A Castle in the Backyard: the Dream of a House in France by Betsy Draine and Michael Hinden


I eventually concluded that I had read this book before, but that was no obstacle to enjoying it.  It's like daydreaming; always a pleasure.  A married couple who are both English professors from the University of Wisconsin and francophiles hit upon the scheme of buying a house in the Dordogne region of France where they would live each summer.

The town they eventually settled on is Castelnaud, south of Sarlat.  They bought the house in the mid-80s and over the years, made close friends, saw the children in the village grow up, and experienced the tourist influx in the region which dramatically changed the village.  Betsy was always an early morning walker and was happy to discover the Grand Randonnée goes right through the village.  She made a friend that she walked with and who taught her to yell, "Tais-toi!" at dogs, which generally worked, except the time she was bitten by a yapping little terrier while they focused on the big dog.

The area is west of the region where Jim and I walked in France, but of course is quite close.  I was glad to see the name of the round goat cheese so distinctive of the region, cabécou. 

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