Having been here in the Dordogne for just under a month. Today we took time to recap on all we've achieved so far and thought we would share.
We like to visit the boulangerie for a pear almandine and peach tartine
When we first arrived in our village Badefols d'Ans , it sounds cliched but instantly we felt a sense of 'belonging' , even our dog Boujee who is a live-wire 90% of the time, had an element of calm about her. We arrived to our new home at the top of the hill just as it was getting dark, so by the time we'd unpacked the car we explored the village under the old street-lamps for the first time. The sky was SO dark and the stars so bright that we both stopped and stood to take in the moment, as if this was something we wouldn't manage to capture again. We then noticed the silence and stillness of the air, the higgledy piggledy rooftops and occasional flicker of christmas lights behind the crooked shutters. Now we were excited to wake in the morning!
Our first couple of days were hectic, lifting, shifting, cleaning and making furniture decisions due to the restriction of the narrow staircase! Christmas decorations were put up, and the log burner was piled high, we had definitely arrived!
Our first paying guests were arriving within the week, so our main focus was shifted to the garden gîte which we named Joli Canard (the pretty duck). There was lots to do inside and out, learning things such as curtain rails don't include fittings, kitchen/home interior items are super expensive/ hard to come by and one must do their morning shopping before 12noon! Not to mention when you put the heating on after the some cold months, cluster flies like to emerge en masse!
Gîte transformation complete and guests in place we took time to visit the local areas. We spent a few mornings being very lazy, getting up late and walking our dog to the table d'orientation which is a viewing point in our village. The walk takes us along a farm track, through two walnut orchards and past a herd of lovely chestnut coloured Limousin cows who are very well looked after by the local farmer, Monsieur Lachaud, with his fine grey moustache and cheery wave he makes our day whenever he passes on his tractor! The steep climb to the view point is well worth it, on a clear day the fog lingers in the valleys, a bit like scotch mist but slightly different! Hautefort Chateau can be seen in the distance, usually glistening in the light. Its perfect, I enjoy the walk home most of all, and each time I feel lucky, luckier than the day before.
Places we visited in our first few days were for both pleasure and business. One we chose to write about is Saint Robert which can be found a short 10km drive away, this is a 'plus beau village' in the Correze region, one of our favourite places to visit and the drive there is particularly pretty. We like to visit the boulangerie for a pear almandine and peach tartine - as always we're too impatient to wait and end up eating them as we explore the village on foot! We also visited Montingac, Objat, Terrason, Excidieul and Thiviers...all for specific reasons, all worth a visit and within 30 minutes drive of home.
Our lack of French has been a bit of a challenge, but only for more practical tasks such as getting the car MOT'd, bank and accountant meetings. We've had the massive bonus of having in our opinion, the best agent we could have wished for in Jon Boella of Perigord Property, he has given us no end of help,advice and translation when we've needed it, and still continues to do so graciously post completion of sale. We're definitely thanking our lucky stars for meeting him when we began our property search back in June. Otherwise we've definitely got by, everyone appears to be eager to know us, happy to know we're living in their village, and eager to give us a warm welcome which gives us even more incentive to learn their language, which we continue to do.
We now feel quite settled and what we've written is only a small insight to all the things we've experienced. January brings a new objective; to get our business up and running and to find our place in this lovely village we've found. Our most prized lesson learnt this far has to be that there is no rush anymore, we can stop to look at the stars every night, we can hear the silence whenever we like and we can take time to enjoy and explore everything around us.
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Best Wishes Ross and Joni Voilà Villas