Thursday, 31 July 2008

Yellow Joy


Both Ange and I have always loved sunflowers, so imagine our surprise when these all these endless fields of some unknown crop turned out in fact to be sunflowers.  We are totally clueless..

We have been running on the same track since well before planting and have ignorantly watched these crops mature and it seems only in the last few weeks that we finally clicked.. sure we had been away, but...  but..   I just don't have an excuse, I feel like such an idiot.

The result is amazing, we seem to be almost surrounded by these fields of sunflowers. The two shots directly below are from the long valley road heading out from Saint Cernin to Fontenilles on the route of our "daily" run.

Sun3Field SunField SunflowersWhiZpast  FlowerFocus SunflowersWhiZpast2

Tuesday, 29 July 2008

Tuesday Tune-up



Welcome to the Tuesday Ramble:

  • I'm running about one day late with my posts but this is the great thing about the tune-up.  A couple of lines, a photo or two and I'm back in the present. 
  • It is quite harder to find some blogging time while entertaining visitors, dealing with broken fridges and faulty  washing machines.
  • Monday 28th July is mum's birthday. We had a late breakfast and headed to La Roque-Gageac for a riverboat cruise along the Dordogne.  The cruise followed a similar route our canoe trip but was bit more sedate in style, so it was perfect for the occasion.
  • It turned into a really hot day, so much so I just had to go for a swim in the river.
  • After a quick lunch in the park, Ange and us boys rushed home for a swim, while Lainey and Ros took the tourist route home stopping off at Daglan.  Daglan is really beautiful - I must get some photo's posted.
  • Hope all is well back home in NZ - lots of bad winter storms. I'm also too scared to phone James to see if our house is still there.  I'm sure it is. 
  • On the same note, we get our NZ mail redirected to France (which adds around a 6 week delivery delay), anyway our rates advice from North Shore City arrived yesterday, our rates have gone up by 75%. What's the story with that?
  • Monday night we all had dinner at the small "Routiers" restaurant in Saint Cernin. In was great meal, we were all impressed. It is funny how a small restaurant, which is attached to the petrol station, can turn out such great food. Another place to add to the "must return to" list.
  • Yes - this is a rambling entry. Did you read the introduction?

Monday, 28 July 2008

FĂȘte du Livre Monpazier


Livre = Books.  It seems the French are pretty keen on books and at this time of year there are quite a few book markets which specialise in antique books and everything else from 2nd hand trashy novels to unspoiled original print runs.

Villefranche had a 'marche du livre' a two weeks ago. Yesterday was Monpazier's turn and as expected it was bigger and more touristy.

Ange tells me she found a few good €1 bargains, although as I stayed home with the kids I am unable to verify the exact transaction amount.

The best thing about these markets for me is the huge collections of hard-cover comic books.  You must know of Tin Tin, Asterisk and similar titles but it seems to me that the french have developed this popular culture into an art form for all ages.

I just love these books and just wish I could understand the story lines better.  I'm a real fan of the art and have been practicing drawing the different styles of characters.  Anyway back to the story of the book market, I also ventured out and managed a few purchases of my own so I shouldn't be giving Ange a hard time.  

image  image image image

Brocante and Vide-grenier at Loubejac


Early start today as we set off to the nearby hamlet of Loubejac to take in its popular brocante come vide-grenier market. 

Loubejac is a beautiful spot around 5km from Villefranche (du P).  It was pretty busy, I would estimate around 100 individual stalls and it had a good mixture of "professional" brocante sellers and locals trading unwanted bits and pieces.  

There was lots of shopping opportunity here which was not lost on Ange and she managed to find a few bargains.  I will try my best to get her to write a post on her purchases (she is loosing interest in this blogging thing owing to the very few comments her posts attract - I keep saying that it isn't important but it must be to her).

After a great picnic lunch, Lainey and Ange headed on for some more shopping (which is the subject of the next blog), while Ros and boys headed home for a swim and a siesta.

Ange took this shot of us boys having breakfast.
What did Henry think of all the shopping?
After Loubejac we headed to a favourite picnic spot just outside Sauveterre-la-lémance.

Sunday, 27 July 2008

Blog Holiday

Jack's Lengths

Alley Monpazier Market

Villefranche  Villefranche


Vineyard near Bergerac

Garden Fern

Everyone needs a holiday now and again, so can you take a holiday when you are already on holiday.  Sure you can, I just had to check with the boss who then referred me to the payroll department and bingo it was official: no blogs for a week. I'm back now, feeling refreshed and ready to fill in the gaps.

Ros, my mum, has now been with us for just over a week.  We have been cruising, spending lots of time by the pool and Mum has been giving the boys swimming lessons.  Jack has been training doing lengths, he is up to 130 now. Henry is still bobbing around as usual but at least now he doesn't sink (he has a bounce - float thing going on).  Young James has made the most progress: he has abandoned his water wings, has mastered his torpedo kick and is just starting to learn "big arms".


We haven't been on many outings as our car only has five seats, however that problem has been solved. Mum and I picked up her sister, Lainey from Carcassonne yesterday. We were going to catch the train and hitch a ride back in her rental, but I stuffed up and we missed the train and had to drive there and back.  

Lainey is staying for just over a week and we now have two cars to hop around in.  Lainey is the guru when it comes to natural foods and products - we will hopefully be soaking up lots of knowledge over the next week.


SUNFLOWERS: This topic will soon have its own entry but here is a picture to tease you.

Friday, 18 July 2008

Happy Birthday Henry


July is a crowded Birthday month for the Bisset clan: not only does Henry have to share his birthday month with his brother James but also his nana (Ange's mum) and grandmother (mine). 

If that wasn't bad enough, one of the worlds most admired men of the last century, turns 90 tomorrow on July 18th. 

Also big Happy Birthday to Lynetta Walker - it must be your 35th or 36th today (although why you married such an old fart like Trevor we'll never know).

So after some careful counselling on sharing and some discussions about when to celebrate his birthday (he thought the 15th would be a good day); the big day finally dawned.  The presents were excitedly unwrapped and have so far endured a thorough work-out.  We had a family lunch at a restaurant in Belves (thanks Grandma) and then raced home to continue our assessment of Chinese manufacturing standards (they are still holding up). 

Thursday, 17 July 2008

Happy Birthday James

3boys Happy Birthday James. Five big years of smiles and laughter are now behind you.  Back home your friends would only be starting school but you've been hanging out at Le Got school already for six months learning to read and write in French. 
We should have lots of fun times and many more adventures before your next birthday.  Hope you had fun today and enjoyed your new presents.

Wednesday, 16 July 2008

Tuesday Tune-up

Check out the compulsory swim cap James is wearing in the freezing campground pool in Spain.
Picture of Craig and Jack rock surfing

Welcome to the Tuesday Ramble:

  • The Lyon's left us yesterday, they were back off to Toulouse airport on route to Nice and then Shanghai and eventually home (Auckland).  I had to include a picture of Craig perched on a rock from our Sunday adventure.
  • I have only just got back from Toulouse airport myself. My mum arrived just before midday today and we got home around 3pm.  She has stretched out near the pool and is spoiling the kids rotten as usual. Considering that she has spent the last 30 odd hours in the air and in transit lounges, she is doing well.
  • Birthday notices: James turns five tomorrow (16th) and the day after Henry's turns seven.  We haven't invited any other kids over as we are planning on a few family outings/ treats.
  • Ange is getting slack with her posts - a few weeks ago she promised me one on the veggie garden.  Anyway - here is a quick update: We been getting lots of servings of fresh lettuce, onion, courgette's and potatoes. The tomatoes are looking good but will need a few more weeks. The property also has numerous fruit tree's so we are watching the apples and figs ripen along with the grapes of course.
  • All the boys (and dad) have haircuts booked for tomorrow.  No doubt it will be another interesting french language adventure.
  • I'll keep this short as I have presents to wrap and its been a long day.

Monday, 14 July 2008

Canoe trip on Dordogne

SettingOff TiedUp Thewall AngeJack2Castelnaud

There was big excitement today as we all headed to Beynac for a three hour canoe trip down the Dordogne river. 

We choose a 12km route putting in at Vitrac and canoeing back down the river to Beynac.  The route takes in some amazing scenery including the villages of Domme and La Roque-Gageac and numerous castles including the two bigies, Castelnaud and Beynac.

For me it was easily one of the best adventures that we had in France to date.  The river flowed quite smoothly and although there were no real rapids, Craig and Jack managed to get snagged on a rock.  This provided plenty of amusement for the others which was duly milked for the rest of the trip.

We had an impromptu lunch on the opposite bank overlooking La Roque-Gageac.  I got some great shots on my little camera, including this shot of Beynac on the left, which I'm quite proud of.

I can't wait to get out and do this again!

BeynacCanoe_Panorama HenryLeRoc James2Castles

Sunday, 13 July 2008

Le Gaulois

Deer AcrossThe Table DrinkUp

We had a great meal outing to our local favourite restaurant, Le Gaulois.  Le Gaulois is a farm (ferme) restaurant (auberge) based on a gallic theme.  They offer a great set menu which involves around 5 courses of some fantastic food and a fairly unlimited supply of wine.

We managed to ensure that Craig had his share of the wine even after the "Magic Potion" aperitif and allowing for very potent digestive drink served with coffee at the end. 

It was a very full and festive bunch who arrived back home late into the evening.

legaulois1 legaulois2

Touring Car


Back in January I had promised Delwyn from Peugeot NZ a picture of us having fun with our EuroLease car.

I have already posted a few entries about the car, from the infamous deer accident to how the flexible seating works out so well for the Biscuit Bunch.

Anyway this is the latest post, a great photo of Jack and James with the car with a hint of the coast in the background.  Ange is just out of sight helping Henry out of his togs.  This photo was taken at Zarautz beach in northern Spain last week. 

It was around 800km to get there and back and we must have clocked up 300 km in our touring around Spain. We are getting just over 900km to a full tank, which is very economical.

I would definitely recommend Peugeot EuroLease.  

  • Our Peugeot 307SW has a lot of room that certainly swallows up the family.
  • The interchangeable/ removable seats are the best feature, especially for arranging the boys in the back. 
  • The glass roof offers amazing panoramic views.
  • Peugeot Assistance were absolutely fantastic in arranging a replacement rental while the car was being repaired after the deer accident.
  • The only downside has to be the bright red number plates which shouts out "Tourist" like a well endowed topless sunbather at a church convention.