Strange to say this Friday marks our fourth week here. It’s been a week of various achievements. It’s been Chris’s first real week of A Rocha work and he’s been emailing lots of people and trying to work out what everybody’s expectations of him are (always useful). He’s also had two long Skype interviews with people who might be interested in working with A Rocha as well as a frequently bewildering hour-long conference call in French (he’s rather worried what he’s agreed to!). Les Courmettes has also been fairly full of visitors and on Wednesday night we managed to get twenty people around the table. You’d better book for 2015. Alison’s chilli was rolled out in France for the first time.
We also found a doctor and began registering with him. However, we gather that French law prohibits us from making any mention of the doctor’s name on the internet so all we will say is that we met with Doctor X from Village Y and he seemed thoroughly amiable and competent. (Actually as anyone who has had a student having a moan about them on Facebook knows, such a rule is not quite as stupid as it sounds as.)
One evening we walked up to the viewpoint over Gourdon to see it clothed in mist. It made for a splendid view and some great photos.
We went and looked at three charming houses in a nearby village with an estate agent (who we probably aren’t supposed to identify either) and she too was thoroughly amiable and competent. They were all village houses, no gardens and fronted on streets so narrow that not even bikes can overtake. They are overflowing with rustic charm but we’re not quite sure we see ourselves in a narrow four-storey townhouse even if it is four hundred years old.
Chris also had a long and pleasant afternoon with A Rocha France’s science officer Timothée Schwarz (who he believes he can mention) but who is also thoroughly amiable and competent. They went for a walk across the estate and down to the edges of the Gorges du Loup, seeing some of our very valuable wetlands, lots of butterflies, a honey buzzard, lizards and a deer en route.
What was however impressive was to find (still within the estate!) the vertiginous precipice shown below. A quick calculation from the contours says that it’s a 2,000 feet drop. If that doesn’t give you some idea of the scale of the estate, nothing will. Oh and someone who can probably be believed says they saw a griffon vulture high over the mountain. It’s a fun place.