Fiona Alderman’s Blog: A Shower at the Chateau
A shower at the chateau
There has been so much going on here the last few months that I hardly know where to start?
From hospital visits to leaking boilers it has been a test of the French language in all its wonders. We have had a boiler problem for a while now, but it finally decided to give up on us. Leaking with calcium deposits that filled several buckets, it was time to renew it. Our wonderful neighbour, the plumber who is retired now, has had several call outs with the same problem in our street? So much for living in 800 year old houses, I say. After much tight pursing of the French mouth, we were advised to get a new boiler, which was not available locally either I might add. When he and another neighbour tried to fix the new one up on the wall, a huge monster tank of 150 litres, we were told it wouldn’t fit! The brackets were the wrong size. However during this time a shower wasn’t possible and I had the offer to come down to the chateau to take my shower when I wanted. Again we have noticed such kindness and help here. I did go one morning, towel and essentials in a bag to the little house they have for guests just beside the castle. It was originally the guardian’s house. Covered totally in ivy, it is small and compact. They are restoring this to the original stone. What a nice relief to have a cool shower and then to be invited to have a coffee afterwards. Such a lovely French couple, who are renovating the chateau with the help of family and private funding. It is a slow process. probably another 20 years. The new boiler was finally installed here more or less 5 days later, perhaps quick in terms of French time? However in terms of neighbours’ kindness and help it is very well appreciated from us.
The White Picnic
On the outskirts of Salignac is a 17th century Manor house and vast gardens named Jardins D’Eyrignac.
Billed as the most beautiful garden in the Perigord, it sits high on the hills overlooking magnificent countryside. In July and August they have picnics on the lawns where the theme is white and you have to come dressed all in white.Unique idea.Situated near huge fountains and gorgeous blooms of white roses you can enjoy a cocktail,listen to soothing music and watch, at the end of the evening, a firework display.
The rest of the gardens are in the French style, 10 hectares and 300 sculpted plants that are manicured to the finest point by a team of gardeners trained especially for this time consuming task.
It is a very unusual place, somewhere to reflect and to enjoy the calming atmosphere.
I went on the guided tour one year when we first came here,there was a good translation I remember into English, as we went round with headsets and clipboards.I must do it again in French.
Then, the house wasn’t open to the public, but as from this year there are now visits to the Manor which has been inhabited by the same family for 500 years.
I shall plan a little trip I think.Maybe not for the white picnic as I usually spill things and I don’t therefore haven’t anything white to wear!
The Pigeon House
Local news this month.I did wonder what the little house on stilts was in one of my last articles?
It is a nesting box for pigeons.I saw them flying in and out recently.There are also plenty of feathers on the ground too.However there has been a culling of them in recent years as they are destroying the roofs so I am uncertain what is happening.
To finish with, I had a student recently who came for English lessons, who asked me about Scottish expressions.Where to start really?
I thought of my grandmother who was a real character and would come out with the classics such as:
Haud yer weisht, beyond the pale, dinnae fash yerself, stop dithering, keep yer pecker up and glaikit.How to translate that into French?
She is very interested in going to Scotland one day, so we have made a start!
That’s all for now from rural France.I love it.
Fifi’s stories from rural France. August 2018.
Contemporary dance and film courses at Salignac, S.W. France
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