Friday, 13 August 2010

Contemplation & Confit De Cannard

I'm now in the Dordogne, only about 200 miles away from Spain, which is a pitty, as I've got very little inclination to visit, I've never cared much for the spanish, especially their disgustingly brutal treatment of our bovine friends. I like a good steak as much as the next man, but I fail to see what good comes from tormenting it for hours first & then peppering it with painful, lead tipped paper darts shot from blow-pipes. Anyway, I'm going off on a massive tangent, that's enough of that. This area is beautiful, there's a few too many English tourists, but I'm ok, I haven't actually talked to any of them.
I followed my lead, given to me by the 2 guys at Montrichard, & found my British contact. He's been over here for about 20 years now, his circumstances were similar to mine when he fell in love with the place, & he certainly has some very promising sounding work contacts in the area. He was busy working when I saw him, but he made time for a quick chat & gave me his number & told me to call, which I have yet to do. I'm being a bit of a chicken, there's a big part of me that thinks I should leave well enough alone, continue the last week or so of my holiday & go home, completely broke, single & jobless, to a city I don't very much like, in a country I'm not too keen on as well, & continue with what I was doing, which was struggling & yearning for change!
I'm going to call the guy tonight, it'll cost me a fortune but the least I owe him is a few minutes friendly conversation & at least find out what my prospects would've been like, or weather I should think about trying to get a better grasp of the language & return next year, we will see, maybe he will convince me to give it a try for a few weeks, maybe he will tell me to go away, learn some French & come back when I know what I want.

Anyway, back to the camping holiday; it's lovely here, I'm perched on the side of a valley, on a farm. I'm so glad I finally got to try “Camping a la Ferme” (as they call it in “Le Guide”). It's all a bit wild here, the shower/toilet block is in an old barn & the road (or track) is a bit wobbly, but there's electric hook-up available at each pitch (for an extra 3€, so I haven't bothered) & plenty of hot water, so it's not all “back to the stone-age”. There are also plenty of fruit trees (not sure what's growing on them, they're either small plums or golden gauges, but they're very tasty) & plenty of animals, both domesticated & wild. There's 2 donkeys in the field below me, geese & chickens next to the shower block & I'm certain there was a wild pig of some kind sniffing round the tents last night, eating the fruit that had fallen from the surrounding trees, & making plenty of noise about it. This was at about 2:00am, then, a little later, something else came sniffing around my tent, & this time it wasn't scared away by my movement, it was much smaller, it sounded like a big shrew or something like that, I can't remember what they're called, but I'm sure there's something, common in France, that fits that description. There's probably a few of them, as there's lots of little holes in the ground, only a few feet away from my tent, there's also lots of those little lizards you see in France, they're scampering about all day, in the undergrowth, catching insects.

So, it looks like I'm off again tomorrow, unless tonight's phone call yields anything special. I've already been here a day longer than I had planned, all because I couldn't remember the international dialling code for France, so never made the call, I also spent the entire day on site, contemplating what I was going to do. When I went to bed I was sure I was going to make a go for it, try & find some work & see what happened, but I had drunk half a bottle by then. When I woke up I thought “who are you kidding?” but was up too late to leave today, so asked weather another night would be ok, which it was. The sites round here are very busy, on my way down I tried 4, one was full & the other 2 were very expensive, & their facilities were no better than here, in fact one of them was also “a la ferme” & they wanted about 15€ per night, plus the usual expenses, they usually charge separately for the pitch, tent/caravan, person(s) & accompanying vehicle, which hasn't worked out badly at all, with most municipals still working out around the 6€ per night mark, which is exactly what this site charges, a simple charge per person, dependant on age for children, very fair indeed, for this area.
I suppose I should tell you where I am, it's difficult as I'm not exactly sure myself, this site isn't in the book, it was just signposted from the road. According to the sat-nav I'm somewhere near a town called Les Eyzies-De-Tayac-Sireuil, about 56km east of Bergerac, on the road to Le Bugue, which was where I was headed, but the sites listed there were far too expensive, so I was trying my luck wherever I saw a sign & chanced upon this place, which honestly had only one pitch left, & it was raining, so I was just glad to stop & set up camp.
Anyhow, I'd better get off & make this call, it's also almost time for dinner, probably followed by yet another beautiful sunset over the valley, I have tried my best to catch this & will post the pics, although I'm sure they won't do it justice......

Oh yes, the “Confit de Cannard” bit in the title, I've discovered a taste for the stuff. I thought I would treat myself to a tin, for about 6€50, which I thought was expensive until I realised how many dinners it would do.
Well, I've had it 3 out of the last 5 dinners & thought that was it, until I spotted it in the local Aldi, an even bigger tin this time, & only 5€99! Couldn't believe my luck, as everything seems more expensive down here, not just the camping! I even spotted the very same tin I purchased last time (for around 6€50) for well over 10€ in Inter-Marché (I don't mind bad-mouthing them, as it was one of their petrolpumps I had an argument with & am still seething about). I will let you know if it's any good, & if it is, my family can expect some when I get back.

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