Home Alone!

Added on Monday 17 Jan 2005

January for The Salignac Foundation always starts with a flurry of enquiries about our courses and workshops here. Out of all of these, maybe 2 % come to fruition, only to be expected I suppose. To tell the truth if they all happened we couldn't cope! Also, as Fiona is having a visit to Glasgow at the moment it leaves me rather shorthanded (or should that be short-armed?) at the moment. Looking after the kittens (one of whom is trying to help me write this), chopping wood, re-learning to drive after 5 months?difficult, as I can only use the left indicator at the moment so I am continually going around the village in ever decreasing left circles! It is, however, good exercise for the arm. Not having a great deal of work at the moment keeps me incredibly busy, as you can see from all that.

Photo: Boy with rugby gall. Because Fiona is away just now several people have become concerned about my welfare and I have been invited to go and do things that I would not normally do. One of the most recent was to watch our local rugby team play at the nearby village of Borreze. On a beautiful, if cold, sunny Sunday afternoon Alain took me there in his car, a move I was to regret later. Set in the most stunning countryside and very well attended by locals and the visitors from Montignac alike, I went around taking some photographs while Alain contented himself drinking vast amounts of beer. Both these missions where completed successfully and I really did enjoy myself chatting to some friends and enjoying the fresh air. The journey home, which is only 3 miles, was somewhat complicated as Alain was driving in the usual French manner of thinking that the white line in the middle of the road was there to keep the wheels apart! I think that I was never so glad to get home, stoke the fire, feed the kittens and be alone. I did, though, get some nice pictures at the rugby match!

World Wide Travellers.

Like many people who were born and brought up in Glasgow's West End, the lure of foreign parts is irresistible and I have been in over 50 countries (probably more now that so many countries have sub-divided) for my work as a cameraman and photojournalist. There has always been that affection for my roots. It has always disappointed me though that when I returned to the West End when viewing it from a different perspective that some people and attitudes don't change while others get up and go with new ideas. I suppose that this is only natural but I used to find it depressing when returning from a six-month stint in a war/famine zone that some (and I stress some) people had no ideas or thoughts beyond their ken. The reason that I mention this is that Fiona has been phoning me with some of her thoughts about the West End. After two years of absence for her, a place that she loves has changed considerably, the character and the humour has not at all of course. The dirt on the streets and the quality (and price) of the wine seemed to distress her. These are, however, just her comments to me after ten days of being back in the West End, Fiona is just probably glad to be away from me anyway. After almost five years of living with me in Salignac it most likely changes your perspective completely. But the wine is better and cheaper here. I defend the French for that. Vive le France!

Caf? Changes.

With all this hectic life that I have had recently I have managed to keep up with the gossip out and about. Phillip and his father, Georges, who have taken over the Caf? de la Place as managers for Cecile and Lillian, are trying to go for a slightly younger market with a special Techno music night at the end of this month?I think that at my age I may give this one a miss?.The other caf? has maybe been sold but apparently the petrol pumps are too close to the road and the Government may not allow this in the future. I should explain that not only is it a caf? but also the local filling station, betting shop and the tabac. If this goes through that will mean that two caf?s and the hotel will have changed hands in the last 6 months. Great changes in the village and yet everyone seems to take it in their stride. The other story at the moment is that the rue de Barry (the one behind our house) has vast amounts of work being done, consequently vast amounts of dust, which comes into the house. This is in order to lose all the overhead cables for lights, telephones and electricity poles. Everything underground?for anyone who knows rural France, this is a Godsend and a removal of a blight that has been in France for years. The downside of this is that the next phase is our rue. More dust and Noise! I just hope that it will be all finished before we have any students coming.

The weather here in Salignac has been very nice and sunny during the day, cold at night but not as severe as Scotland has been over the early part of January. That has even been reported on French TV?not something that you would expect as they tend, certainly in this part of the world, to think that Scotland is part of England, and even then they don't know where that is!

Rural France? I love it.
Barry Paton ? January 2005