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Bonne Chance!--Building a Life in Rural France [Secure eReader]
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!?


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