Monday 29th December
Although it is nearly ten weeks since we were here last it is amazing how quickly one slips back into la vie Francais. Sunday is the market at Issigeac; in the summer it is huge and full of English tourists but now in the threadbare Winter it winds down the high street and into the tiny square; a few vegetable stalls, one selling pain, a boucherie and a charcuterie and a few local wine or prune and honey stalls. The man selling hats was doing a brisk trade in scarves and wooly hats, but everywhere else seemed quiet. We bought un poulet standard (pour les chiens), some carrots, a romain cauliflower, a pork and apple pastie pour moi and a few indulgences, a wedge of Brebis cheese and a prune and apple cake for desert and a Jalousie to eat with our coffee.
It was bitterly cold, only just across the country cars were stranded in deep snow, but here no rain or snow just a cold biting wind. We pushed open the door to our favourite café. It was packed with French people who all seem to know each other, we waited and soon a table came free. We ordered our coffee, and unlike any café in England they were happy for us to eat pastries bought in the Patisserie down the road. There is nothing quite like eating a Jalousie and drinking hot grand café au lait in a heaving bustling café full of people all taking and gesticulating at the same time. On the way home we tried a new town Mouleydier on the Dordogne itself, we walked along the river for a while and then went into a small bar for coffee, a few tables of solitary French drinkers and even here a man came over and petted the dogs and talked to us.
In the evening we dropped into Café de Paris where our patron welcomed us with hot mulled wine; a perfect end to a typical day in France.