A goose, a turkey and a mouse of lamb

Saint-Flour, France


Interesting Facts:

- In France, a big man and a little man in clunky boots and overalls with reflective patches on them who ring the doorbell (which you didn’t know you had) loudly at some ungodly hour of the morning have come to do the annual water meter reading. This may not be obvious to you.

- What may not be an ungodly hour in the morning to water meter readers in France may indeed be an ungodly hour in the morning to tourists/visitors who have been enjoying reading late into the night and then sleeping in.

- Water meter readers speak a lot of French very quickly.

- When water meter readers are confronted with somebody who doesn’t appear to speak French, they speak even more French, even more quickly. It is possibly different French.

- When that fails, they try Latin. “Aqua!?...”

- Just let them in.

- The bit of the human brain that contains French wakes up about 20 minutes after the rest of it, i.e. 10 minutes after water meter readers have left.

- The bit of the human brain that contains Latin goes back to bed.



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In the evenings, next to the Hotel at the Place d’Armes in Saint-Flour, I’ve been hearing the exciting and evocative clanging of cowbells close by. It is not, as I discovered when I sat at a different table with a different view, a bit of local colour, agriculture or music. It is the shopkeeper rolling a rack of cowbells-for-purchase-by-tourists over the stone footpath into his shop at closing time.



A good walk from Saint-Flour takes you down out of the upper village and along the river.


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Beside the river there’s a farm where I could see sturdy pale cattle grazing and could hear their real cowbells clanging. A rooster was crowing in reply to each clang.

At the same time, as almost everywhere, technology wasn’t far away.




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Walking back, you can see the wisdom of perching your town on top of a cliff...by the time your attackers reach you, they’re pooped and want to take a shower.


If you order un café (a coffee) in the lower town before you start the long climb back up the hill, you get an espresso with a little tablet of chocolate. You can also ask for a caraffe of water (free). Very reviving. I don’t normally like coffee but so far here it’s been smooth and delicious and I can see why people enjoy it.



Dinner here is generally served after 7 or 7:30 pm. Tonight I walked the streets to fill in time and discovered corners I hadn’t noticed before,


then had a delicious meal of mouse of lamb (“souris” -turned out to be lamb shanks) and a most delicious mashed potato melded with cheese, and some rosé.






The view was absolutely breathtaking as the evening light changed.



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I found a beautiful curled hook as I began my walk today, which started me collecting curves (and a triangle or two).


......(These tiles are identical to those used by the Romans, which are on display in the Museum)

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I also came across some new neighbours...



saw French road kill...


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...and the cat.





Tonight I’m going to bed early!