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” 🙂


A very Merry Christmas!!

Well, here we go again…..sending out Merry Christmas messages on Christmas Eve ….always at the last gasp. Oh how I dream of going all Martha Stewart at this time of the year ….pinny on, home baking smells wafting through the house as the mince pies bubble away in the oven, beautifully wrapped gifts safely under the tree and the whole family gathered round the fire warbling Christmas carols…..

Merry Christmas from our dordogne holiday cottages

Alas , here I am contemplating the list of all the people I haven’t written to and wondering if a blanket heartfelt message via social media will suffice or if it would be better to cash in on that fantastic French custom of sending a New Year’s message instead. This can be done right up until the end of January so it’s actually very tempting!!

I’m also considering the possibility of squeezing in a quick dash round the shops for those last minute gifts, the ideas for which have been firmly planted in my mind since last Christmas but have only just decided to send me the reminder last night… plus ça change, as they say in French!

christmas at our holiday cottages in france

This isn’t as bad as it sounds though as round here the Christmas shopping frenzy is actually very sedate. Yes a few more people milling around but all with very modest shopping trollies …. nobody here seems to buy up the supermarkets as if they’re suddenly going to be handed out ration books. This is a good thing but the lack of buzz always catches me out and no matter how organised I think I am, every year Christmas seems to creep up on me unannounced. The Christmas markets are lovely though ….all mulled wine and roasted chestnuts and very picture perfect.

winter sunset at our dordogne holiday villa

And we have had some stunning Winter sunsets which all add to the festive charm and are altogether much more appealing than panic buying up the local Carrefour!

Winter sunset at our luxury villa in dordogne

This year may be a bit more focussed (or frantic, don’t know which yet) as we have decided to have our Christmas meal today on Christmas Eve…. Emma has been invited for Christmas Dinner by her significant other and to avoid the pain of having to eat two dinners on the same day we have compromised…..this means I have a whole day less to get my act together (so I suppose I really shouldn’t be writing blog posts right now 😉 !)

One thing I have managed to do ahead though is publish this year’s Christmas newsletter! It’s just a quick catch up of the year gone by and the one to come – you can find it at  www.lescrouquets.net/newsletter.php  and if you would like to receive next year’s news just sign up to our subscriber’s list ( Don’t worry, you won’t be bombarded with loads of annoying e-mails – I won’t promise anything more than an annual send out as given my track record this is highly unlikely to happen!)

news from our dordogne holiday cottages

This year’s Christmas newsletter

Oh yes, and our Christmas guests at La Tour de Genèbre are already settled in and looking forward to a cosy family Christmas (so in effect I have had two houses to decorate) …

luxury dordogne holiday villa at Christmas

Ready for Christmas at La Tour de Genèbre

….and I have managed to fit in a bit of pre Christmas homebaking too …

homebaking at our dordogne family holiday cottages

home made festive nibbles!

….very Martha Stewart after all!

Anyway I just wanted to wish everyone here a very merry Christmas and only good things and lots of happy times in 2017.

Bonnes fêtes à tous and see you all next year !!!