For our first day out we decided to explore a bit of the countryside. We quite fancied the thought of living in the ‘wilds’ or maybe in a small hamlet of one or two houses.
Map in hand we set off in the car. It is at this point I should point out that Inmate 2 is dyslexic and now and again, when map reading, right and lefts can be a bit of a problem. We drove, and drove and drove. The countryside was pretty, lots of cows – not many houses and not many villages.
We stopped to check the map. A little ‘trick’ inmate 1 now uses. The theory being the sooner we find out we have gone in the wrong direction the sooner we can get back on the right road. Surprisingly we were still on the route we had planned. We had driven quite a distance - over the departmental border into the Limousin. We had noted on the map, a lake with what looked like a small hamlet/village by it. We thought it would be worth a visit and maybe we’d find somewhere for a morning coffee or an early lunch.
We saw a sign pointing to the lake. Turning off the main road we followed the direction of the sign. Logically there should have been another road, or at least some kind of access track leading to the lake. It is worth noting here something we have now learnt through living in France – when it comes to road planning and signs, logicality goes out of the window. We found no road, no track, no other signs and no human in sight to ask. We gave up and decided to head on towards the next village for lunch.
We were amused by the three mannequins that greeted us with smiles as we entered the village. We were pleased to see shops but became a little bemused that there didn’t seem to be anyone around. There was a mannequin of a butcher standing in the doorway of the butchers …… which was shut. There was a mannequin of an artisan up a ladder supposedly painting a window of a house. There were mannequins of three elderly ladies standing together as if they were chatting. There was a mannequin of a man sitting on a bench. There were no real people to be seen anywhere. There seemed to be nowhere to have a little bite to eat either. As we left the village there were three more mannequins, a man, woman and a child all smiling with hands raised as if waving us goodbye. Surreal or what!!!.
We stopped to check our map again. The next village was a good 40 minutes further on. Whilst it’s fine driving long distances when exploring you do have to remember you have to drive back again. We decided to turn round and go and find somewhere to eat nearer to where we were staying. As we drove back through the ‘mannequin’ village we still saw not a living person.
Conversation over lunch was all about what on earth was going on in the village of mannequins and that maybe, living out in the ‘wilds’ was not such a good idea. Where to look next – village or town?
Originally from London, I moved with Inmate 1, to France in 2007. Home is now on the outskirts of the Medieval village of Plazac in the Perigord Noir region of the Dordogne.