Horses and riders, put to the test

Had you been driving south into Daglan from St. Cybranet this morning, as I was, you would have come across this sign at the side of the road, which basically tells drivers to slow down and be careful, for good reason:

Horses and riders ahead!

Yes, it’s a Course d’endurance (or Endurance Course, obviously), which is something I don’t think I’ve ever heard of. (Confession: I’m not a member of the horsey set.) So I drove slowly ahead, and found a fairly massive grouping of cars and trucks and horse trailers and (of course) horses and riders, grouped around the rugby club building at the Stade Municipal. Here’s a look at just some of them:

Gathering near the rugby club building.

And here is a closer view of some of the horses being walked by their riders:

Horses being walked.

Since I hadn’t heard anything about the event, I drove on to our village’s convenience store, the 8 à Huit, to see if it had any publicity posted. As always, there were indeed some posters on the front doors, advertising events like a forthcoming rugby match. But nothing about an endurance course for horses and riders.

Then I tried the Mayor’s office, where any number of posters and official notices are regularly on display. Again, nothing about the endurance course.

At home, I tried the Internet, and still couldn’t find anything current about today’s event. I did learn that at one such event that began a few years ago in the historic village of Monpazier (about an hour’s drive from us), the goal was 160 kilometres in a day, at an average speed of about 20 kilometres an hour.

Maybe this is the kind of event that’s good for horse owners and riders, but not of general interest — that is, not worth publicizing. Still, that seems a bit of a shame to me. Of course, if any of my readers know more details, please add them in the Comments section below. Merci beaucoup!


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

A February harbinger of spring (2020)

Today was grey and drizzly and frankly fairly miserable, but there is no question we’re getting on the road to spring.

On a drive to Sarlat for an errand this afternoon, we came upon this lovely row of trees — in full flower. Have a look:

Pretty in pink.

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Our great garbage switcheroo

Disposing of garbage and recyclable materials in Daglan is getting a new, modern look. I realize that this won’t be of immense interest, necessarily, but the information could be useful if you have a holiday home in our area, or are planning to rent a property here in the months ahead.

Those of you familiar with the village will know that the largest repository for garbage (and so on, including glass jars and bottles) has been tucked away near the cemetery. Well, that collection point is being buried (ouch). Here’s how the work looked yesterday:

Our big dig.

I’m not sure, at this point, what use will be made of the space (but of course I’ll keep a beady eye on the situation), but what will disappear are those bins — the heavy green ones for glass, the other green ones for “normal” garbage, and the grey bins with yellow tops for the recyclables, such as paper and cardboard.

So, what’s taking the place of the bins? Big, heavy, rather industrial-looking bins — small versions of the kind of tanks you see at oil refineries. And where are they going? Well, right here:

That’s the rugby pitch in the background.

In other words, the containers are set in a rather dramatic row not far from the Stade Municipal, where rugby is played. (In case you weren’t aware of it, people in the Greater Daglan Area are rugby-mad.)

As of now, there are stickers on all the bins with the words NE PAS UTILISER (that is, DO NOT USE), which seems somewhat self-defeating. But I’m sure someone will remove the stickers before too long.

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Late-breaking news: the Mayor’s speech

It’s been a bit more than a full week since my wife Jan and I, and a whole bunch of other people, headed to Daglan’s community hall (la Salle des fêtes) for the annual review of village life by our Mayor. A combination of factors, including of course laziness, has delayed this report.

In any case, I’ll begin by reporting that there is nothing dramatic to report. In his presentation, Mayor Pascal Dussol used a series of slides to display some of the projects completed in 2019, and to highlight activities ranging from our annual August festival to the relatively recent Christmas market (or Marché de Noël). Most of these, of course, were  covered in exhaustive detail in Radio Free Daglan in 2019.

It was interesting that the meeting was kicked off by another official — the Mayor of Domme, Jean-Claude Cassagnole, who heads up the Communauté de communes de Domme-Villefranche du Périgord. (Try saying that quickly, five times!) Anyway, as the name suggests, it’s a collection of smaller communities, and includes Daglan. At last count, there were just under 9,000 inhabitants in the communauté. Here’s M. Cassagnole at the microphone, with Mayor Dussol standing by:

Two Mayors, with lots to say.

Late in his remarks, Mayor Dussol did acknowledge that his council is hoping that Daglan will earn a third flower (out of a possible four) in the Villages Fleuri program. Here’s some background, from my posting of April 13, 2018:

To refresh you, the Villes et Villages Fleuri competition is a national program created in 1959. Over the years, the program has evolved. While the name suggests that villages like Daglan are full of flowers — which is true — it also signifies that the village is generally trying to improve the local environment and encourage a high quality of life for residents.

Cities and villages which qualify can be awarded from one to four flowers, which are displayed on signs as you enter the community. When Daglan was first recognized, we had one flower on our signs. And now, we have two flowers on each of the signs posted at the three main entrances to the village.

Here’s a slide showing some of the efforts that were made in 2019 — planting of yet more flowering trees and shrubs at the various entrances to the village:

The plants just keep on coming.

In case you were wondering (and I was), lagerstroemia refers to flowering plants sometimes called lilas des Indes (lilacs of India). Apparently they are grown all over France now.

Each year at this event, we are impressed by how well-attended it is. Here’s a photo that shows some of the crowd, after the speeches and presentations were concluded:

Our village hall was full to over-flowing.

To encourage people to stay and chat, refreshments are offered — like this tray of pizza squares (which were pretty tasty, I have to say):

Pizza anyone? Yes, please!

To cap off the evening, a multi-course complimentary dinner was provided to anyone who wanted to stay. (No reservations required.) Jan and I have our major meal of the day at lunch, so we didn’t linger for the dinner. But we heard from a friend afterwards that the dinner — featuring roast suckling pig — was delicious. Not bad for a little village, eh?


Posted in French government and politics, Life in southwest France | Tagged , , , , | 2 Comments

State of the Village Address

Now I could have called this posting “The Mayor’s Speech,” echoing the title of that (very good) film “The King’s Speech.” But then you might have thought that Daglan’s Mayor is struggling with some sort of stammering problem, which he isn’t. So “State of the Village” it is.

Actually, the “State of the Village Address” (as I call it) was described as “la traditionnelle cérémonie des vœux” on a nicely printed card that was inserted in our mailbox recently. It said that Daglan’s Mayor and the entire municipal council have invited us to go to the village’s salle des fêtes, or community hall, on Friday, January 10, beginning at 7 p.m.

My wife Jan and I have been to this annual event several times before, and believe me, it’s not just an occasion for standing around awkwardly and having a glass of wine. The event actually gives a chance to the Mayor (Pascal Dussol) to present a rather detailed explanation of what happened in the village during the past year, and what’s planned for the new year. It’s well done, illustrated by a series of slides, and a great chance to get up to date on village life.

So if you live in Daglan or one of our outlying hamlets, do try to attend. It’s a good way to kick off a bonne année.

Posted in French government and politics, Life in southwest France | Tagged , , , | 8 Comments

A tree shrinks in Daglan

Considering the title of this posting, those among you of a literary persuasion may nod knowingly and admire the subtle reference to Betty Smith’s semi-autobiographical novel of 1943, “A Tree Grows in Brooklyn.” Others of you may simply wonder how the heck a tree could shrink.

In fact, this posting is a follow-up to yesterday’s brief article (“Timber!”), in which I showed what happened to our village’s Christmas tree when high winds hit Daglan. It was, to put it simply, knocked flat.

This morning, as I drove north out of Daglan, I saw our village’s two male workers on site, struggling to get the tree back in place. Because it had literally snapped off at the lower part of the trunk, the workers had to saw away some of the lower branches, to create a long-enough lower trunk to hold up the tree. And finally, here it is, just after noon today:

Back upright — just shorter.

So it’s up, just a bit shorter than it was. On the plus side, I believe that if the workers used all the decorations that had been on the tree before the fall, the decorations-per-square-inch-of-exposed-tree-surface would be a touch higher.

Merry Christmas, and let’s hope for no more storms. At least for a while.

Posted in Holidays in France, Life in southwest France, Weather in the Dordogne | Tagged , , , , , , | 2 Comments


We’ve had some awfully wet weather lately, as previously reported in Radio Free Daglan (December 15). Sometimes we’ve had gentle showers, other times we’ve had hard rain. Unfortunately, some days we’ve also been hit with serious storms, bringing strong winds that have been knocking down trees all over the Greater Daglan Area.

One of the victims, in turns out, is our village’s Christmas tree, which has been standing proudly in the Place de la Liberté. But today just before noon, it looked anything but proud, as you can see:

Our fallen Christmas tree.

I’m not sure the village workers will be rushing to its rescue, at least today anyway, because of the sometimes torrential rain we’ve had to endure this morning. In fact, this photo was taken through the window of my car, because the rain was so heavy I didn’t want to roll down the window even for a minute.

Posted in Holidays in France, Life in southwest France, Weather in the Dordogne | Tagged , , , , , , | 9 Comments