Bonne Chance!--Building a Life in Rural France [Secure eReader]
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eBook by Richard Wiles
eBook Category: Travel/People
eBook Description: Deep in the Limousin countryside, Richard Wiles bought his dream home. But little did he expect to be living full time in the dilapidated farmhouse while struggling to finish the conversion during the insect plagues of summer and the harsh blizzards of winter. Watched by his bemused neighbours, Richard also pursues his more unusual dreams of raising llamas, hot-air ballooning and marathon running whilst trying to keep the roof over his head. Told with unfailing humour and optimism, this is a unique tale of overcoming the formidable challenges of building a home, and a life, in France.
eBook Publisher: Summersdale Non Fiction/Summersdale Travel
Fictionwise Release Date: September 2006
The llama regarded me with a certain degree of unwarranted
suspicion from the corner of the corral into which I had
managed to cajole him. The placid, mirror-like orbs of his
big chestnut eyes, framed by long, curling and sensuous
lashes, were unblinking. But I knew that this particular petite
camelide was plotting his escape route already. Talisman?s
downy felt nose twitched as he sniffed the fresh morning air.
His pouting upper lip parted down the centre to reveal a pair
of long, yellowish incisors that protruded from his lower jaw,
and the bony gum of his upper jaw. His long, banana-shaped
ears were cocked forwards as he listened intently to my inane
cooing ?bon llama, bon llama?. But the animal?s body language
told me that he was poised to spring off at a moment?s notice.?You ?ave to show ?im who ees boss, Richard,? I recalled the
wise advice of my llama mentor, Bernard Morestin, who had
coached me in the fine art of capturing a llama in an open
field. The Frenchman had made it look so easy. The reality
was another kettle of fish. ?Remember, you are the leader of
the ?erd.? Bernard had intoned his mantra. ?Once you get the
lead rope around ?is neck, the llama ?e will become submissive
and you can slip the halter on ?im, pas de problème.?
My wife Al stood behind me, arms outstretched, ready to
deflect my adversary, should he daintily nip to one side again
and evade me. I had to admit that Al certainly looked the
part. Clad in jeans with deep turn-ups, cuban-heeled cowboy
boots, checked shirt, neckerchief and Stetson, she was every
bit the wrangler. By contrast, my knee-length khaki shorts,
white tee shirt bearing the faded logo of the Hastings Half-
Marathon, circa 1995, flip-flops and back-to-front baseball
cap were perhaps less practical attire for rounding up
livestock. However, the fleeting thought crossed my mind as
to why my wife had of late taken to dressing as a cowpoke.
Snapped from my idle reverie to the stark reality of
catching a llama, I wondered what the animal?s gripe could
be, anyway. Why was he so mistrusting? Thousands of years
of selective breeding by enterprising Incas had produced the
?domesticated? species of llama, after all, and to me the word
domesticated was synonymous with ?tame?. So why was this
mutinous mammal so keen to remain at large? All I wanted
to do was slip the halter on, tie him to the fence and try my
hand at grooming his lustrous fibre. Llama fleece can be
woven into wonderfully soft items of clothing, or used to
stuff pillows, and I harboured romantic notions of gathering
sufficient fibre to spin into sumptuous skeins of lanolin-free
wool and knit fetching south American-style hats, mittens and scarves: just the job when the winter winds of France?s
Limousin region bite the skin.
Jazz, our young boxer pup, was crouched on the other
side of the corral fence, backside and docked tail pointing
skywards. Jowls splayed out on the grass, he peered through
the chicken wire beneath the lower rail with restrained
interest. He knew better than to enter the corral.
?Llamas detest les chiens,? Swami Bernard had forewarned.
?If they catch ?im, they will ?ave ?is guts for the gaiter!?