It has been a busy three days since my last post. In addition to painting and sketching every day we have seen more of the area and made some new friends. Wednesday we painted and hiked. Although our little village is a true cul de sac (only one road enters the village and exits by the same gate), on foot there are many more options. I think we have found five trails that enter Montcabrier from all directions. Not all of them can be made into loop hikes, but all are fun to explore. Wild elderberries and blackberries crowd the field edges. Streams arise from springs and trickle through the valleys. Walnut trees are everywhere and they are filled with almost-ripe nuts.
On Thursday Sally took us along for a trip to the weekly market in Fumel. This market stretches through several streets of the old part of the city. Anything you want is for sale. (With the curious exception of men’s clothes.) Our first goal was a certain fromagerie and their aged cheese we had sampled. Of course there were many other cheeses to taste and bring home for our lunches…goudas of several different flavors, soft runny goat cheeses, bleu cheese, the list goes on.
We have had company this week at Atelier de la Rose. Dominique and Anna stayed in the other guest room for 3 nights. It was great practice for our French and they proved to be quite patient with my scrambled pronunciation and phraseology. Last night they asked Sally if they could stay for dinner and we made a party of it. Jean and I led off by opening one of our bottles of prosecco, which we shared on the terrace. Sally served us sumptuous dishes of salads and cold meats, a cheese course, and fresh strawberries bathed in a sauce including orange juice, rose wine, and grenadine. We laughed and chatted in our two languages, gave my smart phone translator a workout, watched the sun set, looked at the stars, and finally said good night. This morning Dominique and Anna left to continue their journey in Brittainy before going home near Brussels (but in France). It was such a pleasure to meet them. They made it a very memorable few days.
This morning we took a short drive to St. Martin le Redon, a small picturesque village nearby. Our goal was to do some sketching there, but we ended up taking photos and walking around the village. Then we drove over the hill toward Chateau Boneguil, a large and well-preserved castle from the 15th and 16th century. An overlook across the valley provided us with a perfect place to sit and sketch for a while. We plan to return to the Chateau for a close up visit.
Tonight is the weekly small market here in Montcabrier. It is the time for many people to get together and enjoy a meal purchased from the vendors. They sell roast chickens, cheeses, wines, and other dishes. Of course we will be eating with Sally, but we might wander up to the market (100 feet from our door) to listen to the music and see what’s for sale.