Peter & Helen’s French Renovation episode 5 – by Peter Stubbings
Well here we are back in Montlaur, well Helen is. I’m at the Toulouse airport waiting for a plane home and using the time to write this episode. I will be returning to Montlaur later in June.
We arrived in mid April and got straight down to work as we had friends coming to stay with us in 3 weeks time and we needed to finish the bedroom in the stable to accommodate them. Out with the Platre 857! Hard plastering is an art which I will never master but that doesn’t matter when you are looking for a rustique finish.
With the weather a little cool still, but very pleasant, the plaster takes a bit to dry completely so the painting would have to wait for a week or so.
Helen & I had arranged an amazing adventure up to Picardie where we attended the dawn Anzac Day service at Villers Bretonneau. It was 90 years ago to the day that a Victorian division of the Australian Infantry liberated the village from German occupation.
We drove all the way in our trusty Citroen Picasso, don’t think I told you of this purchase bought it in May 2007, diesel lot of Km’s, only six years old and very economical. This drive was a test for both the car and our navigation skills as we had 980km’s to travel to Jumel, a small village some 30 km’s from where the ceremony was being held.
The navigation turned out to be a cinch as we took along "Tom". Tom was lent to us by friends and he was great. Before this trip we both thought that Sat Nav aids were totally unnecessary but having Tom’s help has changed our view to the point where I have ordered one which should arrive when I return to Melbourne.
Off the to dawn Anzac day service at Villers Bretonnea. We had arrived the day before and did a scout of the location to ensure that we knew where to go exactly as it was going to be an early start. Early! We were there at 3.15am, up at 2.30,to ensure a parking spot and even then we had to walk 1 Km, however it was a small sacrifice for us to pay for those that had given the ultimate sacrifice for liberty.
The morning was very cold and the experience incredibly moving. We estimated that there must have been around 5000 people there and most of them Aussies. Seemed odd being in France and hearing all these people with Aussie accents.
The village of Villers Bretonneau made a promise not to forget the Aussie soldiers so you find signs and streets with names of Melbourne, Victoria, Robinvale etc and signs of kangaroos everywhere.
Northern France is lovely, so different to the south.
After a week away we were glad to be back in the South West and guess what! The platre has dried enough for me to start painting but first it’s Tuesday, Market day in Olonzac followed by the 15 Euro Formula de Jour at our favorite restaurant, St Martin Auberg in Beaufort just 5 mins from Olonzac.
What a lunch! 3 courses plus wine and coffee, no need for dinner that night.
Well until the next time –