We asked Matt’s dad (otherwise known as “Le Grand Poire”) to do a blog whilst he stayed with us in January to mark his 80th birthday – so here it is!
Grandpa’s Chez Devalon Blog, January 2012
Oh the joys of the Mystery Tour! I was supposed to be in Buxton – the only place in Britain north of the Arctic Circle – instead here I am, having been taken on to the sunny Dordogne. Oh Mr. Porter….. thank you for that! It was my eightieth birthday that provoked this happiness. My scheming wife Peta and wicked daughter-in-law, Wendy are the ones I have to thank for organising this joyous deception. Between them they engineered things so that I’d spend my birthday, 5th January, please note, in the ample bosom of my family.
On arrival here I was greeted warmly by Matthew and Wendy and my grandsons: Oliver, Adam and Harry. Also offering me a moist nose and welcoming meow were Tache the dog and Mimi the little black cat. Peta and I have been taking Tache for a walk each morning since our arrival. We follow the narrow road which winds between field and woods. Often we meet no-one on our two mile round trip. Sometimes a deer emerges from the woods and runs across the fields to seek fresh cover. There is plentiful birdsong to fill the air with music as we go on our way. At the moment the fields are either ploughed ready for spring sowing or green with winter wheat. As we go through woodland areas, enticing paths open up through the trees. One would like to explore but in doing so would probably fall over and cause the family trouble getting me out again. Ah, what it is to have grown old, and almost sensible.
One’s days are passed very pleasantly. There is mooching about to be done around the small estate. There are the sheep to observe, who repay the observation with dour looks of their own. There are the musical pigs to be enjoyed as they snort and grunt between bouts of truffle hunting in their extensive quarters under the trees, and there are the hens to be seen going about their daily routine. The vegetable garden and polytunnel are there to be admired, so far the growth is largely of brassicas, but more planting will happen as winter slips into spring – which it seems to be doing early this year.
During our present stay we have had several fine days with golden sunshine chasing away the valley mists. By lunchtime it has often been warm enough to eat outside – a delightful gift to those of us Northern-dwellers who have been trapped in gloom for most of the winter.
The afternoons present abundant opportunities for action if one is so inclined – or inaction if one prefers that! My favorite Spanish festival has increasingly become the Siesta. Nothing better than a rest with a good book I say (I know there are dozens of good books available here because I’ve brought most of them here myself!).
The evenings are perhaps the jewels of the Chez Devalon days. We assemble at the table to eat the delicious meals provided by Wendy. There are usually cheering quantities of wine or beer to wash down the nourishing victuals. Afterwards there is chat and occasionally music and song to enjoy, guitars, mouth organs, drums and even a clarinet can magically appear to add variety to the celebration.
Sadly tomorrow is our last day, the time when my glorious mystery trip will come to an end. It’s onto the Wednesday Ryanair flight from Limoges and back to Blighty. It would be boohoo time for me were it not for the fact that, God giving me the legs, I shall return to these blessed parts soon.
Best wishes, Grandpa David