Orchids and Orioles

First blood to McDonalds – ours! Yesterday afternoon, we tromped up into Sarlat-la-Canéda and found the advertised McDonalds easily. (It was advertised in Cénac.) Parking as close as we could but avoiding going in to buy a tea (they can’t make tea in France), Carol fired up the lap top which soon found no fewer than four wireless networks, three protected and good ol’ McDonalds open to the world.

We connected. Signal strength didn’t seem too bad but the speed was poor and our connection was dropped repeatedly, usually half way through publishing. After reconnecting three times or so, we finally got the last three posts published (June 1st thru 3rd). We struggled valiantly against further droppings to read email and correct WLW’s screwed up photograph links from "A Hole in the Sky" – the Chambord château. The new version appeared to be correct, but don’t tell me if it isn’t – publishing is hard enough. McWiFi worked eventually but, this time, it wasn’t a pleasant experience. Maybe the French tea would have been less frustrating. Still, we do appreciate McDonalds efforts, don’t we?

I may have had some support success from Microsoft, too. Before we left I told them that their Windows Live Writer product kept changing the publish date on saved off-line posts to the current date. It isn’t doing it now and I have a satisfaction survey in my email (too painful for wireless) so maybe they listened and fixed it. Just the odd broken photo links left, then? Just occasionally, it decides to stick two <img> tags within the same <a> tag. Very odd.

Unidentified Orchid Carol found what appears to be a fourth orchid lurking about the campsite. Unfortunately, there’s nothing resembling this one in our book so it may be one that doesn’t occur in the UK and we haven’t been able to identify it. Just to complete the collection, it is pictured left.

We’ve also just had a couple of sightings of golden orioles, both male and female. We’d heard their wonderfully flutey whistle once or twice on the rare occasions when rain hasn’t been beating violently on the caravan roof. However, they are very secretive birds and usually stay well hidden in thick foliage. It’s a real treat to see such a spectacular bird. Once seen, never forgotten.

This evening’s thunderstorm dealt us a glancing blow and wandered off into the distance whereupon George (you-know-whose grill) came out ready for our duck breast from Cénac market. It seemed that the thunder had merely made way for the evening’s cloudburst, though, since, about 10 minutes later, the skies blackened and we were soon being deluged again.

This is the Périgord region centre of the fois gras industry. The by products, dead ducks and geese, are the best anywhere. Our duck breast was superb, especially accompanied by some Waldorf salad à la maison made using the walnuts presented to us by the friendly campsite owner at Huisseau-sur-Cosson.

Posted in France, 2008

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