Weather a bit overcast, so decided to have our day out around Le Bugue. Went into Sarlat and bought David Coles his corkscrew – part payment for the pictures – in a fascinating hardware shop. Sarah anxious to buy a fur mat for out bathroom scales, but managed to deter her. Continued to the fish shop, where they had some lovely looking trout, so bought 5, all slippery and fresh. Also bought an enormous box of strawberries so that was supper organised.
Drove out to Les Eyzies where we stopped at the rather horrible loos, admire the toadstool tea-set (there is a matching jam pot too!) and then continued out into the country, and picnicked on a patch of heathland, in a former bend of the road in fact. Sarah collected wild flowers, we had a game of badminton, and Gareth nagged to go to the zoo. Arrived there at 2.0pm-ish, and enjoyed our visit very much. A fairly small private collection of animals, housed in little log huts quite simply, the money obviously going more to looking after the animals than the furnishings, as all were in splendid condition. Sarah especially take by a little fox on a chain at the entrance, and spent much time petting her. There was a white peacock too, most unusual, and when he put his tail feathers up, they looked like a gigantic fan. We loved two fat pumas, lying contentedly on their backs, just like Pierre [cat] when he’s had a good meal. There was also a handsome young male lion who gazed at us with big tawny eyes, and some wild boar which Andrew photographed because they reminded him of Asterix.
Rain was beginning as we left, so we decided to see the cave at Grand Roc, reached by climbing lots of steps. The caves were fairly small, but like treasure chests, stuffed with jewel-like stalactites and stalagmites, all branching and twisted like flowers, and beautifully coloured. One had even formed into a cross, most unusual.
Children had an ice cream on the way out, then went back to camp in very heavy rain, which continued most of the evening. I’d washed David’s orange towelling shirt yesterday, and it was sodden. David C came over with a kilo of mussels and prepared moules marinières. He divided the mussels into two pans, then added a glass of muscadet, half a medium onion chopped finely, a shallot ditto, pepper, salt. These were then cooked for five minutes, a teaspoon of chopped parsley being added one minute before they were ready. Taste was absolutely gorgeous – we gobbled it all up greedily, supping the juice from the shells. Andrew didn’t have any of course, but Sarah did and Gareth. Followed this with the trout, cooked in butter and almonds, with new potatoes, courgettes, again delicious, then strawberries. A heavenly meal!
Gave wailing Fiona’s parents a Senokot [laxative], as they thought this might be her problem…
Coles invited us out to lunch with them tomorrow as their 15th wedding anniversary is Thursday. Accepted with delight!