It has been a weekend of bliss. I define bliss as 1) friends; 2) food; 3) alcohol; 4) unbelievable sights; 5) intense and extreme beauty; 6) food and alcohol. Oh, I think I said that before.
This entry is long and posting the pics takes forever for reasons I won’t bore you with since you’ll be bored halfway through reading this. So again, apologize for typos or things that make no sense. Sort it out!!!!! (been trying to lessen my about my exclamation marks, but it’s not working well).
So where’s the disaster, you may ask. We woke up Saturday to a huge thunderstorm. I was up half the night because of the thunder which made Tootsie, who is skittish about EVERYTHING except horses and things 100 times her size, was barking and growling and jumping on and off the bed. When Jim and I first moved in together he warned me he was a “light sleeper.” Light sleeper, as defined by Jim, means he can sleep through anything barring the roof collapses on his head. So not only did he not hear Tootsie, he didn’t hear the thunder. (Ironically, he/we sleep with a rain app to block out noise).
Nicky, Noel, Lara, Jim an I awoke undaunted. We were going to make our outgoing to the underground church. This is the FIRST and undoubtedly LAST time I ever recommend a church as an activity. But the pictures looked amazing. The reality turned out to put the pictures to shame. Because it was pouring, Jim decided to look for an umbrella before we left the house. He walked into the enormous laundry/utility room and he discovered the roof had broken through and the room was quickly flooding. At times like these I become useless. All I can think of is call for outside help, i.e. the caretaker or others who look after the house. Meanwhile, Jim, Noel and Nicky started bailing water. We have NO cell reception at the house whatsoever given its location. The rain also knocked out the landline so we couldn’t call anybody. We also couldn’t email anybody because that was out too.
I ran up to the road (.5 mile from the house) stood in the rain, trying to send SOS texts. Noel came to rescue me in his rental car where I proceeded to send more panicked texts. There are certain situations I am really crap at. This kind of thing being on them.
Finally, Noel and Jim found the place where they thought the rain was coming in and laid plastic over it. The rain, fortunately, began to abate slightly. We made a decision we weren’t going spend our day dealing with the problem and off we went to Aubeterre-sur-Dronne. It’s a hilltown of ivory stone in which there are not one but two world renown churches. We visited the underground one first. Before you even get to the church, your mind is blown by the setting of the town. OMG! This has to be one the most gorgeous towns in France. Each town is more mind-boggling than the next. It was overcast so the views, which went on forever, only went on for half of forever. The church is carved into a limestone cliff. Finally we climbed to the church where Joseph’s tomb is front and center. When you enter you see hundreds of excavated corpse hollows with all their heads of which are all facing Jerusalem. We’re talking 5th century. There’s so much to say about this place and I’m not into writing a history lesson. The pictures are better than anything I’m going to say.
When we left we climbed further up a hill and found the most CHARMING square filled with beautiful artisan shops and gorgeous (natch) restaurants, beautiful flowers, ancient cobble stone streets. Continued a bit more uphill you discover St. Jacques. What I loved about this is there a sign that says it was “destroyed in the War for Religions.” I found that hysterically funny given all war for the most part is about religion! The facade of the church, which is very Roman-esque, was simply fantastic. It’s decorated with abstract pattens and has the most intriguing array of characters carved into its limestone. Again, I’ll let the pics do the talking.
After a visit to a local chocolate shop (I do have to get a grip) we walked down the floral and brick path back to the car.
When we got home we found the house under seize from the caretaker who was fast at work trying to solve the problem. The good news is that it’s water related and not river related. It stopped raining and although he and Jim and Noel had a difference of opinion as to where the rain was leaking in, the caretaker had laid plastic that will (hopefully) hold until a contractor comes to evaluate the problem. Fortunately, the weather is clearing with little chance or rain for the next week or so. Apparently, French contractors are on the rest of the French schedule. They don’t work much.
We are in the Perigord region known for its fantastic food.Is there a part of France that isn’t known for its food?? Last night we returned to a restaurant we’d been to. When we entered the restaurant, Tootsie was on her leash. Lara, who had fallen madly in love with her, lead in. Since she was the first to enter the busy restaurant. Tootsie’s emitted a howl heard around the EU. The entire restaurant fell silent. It was like the old “when EF Hutton speaks” commercial. An enormous and beautiful terrier of some sort was stretched across the floor. It was a good thing we’d been there before and had made “friends” with the owner previously because of our anti-Trump pins. She found the whole thing amusing.
Today, Jim and I and the mutts are on our own until Italy. We stay here, thank heaven, until the 17th. i actually may weep when I leave here. NOTHING could be more perfect. I’ve had some good experience when renting sight unseen via the internet, and bad. I’ve learned a LOT but you never know. At the end of the day, you must rely on pictures. And FOR ONCE, these pictures did not capture the magic of this house and setting. Maybe it’s impossible. It is absolute heaven on earth.
We do check the news, despite our vow to ignore it, more than we should. It’s really HARD not to. Generally, it’s headlines but then the headline is so awful, you move on to the main story and then your horror level grows. What a read today that gave to a good laugh was the Macron and Trump stuff. Of course, I adore my beloved Angela handing the Orange Mental Midget his ass and I read a piece which stuck it to Ivanka. Naturally, the news out of London is horrible. Noel, out British houseguest, believes it’s going to lead to all police carrying weapons. As usual, the police were fast on the scene, the Mayor made a sane statement, and it’s being treated, so far, as it should be. Not as on opportunity to fuel hate and bigotry.
The world falling apart around us makes me feel guilty for a moment, then I look around me and let the guilt go away. Like Billy Joel said “we didn’t start the fire, it’ll still be burning as the world is turning. We didn’t start the fire and when we are gone it will still burn on and on and on.”
Those of us who are privileged should enjoy ourselves while trying to do what we can to make the world better for others. Feel free to gag now.
Oh hell, I didn’t even talk about the visit to the caves! Or the kayak ride down/up the Dronne! Jesus, if you’re interested look at the pictures. Nothing I can say can equal them.
First group is Grotte de Villars. What makes it different than other caves it has prehistoric drawing in magnesium oxide dating back to 30,000 BC!!! It also has white translucent stalactites and draperies. It’s simply astounding! It’s the largest network of underground caves in the Perigord. So far they’ve explored 13 km. You’re not supposed to take pictures BUT I thought of my friends and I did it anyway. Once a bad teenager always a bad teenager.
Lara falls hopelessly in love with Tootsie