Is Anyone Else Bored With This ?


Two days now with the media milking Prince Phillips motor accident for all it’s worth.

It seems there is no other news in the world.

No London stabbings

No Trumpisms, statements upsetting the right thinking people of this planet.

Even Brexit has been bumped down the priority list.

Please, everyone, let’s get a sense of perspective.

Let’s not forget that he is fine, he didn’t die, nobody died.

It’s Embarrasing


Over 50% of UK citizens, that voted in the referendum, voted leave.

Not what I would call an overwhelming show of hands, but a significant indicator of the way the country was leaning at the time.

This was not a Labour vs Conservative political vote. Not a party political vote.

The result of the referendum was that the conservatives were handed the poison chalice, as they were the party in power.

Not one of the opposition parties have proposed a viable solution to what is a very complex problem. That is because, none of them have a clue as to how Brexit can be made to work cleanly. What they all saw, was a golden opportunity to stick the boot into the conservatives.

All I have heard since then is how the conservatives are selling us down the river, Theresa May should step down, there should be another election … blah blah blah.

Can anyone direct me to where Corbyn has described a viable alternative ? What is the Green solution ?

Instead, Corbyn, and all the other party leaders are sitting back, sowing dissent and waiting for this government to fall flat on its face.

If all these nay sayers believe they have a better solution why haven’t they put forward their ideas. In a non- political way, in a let’s all pull together fashion.

What they should be doing is ensuring that Britain gets the best deal possible. If that means putting party politics aside then they should do it. Recognise the importance of this moment in history and offer their help.

If Britain falls on its face it will be a black mark for all Britain’s political parties. All the back stabbing and infighting has been in full view on an international stage. The political shenanigans have given the world, and especially the EU, more laughs than an evening at The Edinburgh Fringe.

Right now I feel very sad for Britain. Prior to the referendum the British people were lied to by Leavers and Remainers alike. The lies and misinformation have continued since

National pride or rather a form of national pride got us into this mess.

National pride could and should, with all parties pulling together, provide us with a viable solution.

National pride should override all the intra and inter party fighting.

Its time to stop all this political posturing, it’s embarrassing.

Vacances en France – 2018 – A Little Bit Of Gastro


Sorry to say that after the previous days trip out to Tournemire and Salers, two of our party were suffering from Ghandis Revenge. Since we ate and drank pretty much the same stuff, the fact that the gastro was only affecting two of us remained a mystery. So, it  was decided we would have a quiet day at the gite. The weather was, once again, really good, so no real hardship. While the sun worshippers reclined, just a short, easy, sprint to the loo. I grabbed my camera and took a walk up to the village.

 

The local cattle have a way of looking at you, as if to say …. “Do you really know what you are doing ?”, “Should you be out un-supervised?”

 

Badailhac is a French commune , located in the  department of Cantal  in  the  Auvergne-Rhone-Alpes region. Up until about three years ago the village had a population of around 130 people. It has a church and town hall / school, a football ground but no shop or hostelries. It is the epitome of a sleepy french village.

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Local sign, telling me to go back to the gite.

Dominating the skyline over Badailhac is the local church, Eglise Saint-Jean-Baptiste

From the website of Fondation du Patrimoine (Heritage Foundation)

The church was built in the late sixteenth century as a modest chapel served by the clergy of Raulhac. It disappeared during the wars of religion, but was rebuilt under the reign of Henry IV and completed in 1625.

Became a parish church, and in very bad condition, it was rebuilt a second time in 1886, thanks to the generosity of Bishop Géraud Soubrier, Bishop of Oran.

Thanks to a donation made in 2007 by a family from the town, important work was done inside the church: plaster, jointing stones, plaster and whitewash on the vaults, heating and electrical circuits redone to nine, restoration of most joinery, furniture and central chandelier.

The decoration was favored with the creation of a rosette around the chandelier, friezes highlighting the stained glass and a magnificent fresco in the bottom of the church.

 

Badailhac is a very quiet village. On my walk, over the space of an hour and a half I didn’t see a single person, or vehicle. Other than the occasional bird or insect it is absolutely silent.

 

For my walking efforts I just got dehydrated and a blister on my foot. Shortly after I arrived back at the gite, we were visited by the French Air Force …

Much later we sat outside and stared at the sky. There is so little ambient light at the gite you can actually see the milky way. There was no  moon, but Venus was shining brightly. On this particular night we were also blessed with another light show, a thunderstorm. It was a long way off, so we couldn’t hear the thunder, but the colourful flashes were very bright.

Vacances en France – 2018 -Tournemire and Salers


Tuesday, the 12th day of our holiday. We were up, bright and breezy, and after a quick breakfast piled into the car and headed off to Tournemire. Gerry and I had visited before, but thought Dave and Jane would like a look too. We arrived after an hour or so drive.
Driving along the Doire valley, as you near Tournermire,  one is presented with a spectacular view of  the Château d’Anjony.

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Château d’Anjony at Tournermire

And then the village of Tournemire comes into view.

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Château d’Anjony with Tournermire Village

From France This Way ….

Tournemire village is situated 15 kilometres north of Aurillac, in the Massif Central (Auvergne region) of central France. The village is classed among the ‘most beautiful villages of France’, and is situated on a tree covered hill overlooking the valley of the River Doire and falls in the Cantal mountains at the southern edge of the Natural Park of the Auvergne volcanoes.

The history of the village is tied up with two families – the Tournemire and the Anjony, and their battles to control the village.

Public vehicles are not allowed in the village, however a substantial car park is provided, where you can park for the princely sum of  one whole euro. As with our previous visit, the tourist office was closed when we arrived, so we were unable to pay the parking charge.

The village is just a short walk from the car park.

Strolling through the village we decided to stop at small coffee shop. Unbeknown to us, we were stepping into an alternative universe.

We sat at a table that had just been vacated by a group of British motorcyclists. A lady came out, we assumed she wanted to know what we would like. As two of our group wanted milky coffee we asked for “Deux café au lait”. The lady didn’t seem to understand “café au lait”, neither did she understand “café avec lait”. This was proving to be really difficult so Dave said he would have an espresso. So we tried “un expresso”. Again we were met with a look of non-comprehension. Gerry wanted an Orangina so we asked for one. Again the lady just looked at us. I asked her to come with me to the front of the premises, where a menu was displayed in the window. I indicated that we wanted coffee, Orangina and tea, all of which were itemised on said menu. All this achieved was for her to squint at the menu, with her nose virtually pressed to the glass. She did say something when I pointed to where it said “thé / infusion”. She read the word infusion and I said yes that’s what I want. But she still didn’t seem to understand. Feeling really frustrated I tried to enlist the help of a couple of ladies who were walking by. I asked if they understood English hoping they could help with translation.

Apparently neither spoke English but one trotted off down into the village. I assumed she had gone to get someone who could help. She disappeared for quite a while, abandoning her friend who shrugged helplessly. As time was marching on we decided to give up on the drink. I walked down the street with the abandoned lady and her friend suddenly reappeared. I indicated to them that we were giving up and thanked them for their time.

This was one of the weirdest experiences. Never have we been unable to order drinks or food in France. It has, subsequently, been suggested that perhaps she didn’t want to serve us because we were British. If so, she is the first anglophobe that I have ever met.

Resigned to being thirsty, we carried on exploring the streets of Tournemire.

and the 12th century roman style church (L’Eglise de Tournemire en Auvergne).

Walking on through the village, eventually you come to Château d’Anjony. Per our previous visit it was closed until after 14:00.

We all agreed that it was time for a drink and headed back through the village and up to the Auberge de Tournemire we had passed earlier.

Tournemire – Auberge de Tournemire

We sat, enjoying our drinks and the view. While we were sat drinking we were approached by a guy asking if we owned a black VW, which of course we didn’t. There was no explanation as to why he was asking, then he was gone. As we sat there, totally relaxed, the decision was made that we would stop for lunch. Our host was a good sport, playfully teasing as I tried out my French, gently correcting my pronunciation. We all had one of the set menu lunches. Three of us had steak with truffade, while I had the charcuterie, also with truffade.

From Wikipedia ….

Truffade is a rural dish traditionally associated with Auvergne in France. It is a sort of thick pancake made with thinly sliced potatoes that are slowly cooked in goose fat until tender, then mixed with thin strips of tome fraiche (which is very different from actual tomme cheese: the recipe will fail if tomme cheese is used, since that melts in a very different way). This mixture is stirred until it sticks together in a sort of thick pastry, which is sometimes decorated with fresh parsley and may be served with a simple green salad.

We all followed the mains with a selection of local cheeses. Cantal, Bleu Auvergne and Saint Nazaire. Very tasty.

Needless to say, after a quite substantial meal, we were reluctant to move. But move we did, back to the car and on to Salers. As we were driving out of the car park, it became clear why we were asked, earlier, about the VW. Someone had parked their VW  Golf and not made sure the hand brake was sound. The car had rolled across the car park and into the  side of a motor home. I would have liked to be a fly on the wall for the upcoming conversation between the two drivers.

Salers is about a forty minute drive, north of Tournemire, the route taking us through beautiful countryside.

From France This Way ….

Salers, listed among the most beautiful villages of France, is 42 kilometres north of Aurillac in the Massif Central (Auvergne region) and is at the western edge of the Cantal volcanic region.

Salers has origins that can be traced back almost 1000 years ago, but it was during the boom years of the 15th century that much of the current town was constructed. Salers describes itself as ‘a black diamond on a green carpet’, a quite appropriate description, because of the dark grey volcanic stone used to build many of the beautiful buildings in the town.

 

So, arriving at Salers, we parked up on the edge of town. Our first destination was the souvenir shop Les Sagranier, where Gerry and I picked up a few small hand towels to match those that we had purchased on our previous visit. Then we began to explore the town.

One of the more colourful businesses, in Salers, is Maison Servans, a Patisserie / Confiserie. The exterior of the store is decorated with characters from the Hansel and Gretel fairy story.

While the others were being distracted by the local brocante (bric-a-brac / second-hand) shops, I ducked into the local church,  the 13th century Eglise Saint Mathieu …

 

There are many narrow streets in and around Salers, with many nooks and crannies….

Many of the side streets provide glimpses of the past lives, none more so than the various doors and archways…..

Some of the doors are so robust, one wonders what they are keeping secure. Or, are they an indication of violent times gone by.

The elevated location of Salers provides glorious views of the surrounding countryside ….

… volcanoes silhouetted against blue skies….

…and rolling hills carpeted with lush green forests.

If you ever in this region, Salers must be high on your list of places to visit.

The Waterlooville Wally(s) Of The Week Award – Lidl


https://www.thesun.co.uk/news/7517927/lidl-gin-staff-call-police-couple-daughters/

‘VICTIMS OF STUPIDITY’ 

Lidl staff call police after middle-aged couple try to buy £12 rhubarb gin with daughters aged 11 and 14

 

I haven’t had cause to issue one of these for some time but this article really takes the biscuit. This ranks up with the story of the couple refused entry to their local cinema because their babe-in-arms was to young for the movie certification. It beggars belief.

So, to the Staff and Management of Lidl, Jointly I award you, “The Waterlooville Wally Of The Week Award”

Vacances en France – 2018 – Aurillac


Monday morning, day 11, and another fine start to the day, blue skies and sunshine.
The cattle were very vocal, it turns out that one had gone into labour and given birth. As we watched she licked her calf clean and was nuzzling it, encouraging it to stand.

All the rest of the herd gathered round the new-born, sniffing and licking. Then, they all seemed to lose interest, turned their backs and walked away, leaving mum to look after her calf. After this exciting event we headed off to spend the day in Aurillac.
We parked up in Place Gerbert and started our exploration of Aurillac.

Had a very nice meal in restaurant Tables Zé Komptoir at Place Hôtel de ville. The restaurant was directly opposite the Mairie (Town Hall), an impressive building.

Aurillac-17

Aurillac – Mairie / Hotel de Ville (Town Hall)

When we sat the restaurant was pretty much empty. Within twenty minutes or so our restaurant was full, as was the one next door. For once our timing was perfect.
After lunch we carried on with our exploration. Many of the streets have umbrella displays, symbolic of the industry for which Aurillac is renowned. As I described in a previous post.

Having had enough of exploring, we headed of to a supermarket. For some inexplicable reason, we seem to keep running out of essential supplies.

Aurillac-25

The Graveyard

The sharp-eyed among you will recognise that none of the wines are from the Cantal. In fact, they don’t have a regional wine.  At least some of the wine we have been drinking is actually french and the Pelforth beer definitely is. At least our taste is fairly cosmopolitan. We had already seen off a Prosecco from Italy, a Freixenet from Spain, one each of the Mercurey, Gigondas and a Vacqueyras from France. Not forgetting a few beers. The Pelforth from France and the Leffe from Belgium.

So, supplies purchased, it was back to the gite. Where we sat and enjoyed yet another glorious sunset while consigning one or two more bottles to the graveyard.

 

Vacances en France – 2018 – Vic-sur-Cère


Saturday 8th September and after a good nights sleep we all awoke to a brilliant sunny day. With all the travelling of the previous day, nobody wanted to go too far afield. So it was decided that we would visit Vic-sur-Cère located about 11km away from the gite, about fifteen minutes drive. Vic-sur-Cère or Vic in Carladez is an old spa town in the valley of the Cère river.

Parking up in the town center we first visited Claveras Sébastien, the local boulangerie, where we purchased a couple of loaves. Stashing our fresh bread in the car we then set out to explore the town.

Le Manoir dates from the 17th Century. Since then it has been a Benedictine Convent,
a boarding school for girls. Then it became the property of the Murat-Sistrieres Family, and subsequently the De Pierre Family. Today, it is an extension of the Hotel Beauséjour.

Saint-Pierre Church of Vic sur Cère

Dating from the 11th century, the church of Saint Peter was destroyed for the first time in 1261 before being rebuilt in a Romanesque style. It remains of the Romanesque period only the intact steeple dating from 1265.
The Revolution was a test for the building and after a period when he was left abandoned, Mr. Murat de Sistrières in 1802 decided to repair the seven altars, floors, steeple stairs, the big door and part of the roof.
In 1894, the vicar of Vic, anxious to welcome more and more summer visitors, considered it necessary to enlarge the church but the dissuasive estimate was refused by the municipality. It was then that the priest opened a parish subscription

Vic-sur-Cère has many winding back streets, not obvious when you drive through on the main road.

Doing that touristy thing tends to give one both a thirst and hunger pangs. Although Vic-sur-Cère appears to have several brasseries and restaurants, catching them open must be a form of sport. We did eventually manage to get quite a nice meal at the Casino de Vic-sur-Cere.

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Casino de Vic-sur-Cere

Turns out that it is actually a casino, not just a hotel as we first thought. After lunch we returned to the gite to make the most of a beautiful sunny day. We sat outside until the sun went down behind the farm buildings. With such a clear sky, the temperature drop was quite dramatic.

Had relaxed supper of local cheeses, sausage, Friton (made from pork, a kind of course pâté) and the crusty bread purchased earlier, all washed down with some really nice red wine.