Thursday, August 11, 2016

Saturday August 6

I awoke, took a shower and went downstairs into the kitchen where Anne was eating breakfast of bread and honey, coffee.  I had some breakfast and went into the living room to check email.  Didier, Anne and Camille had stayed up late last night, and both Didier and Camille had hangovers this morning and did not wish to go with us to the Saturday market in Riom.

So Anne and I headed off in her car through the countryside past fields bursting with sunflowers, corn and wheat fields mowed with the wheat in giant cylinders scattered across the pastures.  We passed through many small villages on our way, all charming with vintage buildings, and little gardens and hanging baskets decorating the streets we travelled on our way to the markets.

We arrived in Riom and found a good parking space.  We crossed the main drag and walked up a small street to pass by the mansion that Didier and Anne had bought several years ago and renovated, then sold.  It was a 4 story building with large windows overlooking the street, and spiral staircases in a tower leading to each floor from an open center courtyard.  We saw many closed shop windows and she explained that the new shopping malls had forced many of these small businesses to close.  I told her the same thing happens in the US.  We turned a corner into a wide pedestrian retail street with banks, restaurants, jewelry stores, boulangeries, charcuteries and more.  Anne stopped to get some cash from an ATM and then we continued to the next corner and turned left into the street fair part of the market selling clothing, inexpensive jewelry, bed linens, lingerie and many more things. We then turned right into the Market area where there were many vendors selling fruits and vegetables, fish, meat, cheese, Moroccan  Turkish and Asian hot food, sweets and desserts.  We bought some cheese and also some Turkish bread with fillings for lunch at the country house.  We also bought some cured sausage for our afternoon apero.

Next we went to visit the local mall to an Orange store so I could buy a top up credit for my French phone number.  My original sim card expires on 8/10 so I need to extend through at least the 22nd so I have a working phone and data sms capability until I return home.  We managed to find a plan that is good for a month for 20 euros so I was happy.  I also looked at a protective cover for the phone since I had dropped it yesterday and cracked the current one.  The only one they sold was expensive and although it came with a 2 year replacement warranty they wouldn't ship to the US so I passed- I can still use/see the phone as is.

After we went back to the country home in Villeneuve and Camille and Didier were playing a dice game called yams.  We made a salad from the garden and heated up the Turkish flat breads and had lunch with a glass of wine. After lunch those three all went to take another nap, and I wrote in this blog for a while, then laid on the couch and gazed out the door.  It was a beautiful sunny day, but we were all very lazy. 

About 6pm we got in the car and drove down to a campground a few kilometers away that was on a river near an old bridge.  We got out of the car and took and walk.  It was a beautiful place, and Didier and Anne had lived here with their two young boys on the weekends for two years in a tiny cabin while they were building a custom home.  During the week Anne stayed in her mother's house in Clermont Ferrand with the boys, and Didier stayed in Lyon where he was working during the week. So each weekend they reunited at this place.  It was a beautiful place with an old bridge, a few houses and the cabins for camping.  The banks of the river here were wide and perfect for picnics.  After walking around we went back in the car and back to the house.

We had our afternoon apero of wine cheese and bread, We returned to the house and Anne made a casserole with little potatoes and zucchini from their garden and comte.  We drank more wine, then had the casserole with bread and a lettuce salad from the garden.

We returned to the living room and were waiting for a fireworks show to start in a neighboring village at the end of a day long fete, and it only said in the local paper after dark, and finally it started around 11:30pm and it lasted a long time.  We could see it from the country house at La Villeneuve.  It had several pauses where we thought it was over, and we got ready to go to sleep, and it started again.  Camille was driving to her family the next day and she went to bed before it finished.  I stayed till the end with great effort and then went to bed. 


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