare of leaf with their ‘arms’ stretching out, as they stand silently waiting for their leaves to burst forth. The paddocks are freshly ploughed (dark brown), recently ploughed (light brown), freshly seeded and sprouting, giving them a lime green glow, new growth which is apple green or a few weeks growth giving it a deep sea green. The horizon is scattered with huge wind turbines in every direction – standing like sentinels watching us, as we go about our daily lives (maybe I could write a science fiction book!!). We saw a lot of these [turbines] in Ireland as well.

We had a trip to Saint-Jean d’Angley which is the closet, biggish town! It had very cute buildings and we enjoyed just ambling around here. Because it was Sunday, most shops were closed although we did find a wonderful patisserie 😊 Mr Johnny B, if you are reading this … Colin said you would go mad trying to make things ‘square’ here! Actually, you just wouldn’t be able to! That wood has been in those buildings for hundreds of years … it is a little bit twisted and a lot crooked. πŸ”¨ πŸ”¨

The villages around our area of Charente-Martime are all very quaint. You can just imagine them with horse and carts passing up the cobbled lanes – although now a lot them have tarmac over the top! There are not a lot of footpaths to speak of, but it isn’t really very busy, so everyone in cars are pretty relaxed. The houses all look a bit sad at the moment, but I am sure they will be ‘picture perfect’ when the bougainvillea springs to life.

We have visited Cognac, which is home to Cognac!! There are so many distilleries here, most I have never even heard of. We went to Remy Martin and thought we would do a tour, but you don’t just turn up! You book and then you pay €30 each, which is nearly $50NZ each!! That is 10 bottles of wine!! I don’t even like Cognac, so we flagged booking a tour and just had a walk around the city. It is beautiful, has a lovely river and gorgeous park. I just love walking around and soaking up the people, the buildings and window shopping.

Le Jardins are open to the public at Hotel De Ville. They are very beautiful, the bulbs all coming up, the blossom trees all bursting forth. What a lovely park to be able to walk through.

I just love this ‘lady’ relaxing at the end of a waterway. I couldn’t work out who she was, as you were unable to read the plaque!! It has faded to the point of being useless and Google was no help either!

We have sat in a few squares and had coffee and cake, well actually I have had cake and shared a ‘corner’ with Colin. The patisseries are all just so unbelievably beautiful and neeeeeed to be eaten.

So that is us for now! We have visited a few more places, but I will catch you up on those next time!

“Travelling is an education itself”


4 thoughts on “Bonjour from rural France …

  1. What an amazing time you have had in your mini castle and to think Louis X111 stayed there, and there you are centuries later staying in the Priory surrounded by farm animals which wouldnt be too different from those centuries ago. Wonderful memories for you and more to come in Bulgaria. Bon chance!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Wow, we so remember this area having spent a week there. The Chateaux are amazing and we did the Remy Martin visit – but back when you didn’t have to pay!

    Liked by 1 person

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