Curiously, when she wound the window down, the woman passenger's first words to me were 'Parlez-vous un peu de français ?' I'd never seen her before, so it didn't dawn on me that she had already guessed who I was.
Gérard and Marie-France in our kitchen.
Gérard is the son and grandson of the last owners who ran the property as a grain merchants. His family lived in our house and his grandmother lived both in our house and next door in Ghislaine's (although I'm not sure what the sequence was, or even if it was two different grandmothers). He told us that there used to be a big horse trough in the back yard, which in those days was walled, and that he had scribbled all over the walls of the office (our pantry). The business dealt not just in grain but also in walnuts. He has confirmed that we do not have a cellar, but commented that Patrice, at the end of the next driveway, has an enormous souterrain under his workshop.
The raised section of Ghislaine's yard was where his grandmother's orchard was planted. He described the layout of our house in his parent's time, with two stoves, one oil, one wood, where we have our stove and opposite. There was a sort of kitchenette where we have our dining area. What was his bedroom is now our spare bedroom ensuite bathroom. Our spare room was once his grandmother's bedroom, and he remembers what a cold room it was (still is, even with the new insulation, it's always the coldest room in the house). Their bathroom was where our office is, but it was a pretty basic affair -- really just a wash basin. It did not include the large cast iron bath that we had to deal with when we started renovating.
I mentioned that I will be in Sainte Maure several times over the next few months, so I have a standing invitation to come and visit them. They, and more particularly, Gérard's sister, have photos of our place from the first half of the 20th century, and I am quite keen to see them. They left Preuilly in the mid-sixties. And what a coincidence! Gérard's sister is called Claudette!!