Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Top of the world Ma!

Well today we went to Duras, the hilltop town where Caleigh goes to school. It’s a twenty minute drive from our rented farmhouse, there are a few Realtors ( Immobilier in France) there that have rental listings we were interested in. I know that February just started but we’re going to need to get a place lined up for April - June. We arrived at 11:45, which was numb, as France closes from 12:00 to 2:30. We approach the Realtor’s office, it’s open so we enter. “Bon jour, ma sappell e Henri Petterson, Je vous drei un apartment pour louie.” I say to the lady as she approaches, which loosely means “Good day, my name is Henry Petterson , I would like to rent an apartment.” She smiles benignly at me, glances at Cindy, instantly knowing Cindy is the brains of the outfit, and looks back at me and replies. “Yes, of course, I received your e-mail, just this mourning.” with out skipping a beat and indicating the we should please be seated in front of the receiving desk, before I fall down while trying to string together seven or more words in a row, whether in French-ish or English. “Sorry to show up just before your lunch” I add as I navigate sitting down while trying to unzip my jacket and remove the camera from around my neck at the same time. She literally had sat down, adjusted herself as women do and stared at me, while I continue the Houdini straight jacket escape trick, except I looked more like a bronze medal winner in the special Olympics trying to throw a shot put. I have donated time to helping out at a Special Olympics’ event, back in the 80’s, so please excuse the reference, because truth be told, they pulled it off with dignity, and coordination, which today I sorely lacked. When I finally sat down, swear to God, her Daughter (also a realtor) walks in with a British couple. “Hi mom, could we borrow the front room?” Her mother looks at me and says.” No, hun shouldn’t be much of a problem?” So we get up, successfully and move into the back room. I sneezed on the way to the back, and it sounded like “ Aflack” Continuing the conversation, she informs us of all her options, she add’s that there is the possible availability of an apartment above the Realtors Office, sounds sketchy. So we continue discussing the options, but before leaving we take a tour of the three bedroom three bath apartment. We proceed through the back of the realtors backrooms, then we arrive to the rear room that would serve as it’s entry, with it’s own entry from the side of the building into this medieval alleyway, it’s incredible. There’s a garage space, unheard of inside a medieval bastide (walled town). We look around the first (Ground) floor, its nice, really nice. There is a bedroom on the first floor, two on the second floor, with a rear deck overlooking the surrounding country side. The other room overlooks the town square, and has double paned windows. The whole place is light and airy, open and the stairs aren’t the typical medieval widow maker style, that have decreasing step widths the higher you go. The kind you have to carry one glass of wine and a tourniquet. After that Cindy and I drove around the Duras environs. When we return to Duras, the Chateau was open, for a month we’ve been driving by it for one reason or another its been closed. Well, we park the car in the towns square, and make our way to the Duras Chateau, we enter the gift shop ticket place combo. We follow the signage and tour this beautiful Chateau, there’s a lot of photo’s showing the restoration, from the derelict shell it was allowed to get to in the early 1960’s to 1964 when the town of Duras bought it, thank God. In 1974 the restoration started, jeeze these people did it up right, different trades, artisans, and Gov.t’ officials. Walking through a pretty incredible example of what initially must have been an unbelievable build, to a restoration of an almost completely useless hulk of a Chateau. The highpoint was walking up some seriously scary stairs in a narrow stone tower to reach the highest tower. Then you are rewarded with the overlook of the entire country side, Cindy was laughing nonstop from the nervous energy racing around her nervous, nervous system. She had laid down her purse, which she never does, and you can see her visibly crouching down. Because when you’re two hundred feet up on the top of a stone, partially renovated tower, that inch and a half difference in elevation could save you one millisecond of fall. Next to her you can see this narrow chute, which is the stairs, half that an that’s the width of the widow makers. As usual I was really proud of Cindy for completing the tower climb. She and I to reward ourselves, for the Flying Wallenda‘s routine, stopped at the local Duras Wine Makers commune outlet. We took a tour of their history, geology, and terrior displays, and purchased three of their products. Cheers!

1 comment:

  1. I believe that there truly is a sinister gene in the French that derives great pleasure from watching the "non-speakers" struggle with their language. We were on a train in France headed for the coast to transfer to a ship across the channel, when the conductor "tried" to inform us that our port had been changed and we would first go by bus then board the ship. We were at a lost for the next 30 minutes with Susan's hysteria growing by the moment. 45 minutes into this we thought we had it figured out when this little old French lady sitting across from us pipes up in English (with a French accent) "wondering if she might be of some assistance"......yeah "you could have translated our questions to the conductor and hour ago....glad to hear you continue to make your share of local purchases. Sounds as tho you can order a baguette and a bottle of wine. Appears that you have just about all of the food groups covered........gb