Twins on tour

Hattie and Joe’s French Adventures: Saint-Aulaye

This morning our intrepid adventurers (and Nanna) visited Saint-Aulaye (pronounced ‘sant or-lay’). Each year in the Dordogne region a different town is nominated to play a starring role in what we were originally told are celebrations to commemorate the liberation of France at the end of World War II, but what are actually just celebrations of local arts and crafts, and a general excuse for a bit of a get-together. This year it’s Saint-Aulaye’s turn. 

As soon as we approached the centre on foot it was clear that the townspeople had made a big effort to decorate everything:


Hattie and Joe happily posed at the beginning of the festivities:


Yes, do not tap your screen in disbelief: that really is Joe dressed in boys’ clothes!

We intended to stop for drinks at the little cafe operating under an amazing ceiling of flowers over a little square:


Alas, this particular cafe had run out of hot chocolate, so we had to venture further afield. We ended up sitting in a terraced garden at the back of a cafe/bar. When Tristan attempted to order small and slightly less-than-hot hot chocolates for the kids, it seemingly didn’t occur to the woman behind the counter that she might not need to heat the milk up fully for the kids’ drinks, or maybe she could leave their cups half-full and top them up with cold milk. No: her response was that they’d just have to blow on their drinks. OK, thanks for that, helpful lady… 

The entire town looked gorgeous, with flowers strung across every street:




All of the shop windows were decorated in keeping with a ‘days gone by’ theme, and a lot of the locals were wandering around dressed in old-school outfits. It was very cool. 

The horses that you can see in the photo above made walking with a couple of three year olds highly diverting, as we endeavoured to prevent them from stepping in the horse poo to which their feet seemed to be magnetically drawn. Our equine adventures were merely beginning: further down the main street we met a man with a donkey cart, and blagged a ride for Hattie and Joe:

Although they look very composed in these shots, they were beside themselves with glee: just after the photo above was taken they turned to each other and exchanged a look of adorable unbridled delight. And towards the end of the ride they picked up a big girl hitchhiker, which was really big news:


After vacating the cart so other kids could have a go (very reluctantly, in Joe’s case), we wandered around and saw lots of other things, like a man making wheels:


And some vintage cars:


And a very cool old fire engine:


And all sorts of crocheted fripperies:


Help was at hand if little legs needed a rest:


There was some expert balancing on the walk back to the car:


And Hattie had finally seen enough of Joe’s sulky lip and decided to take matters into her own hands:


At last, good spirits were restored:

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