Our market and a quiet ceremony

Today is both Bastille Day across France (la Fête Nationale) and a Sunday, which means that it’s Market Day in Daglan. As we’re now well along in the busy season — that is, tourist season — there was a nice crowd this morning in our village’s main square around 11 a.m.

First, a couple of looks at the market activity. Here’s one view of the action:

Shoppers on the prowl.

As spring turns to summer, our Sunday market just grows and grows. Now there are stalls selling sausages, cheeses, plants and flowers, strawberries, other fruit and vegetables, melons, kitchen utensils, and roast chickens (to name a few items). Here’s another look:

A wide variety of stalls.

After wandering through the market, I walked the short distance to the monument on the terrace in front of the restaurant Le Petit Paris, where the celebration of la Fête Nationale was taking place. It begins with the raising of the French flag, and the placement of flowers at the foot of the flagpole. Here is one of the village councillors, raising the flag:

Preparing to raise the flag.

Then our Mayor read out a well-written piece on France’s history, independence, and cultural values (liberty, equality, fraternity, and — lest we forget — laïcité, which refers to the separation of church and state). Here is M. Dussol:

Our Mayor reads the text.

To close the ceremony, the Mayor asks for a minute of silence, and then the French national anthem is played. I’m pleased to say that M. Dussol led the singing.

Posted in French government and politics, History in France, Life in southwest France, Markets in France | Tagged | 4 Comments

Daglan, Allez ! Go !

Tomorrow (Saturday), our village plays host to a celebration of 100 years of the great game of rugby in the Céou Valley, which is where Daglan is (perhaps unsurprisingly) located.

On the wall of the Mairie (the Mayor’s office) hangs a banner announcing the event, and I must say that I was quite impressed when I saw it. Here it is:

A sign of the times.

What’s so surprising?, you may ask. Well, it’s because the sign is actually bilingual! (Shades of Canada.)

At the top, below Centenaire du Rugby, it reads: 100th anniversary.

And at the bottom it reads: Allez ! Daglan, Allez ! And then, Go ! Daglan, Go !

Pretty clever, I’d say. Someone behind the scenes evidently realized that France attracts a lot of tourists whose first language isn’t French. So it seemed to make sense to post important signs and banners in both French and English.

Gee, I wonder if this could catch on elsewhere in France? Like, for instance, Paris.

Posted in Festivals in France, History in the Dordogne, Life in southwest France, Sports, Sports in the Dordogne | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

Four dishes and a soup bowl

I don’t really believe that we eat with our eyes — for one thing, think of the mess it would make for people who wear contact lenses. But I do know that the appearance of a plate of food has a big impact on its appeal.

With that in mind, I’m offering a look at four dishes and a bowl of food that were both attractive and delicious when we enjoyed lunches with friends at two different restaurants over the past several days.

The restaurants in question were our new fave, Restaurant O Moulin in Carsac, and Daglan’s own  stand-by, Le Petit Paris. (I’ll not add more about the restaurants themselves, as they’ve been covered thoroughly and frequently in Radio Free Daglan.)

I’ll begin  with an entrée of foie gras, as served at O Moulin. In my posting of April 7, 2019, I showed off a similar dish in which the foie was topped with chocolate. In the latest version, each half circle was topped with a raspberry jelly, and decorated with various raspberry-related bits and bobs. Here you go:

Raspberries on top? Why not?

Staying with entrées, this was a special-of-the-day at O Moulin that my wife Jan ordered — and raved about. It’s a crab soup, loaded with crab meat and topped with thin slices of octopus. Here’s Jan’s bowl:

Is this special, or what?

At Le Petit Paris, where we ate on the terrace, I had this main course, featuring a long and tender filet of glazed salmon, accompanied by a long pastry cylinder that was filled with shredded vegetables. Voilà:

A lovely way to  plate a simple salmon dish.

Even more colourful was my main course at a lunch at O Moulin this week, as it featured a nicely coloured filet of trout, well decorated with shoots, pea purée, and tiny cubes of toasted dark bread (like miniature croutons). Here it is:

A flavour-packed trout dish.

And to finish on another colourful note, here’s my dessert at the most recent O Moulin lunch, which included a cookie base, a fruit sorbet, halves of marinated cherries, and decorative pastry shards on top:

Bright and light.

Currently we are awaiting the arrival of good friends who have a holiday home very near our house, and of course we’ve already made a reservation at O Moulin for next week.

Can you have too much of a good thing? No, not really.


Posted in Food, French food, Life in southwest France, Restaurants in France, Restaurants in the Dordogne | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

For rugby fans only

This coming weekend, our little village is hosting a celebration of what is easily the favourite sport in southwest France — rugby. This banner gives the overview:

Announcing the celebration.

Yes, it’s the centenary of the game of rugby in the valley of the Céou River, the tributary of the mighty Dordogne River. And here’s the follow-up banner, which provides more information on events:

Should be a festive occasion!

As you’d expect, there will be a variety of games, an exposition, a dinner, and evening festivities that will include a fireworks display. If you’re in the area, and interested in dinner, do call one of the telephone numbers on this sign to reserve a place.

Posted in Festivals in France, History in the Dordogne, Life in southwest France, Sports, Sports in the Dordogne | Tagged , , | 2 Comments

Hip, hip, hooray! And hoopoe!

Not too many days ago, I saw a hoopoe — actually, three of them — for the first time since moving to France nearly nine years ago.

I can just imagine you asking: And what is a hoopoe, pray tell? Well, it’s a bird that’s evidently not easy to spot, and is quite an unusual little beast.

Funnily enough, my wife Jan actually remembered learning about the bird from our good friend Darlene, who is a frequent visitor to France from her home in Toronto. Darlene recently told me she had seen a hoopoe (huppe in French) just once, in the Bergerac area.

With no further ado, here’s a look at the hoopoe, in a photo I was able to access on the Internet:

Sort of a strange birdie, I think.

My sighting occurred as I drove slowly into the déchetterie (the series of bins where we take our garbage and recycling) near Daglan’s municipal rugby field.

I spotted three  birds pecking at the ground in front of the garbage bins, and first thought they were mourning doves, because their plumage featured some of that lovely soft beige colour. Then I realized that they were smaller than doves and had very long beaks, like the shore birds I used to see on the beach in Florida, where I grew up. Finally, I saw that there was something emerging from the backs of their heads.

I crept my car forward, hoping to get as close as possible to take a photo. But when I opened my car door, as slowly and quietly as possible, they flew off.

Later I described my sighting to a local friend, Laura, who said the bird was most likely the hoopoe, and that they often fly to France from Africa at this time of the year, as the African weather becomes too hot.

Eventually I got around to some Internet research, and learned that there are three separate species of the hoopoe — the Eurasian, the Madagascan, and the African — and nine sub-species. Apparently they spend winters in central and eastern Africa. Finally, I learned to my surprise that the hoopoe is the national bird of Israel. Go figure!

Finally, here’s another photo from the Internet, showing how that little clump of feathers on their heads can open out:

Wow! Quite a showboater.

I suppose that many people consider this an attractive bird, but I can’t say it’s in my top 10. In fact, it reminds me a bit of that old adage that “a camel is a horse designed by a committee.”

Posted in Flora and fauna, Life in southwest France | Tagged , , , , | 7 Comments

Fashion, food, friends, fun — success!

Sunday’s special event at Daglan’s Salle des fêtes — the fashion show, English tea, and clothing sale — turned out to be quite the success.

A good time was had by all, as the saying goes, and the volunteers of the Club de l’Amitié Daglanaise (or Daglan Friendship Club) raised nearly 1,000 euros for charity. The room wasn’t completely packed, but there was a good turn-out, with lots of opportunity to chat with friends.

I described the event in “Fashion show and a tea, with some twists,” posted on May 20. So check that out if you’d like to see the details.

And now to the actual event, held yesterday (June 2):

For a start, the setting was just right. At the front of the hall, there were racks and tables full of donated clothing (all of it in good shape; all of it with surprisingly low prices); and at the rear, rows and rows of attractively set tables.

First came the English tea — plates of cakes and scones and delicate sandwiches, and pots of good tea, plus glasses of Prosecco for a couple of euros extra.

And then came the fashion show, featuring six women volunteers, each showing off four different sets of clothes, from pants and jackets to dressy gowns. The models and their clothes were accurately (and sometimes amusingly) introduced in English, and then in French.

I took lots and lots of photos, but in the interests of moving things along, I’ll just give you a taste of the fashion parade — starting with Rosemary:

A good-looking jacket over a simple dress.

One of the livelier models was Teressa, who had travelled here from Scotland to see her friend (and club member) Letitia. Here she is, showing off an outfit and an infectious laugh:

Bright clothing, happy face.

And modelling a beautiful dress (that she subsequently bought) is my wife Jan, looking quite wonderful:

Looking elegant!

Finally, here’s the lineup of all six models, coming out to take their well-deserved bows, with lots of applause:

The models receiving applause.

When the fashion show ended, it was time for people to review the clothing for sale and make their purchases, which they certainly did. Finally, it was time to start the clean-up (which was finished this morning — leaving the Salle des fêtes spot-less).

There was quite a lot of food left over, and it’s shown here on a table in the hall’s kitchen. This will give you some idea of the quality and variety of the cakes that were offered:

Check out all the goodies!

I’ll close this posting with just a few other comments:

The attendees. No one took an accurate count, but I suspect that the attendees were 90% English-speaking and 10% French-speaking. The French residents of Daglan normally like events involving food and drink, but I suspect that the idea of an afternoon tea was a step too far — it’s not part of the culture.

The models. I was quite impressed with how the six volunteer models performed — sauntering along, sometimes twirling around, waving their hats, and generally looking like they were having fun. Who knows? Maybe a few will go professional.

The volunteers. Events like these require a surprisingly large amount of work, and all the women involved should be quite proud of themselves (in addition to feeling  exhausted). With excellent planning at the start, and then solid organization, the event was run like clockwork, and everything from the afternoon tea to the fashion show was first class. Well done, you all!



Posted in fashion, Food, Life in southwest France | Tagged , , , , , , | 4 Comments

A reminder of Sunday’s event

As I write this, on Friday evening, a dedicated group of volunteer women are working away to prepare for a special event to be held in Daglan on Sunday afternoon.

I described it fully in “Fashion show and a tea, with some twists,” so if you missed it, take a look. It was posted just a few days ago, on May 20.

If you’re keen, it would be a good idea to reserve a place. Here’s the scoop, as I wrote in that May 20 posting:

Reservations are recommended, and may be made by phoning either Judith Thomason at 06-71-18-43-55, or Jacqui Lindsey-Smith at 05 – 53 – 29 – 52 – 12.

The event has had some great publicity, including this very smart banner, which is hanging at one of the main entrances to our village:

Your invitation to the event.

Posted in Food, Life in southwest France | Tagged , , , , | 2 Comments