I forgot, there was one more little expedition whilst I was Memoir Writing in France to share with you, we had a quick coffee and croissant in a cafe and then a very rapid whizz around Riberac market.
We are market experts here in Tavistock with our Pannier Market which has been in existence since the charter was granted by Henry I in 1105, and I make no comment about those crimplene skirts and big knickers having been in there for all that time.
Honestly, the things I don't know about my own country's history are quite shocking, things will have to change around here soon and so looking up Henry I I discover that he died of food poisoning after eating a 'surfeit of lampreys' whilst in France and his remains were then stitched into a bull's hide for the journey back to England.
Imagine getting that through customs now?
But even our market doesn't sell some of the things that can be bought in Riberac.
No lampreys evident but plenty of oysters.
Spit-roasting chickens (environmental health would go fair loopy about this)
and legs, we don't have these in our market either.
I'm not much of an expert in the migration and nesting patterns of the
English ex-pat but there was certainly a good-sized colony in this corner of France and
they were well-catered for around Riberac market, with English book stalls and
most signs in English translation, which can only indicate that the
French fear the Brits won't bother to learn the language and perhaps they
are right. So I wasted a good five minutes of precious market time
working out how to ask the cost of a bar of soap in French ( I'm quite sure Miss Deadman would have taught me this back in 1965) and then
plucking up the courage to say my piece without going too overboard
theatrical and 'ello 'ello about the accent, only to find the woman
running the stall was from Birmingham and didn't understand a word I'd
Looking back through my pictures, a couple of nice ones of the twelfth century Eglise Saint-Jacques in nearby Aubeterre-Sur-Dronne, and an exemplary Norman archway built in 1150-1160 for which we must credit the French with a jolly good invention, and that delightful little detail of a hare chasing round the edge. Seems odd to think that at the very same time that this church was being built in France, across the Channel in England Henry II had founded the House of Plantagenet and shoppers had already been buying crimplene skirts and big knickers (and probably legs) in Tavistock Market for nigh on fifty years.
We've always been a bit ahead of the game here in Devon.