Journalist Jessica Weduwer and her family live for part of the year in a listed village that is home to foreigners from a wide variety of countries. Here she describes a ‘freezing wet Sunday’ in the Lot village called Montcuq. Having visited the village a couple of times, the only pictures I have are of lovely sunny days!

Stewart Andersen, Editor

Market day in Montcuq

As the days get shorter and colder, emerging from my home in Montcuq can be a daunting prospect and one Sunday recently I found myself believing I’d have to stay indoors until the spring, cooking, reading and knitting to entertain myself in our small village in the southwest region of France. Outside, the horse chestnut trees that not so long ago dropped their conkers on cars, boule players and pedestrians alike hang their heads and wait for the warmer weather.

But actually, in spite of it being a freezing wet Sunday, we were spoiled for choice. The morning’s main activity involved preparing lunch after going to the local market. Half the stalls didn’t turn up for once because of the rain but the old farmers and diehards were there with the best of the local produce. This is very much a country area and the food from the Lot is delicious and above all, seasonal.

The Christmas spirit

Wild, spicy rocket from the toothless cowboy, organic spinach from the mousy little lady wrapped up in a coat and shawl, and baby sprouts from the man with bandy legs who served us while managing to let the rainwater run down the gutter between his feet.

A busy Sunday in the Lot

At the same time, local firemen were showing off their skills to raise money for a Telethon and the local school and all the teachers were selling homemade cakes and cards in the same way that the WI does in the UK.

We enjoyed a lovely lunch with old friends and someone popped over to ask if he could use the Internet. After an enormous and delicious pot au feu, a variety of cheeses and two cakes (one made by the school), we strolled up to the church of St Privat where the choir was due to sing a Christmas Concert in French and English. This just goes to show how many foreigners, and especially the British, tend to have settled here.

The whole church was full of elderly residents and the only other young person was the 11-year old butcher’s son but I loved being there all the same and really getting into the Christmas spirit. The Mayor turned up and clapped enthusiastically after every song, and the choir was wonderful, particularly given that they are all amateurs.

To round off our Sunday we made our way to the Salle de Fêtes to see a movie, When Pigs Have Wings (Le Cochon de Gaza). This is a French, Belgian and German production directed by Sylvain Estibal and is the story of a poor Palestinian fisherman who reels in a pot-bellied pig along with his usual catch.

I can’t say I felt especially guilty when finally I took to my cosy bed with a good book (The Hare with Amber Eyes) and no supper after such a busy and fun-filled day in cold December. Life in Montcuq really has a very great deal to offer.