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Nanteuil-en-Vallée

Back in Moutardon after a days diy, we slump on the sofas. We’ve achieved just a little more of what we needed to and with our batteries now running on low, we stop.

I glance over at Roddy and can’t help but laugh. The splashes of white paint lay heavy on his clothes in obscure patterns and he’s absolutely covered in them. The expression on his face reads as if the paint he is wearing is really weighing him down.

I’m no better, it’s clumps of tiny fragmented plaster and bitty gritty tile adhesive that decorate my t.shirt and shorts. What a state - the pair of us.

I suggest going out and attempting more drone practice for the website and maybe a bite out too, nothing fancy just anything quick then back for an early night.

Reluctant laziness allows us some more precious time sluggishly slumped until we’re finally able to drag ourselves up from the sofas to get ready.

After simultaneous albeit separate showers we both feel bodily and mentally refreshed and have actually both scrubbed up well. There’s not a drip dried spot of paint or plaster hugging at our skin.

Ready to go, I retrieve Biba from her sleepy state curled up on the sofa and fix her lead on.

Huxley has spent the last hour in doggie prison - zipped up in disgrace after being almost thrown into the fabric cage following a reprimand. I am at the end of my tether after a perpetual span of him cocking his leg in the house marking his territory. I’m not exaggerating when I say his pee stinks. Biba, being a lady of course waits gracefully at the terrace doors to be let out to relieve herself.

Huxley is merely making a point. He is not currently getting enough of his daily dose of attention with all this decorating going on and that’s how he lets me know. Though I wonder if he’s stomach is a bit upset.

We have heard squeals from sanglier at night. Philippe spotted one roaming beneath our apple tree demolishing vast quantities of windfalls the other evening. So by day the Iggys roam beneath the same tree quite happily indulging in the culinary delights of freshly discovered boar poo.

Talking of culinary delights we head out towards Nanteuil-enVallée, a favourite village, a village pittoresque.

I’m possibly repeating myself when I say that on first visit you’d be forgiven in thinking you were walking onto the set of ‘Chocolat’. Every time I come here, especially on a balmy summer evening like this I feel I am walking into that same sleepy village from Joanne Harris’s novel expecting to catch a glimpse of Alfred Molina secretly and glutinously devouring chocolate around the corner by the church...

Just up the hill in this characteristic village there is a wonderful arboretum which is clearly, regularly tended with the greatest care. When you visit, you must have a wander round this enchanting little park. You won’t be disappointed.

Further down the village lane a small group of people are milling around by the old museum. There’s a huge black and white print portraying its journalistic story from the old stone wall it clings to. Something interesting’s going on here ce soir. A exhibition it seems. On closer inspection I discover the work of Pierre Delaunay, and google him on my phone. He’s a local photographer based in Ruffec. The group of people must be the invitees to his private view I guess, though not so private when village home wall’s have been used as a gallery for his work. How lovely to share for everyone to see.

As we approach our favourite restaurant at the bottom end of the village by the river, I meander up to the waiter I recognise, Sébastien - the one who’s been working here for the last decade at least or perhaps he owns it now? I ask if there is a table for two. Slightly disappointed but not overly surprised to hear his answer, I head back to the car where Roddy’s parked up. Perhaps tonight, they are catering for the private view-ee’s.

Sébastien has suggested we try the other restaurant. The ‘other’ restaurant opposite the sweet church had been shut for a few years - now serving food again under new ownership. It used to be good when we first came some years back, and a rarity to find a french restaurant catering for vegetarians.

An acquaintance told us last year that Madame who previously ran it, hadn’t paid her taxes for five years! and so she was forced to close it down (source of rumour according to the local Mairie)

So here we sit waiting patiently for our food. Softly spoken french is heard beyond semi closed shutters with windows ajar in someone’s home across the way. A guy strolls up the hill walking his bicycle and chats to a lady sweeping her step. Church bells sonorously encourage swallows to swoop and dive down below rooftops dancing to the deep rhythm transcending out from the steeple. The lazy sun slowly paints dusk in the sky as the deep blue hues turns gold, then pink like an ever changing artists palette.

A party of Brit’s arrive and we are asked to move so other tables for two can be grouped to accommodate them. We are re-sat on a small table adjacent to them. There is quite a loud, slightly grumpy old man within their party who seems borderline demanding, requesting the type of beer you’re more likely to be served in the Queen Vic. I guess there is still a small percentage of British people who visit france expecting the french to be very ‘english’ and obliging to their needs, but Roddy and I do wonder why people like this make absolutely no attempt to even gesture a small attempt like ‘s’il vous plaît’ or ‘merci.’

This old guy appears quite rude actually... Yet typical of the french, the owner goes out of his way to be hospitable to this guy, who grunts “At least the menu here is in English.”

I think he may feel more at home when his plate of food arrives however, as the sauce I’ve just tasted resembles a very bland Campbell’s condensed soup and there was no mention on the menu (in French or English) about the over al denté boiled bland rice that accompanied my dish. Which, I fear the chef would instantly and very miserably have been kicked off had he been a ‘Best Chef’ tv candidate. On the worm like line of rice shaped around my plate like a banana sits five pieces of blanched veg in teeny morsel portions, par exemple take a courgette then finely knife away a small slice, then quarter it, then place one of the four quarters on the bland white rice curled on the plate and repeat with a carrot.

Roddy’s wasn’t much better either needless to say we didn’t leave a tip on this occasion especially as Monsieur brought out a little food aperitif for the party of brits and none for us. I doubt we’ll be back for a few years unless we see it advertised under new management, which judging by the quality of the food could may well be a matter of months...

But hey, we did it for you guys. It’s our obligation to keep you informed, to keep eating out in order to make sure the restaurant page on the website is continually updated and as you’ve probably guessed, we won’t be featuring this restaurant opposite the pretty church on our EAT page.

However, to be fully booked on a Sunday night say’s more for the first restaurant DOWN the hill from the church.

Therefore we completely recommend Auberge d’largentor which is where we’ve eaten numerous times and they’re reputation still surpasses.

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