Night was bitterly cold, and in fact woke up early in thick mist and put layers of coats on the bed, after which we were much more cosy. Morning brightened up quickly and we decided to get out promptly to go out for the day. Set off plus picnic for Carennac first, along the Dordogne which was very high and brown in colour. Stopped in Souillac to buy some food (saw to our surprise that the Relais Routiers there was closed for the holidays) and then via Martel, which was a nice little fortified town, to Carennac. This was enchanting – small with very narrow streets, clustered round a rather ruined abbey. We wandered around the cloisters, very much gone to seed, and saw dozens of cats peeping out of all the little holes in the stonework. The roofs of the town were all lovely, soft shades of beige and terracotta, and bumpy and undulating; the buildings in a soft honey colour blended perfectly with them.
Ate our lunch at a deserted (not yet open) camp site just outside Carennac, enjoying the hot sun. Ate out of tins – salmon and sardines and were pretty frustrated by the bottle of wine we had bought, which turned out to have a cork in it, and we (of course) hadn’t brought the corkscrew. (More expensive wines have corks, plonk has replaceable tops).
Continued on to Argentat through very pretty countryside, houses covered with red and pink roses, arum lilies growing in profusion, fields planted with maize, tobacco, wheat, and vines, and hills wooded. Some nice old buildings in Artentat, especially down by the river. Went on to the dams they have made on the river, very impressive (buying strawberries on the way) and climbed up and over the hills on very twisty roads, coming down to Argentat another way. Came much more quickly hoe and the children shot off to the pool and their friends.
Cooked the evening meal – shrimp bisque mixed with fish liquor, the veal (which had kept very well in the ice box) cooked gently with herbs, mushrooms, wine and cream, and asparagus, haricots jaunes and of course, chips, followed by cherries and washed down by the wine we hadn’t been able to open at lunch time. Adjourned to the restaurant later – David Coles had a bottle of champagne which had (really) fallen off a van, so we all drank it… went very well with the hot chocolate.