There are two ways to walk into Excideiul: down the road from Domaine de Tabary, then past the Super U and along the highway that winds into the village. I usually go this way so that I can buy things at Super U. I always seem to need things from Super U. The other way is up a grassy slope to a disused, elevated railroad track. The track leads to the village of San Rafael in one direction and to Excideuil in the other. I haven’t yet walked into San Rafael, it’s about 4 km, but I intend to one day. Today, since Super U was closed by the time I started out, I took the railway track. As I climbed the slope, an enormous heap of animal droppings, gave me pause. Last night, Richard and Luisa, who own Domaine du Tabary, had everyone over for cocktails and there was talk of wild boar in the woods. The previous week, someone had roasted wild boar. Wild boar is tasty to eat apparently, but not something you’d want to meet. I remember camping with the Girl Guides and seeing a wild boar behind an electrified fence. It didn’t look friendly. I decided to take my chances.
As I approached Excideuil, church bells started pealing. I’d thought this was to remind people to go to church, but it must have signaled the end of the mass because five minutes later the streets were completely empty. No cars, no people, just the sounds of pigeons and, occasionally, a murmur of voices behind shuttered windows. Were these the church goers? What was going on now? Why the shutters? If my French ever improves sufficiently, I’d like to know more about what goes on behind the shuttered windows on Sunday afternoons
I had envisioned a stop in the cafe Rustique for a glass of wine. Friday night the Rustique was full of people. Men mostly –drinking wine before they went home to their wives according to my friend, Melissa. We’d eaten dinner there–salade Perigord. Lettuce with duck prepared in various ways. More duck than I’ve ever eaten in my life. No boar, wild or otherwise, on the menu. Today the Rustique was also shuttered.
Back at Domaine du Tabary, Richard was on the riding lawn mower and Luisa was weeding the flower beds. “Always work to do,” Luisa said. This is the start of the tourist season in the Dordogne and after I leave, Le Pigeonniere is booked continuously until September. I was going to ask Luisa about whether the droppings I’d seen might have been from a wild boar, but she seemed busy so I poured myself a glass of wine (Bergerac, 2 euros at Super U) and drank it on the terrace.