Added on Friday 28 Jul 2006
Written by Fiona Alderman.
I am writing this monthly diary piece, because, Barry, unfortunately has had another tumble and is unable to sit at the old keyboard for too long. Due to moving an extremely heavy washing machine, he fell backwards onto our hard stone floor and crushed/ double fractured several of his vertebrae's. Ouch! The French emergency services were called, and I have to say they seem always to consist of very handsome men, and he was transported very speedily to hospital. Having been through this before, we knew what to expect? However there is always a "wild card " This being in the nature of Barry's fellow room mate. He would never lie still in his bed, twisting and turning all the time to get out of it and invariably unhooking his medical drips and setting off the room's alarm. He was eventually put into a strait jacket, which was even worse. Barry had little or no sleep during this time and was quite concerned about his own safety. Eventually he said in his own inimitable fashion " Merde, je m'en vais " in English", "To hell with this I am off!" one particular nurse, whom I disliked because of her uncaring manner, was not happy with this at all and we were treated to a great deal of French disdain. Barry is recovering slowly but has had to wear a white hard plastic corset, which makes him very uncomfortable as well as being extremely hot. The heat has been unbearable the last month or so, often in the late 30 degrees.
What I have experienced, both with our French friends and neighbours, is the extent of kindness and offers of help. Because I don't drive, there has been even more probably. Even now it continues with their concern for us. People rally round to help in these situations without question. Maybe we have lost this in the big city life?
One day, whilst on a little walk with a friend around the village, we found a discarded box with lots of goodies that had just been abandoned outside a house. Looking into it we saw a quite attractive stone with fish printed onto it. Nothing special. However, this has turned out to have some kind of significance. Experts have told us that it is a genuine fossil. There has been a quite astonishing flurry of excitement between museums and collectors all vying for first place to have it? It has gone to a Perigeux expert where it will remain probably for further analysis. My friend is to be interviewed and has already been asked to take a conference on this very stone! What to say? We found it absolutely by luck, not realising what it was and that is of course how the famous Lascaux Caves (near us in Montignac) were originally found. Two small boys were retrieving their dog from a cave and came across the most amazing treasures.
I would have never have believed I would be doing a guided tour (in French) of a 400 year old chestnut tree!
This is part of a local tourist attraction, which organises activities every summer, in which life and work in the olden days are explained and demonstrated. The tree weighs 40 tons, is 5 metres high with a diameter of 2/ half metres. An artist was asked to sculpt it. He dug out the interior (Wow, you can imagine that) to enable a spiral staircase with 35 steps to be built .It is called L'Arbre De Vie. I.e. The Tree of Life. The staircase represents the spiral of life and depicts the history of Salignac. The ascent is a journey through time towards modernity. You reach the balcony where there is a marvellous view of the chateau. Children love it of course but it is not possible to be a large size as it is very narrow inside. I worry every time I see someone a little bit big!
Until next time from rural France.
As I am know able to sit at the keyboard for short spells I thought that I would add a thank you to Fiona for filling you in with all my troubles and woes. Two months after the accident things are beginning to ease up even though it is still difficult to get comfortable! Thank god I don't have to wear the corset anymore, though. However, depending on which surgeon I saw in the hospital, and there were three of them, I was told that it could take from 4 weeks to three months to heal. Take your choice! Apart from Fiona's job we now have a son of a friend staying with us for some weeks, as he is an apprentice at the local boulangerie/patisserie, this involves him getting up to work in the middle of the night returning about nine in the morning. Some life but he loves it. At least we get free bread every morning!
Rural France? I love it.
?Barry Paton & Fiona Alderman. July 2006