November 2007
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Het weer in de Gers


ernest and his chestnuts
Ernest tossing his nuts

chestnuts on the fire
Chestnuts roasting on an open fire...

perry drawing
On your marks, get set, GO!!! Perry finally makes the time
to start the drawings and cartoons for the exhibition at
Castelnau Magnoac in December

A wet dash across the old station square...

Alain et damien

the new vegetable garden
Alain and Damien came to plough up our garden early
one Saturday morning
, under the watchful eye of Ernest

David arrives for a virtual tour
David 'Blind Lemon' Woolf on (virtual) tour

If all else fails, read the instructions.

table setting
Caroline sets the scene for one of our dinners

Perry in the studio
The Maestro tickles the keyboard and strokes his mouse

sorting the christmas cards
The production department does the sorting and despatching

Framing the last pictures with hours to spare!

Roast my nuts!
Ernest came with a bag full of enormous chestnuts from the Périgueux. We had invited la famille Fourquet and friends for an evening of chestnut roasting. Caroline provided several other platters and the wine and conversation flowed freely. A beautiful star filled sky allowed the earth's warmth to evaporate and we all sat huddled around the two wood burners, as the bats swooped around us and the barn owls cruised the field. It was then that the tales of other times came forth. Other moments when such gatherings occurred. It was a pleasure to see our neighbours and friends feeling so relaxed and at home here.

Smoke coming off my pen
When I was asked if I would exhibit in December, it seemed an age away. Plenty of time to draw a new series. But as always, I wait until the last minute and then storm through them, day and night. When I was on a roll, I made eight in a day. Other times, I just filled the waste paper basket, knowing that however hard I tried, it was not going to be my day. My 'studio' is a small desk in the window of the dining room (until the chai -the old wine cellar-is ready in February), but given half a chance, I set up outside in the sun and out of the wind.

I chose to continue my series of observations and visual jokes, but with Castelnau Magnoac as the back drop. So I went there several times and observed the folk going about their business, at the market, in the street, outside the café. Not using any words, the composition has to say it all. I love Sempé, a French cartoonist who worked for many years on the New York Times covers. His pen work captured a moment in just a few strokes. If I come close, I'd be happy. The opening of the gallery is on Friday 7 December. Wish me luck!

Can ya dig it?
Aaah, Saturday morning and no appointments. We could sleep in at last. But a tractor that seemd to first pass, suddenly sounded as if it was in front of the door. Hanging out of the bedroom window, we saw Alain and his son Damien below us. Grandfather, Ernest, was in tow. Throwing some clothes on, we ran down to show Alain where we wanted the new garden to be ploughed. Caroline had decided to add a second patch so that she could grow more raspberries, blackcurrants, etc and have a place to plant crops that need to be rotated from the original plot. Eight passes with the plough and the square was ready, so was the coffee. All three generations of the Fourquet family are jokers, so we had an early morning cabaret as each of us poked fun at the other.

Guess who's coming to dinner
After what seemed non-stop visits during the year, we finally had time to spend with our local friends. Living rather spread out from each other, we generally sleep over, bringing our own bedding to avoid laundry. Often the guest brings not just wine, but homemade jams, pickles, truffles and tarts. Our own line of conserves go down well, especially the picalilli beans and rasberry liqueur. All with the TwoCan Productions designer labels of course.

Caroline went down to a neighbouring village to visit the Lamarque family and to pick up one of their ducks. Plucked and ready for the oven. Sitting at the table there were three generations. Grandma, over 90, was quietly peeling carrots as her son of 70 poured aperitifs, his daughter wandering in with two enormous hams (the complete back legs of a pig) to be salted for six months. You don't see that often at the local supermarket.

Blind Lemon on tour
Perry was working on a website for a local gîte. Having decided that some virtual tours of the place would help sell, he invited his old mate David, to come and make them with his special camera lens. Doing a few trial shots during the market in Trie, we were watched curiously by the locals, pushing the button and then dashing for cover behind different stalls as the self timer counted down. We also made a couple of tours for a top estate agent who wants to add more features to his site. We were happy to oblige. In fact now Perry has bought the same camera and lens set-up to be able to provide clients with 360 virtual tours himself. You can find out more about this new service on his Baguette Magique site here.

Books and cards
Perry painted a series of ducks, had them printed as greetings cards and started convincing local shops and galleries to display them. Thanks to all of you who already bought some. You can see them up close and even order them here. You'll also be able to read about our friend Dickie Tryon who has just published his first book. Perry did the illustrations, design and all the work getting the book produced by the online printers iUniverse. Maybe one day we will get our act together to turn this diary into a book. Yeah, right!

Enough already!
Ok folks, that's it for this time around. Four months diary in one go. That should fill your time between stuffing yourself on turkey and sleeping it off. December's diary will appear a lot earlier. Honest.

A bientôt.

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© 2007 Perry Taylor and La Baguette Magique, France.