The Ambitious Drifter

Words, Images and The Occasional Noise


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A Feast of Doors

I’ve always been fascinated by doors…. especially old ones. France is a doorhound’s paradise. Here’s a collection, from an ornate cathedral door (Limoges) to simple hole-in-the-wall arrangements.

There’s one from Exeter Cathedral (not in France!)  that has an ancient cat door. It allows the cathedral cats to get into the organ loft to deal with the mice in there.


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The Affair of The Seven Notes

Stirred by the Discovery Prompt ‘Notes’ it was easy enough to recall a mysterious murder I was able to solve, with some small difficulty, last year.  I was spending a quiet few days in the historical town of Narbonne, in France. The inestimable Hotel de Paris has a singular check-in routine.  Check in is from 2.30pm, but the hard working staff take their rest between  1pm and 5pm. One is provided only with a code to the front door. Inside, I was led to expect, there’d be all the information I needed to make myself at home.

I let myself in and found 7 notes placed on the reception counter. Each one, I knew, contained a key and a message of welcome. I was the first to arrive. The hotel, small, but comfortable, was deserted. Next to reception was a satisfyingly spooky spiral staircase up to the rooms. I shall not divulge the names on the envelopes. It is far too recent for that.

I felt like Hercule Poirot…. I would not have been surprised to hear of a murder that night, probably in a room locked from the inside.

I did see my fellow tenants at breakfast the next day. Sadly they did not include a retired Major-General, a shifty guy & a young woman, an alluring woman of a certain age, or even an American millionaire (incognito).

The murder then, happened in my imagination… the setting is real.

When this plague is over, I will certainly return. It was a very enjoyable stay.PSX_20200423_203352


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Let Me Orchestrate You Some Lunch

Food can definitely be orchestrated. A meal may be a symphony… but it’s probably an accumulation of well planned quartets.  My buy, lunch in France!

We are lunching at La Vache Au Plafond, in Limoges. It’s a lovely room with a great staff. It being lunch, I’ve chosen a number of entree sized plates… hopefully something for everybody. Feel free to order yourself a drink…. there’s a good wine list and any number of fruit juices and non alcoholic cocktails.  It is luchtime after all.

From Les Jardins de l’Acropolis, Rodez, a tomato/ melon gazpacho… with goat’s cheese and serrano ham.PSX_20200410_202249

From Le Sphinx in Figeac…. a do it yourself tartare…. yes, the meat is raw, but you have an alternative. Hint, it’s really delicious.PSX_20200410_202126

From L’Auberge du Fort in Aubin… a tartare of betrave… beetroot. Tangy and fresh. PSX_20200410_202458

Still at L’Auberge… a very stylish dessert, rasberries and chocolate. PSX_20200410_202346

Coffee.  You can also order a noisette  (short black) or even a digestif… I’ll have a cognac.PSX_20200410_202638

Please choose your seat!PSX_20200410_203945

 

 

 

 

 


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Hands

Hands… an interesting prompt.  I knew I had some photos somewhere. An installation in Cahors, France, celebrating the 50th anniverdsary of a youth training/drop in centre.  Bit spooky maybe?

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I found this one while searching for the Cahors pics…. Rocamadour, France. It looks like the Barbary Macaque is giving me a treat… so gentle they were! He undoubtedly appreciated my Monkey teeshirt!PSX_20200406_210645

 


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Dish

I can normally make a Discover Prompt entry in 10 minutes, but this one set me back. I took a lovely stroll through my photo archive reflecting on the many great dishes I’ve eaten. This little blog is currently clocking up about 30 views per day. My Google Maps food photos are just about to reach 6,000,000 views.

Some of the tastiest dishes don’t make the best photos. From La Vache Au Plafond in Limoges, France, Oeufs en Meurette. A remarkable sauce made from Burgundy wine, onions and butter is heated in the oven. At the last moment, a raw egg is dropped in. Add croutons and serve. You should get a perfectly poached egg with a runny yolk. PSX_20190629_234438

From Le Quai in Narbonne, France. Gazpacho… a tasty cold soup on a very hot day. How did they know I was a musician?PSX_20200405_215628

From l’Allee Des Vignes in Carjac, France…. A Michelin starred dessert…. the special plate is designed so that your partner can’t see what you’re having and demand some of it.PSX_20200405_215956

Back to Limoges… the National Porcelain Museum…. dishes made by Picasso.PSX_20200405_213737

I could add 100 more photos!

 

 

 

 

 


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Plaisanterie – Ou Est La Vache????

A joke that saved my life…. well it saved my evening.

It was a dark and stormy night, in Limoges. Actually, it was only 7.45pm but it was dark, wet and windy. I’d arrived in town at 3pm… identified a place to eat, then explored a bit. It turned out to be the day after a public holiday…. there wasn’t going to be much open for dinner.

Surely, the tiny Lebanese place two doors from the hotel would be open?  It was, the two tables full and bookings till 9.30. Aargh… my only other options were a packet sandwich from a small night shop, or to go down the far end of the street and visit a well known, delivery only, pizza chain.  Hmm… I wasn’t in France to eat industrial pizza… but it would be warm, at least.

Toward the dark end of the street I saw a vision, a French bistro, check tableclothes and all, open, almost empty. Yes, they had a table!   No sooner had I come in, but I realised where I was. A place so legendary, I hadn’t bothered to check it online.

‘Ou est la vache?’  I said cheerily.  The waiter pointed upwards. There she was… the legendary ‘La Vache Au Plafond’… and there, on the ceiling, was The Cow, Herself.  It was one of the finest meals I’ve ever eaten… alas I was alone, such a place needs good company.      I wasn’t really alone… the place filled up rapidly with single diners… all the out of towners.

I’ve been back since… French countrystyle cuisine… lots of meat… gorgeous if you like that kind of thing. I do. Vive La Vache!

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Look up!