Fiona Alderman Blog: Another 14th of July
Blogging from Salignac in Rural France
The 14th July is so important and the National annual holiday for French people. I couldn’t believe I had forgotten? Where has the year gone to I say. I went up to the supermarket but everything was closed of course. Happily we had food, wine and cat food!! I have been caught out so many times, even after living here so long.
So many changes in the last year, and usually we would have a celebration, on the square and always fireworks, for La Fete Nationale. A bit sad. There was nothing this year, even the Cafe de La Place was closed.
By the next day all was very different– cars, camping cars and tourists hell bent on having their holiday despite restrictions were seen following each other relentlessly tail by tail. They have been flocking here to the Dordogne, which is undeniably one of the most attractive places to visit. From breathtaking scenery, gastronomic delights, to many different chateaux and beautiful gardens there are many attractions. Since last month our Chateau has been steadily welcoming visitors and that has been a delight for them. The village has really come to life again.
My big news though since last month has been the arrival of our Cartes de Sejour. ie to prove our residency here because of Brexit. A small card but after all the paperwork, a huge relief. We must carry this with us now, as proof of our status in France. Whenever the gendarmes stop us. No-one asking me as yet?
Living in France
When we first came to France, many years ago now, it was for many different reasons. We had no dependents and we felt we wanted to live “la belle vie “here. It was however not always easy and took time to settle in. The first thing was to improve our language skills. I already had a fair knowledge, having gone to the Alliance Francaise in Glasgow but I started to go to local classes in France both formally at a training school, and also conversation classes more informally in a Cafe setting with coffee and cakes! However it is just hearing it every day in ordinary settings like the baker, in the Cafe, the supermarket that has improved my French, an having the willingness to learn.
I recently met a Dutch couple who were thinking of living in France too. However a slightly different way from us. With the Covid pandemic more and more people are deciding they can work from anywhere and many are moving from busy city lives to quieter rural ones.
Over 400,000 Parisians have moved to buy a secondary home in areas like the Dordogne where business is booming. Life has certainly changed since Covid, where working from home is now a reality. Young couples too with a family are also attracted to the countryside and watching the numerous programmes on tv about this area has totally captured attention.
There is quite a lot of property for sale including in our village. I’ve noticed in the last year a new influx of people buying property and the prices are still reasonable. The village has changed a lot since our arrival 21 years ago. It went through a downwards path at one point with less commerce and fewer chances of work, but has revitalized in the last few years. Despite Covid.
Yes our little cat is enjoying the tourist season too. With people passing by to visit the Chateau they stop to admire her. She is very sociable, perhaps too much so? I am afraid someone will steal her. She was absent one afternoon for rather a long time and this is unusual as she has her favourite places to sit in the sun and to watch the birds. I went to my neighbour our Menu du jour man who feeds her, but no luck.
I searched everywhere until the early evening. Then I believed I heard her? I called out and yes, she was stuck in Monsieur “menu du jour’s” garage. Not for the first time either. A huge space and appealing it seems to her, with old beds and cushions up in the loft , which is quiet and cool. She came out quite unperturbed, and straight in to us and something to eat of course.
I took her to the vet recently to get her yearly vaccinations; trotting off with her in her basket. As we adopted her, I don’t know her early history? The previous owner adopted three kittens from the Cat rescue, one of which was Missy and so the vet has luckily some details of this. She is a very good little patient, sitting quietly while the vet examines her. She is very much loved it seems. A real sweetheart ❤️
Fifi’s Stories from rural France. July 2021.
That’s all for this month. Stay safe and well.
Salignac Foundation. Short courses in dance and film. Perhaps resuming this summer.
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