17 February 2007
Preuilly sur Claise used to be a big saffron growing area, with an annual fair to celebrate the fact. For many years the fair has not been held, but last year it was revived. When we found out that it was being held again this year we thought we had better get ourselves down to the fair to support our local festivals.
But first the stuff............. Having received a phone call on Friday evening to say that the required document for the car transfer had been emailed, we started off the day by joining the local library and its internet system. 12Euro each buys us 12 months of internet, restricted to 30 minutes and 5 sheets of printing a go. We printed the document and a route from mappy for getting back to Boulogne and departed.
The Saffron festival was being held in the Salle des Fêtes, a new (I would guess mid 1980s) building with a small theatre upstairs. There were 4 saffron growers, a couple of the local wine, cheese and smallgoods producers, along with some chocolatiers, bakers and olive growers. The local archaeological association (they run the small museum in "la poterne") had a display, and it was a little gem of an event. We were most impressed, and bought 18 bottles of very nice wine (for 40 euros) from a man who seemed determined to get us drunk at 9.30am, a bottle of fine cold pressed olive oil, and tried various saffron flavoured chocolates.
We recieved some help in understanding stuff from people we have met in Preuilly on previous visits - the lady from Hotel l'Image translated some stuff about basket weaving for us (did I forget to mention the basket maker before?) and it was all very friendly and pleasant.
After lunch, which we had in the gite, we decided to head to the shops in Chatellerault to look for another tin trunk, or a metal office type cupboard. Neither of the Depot Vente (second hand shops) had them, so we took to the road to Poitiers, which is lined with hardware, furniture and shoe shops. On the way we saw signs pointing to a brocante (in Canberra that would be "Trash and Treasure"). Ever hopeful, we called in.
The brocante was all clothes, books and bric a brac - sold by the kilo. I kid you not! 1Euro a kilo for books, of which we bought a couple, including the Readers Digest "Bricolage Complet", the how to do absolutely everything DIY in French book. No Cupboards though.
It took 2 hours and goodness how many stores to find out that apparently the French don't do metal office furniture. It was most frustrating, and added on to Friday's events made me feel quite down.
Still - we had a booking for the celebratory Paella Dinner at L'Image, being held in conjunction with the Saffron festival. Christophe - le Patron - who is a throroughly nice bloke, informed Susan that the reason she develops a cough every time she visits Preuilly is because the air is too strong for her weak London lungs. He could be right. We had a long discussion after dinner about the fair, the state of the Mairie in Preuilly, French politics.............
An interesting day, but it feels to me like we are going backwards on the house thing right at the moment!