2 months, 2 kids, 2 continents (technically)

MattA

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And today we took the kids out for a picnic and a paddle in Lac de Gurson, a manmade lake about 30 mins away from where we’re staying. No substitute for an Aussie beach, but the children had fun regardless.

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The inflatable was a £9 impulse purchase from Asda in Clapham. Kept him pumped up for them to use in the pool back at the gîte. Not sure if he’s lowering the tone of our luxury winery accommodation…

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MattA

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On Thursday night we went to the night markets in Duras. Do we need to take anything? I asked my wife as we stepped out the door. Nah. Just water bottles. And off we went in the car.

Famous last words.

It’s about 20 minutes away on windy rural French roads. As we rounded the final bend, with the car park at Duras Château in sight, we heard the sound that every parent dreads when driving with the kids in the back—3yo’s afternoon snack making a sudden reappearance and aggressively introducing itself to the car seat, her clothes and the side of back passenger side door.

We pull over and attempt to remedy the situation using the 2 tissues I have in my pocket and the contents of the water bottles—we have no wipes, no bags and no change of clothes.

Midway through this incident, as we are undressing said sick-covered 3yo by the side of the road, a man approaches and asks me something in French.

I have temporarily forgotten how to speak French and look at him like an idiot.

«Anglais?» he asks.

I nod, while continuing to stare at him. He says something to me in English, although it seems I have also forgotten how to speak this too, so he gestures back down the hill to where a Citroen has found itself stuck down the gutters off the edge of the road.

I eventually realise that he is asking me to help push the car out.

“I’m sorry, my daughter’s just been sick”, I reply, in English.

He decides not to waste any more time attempting to get any sense out of this foolish Englishman and heads back to the car to join the recovery effort.

A few seconds later my sister peers over the wall from the Château above, wondering why we’ve parked so far away. She saves the day with wipes and directions to a nearby Carrefour Connect mini supermarket, where I dash off to to purchase a new outfit for 3yo (most supermarkets here seem to have a small clothes section, for some reason).

The night market is lovely. Nice atmosphere through the town, a beautiful mild summer evening and lots of people out enjoying it.

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We eat rotisserie chicken, sausages from the butcher, soft serve ice cream and crepes.

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3yo is none the worse for the earlier incident (actually quite happy, as the only new trousers I could find for her came in a set with T-Shirt and a little purse/bag thing which she is happily wearing). She is the first one up and dancing away to the local band who are the night’s entertainment.

After a while it dawns on me that, sitting next to us enjoying a wine and the band, is none other than the chap who asked me to help with push out the car. I do my best to avoid eye contact for the rest of the evening.
 

MattA

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As the great poet and philosopher John Francis Bongiovi Jr (1962-) once wrote, “woah, we’re half way there”: one month down, one to go. And still another week of enjoying sunsets like these:

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Saturday was another market day. Sainte-Foy-La-Grande this time. Picked up the veggies for dinner.

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VPS

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As the great poet and philosopher John Francis Bongiovi Jr (1962-) once wrote, “woah, we’re half way there”: one month down, one to go. And still another week of enjoying sunsets like these:

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Saturday was another market day. Sainte-Foy-La-Grande this time. Picked up the veggies for dinner.

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I'm very happy for you but I did just emit a big sigh - Enjoy - loving this TR
 

MattA

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Today’s outing took us to Bergerac, of Cyrano fame.

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Nice place for a wander, although as with most places in rural France, mostly closed on a Sunday.

As we parked up in the main square there was a brocante (car boot sale) just wrapping up.

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Walked the streets for a bit, and stopped for a bit of lunch.

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MattA

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I’m out of order now, but catching up on a couple of bits from the last week that I’ve missed…

So Friday night we left the kids with granny and grandpa and went for a night out with my sister and her partner to Bière de la Bastide — Biere de la Bastide | — a brewery run by an English couple in the delightful little town of Monpazier. I’d previously seen this place profiled on one of those UK tv shows about people moving abroad (“A New Life in the Sun” maybe?) so was keen to check it out.

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There was live music, the beer was tasty and owner Hugh was in celebratory mood as it was his birthday. He shouted everyone a round of drinks…

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Went for a little walk around the town after closing time…

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MattA

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And last Tuesday we took the rest of the family out for what turned out to be a very long lunch.

This was a delayed Christmas present to my family: we’d promised a meal out in France whenever our much-delayed trip eventually happened. I’d been looking for a winery, but French ones don’t tend to do food in the same way that Aussie ones all typically have a restaurant on site. Scrolling around Google Maps doing my research, however, I stumbled on The Naked Vigneron | Life Tastes Better Naked (their website is currently hidden somewhere behind a sea of error messages—I’m told there’s a new and improved one on the way).

Luckily the hospitality, food, and wine was much better than their web presence. We had an absolutely fantastic private lunch in the grounds of a winery run by Amanda and David, an English couple who’ve been making organic wines here for the last decade.

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Beautiful food cooked by Amanda, and some great wines with David on hand to provide insight and give us a tour through their little winery.

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All up, a really wonderful experience. We started at 1pm and I think finally finished the coffees and headed off at about 5:30.
Definitely recommended if you ever visit this little corner of France.
 

ellen10

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Love French food and the beautiful way they present it. We visited some of the towns you have mentioned when we spent 2 weeks in the Dordogne region.
For a little French fix last week we went to see the musical Moulin Rouge and finished the night off with a delightful French restaurant, eating all our favourites and pairing with French wines. (obviously I am a French tragic!)

Looking forward to your next instalment
 
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Loving your TR. Have been to a few of the towns you've visited and so love those markets. Very homesick for France!
As an aside: we were in London beginning of June and caught the new Elizabeth line from Heathrow in to Paddington, nice new, shiny train.
 

MattA

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Having a pool day today. Bit of thunder and rain overnight but it had cleared before we got up.

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Popped out for the croissant run. The boulangerie doesn’t look like much, but the pastries are great.

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Also ticked off an unexpectedly challenging problem: filling up the hire car with petrol. Tried a couple of places yesterday (Sunday) and discovered the unmanned/pay at pump petrol stations do not like my Aussie credit cards. I’ve got a selection of no-FX transaction fee cards at my disposal for this trip (Coles Rewards MC, ANZ Travel Adventures, Orange Everyday) and all of them were instantly declined before I got to pump anything. I am pretty sure this is either some over sensitive anti-fraud thing on the part of the petrol station or some kind of incompatibility between chip/pin systems and nothing to do with my bank as I have had no issue anywhere else (and have done all the necessary notifications to the banks about our travel).

Returned this morning when the kiosk was manned and was able to pay at the attendant after filling up. I was asked to sign (!) which feels like a throwback to another era (although I was presented with a pen and a slip with no space for a signature, scribbled something unintelligible on the bottom and at no point did the attendent view my card or the signature on it so that all seemed rather pointless).

€1.97/litre (~$3/litre) for the cheapest sans plombe. Ouch.

Helped 8yo with her homework (postcard going off to school) and that is all our jobs done for the day…

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Serenity only slightly lessened by a bloke in a tractor going up and down the vines next to the pool. Oh well I guess that wine doesn’t make itself.

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