Our next point of call was our little farmlette La Bouyssette just outside the town of Puy L’Eveque – which, it turned out, many French people hadn’t heard of let alone Australians. The town is 30 kms or half an hour west of Cahors in the Lot region and right on the Lot River. It’s best described as an area of rolling hills and sprawling fields of wheat and soon-to-mature sunflowers, vines and other crops.
I’d originally been looking at staying further up in the Dordogne near the medieval town of Sarlat, a very popular spot with tourists. But one last trawl on the internet uncovered this little place.
Garmin was at his finest on this day. After having led us to the middle of a vine field when we were on our way to Ceret, this time he delivered us to a gate half way up a hill where were met by 5 boxer dogs – snarling, snapping, foaming at the mouth, hysterically barking and basically threatening us with disembowelment should we dare to step inside. The property beyond looked a little rundown, bits of farmyard junk and a couple of cars. There was no sign of anybody. Every attempt to sweet talk these crazy canines (even in French) was met by more tumultuous barking and gnashing of teeth. What had I gotten us into!? Was this to be our delightful abode for the next four weeks? It certainly didn’t look like this on their internet site. I decided to phone our hosts to see if we could be escorted threw this melle of chaos and threats of death. There was no answer. Another five minutes of barking, growling and snarling then I tried again. Luckily the phone answered. Garmin had led us up the wrong garden path yet again. Through the deafening noise behind me I could only just hear Diny, our host-to-be. She said she thought she knew where we were as she could hear the dogs going berserk on the hill opposite. She gave us the correct directions and we made our way over to the calm tranquillity of La Bouysette, leaving a tangled, gyrating and still foaming mass of hysteria at that gate. Thank you again Garmin –NOT!
And we were even happier when we arrived at beautiful La Bouyssette and met Diny and Ben Mol. They are a couple from Holland who decided on a change of lifestyle and came to the Lot in 2000. They had had busy lives in the city, Ben had just retired, and Diny enjoyed her work as a university professor, but they decided to go rural with no farming background between them.
They renovated the old farmhouse, adopted 2 llamas Louis and Victor, 2 donkeys named Maya and Ijoor (Eeyore), Joupi, a dark brown sheep who is not sure whether he’s a llama or a human (he has no idea that he’s a sheep) and his harem of 5 other sheep – his ‘girls’. Also there’s a rooster we named Big Red and his gaggle of girlfriends, plus 2 cats – Kiki and Sarah – who hate each other – but not all the time.
Now Ben and Diny seem to know everything about farming – from caring for sheep and llamas and poultry, and keeping them from the foxes and buzzards, growing and reaping lavender and the most beautiful vege garden, making the badminton/boulle court, swimming pool – You name it, they’ve done it. And they are very involved with and seem to know everything about the area and country they have adopted as home.
They say they may be working harder in some ways than when they were in the city, but wouldn’t change it for anything and love the home and farm they have created. (Just going through the pictures again to post them on the blog made me homesick for their place again!)
Tina and Heather