A Week In The Charente

7 Oct

It has been an unusual week.  Leanne is still down in the Var at Le Thoronet and I am up in the Charente at Le Marchais near Fomperron.  This is the longest we have been apart since I stopped travelling for work in 2008.

Gaye & John got away on schedule at 07h15 on Monday heading for the Channel Tunnel and England.  As mentioned last post, I went into Saint-Maixent on Monday to get fuel for the car and myself for the week.  The weather is very much that of autumn with overcast days after a slightly foggy start.  Everything in the garden is very damp and I think there have been some nights where there was a small amount of rain as well.  Overnight temperatures have been 12~15˚C while the days have been 18~24˚C.  I don’t think it has actually rained during the daytime, it just feels imminent quite often.

I did manage to get some garden work done mid-week using the weed-eater, or ‘strimmer’ as they call them here, with a brush-cutting blade to knock down the tall weeds on the part of the site that is actually a building site in waiting.  Apparently it won’t have to wait much longer as the approvals have recently been received for the planned extensions to the house.

On Wednesday I packed my headache into the car, it only just fitted – it was a big one, and headed off to see Parthenay.  I wasn’t actually enjoying it so I returned home early and without seeing too much of it.  I returned on Friday and arrived at the Tourist Office just after 11h00.  The whole town was very quiet and the lady in the office had nothing to do – blended with an unbridled passion for her town and district this meant that it took me 30 minutes to extricate myself and start exploring!  I now have a very complete collection of local tourist maps and brochures.

I did a couple of hours on the strimmer again on Saturday trimming all the edges in preparation for mowing.  The weather improved through the week and the forecast is promising.  This meant that the grass was dry enough to cut on Sunday afternoon, more or less.  It sure was long and thick with the autumn conditions giving it a real boost.  I certainly didn’t want to leave it to grow any longer.

On Sunday morning the weather was picture perfect so I went to nearby Ménigoute and Sanxay for a look around.  While in Ménigoute I took a time-lapse sequence of the parish church and with some luck it will be in this post and the GIF will cycle through the images.

One of the local water reservoirs showing the signs of a summer.  I guess it will fill to maximum over the next few months.

One of the local water reservoirs showing the signs of a summer. I guess it will fill to maximum over the next few months.

The skies were rather grey and dull on the first day I visited Parthenay - a bit like my head.  I had awoken with a headache that refused to let go and after struggling around Parthenay for a couple of hours I gave up and retreated home to the couch.

The skies were rather grey and dull on the first day I visited Parthenay – a bit like my head. I had awoken with a headache that refused to let go and after struggling around Parthenay for a couple of hours I gave up and retreated home to the couch.

This was the start of my second visit to Parthenay two days later.  The Pont-Saint-Jacques across the River Thouet.

This was the start of my second visit to Parthenay two days later. The Pont-Saint-Jacques across the River Thouet.

The Porte-Saint-Jacques, the gate and tower in the medieval town wall.

The Porte-Saint-Jacques, the gate and tower in the medieval town wall.

The view from the tower into the town of Parthenay.

The view from the tower into the town of Parthenay.

The arched bridge is Pont-Saint-Paul.  This was taken from the ruined castle and shows the commanding position even without its towers.

The arched bridge is Pont-Saint-Paul. This was taken from the ruined castle and shows the commanding position even without its towers.

Deep in the darkness of a garage that was open to the street - a prehistoric after sales service van!

Deep in the darkness of a garage that was open to the street – a prehistoric after sales service van!

The half-timbered building style seems typical in these parts.

The half-timbered building style seems typical in these parts.

The town square in Ménigoute, apart from being home to a very friendly tabac, is crowned at one end by a very well maintained parish church.

The town square in Ménigoute, apart from being home to a very friendly tabac, is crowned at one end by a very well maintained parish church.

La Chapelle Jean Boucard is Gothic and dates from before 1525.  It was locked up and judging by the weeds along the doorway it might have been that way for a while.

La Chapelle Jean Boucard is Gothic and dates from before 1525. It was locked up and judging by the weeds along the doorway it might have been that way for a while.

A time-lapse sequence of the front of the parish church at Ménigoute as the sun moved across its face.

A time-lapse sequence of the front of the parish church at Ménigoute as the sun moved across its face.

Sunday was indeed a splendid day, barely a breath of wind.  This is one of the approaches to the village of Sanxay.

Sunday was indeed a splendid day, barely a breath of wind. This is one of the approaches to the village of Sanxay.

I think the caption to this fishing scene in Sanxay is, "I'm not talking to you!"

I think the caption to this fishing scene in Sanxay is, “I’m not talking to you!”

Unable to decide which photo I liked the best...

Unable to decide which photo I liked the best…

Sanxay again.

Sanxay again.

Back at John & Gaye's on Sunday afternoon it was time for some work. Edges trimmed - check! Grass cut - check! Caterpillars in the brassicas squashed - check!  BTW, that is the new garden chalet in the background, not the house!  The house is mainly hidden by the trees beyond the chalet.

Back at John & Gaye’s on Sunday afternoon it was time for some work. Edges trimmed – check! Grass cut – check! Caterpillars in the brassicas squashed – check! BTW, that is the new garden chalet in the background, not the house! The house is mainly hidden by the trees beyond the chalet.

That’s the week!  A relatively quiet one but well settled in now.  Leanne will arrive on Tuesday and then we will do some more exploring together.  Looking forward to it.

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