From Which Direction?


Yesterday evening I watched ‘Mission Evasion’, being the French title of ‘Hart’s War.’  It was an enthralling film about a prisoner of war court martial masking an escape from a German stalag, starring Bruce Willis and Colin Farrell.  I viewed the original English version first, followed by most of it in French.  This method helped me tune into a few of the spoken words.

This morning, leaning into a biting headwind that lanced sharpened darts of rain, I walked, via Flaugeac and St. Julien d’Eymet, for lunch with Judith and Roger to their home in Le Beuil, near Razac d’Eymet.  Once I had passed the right-hand turn towards Mescoules, just after Flaugeac, I was retracing steps taken with Judith last summer on a much warmer day.

The bells of the church at St. Julien; the trickling of water in the ditches, and its rushing along streams and over boulders; a tirade from a frantic dog frustrated from getting at me by a lengthy, fortunately secure, fence; and the metronomic swish of my sleeves against the body of my raincoat, were all that kept me company.Orange van 1.13

Not far out of Sigoules my eyes were drawn to an orange van perched on a distant hillside, its glow piercing the dripping veil of rain.  The led to the sight of an enviable smoking chimney.  I really must get some logs in.

To my untrained sensibility the churches at Flaugeac and St. Julien display the influence of Spanish architecture so prevalent in this region. Flaugeac Church and war memorial 1.13 Flaugeac’s belltower is fronted by the ubiquitous war memorial.

Within what I thought was a couple of kilometers from the Munns’ home, I walked straight over a crossroads.  Sometime later, a bit lost, I telephoned my friends, to learn that I should have turned right at the junction.  And yes, I did have a map.  Never having registered the Le Beuil bit of their address, I had been heading for Razac itself.  Walking through their village I turned up a track to the left of the pond.  This wasn’t right.  So I walked straight on, ignoring the track to the right.  Well beyond Le Beuil I telephoned again.  ‘I don’t know how you could have missed it,’ said Roger.  ‘It’s right by a large pond’.  So…….  Back to the pond.  And back up the same path, thinking I’d missed something.  I hadn’t.  But…..  ‘Ah,’ I thought.  ‘Maybe I should have gone up the opposite track’.  As I approached the house Judith was emerging under a colourful umbrella.  Fortunately she didn’t have to venture any further to gather up her errant friend.Barn, Le Beuil 1.13

I had never been to Judith and Roger’s marvellous hillside home, designed, incidentally, by Judith, on my own before; and then normally being driven, when I don’t usually take much notice of where I’m going.  The first time, with Jackie, had been in Lydie’s taxi.  Judith had e-mailed perfect, detailed, directions.  Nevertheless I managed to get into an awful tangle with Lydie.  Reading the directions to our chauffeuse, I confused both her and myself.  She was convinced that every time I said ‘go left’ it should have been right, and vice-versa.  I was equally adamant that Judith’s information would be accurate. And my French ear was even worse then than it is now.  Eventually the penny dropped and I asked Lydie from which direction we had started out.  It was the opposite one from where our friend’s instructions began.  When we finally arrived, Lydie, of course, knew exactly where we were.

Despite my late arrival today, and Judith’s not really having fully recovered from her cold, she served up an unspoiled, perfectly cooked, roast chicken meal with a variety of vegetables.  Roger was justifiably chuffed with his mouth-watering first attempt at treacle sponge and custard.  A very drinkable Merlot accompanied the meal. As always, I enjoyed their company.

Without a hitch, Judith drove me home.

This evening I watched ‘Wall Street’.  Given that I must be one of the few people who had not seen this frighteningly prescient 1987 film from Oliver Stone until now, it needs none of my observations.

When in France, I send my post courtesy of Le Code Bar Wifi.  The bar is not open on Sunday afternoons, but I can sit outside to pick up the signal.  Today the rain never stopped, so this had to be posted the following morning.

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