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  • Writer's picture by Rae-Helen

Our Jungle in France

L' Autre Vie- By Rae-Helen Fisenden May 22/2022

After a scenic 90 minute drive west from Beaulieu sur Dordogne we arrived, at last, to our cottage in the small village of Berbiguieres.

We didn't know what to expect on our arrival as the cottage hadn't been maintained for many months, so it was with some degree of trepidation that we stepped into a rather cobweb-filled, dusty and neglected house. We quickly assessed the situation and then opened the side door to the small terrace.

Neil opened it actually, laughing uproariously as he did shouting " you've got to take a look at this! "

I didn't laugh. I groaned. And this is why.

Normally we have a few weeds to deal with after an absence of several months, but this was exponential growth! Our very own Covid neglected jungle was trying with every effort to engulf the entire house. Even our side window was obliterated by a mass of creepers. It was ridiculous. We looked at each other, closed the door at this point, and set to work on the inside. Neil commenced by attacking every cobweb and speck of dust with the vacuum cleaner, while I dusted, washed, and cleaned every surface, plate, cup, glass and knife and fork in the place! It took several hours and a couple of litres of sweat, but finally we felt we'd achieved a liveable space over which we had some semblance of control. The garden would simply have to wait.

The following day I attacked the cupboards, de-cluttering and organising them more efficiently while Neil replaced globes, batteries, smoke alarms, felt pads on the bases of chairs and generally, everything that needed attention. He is very adept at fixing things and, the fact that we found a replacement remote for the LG television (at the local french equivalent of Bunnings) was a minor miracle. We also decided to buy a rather nice looking rug for the lounge area and we stocked up on other necessary items. New shades for lamps to replace shabby ones. The list goes on and on.

This morning however, Neil was " George of the Jungle ." Unlike George however, he donned protective outer clothing, including welly boots, gloves and a hat and began the transformation of the little overgrown garden. It's unusually hot here at the moment and very humid, so it was a strenuous exercise. Even with protective clothing the stinging nettles somehow managed to find his arm. He is suffering even as I write.

He hasn't finished the garden. It's a work in progress and frankly, we have time on our side this trip. Within a few hours he achieved this.

Not a bad first effort George! Well done!

It's Sunday afternoon in France and I swear the cemetery probably has more activity going on than the rest of this rural community. All shops are closed and, because family Sunday lunches are sacrosanct, I daresay everyone is having an afternoon snooze after their lunchtime repast. We, on the other hand, went to the open air Laundromat -(Laverie ) to do a a big load of washing.

Course we did! JOY! ;)

Perfect timing! Nobody there. Not a soul within miles. High five.

Next to the Laverie is a Pizza Cabin which we noticed is open from 6 p.m. until late. TONIGHT! Yay!

Pizzas are BIG in France and, by that, I mean that they are very popular as an evening meal. As lunch is the main meal, pizza has become a very easy evening eating option. Alliteration overload (sorry).

We surveyed the menu.

We were gobsmacked by the choices. You can have pizza with duck, goat's cheese, mussels, potato, artichokes or with practically anything really. The toppings are so diverse. The only off-putting part for me is that a lot of the pizzas are topped with Crème Fraiche. EEK!

So, we will be having Pizza Royale this evening because George really deserves a treat dont you think? Including a glass or two of this! Mais Oui? Biensûr!

A Bientöt!


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