A New Season in Salignac

Yes, with Spring finally arriving, the tourists are starting to appear in the village. It’s always nice to see and brings commerce to life. The local market on the Square has just begun again, and I am constantly reminded of when we first came here, and how I enjoyed the typical French village life.Learning and listening to the language. I would never have dreamt I would end up doing English translations for the Chateau de Salignac itself.

I have been working this month on new material for it, and increasing my knowledge of this wonderful building.

Renovations have been continuing since last year, it is a constant job, and one not made for the faint hearted. Physically challenging, father and son have constructed floors, staircases, and the ever present problem of the leaking roof. This is complicated, as it also involves the ” charpentier ” the local builder/carpenter. A highly respected craftsman too, but he is also very busy on other sites. Only with his expert knowledge of the roof and the “lauze “stones that cover it, can they proceed. Now several weeks of waiting for him, they are finally getting to work. A massive task as these stones weigh I ton per square meter and there are 400 square meters to do !

A lot of restoration of inside has been done. A new floor renovated with a bedroom, complete with a medieval replica bed with canopy, a toilet and bathroom installed, and a total redesign of the living areas. Wall paintings have been discovered, revealing geometric shapes at the corners of windows and doorways, in pale red ochre, blue and yellow shades.

Surrounding the castle, on the slopes down to the buildings at the foot, which were once used as properties for the lords, fencing has been put up on the grassy hill to welcome a group of goats.These animals are to be put out to graze, just like in olden times. A lovely sight.
The Chateau re opens next month, and eagerly awaits the tourists to enjoy this new development of it’s continuing story.

About time


As I have often said on this blog, things in this village either go very slowly or suddenly happen. Even overnight. One such thing was to make our road, Rue Fenelon, one way. A good thing, as the road is actually not too wide, and the traffic goes up and down very quickly. My neighbour, Mr Lacombe has, he told me, been complaining about it for 25 years ! Well, one day a sign appeared at the top of the road, denoting it wasn’t possible to go down it anymore. Great. Even Mr Lacombe shouted “Victoire ” Victory, at last, waving his hands in the air. However, as you can imagine, some people either don’t see the sign, or just go down as usual. The local post van hurtles downwards, it must have some kind of dispensation. He is not best pleased, and is on the watch.

The other news is about having a bench installed for Barry in the cemetery. I went into the Marie, thinking I must ask where are we, 11 months later ? Surprised to be told that yes, they were repainting an old one ! We shall see. Have reminded them I would like it for the 30th May, the first anniversary of Barry’s death. Fingers crossed.

Florence and the goats


A few years back, I was teaching dance in Salignac. One of my pupils was Florence. A really nice French lady, who runs a dairy farm with her husband Jean-Paul, on the outskirts of the village. They specialize in goat’s milk and cheese which is absolutely delicious. I met her again recently, after a long period due to both’s busy lives, and she asked me for lunch . It was Easter weekend and all their family were there. The grandchildren hunting for eggs in the vast garden, listening for the bells ringing to herald they had landed. Yes, French tradition, the chocolate delights are flown in on golden bells with wings. Apparently.

The goat’s cheese is made with love and care, the animals grazing on hay in a open environment, well looked after and with respect for nature. The products are sold in local shops and Florence goes around many open air markets in the area during the week to sell the produce. It is hard work but very worthwhile she tells me.With more regulations on health and safety, the paperwork to justify everything has become more of a problem too.I am going again to do a fuller report and photos for next month.

Fifi’s stories of rural France
May 2023.

Fiona Alderman: One Year Later
Fiona Alderman: La Poste and other French things

This section: Fiona Alderman blogging from The Salignac Foundation France

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Avatar of PatByrne Publisher of Pat's Guide to Glasgow West End; the community guide to the West End of Glasgow. Fiction and non-fiction writer.

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