Parental pride!

Oh my days!!!

As this season hurtles towards a close it’s hard to believe that I haven’t found the time to post on here since March… this year has gone by faster than ever and finding the discipline and motivation to write has been elusive to say the least!

But events this week have spurred me on and fueled by a certain amount of maternal self satisfaction, here I am putting pen to paper at last ( or fingers to keyboard for a more up to date turn of phrase!)

Regular guests at Les Crouquets may well have heard our daughter Emma sing before , either here or at local events and more recently with our son, Alistair who also plays the guitar.

This year they both decided to audition for a place in La Truffe de Périgueux – this is a strange name for a singing competition but I presume it’s linked to prestige, both the truffle and the contest being well sought after products!

La Truffe de perigueux singing competition

La Truffe de Périgueux ……


……. and its prestigious counterpart worth around 1200 € a kilo!

7 auditions were held at various venues around the Dordogne and Emma qualified for the semi final first time round. Disappointingly Alistair wasn’t selected and in spite of several people saying he should try again next year, he was undeterred and decided to have another go at the auditions in Boulazac.

If at first you don’t succeed……” yes, his persistence paid off and in spite of facing an audition with some very stiff competition he was selected for the semi final. He couldn’t believe it and genuinely thought that he would have no chance at making the final.

Both the semi final and the final were held at the spectacular Parc Gamenson in Périgueux which was first acquired by the state in 1876 . A beautiful backdrop for a fantastic two nights of entertainment. We were absolutely thrilled that both Emma & Alistair got through to the final and so pleased that at least if they got no further they had both done themselves proud and anything else was a bonus!

finalists in La Truffe de Perigueux 2017

The 7 acts in the semi final plus the winner of the Under 16s section, 11 yr old Mary Wattiau who sang New York, New York

Friday’s final was a unforgettable & nail biting experience for all the contestants  ( and for us, especially Amar who was on the edge of his seat all night, crossing everything for his two prodigies !!!)

I was so impressed at how all the contestants coped with the pressure, especially the Jeunes Espoirs section who had children from 9 to 15 years old. Anything live brings an extra pressure as there’s no take two and your reputation is on the line. There were between 3500 and 4000 in the audience, plus it was streamed live on Facebook and on the radio’s website as well as broadcast live on all of France Bleu’s South West France stations. You wouldn’t have got me up on that stage for love nor money!

musicien tibz

Local musician Tibz with his recent track, Nation

The 13 strong judging panel was headed up by local musician Tibz whose recent track Nation has been featured  widely in France this year. Also performing was Ours , another famous French musician with an even more famous Dad, Alain Souchon.

Anyway let’s cut to the chase – after watching all the performances and entertainment (and celebrating Emma’s 20th birthday in the park with cake & bubbly) waiting for the results was one of the most nerve wracking experiences we’ve gone through for a long time …. of course you always hope your children will do well but the competition was stiff and so diverse that it was anyone’s guess.

So you can only imagine how over the moon we felt to hear Alistair get 3rd prize and Emma get awarded 1st !!!!!!

To everyone who wished them well and supported them on the night from near and afar …. thanks a million!!!

Emma’s winning performance – listen here!

singing at La Truffe de Perigueux 2017

Emma’s winning entry “Je Suis Un Homme” by Zazie

Alistair’s performance of “Liberta” by Peps earned him 3rd place – listen here!

Singing at La Truffe de Perigueux 2017

Alistair’s performance of Liberta by Peps earned him 3rd place

the winner takes it all

A proud Alistair and an emotional Emma collecting their prizes

So if you happen to see me and Amar strutting around Les Crouquets with our chests all puffed out like a couple of cockerels on steroids, don’t worry about it – it’s just parental pride 😉 !!

PS – a massive congratulations to all the contestants and in particular to Alysce , a hugely talented singer songwriter who walked away with nearly all the prizes for that category!!



A special thanks to France Bleu Périgord and CLAP Périgueux for providing us all with a fantastic experience!  Merci à tous !!!!


Oh deer ….

First post of the year and No 3 of the now broken 2017 New Year’s commandments * … Thou shalt not be late with thy monthly blog …. ah well, plus ca change; Happy New Year to one and all!!

One of the joys of living in the French countryside is the abundance of wildlife …. it’s also one of the hazards, especially at night when all sorts of animals, rarely seen during the day wander out of the woods for a midnight stroll.

wildlife at our holiday cottages

these lovely creatures are safer during the day than at night!

We have always managed to avoid any unfortunate late night collisions – until last week. We were about 500 metres from home when a young deer bounded out of nowhere and straight into our car. Luckily it was fairly small but still big enough to create that sickening thud when you just know that all is not well.

We screeched to a halt (a bit of exaggeration for literary effect here as we actually weren’t driving that fast, thank goodness) and got out to assess the damage.

The deer was stunned, lying twitching in the ditch obviously very distressed. Amar was at the car simultaneously weighing up the big hole in the front wing**, trying to suppress his guilty feelings at not being able to stop in time and wondering if now was a good time to be dreaming up a new venison recipe (Who said men can’t multitask?).

damage to car caused by deer

Technically turning this disaster into a meal would not be legal as the person who kills a deer on the road is not allowed to keep it – the next person to come along is allowed to keep it and Amar was mentally nominating me as that lucky winner.

I was having none of that though and got down in the dirty ditch with the poor animal, stroked its head and told it that everything was going to be ok. It didn’t look like it was ok but if this was its last night on earth I certainly wasn’t going to let it suffer alone. It gradually calmed down, stopped gasping and went very stilI. I assumed it was heading for the Rainbow Bridge. But it looked up at me with huge, wide eyes and strained its head round to look at Amar.

I don’t know what happened then – maybe it felt renewed by my healing touch or maybe it was the vision of red wine, chocolate and a bunch of herbs which gave it strength but it suddenly leaped up and shot off across the road like Lazarus on an energy drink.

I’m not ashamed to say I cheered out loud and for all his culinary planning Amar looked pretty pleased too! Now who knows, maybe it had internal injuries and didn’t survive after all but as far as I’m concerned it got away! Ya boo to the local hunters who would have no doubt laughed me and my inner Florence Nightingale all the way to the roasting spit.

animal bridge on the way to Périgueux

Ironically we had been heading home from Perigueux and they are building a 2nd animal bridge on the A 89. These bridges are planted with trees, shrubs and grass to create as natural environment as possible to provide deer, boar and the like a safe way to cross the motorway. I still wonder how an animal contemplating crossing a busy road would actually think to keep going another couple of kilometres so it could use the bridge but it’s a great idea nonetheless!

Off now to the count the cost of repairing the car.

* 2017 Commandments

No point in mentioning what they were as it’s almost irrelevant …. safe to say they were all in much the same vein as No 3 !!

** on closer inspection we could see all the deer hair sticking to the jagged plastic which strangely enough made me think of a line from Rabbie Burns’ Tam O’ Shanter  ( one of my all time favourite poems)

words to Tam O'Shanter

Tam O’Shanter – love this poem!!

“Whom his ain son o’ life bereft, the grey hairs yet stack to the heft” 🙂