Friday, February 23, 2007

Jude wants to change her bike

Well it must be that time again. Jude has decided to sell her bike and buy a new one. She loved the Honda Blackbird that she used to own, and has enjoyed the BMW R1100S. It is a very nimble bike and is perfect for the twisty French roads. It is the yellow and silver one in the picture below.
The bike is a 2001 model, with 99 bhp, and now sports French numberplates. It has around 27000 miles and has a few extras, these include a Y piece, BMW panniers and rails, heated handlebar grips, cylinder protectors, headlight protector and a carbon fibre hugger on the back wheel.
She is looking for around 6800 euros, should anyone be interested.

This is what she wants: A BMW K1200S in black. 4 cylinder, but only 106 bhp on the French market as opposed to the full power 168 bhp version in the rest of Europe.
She also tells me that the new bike will be no good with the standard exhaust on it and I will have to change that part as soon as she takes delivery.
She has found the K1200S website dedicated to the bike at and reads it everyday. What am I to do?

It was Jude's birthday the other day, she got out of bed and went into the kitchen to look out of the window. I could see that she was looking for something and it was not to see if the squirrel was on the bird table! She was looking to see if I had bought the new bike for her birthday present.

All I can say is that when she sells her bike and buys the new one then I'll sell mine too and I am having a BMW K1200R Sport!

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

A typical French lunch in Rouffignac

Yesterday was Judes birthday so we invited a couple of French friends out for a meal. The venue was the Cafe de France in Rouffignac, a place where we often eat. The friends were Elsa, a Dutch lady who works in the local estate agents and has been very helpful to us over the last couple of years. Thank you Elsa. The other was Eugene, a French farmer in his 70's who speaks no English but has turned out to be a very good friend. He is Rouffignac born and bred and knows everybody in the town.
The menu of the day is posted on the small blackboard outside the cafe and is around 11 euros for the complete meal. Everything is home cooked by Sylvie and her husband Tierie runs the bar.
This view shows the dining area, the bar is at the front. It is quite normal here to go to the bar and just drink coffee rather than the vast range of alcoholic drinks that are available.
First course arrived and was the local garlic and egg soup with bread in it. Jude has made this a number of times at home and it is very tasty. Note that the wine is included in the price of the meal and so is as much water as you can drink. After this soup, Eugene did the Perigordian thing and washed his bowl out with red wine and drunk it, I had to do the same.
The next course was tomatoes in a vinigarette dressing with some sort of preserved meat. Again it was a very good flavour.
The next course was this boeuf bourguignonne with pasta. This was home made and very tender. It had a fantastic flavour and was the only course I have ever had where nearly all of it was eaten. Sylvie told us that there was plenty more if required.
Bread comes with the meal and is refilled if empty, as is wine and water.
The next course is the cheese course, which is something that I do not eat and I forgot to photograph it. There can be anything between four and ten types of cheese on a platter in the middle of the table and you are expected to eat whatever you want.
After that there was desert, three of us had a rich chocolate cake and Jude had some cream type stuff with fruit around it.
Last but not least was the coffee. Elsa had to get back to work so she had no time for this.
In rural France, never expect to stop for for a quick lunch, they take about two hours here and enjoy it.
If you are passing through Rouffignac then at least stop for a coffee here and breath in the local atmosphere while the world passes by. There is no need to book a table for lunch most of the year, providing there are four or less of you, but should you want to eat in the evening then it is best to book.

Sunday, February 18, 2007

Beynac Castle

A few pictures taken of Beynac Castle. This first show the castle in the background and was taken from within the village that is on top of the cliff.

This was taken from a bit further away.

The view from the cliff top showing the river Dordogne in the direction of Domme.
These two pictures show the castle approaching from the Sarlat road.

The village of Beynac spreads to the river bank at the bottom of the cliff and is a popular tourist attraction. It is quite a steep walk upto the castle itself, but there are cafes on the way up so that tired climbers can stop for a drink.
In an earlier post I mention a B&B run by two friends of ours, they can see this view from their back garden.

Sunday, February 11, 2007

People who emigrate from the UK to France.

We have been here over two years now. We came here for the peace and the slow pace of life. The other main reason is that we could afford to retire here at the age of 46. We live on my small RAF pension, but never feel that we don’t have enough money. Things here are so much cheaper than the UK, council tax is about a quarter of what we used to pay. The other reason was to spend more time on the bikes. Not only is the riding season much longer, but the cost of ownership is lower with no MOT or road tax for bikes here.

We have met many British people who either live here permanently or live part time in the UK and part time here.

People come for many reasons. It is my opinion that if they want to come and live in this fantastic country they should make some effort to fit in and learn some of the language. Many French people speak a little English, but are perhaps embarrassed to use it. The French in this area are the friendliest people that I have met anywhere in the world, but trying to speak French makes them even more willing to help.

Some English people moved into a house just up the road from us, last year. I helped out in the move by lending them a large sum of money – all my savings! I spent time collecting them from the airport, dealing with estate agents and solicitors, fitted new bathrooms in their house, put them up for months while workmen were in the house and drove them around everywhere. All at my cost, I did not ask for a penny.

These people hate French bread, dislike the heat in the summer and spend their time looking forward to the next holiday in the UK.

I soon realised that they were not intending to try and fit in or do anything for themselves, they did not even think to buy a French-English dictionary before they moved here. They were quite happy to depend on me, or the goodwill of the few English speaking French people in the village.

They have paid my money loan back, but have never really said thank you for all the work that you have done for us.

I have tried to steer clear of them these last few months, but have now found out that they feel I have wronged them by not holding their hands everyday. Never again.

Then there are others who we have met, who have tried to learn French before they moved and take French language classes when they get here. They embrace the French way of life and enjoy every minute of it. These are the sort of people that the French seem to like.

If a foreigner move to the UK and expected to be able to buy his favourite foreign foods, and for the English to learn his language to help him out then there would be uproar, yet a small minority of Brits here expect it work the other way round.

Rant over.

Those who watch this blog for the bike pictures are probably asking where they have gone. Well the weather is improving again so we will bee out soon. I have bought a small video camera and mounted it on the bike so that we can show some interesting movies on the web. For this purpose I have opened a Photobucket account to show the still photos in a better resolution and to deposit the videos. If you want to look then the link is

Bye for now