We are now starting to feel really integrated into certain aspects of the French system: yesterday we had to lodge our first personal tax returns. Susan had prepared our papers online, but we decided to get someone from the tax office to check them before we lodged them.
This went really well (apart from me being told I must learn to speak French - where have I heard that before?) which meant that by lunchtime we were out of the tax office and looking for lunch. Luckily, our tax office is in Loches and as we had given ourselves a day off from building works we had time for a longer lunchtime than normal, in a town with plenty of choice of restaurants.
We decided to eat at the Hotel St. Antoine, a large - but it has to be said unprepossessing looking - establishment near the tourist office. We have often looked at the place (it's hard to avoid) but not been tempted in. As we were treating lunch as a research project and the prices seemed extremely reasonable we decided to brave it.
It is rather old fashioned in appearance and in style of service, but the meal was good and the waiters friendly and well trained. Susan's assiette of crudités to start was just what she wanted though, and my paté came with perfect toast. There was nothing at all wrong with the andouillete and chips, crême brulée or sorbets. The only disappointment was the plat du jour of noisette de porc, served with prunes and a potato and zucchini bake, which was very bland and uninteresting. It's unusual for a pork dish in the Touraine to be poor, so Susan was rather surprised to get something so unappetizing. €9.52 is not a bad price for three courses though!
After lunch we dropped off some leaflets for the business at the tourist office and then went to meet Jean-Claude and Moha at Le Logis du Bief, a highly recommended chambres d'hôtes, to discuss mutual business opportunities. These two are clearly very switched on, very knowledgeable about the local area and offering an exceptional service in a lovely location. They said they get far more Australians than any other nationality staying with them, but hardly any Americans or French, which is curious.
We got home about 4pm, and half an hour later there was a tropical downpour. It poured and the wind lashed the trees about. Our neighbour lost a nice apricot tree - the crown snapped right off. The street and driveway was a torrent of rushing water, but our new back door withstood the onslaught and we didn't get a flood inside like we would have with the old door. The bathroom window leaked a bit, as it always does when really serious weather comes up the valley from the west like that. Hopefully this good rain and the warm weather will cause an explosion of growth in the vegetable garden. Up till now most things have just been sitting, waiting.
If you look in the right hand column of the blog (just under our profile) you will see a new item: "Pages". At the moment we only have one page, which we will add to over time. Our first page is resources for you to use when you decide to visit Preuilly sur Claise or the wider South Touraine. This area may not feature in many guidebooks, but that only makes it better (in our eyes, at least!)