We left in gale force winds and stormy rain, but the quick hop across the Channel from Southampton brought us to the warmth of Limoges in south west France where our kind friends Judy and Ray, were waiting for us at the airport. Leaving their modern house in Corfe Mullen three years ago, they had moved with their lovely labrador dogs to a 250 year old cottage with a large and (then) wild garden in a tiny hamlet in the rural landscape of Limousin. This was our first visit to their new home.What a treat to eat outside in 30 degree warmth over looking their, now tamed, garden with its fruit trees and vegetables, complete with chickens, and hives of bees. We watched butterflies in the sunshine, and as the sun set each night we watched the stars appear to the accompanying chorus of frogs on nearby lakes. Over the next three days we were taken on a tour of the lovely towns and landscapes of the area, and further afield into the northern Dordogne, Brantome and Perigueux . We visited many ancient buildings with hidden histories of magnificence and tragedy – just a few captured here.
Not so beautiful but immensely important are the ruined buildings of Oradur-sur-Glane, the memorial village, preserved in order to keep alive the memory of the 642 men, women and children massacred on 10th June 1944 by a German Waffen SS company. Our visit here was sombre, and made us realise how little we knew of the experience of the French population during the dark days of World War 2.