Fiona Alderman Blog: The Reopening of the Chateau
Reopening of the Chateau de Salignac
After many years and a lot of restrictions due to Covid, the Chateau has opened its beautiful arched doors to welcome us again. I went to visit it and was transported back in time. I’ve done a lot of translations for the English/Dutch visitors and learnt a great deal by doing so.
Walking through the castle, still only partially open due to further restorations, I was struck by the sense of history just on my doorstep. It survived the Hundred Years War, the Wars of Religion and even though this part of France was occupied by the Germans during the Second World War, it stands proudly defiant to all.
However, a lot of precious archive material was lost in the 12th and successive centuries, when the castle was broken up and the villagers ransacked it to take precious documents to burn on the local square. The castle fell into decline and passed from owner to owner. At one stage one of the towers collapsed and its adjoining Chapel, never to be reconstructed. By the 1920’s major works were undertaken and the form we see today comes from this period.
The present owners bought it in 2006 and have thrown themselves into its latest stage of restoration. The lauze roof is one of the most expensive and help is required from the State and Monuments Historiques to instal this.
My lovely neighbours have done wonders already and we are delighted too for them. They need to have a good summer season now in order to continue the restorations.
(Term Paper Galore by Bright Green Pants CC)
Yes, French and even UK bureaucracy are becoming a nightmare. I have been struggling for 6 months to renew both our passports. In order that we might have our Withdrawal Agreement Residency Permit or WARP for short, ie carte de sejour needed here for France. As from the 1st of July we need our proof of residency because of Brexit.
All has to be online too? We had a problem with that, when in rural France everything cuts down, the thunderstorms arrive, the printer and computer breaks down and then we run out of ink!
How do people manage in really out of the way places with no computer facilities? I have heard many horror stories of older Brits who can’t do the forms online. Thankfully there have been services to help them, but still. It took me time to complete it all and scan in all the proof of how long we had lived here. Get photos done too. That’s another thing, where to go for that? Luckily, again my faithful Epicier, the local shop, has a machine for exactly these kind of things.
So, we have to go to Perigueux for the rdv after having completed this online, and this is over an hour away. Barry has mobility problems and I can’t drive. Friends to the rescue and for this it was a French friend who took us. Great kindness and help.
We get there and is in an old building specially taken over for Brexit with signs and arrows everywhere? We had to take our newly renewed passports, two more photos each and proof of residence. Finger prints taken and it was done in 10 minutes? All that time beforehand in preparation and trepidation! We now wait for the actual cards to arrive, within a month she said.
So pleasant and we spoke in French of course!
A serious incident in the Dordogne
A very serious crime happened very near where we live, just a few weeks ago. A young man, ex military, was stalking his ex girlfriend with whom he had 3 children, he attacked her and he also shot her brother.
Terry Dupin, a troubled young man with a history of violence to his partner and was convicted 4 times, was arrested after a 36 hour hunt. After being shot by the GIGN, who are the police force of the highest rank and trained for hostage situations, he was taken to Bordeaux hospital where he is still recovering.
Apparently he had a difficult childhood, and in subsequent psychiatric assessments, he was shown to have an obsessive character, saying “I can no longer control myself “.
This all contrasts with his friends and work colleagues who said he was hard working and a quiet type.
After leaving the army he developed a taste for weapons, and was heavily armed dressed in warlike clothing, when he visited his ex girlfriend. He entered the house by the roof, hid in a closet before hitting her and shooting his brother in law.
Local residents heard screams, breaking dishes and gunshots. Soon 300 police would arrive plus helicopters, which we heard here, and wondered what was going on?
They tried to talk to him through a megaphone and each time Dupin fired off shots.
Already, he had an electronic bracelet for his former crimes, so they were able to track him down.
Who knows what will happen now? It hit all the newspapers and was the talk of the news for many weeks here. A quiet village in rural France? Not all the time.
Fifi’s Stories from rural France
Salignac Foundation. Short courses in dance and film. Perhaps resuming this summer.
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