Périgord, France – Sept 2018

The village of Montcigoux has a house with a long roof.

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Note also the extraordinary number of electricity cables. The plan is to put them underground. This was in progress. But so far not on this side of the village.

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The queue at Limoges airport Passport Controle took 1 hour. There were only two officials and a huge number of people on the aircraft.

We went to Brantôme, a town on the River Dronne. It’s on an island in the river. There’s a food market on Fridays. At the cafe I sketched the Abbey.

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We walked by the river and found a poem on a stone tablet. I wrote it in my notebook.

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With the help of friends, I am still puzzling out what the poem says. Here’s the latest attempt:

Philosopher, it is there, right at the end of the convent
Whose façade is washed by the River Dronne in flood
That in this enclave, having spent the summer under the majestic elm trees
While leaving your monastic cell to its gigantic books
You would be in free dialogue with your memories.

All suggestions, improvements and interpretations welcome. The verb “jaser” seems to mean “gossip”, but perhaps “faire jaser” has a different meaning. Any ideas? I also assumed that the “G.B.” was the writer “Brantôme”. Georges Brantôme I guessed. But no, the writer Brantôme is Pierre. Here’s what Wikipedia says:

Pierre de Bourdeille, seigneur de Brantôme (c. 1540 – 15 July 1614), also known as the abbé de Brantôme, was a French historian, soldier and biographer.

I rather get the impression from his Wikipedia entry that the abbé de Brantôme was more of a chronicler than a poet. So who is “G.B.”? I definitely need to go back to Brantôme to have a closer look at that stone plaque. And to buy more of that cheese with nettles in, made by a Dutchman who has settled in France, and sold to us by his son.

“Is it French cheese?” I asked.

“Well,” he said, in the manner of someone embarking on a long explanation, “the milk is from French cows, and it was made in France….”. But, evidently, it was made by his father, a Dutch man, using a Dutch process. So is the cheese French? Is that even a useful question?

Here’s a view of the abbey from the restaurant where we had lunch:

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I sketched in Périgord last year. See this link:  Montcigoux

One of my pictures is now on the wall of the house it depicts.

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Original Watercolour framed

Montcigoux

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The red tiled roofs are a characteristic of the area. The low roof of the Old Forge is rickety. Mme Sauté cultivates tomatoes in the plastic greenhouse on the left.

Here is Steve’s house. His Audi is parked conspicuously, because he is expecting a visitor, and he told them to look out for the car.

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See all the overhead cables. There is a plan to put all these underground: both the electricity and the telephone cables.

On the Sunday I set out to draw a picture of the Old Forge from another angle. An elderly man trundled his walking frame all across the grass to come and talk to me. He described how Steve’s house had previously been the grocer, café and ballroom. There were dances there. The man had a long career. He was the son of the gardener in the château. He had installed electricity in the local town, Limoges. There was a whole narrative about the maquis,  which word I couldn’t understand in context. I knew it was a description of the land in the South of France: the dried out grass and low bushes. Then, as he was talking, I remembered it was also the word for a fighting force. He had fought all the way up to La Rochelle. This was Resistance fighters in the Second World War.

I had managed only the pencil outline of my picture.

I finished it on the Monday. By then it was raining.

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When I got home I painted one of the tomatoes Mme Sauté had given me.