Fiona Alderman: Blogging from Rural France – An empty Sunday in Salignac
After the busy summer, Salignac is winding down to the beginning of Autumn and the invasion of retired people coming to stay for a short holiday. Crowds of them have been seen walking up and down the hilly streets clutching maps and guide books. My little “Dutch house” that I look after has some guests in this week too from Holland and this was even a late booking.However apart from this, Salignac is suddenly very quiet.This weekend we had a lot of rain and I went to do my check on the leaking roof of another house to empty buckets, thinking what a strange day it was? Nothing was open in terms of shops, except for a few hours in the morning for the boulangerie and the supermarket. Everything seemed a bit miserable and I walked up to the square to have a look at the now empty market hall. It is beginning to look a little bit tatty, and I wondered how it will survive the winter? The weather too is very unusual for September, grey and raining and not the lovely light I like to photograph things with either. C’est la vie!!!
Cooking with Suze
I have a lovely French friend, called Suzanne or Suze as her husband calls her, who invited me to come and make ratatouille with her to prepare our stocks for winter.We had recently been given a freezer from them and this was a real boon, being able to freeze things like soups and stews , vegetables and lots of ratatouille!
She is always a busy person who does like to talk whilst she is flying about the kitchen so you need to be on top form for her, but it is all done with laughter and good humour. We gathered tomatoes from her garden, chopped aubergines, courgettes, garlic and onions to prepare them for a huge pot to go on the cooker.Whilst this was bubbling away, we went off to gather peaches from the garden which is a maze of delights. It is not an ordered sort of garden but a huge jumble of herbs, vegetables and fruits all striving to be chosen to be eaten and enjoyed. We made peach conserves and bottled them ready for the freezer. I was worn out by then,but she just kept on going! I went home with many bottles of food
ready for the freezer and a heart full of thanks.Another touching French way of kindness.
The last days
I have been very sad to see some new found friends leave here. I met some English people a few months ago who asked me to do some French classes for them.I remember when Sheelagh came up to me in the bar to ask if I was Fiona? We had seen them a few times before and had thought they were just on holiday.I never would have thought that I would be asked to do French lessons to help them with their , as it turned out to be, rather longer visit, and would turn out so well . Knowing a bit of the language made them very welcome here and appreciated by the locals. They had little names for people like Mrs Geranium (baker) Mister Atelier (hamburger seller) and Miss Pinup (the local beauty) who all ended up communicating quite well with them in a curious half English , half French way! We did have so many laughs over the correct pronounciations of things!! However, funnily enough, they know Glasgow pretty well, relating Ashton Lane, Byres Road and pubs all around where they had happy memories of holidays and it makes me very nostalgic. I am even thinking about a little trip back home!
We had a “Scottish curry “ with them at home recently, made with spices from France and Morocco and meat that was not exactly Aberdeen Angus, but it all turned out very well.
Everyone seems to be packing up to go but I know we will meet up again, maybe in Glasgow?
Fifi’s story from rural France . October 2015.
Dance and film courses in the Dordogne.
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