Sunday 26th Jan 2020

Even if we don’t have a vide grenier to head for we like to take the opportunity to go out for a ride on a Sunday, roads are pretty empty and it’s easier to park in towns.

Today we headed South West which is not a direction we take very often and we ended up in the 12th century town of Rauzan in the Gironde department. It’s a small town and doesn’t take too long to walk around but it does have a smart town hall and a historic castle/ chateau built during the hundred years’ war , unfortunately it wasn’t open today but it gives us somewhere to revisit in the future.

The town also has the Celestine Cavern which is part of an underground river, the cavern was discovered in the 19c when they were digging a well in the centre of the town. At the right time of year you can descend 13m dressed in caving gear and walk 250m through the cavern in water 5-15 cm deep.

On the way there we drove through Castillon la Bataille which was the site of the last battle of the hundred years’ war in which the French triumphed. It is perhaps then no surprise that each summer for several weeks, 600 volunteers re-enact the battle each evening and have a mock up Middle Ages village with people acting out roles. Funnily we recently discovered whilst taking part in a quiz that the hundred years’ war actually lasted 116 years, you live and learn.

We have had another busy week, decorating the second bathroom, lopping and pruning the fruit trees, having several bonfires and visits to the tip as we sort out each area of the house and storage sheds and thin out the mass of items that has accumulated here over the past 28 years.

Having said that we did actually acquire some extras this week. Virtually all the furniture we have here had a previous life in the UK and has continued to provide extra service here, however in the longer darker nights when we are indoors we were having trouble getting comfortable.We didn’t wish to lay out a great deal of money so we went to visit a warehouse that is run by a charity and here we bought an armchair each for a total of 20 euros. They don’t match but what is important is that each is of a size that fits us individually.

Of course no visit to France can occur without a visit to our favourite vineyard where we stocked up with wine to bring home to keep us going until our next visit.

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