Added on Tuesday 28 Sep 2004
With my recent birthday I suddenly feel older here in Salignac. Not because it was my 60th, though God knows how I made it this far, but because I was back in the hospital in Sarlat for more X-rays and check ups the day before. The realisation that my injury was much more serious than I had thought has finally sunk in. Apparently some bone fragments are not knitting together properly, due to a blood supply problem, and looking at the new X-rays I realise that it is now going to take a long time before I will regain the full use of my arm. This, understandably, rather depressed me; as I am not able to drive, teach any students video techniques nor do any commercial film work in the near future. I even have to get Fiona to tie my shoelaces and cut up my meat for heaven's sake! With this massive piece of ironmongery in my arm I do feel so helpless in doing just ordinary tasks. My neighbour, Arthur, did comment when he saw the X-rays that he had put up shelves with smaller screws which cheered me up a little! However, the next day it was party day and, despite the weather, which meant that, we had to move everything from our courtyard into the cave out of the rain, everything went very smoothly with many of our friends turning up bearing gifts. Apart from oodles of wine, some fois gras, vintage champagne, malt whisky I also received a Nikon digital camera and some amazing photo editing software. The camera has taken a few days to get to grips with but I am now getting the hang of it while I add to my ever growing library of people and places in and around Salignac. Expect to see more pics from now on! With the convivial company of good friends (French, Welsh, Dutch, Scots, Bretons and even a token English couple?there must be a joke in there somewhere!) the party went swingingly and my spirits were rising all the time as everyone seemed to be enjoying themselves. Even the kittens seemed to be very placid by sleeping throughout the entire proceedings. The kittens are growing up amazingly quickly and it is difficult to remember that they are only 6 weeks old.
However, Fifi is proving to be a very good mother and protects them well with the odd bit of chastisement as and when necessary! We have not yet made any decision as to whether we keep them or not but I think that our inclination is to keep them. It really depends on Fifi's reaction when they get a bit older.
During the week that I was in hospital Fiona had a delightful dance student from Sweden, so apart from having to cope with the kittens and me she had to teach at the same time. Some week for her! The week after I came home from hospital I had a student from Malta to learn how to use the new digital edit suite that we had installed earlier this year. This, I was slightly apprehensive about as I was so full of drugs and all strapped up. I needn't have worried though as she turned out to be very interested and keen to learn all the ins and outs of the system. It also proved that I could manage all the complexities with only one hand. As this was a completely new course for me I was very pleased with the way things went and intend to concentrate in advertising these courses over the next few months. At least that is something that I can do while still being handicapped! Needless to say with all the drama of the emergency vehicles in the street almost the entire village knew about my predicament very quickly and so many people were concerned for me and some paid visits to me in the hospital. All very kind and it showed me how well we had become part of Salignac life. Meanwhile I have managed to get out to the caf? and generally get out and about. The only problem has been that, with the customary French greeting of the kissing of the cheeks, many people also put their hand on the left shoulder. Even the doctor did it to me the other day. Ouch!
I have been using my spare time at the moment updating our web site and now that I have my new camera, been adding some new photographs. I had not realised that we had not changed the site for nearly two years, so my time has not been wasted. It is always too easy to forget that web sites need to be as fresh as possible even though it still comes up very high in the likes of Google. With the approach of autumn, my favourite time of the year for the quality of the light, there is plenty of opportunity to get some great photographs, which I really enjoy. At the bottom of the hill, below the chateau, the little hamlet there is called Le Barry and recently some new road signs were put up in the centre of the village. It so happens that the sign also points to our house but I am just a little disappointed that I take second place to the public toilets!
Rural France? I love it.
Barry Paton ? Sept. 2004.