So another week has drifted by since I last updated the blog. We have been soaking up the rhythm of life in the tiny village of Cahuzac which is about 25km south of Bergerac in the Lot-et-Garonne region of Aquitaine. We are on another Helpx assignment with Marian who lives in the ‘petite maison de bois’ which she has had built on a piece of land overlooking the village square. Marian lives with her three dogs (Johnny, Finette and Spot), five cats, several chickens and some Indian Runner ducks.
We have parked up the van on the village square next to the house.
Marian has created a beautiful flower garden and a productive vegetable plot which she needs help with maintaining. We were attracted to coming here as Marian is very active within the village on helping to improve the facilities and the environment. She had a few projects which we thought we could be useful with helping to achieve in the time that we were to spend with her.
We had to be upfront about our zero gardening knowledge as we felt we would do more damage than good if left to our own devices on any green fingered project. I think she got the picture when I asked, whilst looking at the tree in front of me, if she made jams out of the plums from the tree. She looked a bit puzzled before replying that I was, in fact, looking at a walnut tree! Mmm, oh well, they looked like unripe plums to me! From that point on Marian was probably glad we offered to do some of the community projects which would keep us safely occupied away from her garden!
So what have we been up to?
Our first task was to varnish the front of Marian’s wooden house as it bears the brunt of the weather.
It’s the first time I’ve used a paint brush taped to the end of a stick but it worked very well and got the job done. Tim painted the shutters and doors and it all came up a treat.
We were on a roll with the varnishing so also painted two sides of the cabin behind the house as well. Next up were three benches in the village that needed to be repainted.
I went off to do that whilst Tim wire brushed all the railings around the war memorial ready for painting.
Marian, and her friend Nicole had, after presenting a case to the Commune, received approval from the Marie (mayor of the village) to buy the paint needed to repaint the railings.
The painting of the railings was quite a big job and took a few days with some extra help from Nicole, Sonia and a couple of enfants!
There were to be more ‘enfants’ helping with the task but they all mysteriously disappeared once Nicole had gathered together some paintbrushes for them!
With the railings looking fresh the monuments themselves needed a makeover too. We took a wire brush to the moss and, violà, two rejuvenated monuments appeared.
We have also wire brushed and painted the iron doors to the entrance to the cemetery and Tim fixed one of the damaged doors.
The cross on the other monument adjacent to the church has also been painted. Tim feels he’s earned his place in heaven now I think! Basically if anything moves in this village it’s going to get painted whilst we are here!
In between our ‘work’ we have had plenty of time to do other things. We took a bike ride to the medieval village of Issegeac. You’ll have to make do with images stolen from Google as the battery in the camera was flat! I’m not doing too well with the camera at the moment it seems.
We’ve done some cooking on the Cobb.
Tim has strolled along to the church every afternoon to play his saxophone and clarinet (the acoustics in there are superb).
He did think he might be annoying the builder who has been working on renovating the building opposite the church but on the third day the builder approached Tim to let him know he was enjoying the music. It turns out the builder is learning to play the saxophone!
We’ve been to an art exhibition held in a very pretty church surrounded by fields of sunflowers.
I’ve done some French learning and have finally got through the Michel Thomas CD’s – although it would appear that I’ve gone backwards with it after having overloaded myself with information. Every time I open my mouth now either nothing much comes out or it all comes out wrong. Hey ho, I just have to keep going and hope it will one day all fall into place. Maybe another ten years or so!
We’ve been to the AGM of the ‘society for the preservation of the church’ (our presence brought the numbers up into double figures!) where we were able to practice our limited French and meet some of the villagers.
All in all it’s been a very rewarding experience being here and Marian and all the villagers we have met have been so welcoming. We’ve learnt some more about life in France and enjoyed our chats with Marian and being surrounded by her pets.
This coming week we are going to tackle the leylandii hedge on one side of Marian’s garden.
The temperatures have been in the low to mid thirties these last few days which has meant it been too hot really to work in the afternoon unless in the shade. Therefore, updating the blog in the shade seemed the best option.
A la prochaine 🙂