My sister Sara and her daughter Lauren came over for a week and were joined by Georgina for a few days and then Alexander and Laurena called in for the weekend. Fortunately the sun shone as getting a good tan seemed to be a key objective – a symptom of living in the North of England. Even the pool was put to good use so it was a rather fortunate I had cleaned it for the occasion.

On the first morning we cycled to Cahors for breakfast (50 Km round trip).

Breakfast in Cahors

We took the most direct route in via Trespoux, but came back via Pradines, Douelle and Luzech which is longer but much more scenic alongside the river.

Douelle Lock

Plenty of time spent in and around the pool working on the much-needed tan.

The first evening we went out to the Saint Laurent Lolmie fete where the Stanley Sisters were providing the entertainment. Actually Sara provided most of the entertainment, and that was before she invited me to dance. “Dad dancing” I believe it’s called – not a pretty sight. As usual no serious food was served until 9.30pm, which was a giant Paella and very good too.

We soon settled into a holiday routine of not going to bed too late or having too much to drink, but getting up far too early for the obligatory early morning run/walk. Then off to the cafe for breakfast, followed by the daily shopping – my fault as I can’t plan meals more than one day at a time.

Mie de Pain Breakfast

When my brother Tim visited recently he spent ages trying to get some decent pictures of butterflies – which are everywhere in the garden but refuse to sit still. At the cafe a swallow tail took a liking to my belt buckle..

Swallow Tail
Shopping Trolley

Back home in time for lunch on the terrace in the shade of the recently constructed pergola, a top quality construction engineered by my brother Chris. He was over in June for his first holiday in 10 years but managed to find the time to do that, repair the ill-fitting house doors and patch up the terrace railings – he doesn’t do relaxing.

Lunch is served.

On our way back from walking to lunch in Castelfranc (Restaurant du Pont) – best meal Sara had ever eaten – we called in at the beach in Albas and Sara even went skinny-dipping!

Who needs a bikini?

Sara is even more keen on exercise than I am and we are both quite competitive, but I just about managed to stay ahead despite the rigorous schedule of walking, running, cycling and rowing. However, she did beat me in one area hands down…

Raspberry Tart – leave some for me!

In the picture above you can also see Hebes on bat patrol – waiting patiently for the bats to emerge from behind the shutters and then trying to catch them. She sometimes succeeds.

Other evening entertainment involved watching Gij and Lauren making s’mores and nearly setting themselves alight in the process.

For those of you (like me) that have no idea what a s’more is….
It involves melting a marshmallow (white ones are best apparently), sandwiching it between two chocolate digestive biscuits and then scoffing it down before it melts everywhere.

S’more scoffing – yummee (apparently)

The early morning run/walk routine was not interrupted by the weather and we did get soaked on one occasion, but still enjoyed the view…

Albas View Point

We did a trip into Cahors (for breakfast of course) on market day. The primary goal was to visit a particular coffee shop that does large and spectacular (not at all calorific) cookies with lumps of chocolate on top. Unfortunately they had changed the recipe and were now baking the nice bits into the cookie – same ingredients, but not the same wow factor. Sara also had a chance to look for some gift ideas for her hoped-for grand children (hurry up Zoe).

How cute is that?

Sara was also keen to have-a-go on a motorbike, having never ridden one before so we got the Montesa out for her to try around the garden. This was with some trepidation as my brother Chris who is a very experienced motorcyclist had managed to loop it during his visit!

Biker Babe

I’m no good at teaching as I’m a beginner myself, but Sara did really well for a first attempt. Having motored up from the bottom of the garden she attempted a tight turn on a slope (not easy) and very nearly dropped the bike but managed to haul it upright – a lesser man would have dropped it.

Lasting memories ?
Apertifs on the terrace with a bottle of white wine (Sauvignon – the Chardonnay was horrible) and making savoury sandwiches from ripe St Agur or Brie between two spicy doritos!

Beer O’clock.

Then it was time to go home, from 35 degrees and sunshine to 15 degrees and rain. Don’t you just love living in the South of France – like being on holiday all the time.
And Sara was very pleased with her tan – “date ready” as she so aptly put it…