Good Meuhning!

This post was started almost a year ago, June 29, 2017, and a lot has happened since then. But we wanted to include it in our adventures

Good Meuhning!  Good Meuhning!  Every morning Eric greets us in his attempt to sound sort of “Francish”.  Eric and his sons, Mark and Nicky, the Lanchester troisome, have been basically living with us for the last 10 weeks (Good God has it been that long!?).  Eric moved his whole family, including adult children, over to France six years ago to escape the British weather and equally dreary British economy (unlike the Brexiters they wanted to become more intimate with the EU).

It is an interesting phenomena that there is a big constituency here of British refugees.  They fled England for various reason and have been very good for the local economy here.  They are the ones who are revitalizing old farms and dying little French villages.  It is a big mystery to me why the majority of imports into the area we live are non-French, mostly Brits, and not French.  In The Netherlands, for example, you saw a big influx of retirees from western Holland buy up delapidated farms in east Netherlands, but that is not happening here.

Jeff with electric saw
Jeff rebuilding shutters

But I am digressing.   The goal of this post is to give you a more realistic picture than the one we have given you so far.  it is not all walks through bucolic country sides, sipping wine while watching another magnificent sunset and delicious meals made from produce grown here around

Tanja on ladder with lasure
I actually got some of the lasure onto the beams!

us.  On the contrary.  Most of our time is spent on getting supplies for the lads (and us) at the various bricos (-depot, -rama, -cash….).  There is nothing idyllic and beautiful about these places.  In fact, it is as bad as any strip mall in the US.  See the pictures.

Lads with wheel barrow
Lads in new kitchen to be

So far Rick has been posting all these stories about beautiful adventures in our neighborhood, watching glorious sunsets with wine, lovely meals on the veranda.  The perfect La Vie en Rose.  But it is not all sunsets and wine. There is plenty of hard work and disappointment, not to mention the waiting, waiting waiting to get things done. But we are glad to be here, and we are excited about completing our work and being able to have guests at long last.



The Market in Sainte-Foy-La-Grande!

The Sainte-Foy-La-Grande Saturday market is one of the oldest and largest in southwest France. It is open year round, selling all the foods for alimentation, clothes, beds, even laying hens. During the winter it scales down. But because of the demands of the local population, it is well attended and utilized even during the cold rains of winter. However, when the spring comes it blossoms like the local wildflowers into a grand Saturday morning event. This has happened in the last couple weeks. Our two friends from the US, Cis and Jill, are with us for the week.  We decide to show them this gem of local color and commerce.

Getting ready

View of the street market
Market day in Sainte-Foy-La-Grande

It is a perfect cool, sunny spring morning. We begin every market journey assembling our various carts and baskets and placing them into the car for the ten minute drive from La Busaneth to Sainte-Foy-La-Grande. We all check our wallets, for we want to be prepared for anything that might call our to us. And of course, we divert to the scenic route through the vineyards of Pineuilh so our friends can get a better sense of the local campagne.

First Impressions

Colorful woven baskets

Arriving in Sainte-Foy, we park the car and walk through the narrow 13th century streets toward the palpable bustle of the market. We are soon bombarded by the colors and festivity of the French market in all its glory.

There are bright clothes from the four corners of the world. Hardware and sundry goods are tantalisingly displayed for easy browsing and purchase. We notice brightly colored woven baskets asking to be bought to contain whatever we choose to buy.


One of the first stops is a clothing stall, a moveable boutique, with eye-catching scarves and women’s clothes. Our three women do not disappoint, and through our poor French and hand gestures and smiles, are able to get the advice of the boutiquesse. They and soon are laden with new adornments.

The Market Stalls

As we wander through the crowded marketplace, there are so many sites to see. We hear many people speaking not only French but many different languages.

Lots of varied fowl
Cutting cheese
The cheese monger at Ste Foy La Grande market

There are displays of fresh fish and mussels, fruits and vegetables, meats and poultry, breads, and on and on and on. We notice our favorite cheese monger is back, complete with scarf around his neck and a jovial personality. We had missed him for the last few months and told him so. He let us know he had to have surgery, but now he is back and “parfait”. We end up purchasing from him  small round chevres fraiches, a divine bleu and a dozen eggs.

The coffee monger is in his corner of the market roasting his beans on his small hand-turned roaster. We exchange banter, in which in response to my prodding he tells me he actually is trying to stop smoking. We come away with a large bag of his Tanzanie coffee, which from experience is as good in the tasting as it is in the anticipation.

Home we go

Eventually all our bags and carts are full of all manner of food and clothes, forcing us to leave for home, grateful for the experience and grateful that the French have maintained this grand, practical, and most lovely institution.