Ah, the country life…something to behold.
The green rolling hills, fragrant fruit trees, historic churches, sunflowers and vineyards. It is a welcome retreat from life in Paris. Yes, a welcome retreat.
So those were my thoughts on day one of my stay in Dordogne. I wouldn’t trade this experience for a night at the Le Crillon Paris (even if Les Bleus were having their Coupe du Monde victory party that evening). However, my respite in the country turned into an adventure camp, complete with gorgeous surroundings, a cottage as perfect as possible, antiquing and of course, wildlife.
Welcome to my first and hopefully, my only, BAT BLOG:
Day 1: I am overwhelmed. It’s gorgeous. I open all the exterior shutters to the cottage to let in the light. I am living a dream. I think Jane Austen’s Elizabeth Bennet used to do this everyday at the Longbourn estate. Yes, I am sure of it. I am now Eliza Bennet.
Day 2: I am awake after a pleasant night’s sleep. I wander downstairs to the kitchen to make coffee and perhaps some toast. It’s mid-morning; my I slept well! I am setting the little table on the terrace for a leisurely breakfast. The view onto the orchard of fruit trees and manor house beyond is going to be inspiring!
In the main living area, out of the corner of my eye, I see a bird. No. WAIT. I believe that is a bat. A BAT.
Trying to maintain my calm, I open all the doors and windows to the cottage. I close off the kitchen and continue making breakfast in full denial. I eat my breakfast in full denial.
Success! After two hours, I brave the main part of the house again. No sign of any bat. I did it! He flew out to reunite with his tribe and enjoy all the fruits and bugs in the orchard. Rejoice! I am back in Elizabeth Bennet mode.
Day 3: Well, that was kind of a noisy night. Those bats like to party and flap their wings, but it’s no problem. They are in the orchard. I am in the cottage.
Evening Day 3/wee hours of day 4: Flapping wings awake Ms. Eliza (me). Okay, I am brave enough to look out the window in the dark of night to see what is going on…I turn on the bedside light:
A bat circles over my head. I am still laying in bed.
I turn off the light. I can vaguely see the small creature circling.
I can’t do anything about this. Open the windows, the bat party and commotion move inside. I pull the covers over my head and decide to remain motionless until morning.
I have to pee. It doesn’t matter. There is a bat at Eliza Bennet’s French country estate.
Day 4: As soon as dawn breaks, I creep out of bed. Cover myself in clothing (head to toe) and go looking for the bat. He’s small, I know that. He’s clever – probably likes hiding in the beautiful stonework or structural beams. After making a modest amount of noise, opening doors and windows and turning on all the lights, there is no sign of the bat.
It’s time for the professionals.
I email the gracious owner of the cottage and she sends over the caretakers from the village. Reinforcements! Unfortunately, further search turns up nothing. I am told to wait for evening when the bats will be active again.
I can do this. I decide wine will help the effort. It does. Immensely.
Night has fallen. No bat. I go to bed.
Day 5: A semi-restful night. No bat and no bat parties outside. Continuing with the wine theme, I decide visit some small wineries in Bergerac. The tastings will mitigate any stress the bat is causing. (Ms. Eliza is nothing if not a strategist!)
Day 6: The evening goes well. A little post-traumatic (note, my spellcheck wants the phrase to be post-dramatic) stress might be setting in. At night, when I close my eyes, I have dark shadows that cross over my head. I refused to open my eyes. They are shadows.
Day 7: Phew. Still no sign of the bat. I still do not get up in the middle of the night to pee. Too much risk involved with turning on the light.
Earlier in the week Ms. Eliza saw a handmade vase from a local potter in town. It was love at first sight, but logic set in. I decided it would be difficult to get the vase back to Paris in one piece (especially with my recently acquired bottles of Pecharmant). However, I’m feeling victorious. The vase was black, some might call it “bat-wing black”. I need the vase – it’s a victory trophy.
Day 8: Ms. Eliza packs up the cottage and all her Dordogne goodies. A new bat-wing black vase is in bubble wrap tucked in my luggage. I love this little cottage, Dordogne and my new vase, however, I am ready for Paris.