Salsa in Cahors and the Lot Valley.

May 22, 2014 by · Comments Off on Salsa in Cahors and the Lot Valley.
Filed under: France, Living in Rural France 

Salsa in the Lot

When I came to Mas de Flory (Lot Cycling Holidays Cycling Base) in September last year I knew that I would sorely miss my weekly Latin DJ spot in Exeter and my many salsa dance friends, so it has been a pleasure (and surprise) to discover how active the salsa scene is here in the Lot. Most of this is down to a local association called Siempre Salsa (, which is based in Cahors.

The association is dedicated to promoting Cuban Salsa music and dance locally. They organise a monthly event at The Bordeaux, a popular bar and restaurant in the centre of Cahors. Like salsa events in the UK this attracts a wide age range, from teenagers to others closer to my own age. The music is mainly ‘salsa cubaine’, with a touch of bachata and kizomba. I’ve been along to several of the Bordeaux nights now and it’s always been really good fun. The dancefloor might be small, but the dancers (and there are lots of them!) are enthusiastic and knowledgeable.

Salsa in Cahors

Salsa in Cahors

Recently Siempre salsa organised a live music event near Cahors. It was listed as taking place in the sports hall at Labastide-maurat, which is a village about 10 miles outside Cahors. Given the location my expectations weren’t high and when I arrived at the publicised opening time at 9pm they weren’t raised. There were 2 other cars in the car park and the organisers hadn’t a table set up to take the money. However once I got in I was confronted by an excellent sound and lighting rig set up on a large stage for what I was told was an 11 piece band from Toulouse called Cuba Libre.

And what a night it was! Between 9 and 11 the hall filled up with probably 300 people or more. The band were excellent and the sound balance excellent too. There were also a couple of impressive dance displays. When I left after midnight the band had finished, but the party was in full swing.

So full marks to Siempre Salsa for organising a great event. I only wish that my French was much better, so that I could have a conversation with some of the many volunteers in their Siempre Salsa tee-shirts. I would also dearly love to do a short guest DJ spot at a local gig – an aim for the future!

Salsa in Cahors and the Lot Valley.

Planting at Mas de Flory

May 16, 2014 by · Comments Off on Planting at Mas de Flory
Filed under: France, Mas de flory 

Lots of plants for Mas de Flory’s new swimming pool

As John said in the last blog post, I’ve bought lots of new fauna and flora to plant around the new swimming pool area!

A pool always seems to have a great deal of hard landscaping surrounding it – masses of creamy–beige, stone-coloured slabwork or dallage, retaining walls and paths – which is, of course very practical, but all of it tends to be pretty harsh on the eye – especially when the sun is out!.

So I want to put in as much as I can of pretty things and greenery to soften the hard angles and lend curves and soft shapes to the basic platform.

I love roses! And as a great bonus they do REALLY well around here as they love the clay soil that is abundant in our neck of the woods!

Roses at Mas de flory

‘Warm Welcome’ rose at Mas de flory














So I’ve bought another three climbers to form the framework for the pool area. I already have versions of two of them, but have repeated my selection as they are so wonderful!

Roses at Mas de Flory

‘Zephrine Drouhin’ rose at Mas de Flory


















Zephirine Drouhin is a beautiful soft but deep pink, which smells utterly divine. I just have to sniff and it takes me back to endless summer days in my childhood back garden, trying to make rosewater perfume with my sister! I think we probably had at least one amongst the many roses adorning the trellises there.

I have also selected another ‘New Dawn’ which is the loveliest, delicate soft pale pink and is a rampant climber. Here is a pic of the other one we have which smothers a pergola and is about to burst into bloom with the next warm sunny day.

Roses at Mas de Flory

My third choice is ‘Francis Lester’ which I haven’t used before but is such a pretty natural simple-flowered soft pink, that I couldn’t resist it. I think it will associate really well with the hedgerow hawthorns, elders and oaks it will climb against.

Roses at Mas de Flory


When we first came here I treated myself to some David Austin roses and these have proved to be fantastic and have really grown well at Mas de Flory well – especially the ‘Warm Welcome’ against the front of the barn.

Some of the other plants I am putting in:

Lilacs, lavenders (lots), ceanothus repens, Weigela ‘Snowflake’, hydrangeas, euonymus, cistus, cornus alba, Magnolia ‘Susan’, plus lots of scented stocks and penstemons.  I also plan to sow a wild flower bed on one side of the pool which should hopefully grow and mature resplendently  by July or August.

I will take photos as and when they all come to fruition…


Planting at Mas de Flory

May 2014 Cycling in the Lot and Dordogne France update

May 11, 2014 by · Comments Off on May 2014 Cycling in the Lot and Dordogne France update
Filed under: France 

Cycling in the Lot and Dordogne

Well we’ve just finished our first Lot and Dordogne cycling tour, the weather forecast for the week wasn’t good but in the end it turned out their was no rain at all! Mornings started out a bit cloudy but by lunchtime the cloud had burned off and temperatures were between 19c to 25c, perfect cycling weather.

No problems with any of our routes as this time of the year the local communes normally try and resurface some of the roads leaving lots of loose chippings – not good for biking. Aileen received the usual plaudits for her standard of cooking – especially from Robin!


Aileen preparing creme brulee with a blow torch on our Lot and Dordogne tour.

Aileen preparing creme brulee with a blow torch.














We’ve been very busy as the first tour really crept up on us whilst we were trying to complete our new swimming pool. Our plan is to have the pool ready for the 1st of June and it looks like we are on course, any earlier and the pool will not have time to warm up properly. The “plage” is laid courtesy of Richard and all the groundwork has been done. Aileen has bought lots of plants but we can’t put them in until we’ve finished rendering the pump house etc. A bit frustrating as now is the best time to plant.

Now it’s a week off trying to get everything done before our next tour Lot Vistas and Villages on Sunday the 18th. However we do have one guest just for tonight who is cycling the length of France staying at bike friendly places en-route, bon courage.

We lost four of our ducks to a fox last week so have had to doubly reinforce our fencing including pegging and placing oak beams and large stones around our chicken/duck house. It is beginning to resemble a stockade. So now we have just six chickens and two ducks. Still plenty of eggs though.

May in the Lot & Dordogne

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