It’s been a little quiet chez Lady Justine’s blog, what with ‘beaucoup de choses à faire’ and our friend Lennie’s visit (or Kenny, as my Nana likes to call him)
Lennie and Steve go way back. Lennie had come on to the Bury ‘scene’ when I moved to Sheffield and so we passed without encounter in the late 80s and early 90s, but with the advent of Facebook, we’ve become friends, mainly because we had so many other friends in common.
He’d decided he was going to come out for a visit long before we’d actually even really left, which was a trifle eager, but nonetheless, it gave us a date by which to mark the time.
We’ve decided to make the most of Jake’s school time off… this Wednesday mid-week day off is really pleasant… so we’d gone to Villebois Lavalette which is a little town with a castle on a hill some 30 kms away. The castle was shut, of course. Most things in France like to be shut, like our local outdoor swimming pool, which is open for 8 weeks a year. It is a very nice looking castle, but you can’t really have a wander around its extremities very easily. We’d wandered down via the church to the ‘halles’ – the ancient market place, with a couple of cafes opening up onto it.
It was all very sleepy and quiet, as we generally expect. We wandered about a bit and then decided to stop for a coke. One of the cafes looked a little less pricey (not the lovely-looking one above) and I’d gone into one of the coffee shops, which was a bit like a strange waiting room, filled with magazines and cuttings, and a bizarre old lady who looked straight out of the League of Gentlemen.
She didn’t actually seem to have a coffee machine or any drinks, just a few dusty bottles of sirop and a dirty old fridge with a microwave on top. I’m quite sure she didn’t expect anyone to come in and she was quite happy sitting alone cutting things out of old magazines. It was a little strange!
After that, we went to Brantome in the Dordogne. I forget how close we are to the Dordogne – but we’re only a 30 minute drive. Brantome is gorgeous. It’s the kind of place that if it were in England, it’d be absolutely over-run. As it was, it was pretty busy. It’s kind of a Keswick type place, with lots of cute boutiques. It’s situated on the Dronne river, which curls around the town. The houses on one side are built into the rocks and there are tours of the town by riverboat. An abbey runs along most of the side along the river, set up tight against the cliff-side.
There’s a long park along the bank of the river, with lots of beautiful little cafes and boutique ice-cream stores and so on. Lennie bought some nougat for 6 euros, which pretty much sums up the shops in Brantome – beautiful but not really for buying things from!