Added on Thursday 26 Oct 2006
The other Sunday evening Fiona and I were in the caf? (as is our want) and we were discussing what we were going to eat. Deciding that beef bourguignon was to be it for the evening I realised that we did not have any red cooking wine in the house, a shame to waste the decent stuff, and by this time the shops had closed I asked Manu, the barmaid, for a bottle of the house red. Explaining that it was for the cuisine that evening she asked ?Scottish???Oh no? I replied, ? We are going to have beef bourguignon tonight, traditional French.?She seemed genuinely puzzled by this response. ?But is your cousin Scottish?? she replied?No I don?t have a cousin here?said I. A slight impasse followed before we both realised that the word cuisine and cousin sound remarkably similar when spoken in French with my Scottish accent. I really do have to work on my French pronunciation!
Another faux pas that I made recently was when I was returning from Sarlat the other day after having picked up Fiona, we were driving through some very heavy mist and rain as we climbed up the hill to Salignac. Visibility was right down to the minimum and when I saw a car appear out of the mist without any lights on and I said to Fiona ?Look at that idiot driving without lights on in this weather.?A few kilometres further on several cars were flashing at me and as this is normal procedure when the Gendarmes are about I made sure that my speed was within the limit. Looking down at the dashboard I realised that I too had been driving without lights. I had forgotten when entering the murky weather to switch them on. Doh!
Springtime is normally associated the world over with affairs of the heart, not here in Salignac. Without mentioning any names there has been several cases of love or lust manifesting itself here. A friend of ours has just left his wife in a very blatant and obvious (to all locals) affair with a local girl. This has caused considerable embarrassment to everyone with the kissing and cuddling going on in the caf?. As this is a small community everybody knows him and his wife, and the other girl for that matter, and most people know and like them all. It puts everyone in awkward position, and probably him as well!!
In another case someone who threw out his girlfriend in no uncertain terms some months ago has re-welcomed her back into the fold much to our surprise as it was such a very strong break up then. I make no comment on any of this and I wish them all well but, and it is a big but, I just wonder if the decisions are wise for them all. But the biggest but of all is that I must just be getting old and seeing it all through an ?old codgers? eyes?
A year ago this month a very enterprising young man opened an Irish bar and restaurant just on the outskirts of Salignac. Mathieu had spent several years working in Cork and has been fascinated by the Irish way of life and he has transformed an Auberge into a delightful Irish bar with a restaurant. Located 2kms outside Salignac in an area of beautiful countryside with spectacular views and seating for eating and drinking both outside and inside with an incredible relaxed atmosphere. Mathieu is also a member of the local committee of fetes and has organised an Irish pipe band to come over to participate in the annual F?te de Salignac.
This has proved an immensely popular attraction here in the village with their playing and their craiq over the days of the f?te and all the locals and the many of the visitors who come for the event warmly welcomed them. I must admit that it is great to hear the skirl of the pipes in this part of rural France! Although the bar is Irish themed, with draught Guinness etc, the restaurant serves a good range of French food with some interesting variations away from the traditional tourist type of menu, which is prevalent in this part of the world. Such a nice change, especially as it is not expensive, he also has a very nice and well-balanced range of wines. All in all this is a welcome addition to eating and drinking in Salignac. Thank you, Mathieu.
The reason for this plug for The Black Duck is that we have recently been eating and drinking there because The Caf? de la Place has been closed for the last two weeks for the annual holiday and although the other caf? in the village, under the new ownership, is a very friendly and welcoming place it is just nice to have another option just for a change.
Following our recent toilet and ceiling problems we asked a local builder and entrepreneur to see if he could find a new toilet for us, which he said he would. Not having seen him for a couple weeks he suddenly passed by the house and asked me if we had got a new toilet! Telling him that we were waiting on him, he said that he would have another look. I really think that we will have to go to the local building supply firm and just buy one otherwise it might be after Christmas before anything happens!
Rural France. I love it!
? Barry Paton. October 2006.