Today dawned clear and bright – not! As the holiday village was on the top of a hill, the views should have been magnificent. Instead all we could see was cloud. Although the set off date for the Cyclos was 8.00 there was much hanging about and discussing whether it was safe to cycle. As visibility was about 300 m Mr FD was sure it was, but others (including our dear, but extremely cautious, friend Louis) weren’t so sure. Mr FD got more and more frustrated as they vasillated between going and not going, but finally they left.
The non-cyclists were tasked with carrying the picnic, and meeting the cyclists in Uzerche, a pretty town. So we set off to wend our way there, stopping in picturesque villages on the way. First stop, Saint Robert:
It was a charming village, but sadly, so many of the shops were boarded up or “A vendre” (for sale). With the place still wrapped in cloud, what few sounds there were were muted and almost ghostly. We spoke to an old guy who bemoaned the fact that the young people had moved out to go to the big cities, while the older folk were slowly dying away.
There were a few cats to be seen, including this one
who appeared to be directing us to the Boulangerie where there was a very old bread oven, still being used to bake the bread
Old bread oven, & bread baked in said oven
We then meandered on our way to Ségur-le-Chateau, one of Les Plus Belles Villages de France – villages designated as being particularly attractive.
Set on the banks of the river it was indeed very lovely, so we wandered around, admiring the views, and the old stone houses.
After this we drove onto Pompadour, where there was a chateau to be admired, from the outside…
…before we headed on to the designated meeting place – which was at the highest point in Uzerche – fine for us in cars, buit a bit unfair on the cyclists!
But they all made it! (Some people were on electric bikes, so it was easier for them!)
By now the weather had cleared, and it was getting quite warm. We were glad of the shade of the trees in the garden where we could have lunch. Odette &Louis had arranged with the Mairie to have the school opened so we could use their toilet facilities as well. Which we were grateful for! We had our picnics and spent a bit of time relaxing, which included having a coffee in a café that had agreed to recharge the batteries for those people who had electric bikes.
There was then much faffing as group photographs were taken, which annoyed Mr FD greatly. Once he starts cycling he wants to carry on, and while stopping for lunch was acceptable, enforced hanging around while we waited for this person to arrive, or that person to stop tinkering with his/her bike, was not.
They finally set off again, so we moved on to our afternoon port-of-call, which was the Chateau de HautefortThis link gives you much more information than I could, about the place (& better photos!)
We visited the interior first, and then the “French garden” – with its manicured and trimmed box hedges, and very orgaznised planting.
We didn’t have time to go to the “English garden”, which is much more landscaping, in the Capability Brown style.
We got back to the holiday village about 5.30, where I found Mr FD stretched out, wearing not a huge amount, drinking copious amounts of tea, exhausted after the second part of the ride in what had become hotter-than-one-would-wish-for-when-cycling conditions. We went to Yves and Brigitte’s chalet to have an apero to celebrate the birth of their first grandchild, and then wended our way up to the dining room for dinner.
This was a salad with gésiers – pleasant enough, but a bit small on portions – followed by cuisses de canard (duck legs) and green beans. There was also pasta. There was cheese and salad, and then a tiny portion of a walnutty kind of pastry with crème anglaise (thin custard) Another organisational meeting then off to bed!