Thursday, 30 May 2013

Roots glorious Roots

Our gravel drive  likes to grow things, just to annoy me, I think... I have even tried a flame gun to keep them down but to little effect.

The best strategy is pulling out weeds by hand and it is usually satisfying when you get a reasonable root...

This one beats them all.

Not sure what it is but it sure had the most satisfying of roots to pull up... In fact it was all root!

NOTE. We will not be writing the blog as frequently over the next few weeks due to other commitments but we hope to be back on a daily basis as soon as possible.

Wednesday, 29 May 2013

It is all about the roses.

If, like us, you are a rose fan then this coming weekend you should head for Chateau du Rivau for their 'Garden Day'

You will be able to appreciate their 450 different varieties of fragrant roses and there will be several experts on hand during the weekend.

For further details in English: See Here. 

The Chateau also has a good email communication system, The mail for this event can be viewed here, where you can also sign up to their mailing list.

We are hoping to attend on Sunday so if you are there we may see you....

Tuesday, 28 May 2013

When you have retired!

On a recent shopping trip we came across this beauty and our thoughts were to our friend Jean who has recently retired...

If the Harley gets toooooo much Jean you could always buy the more sedate version!!

The bonus is if you fancy a pair...

They had one for Nick to!

Alternatively if you find you have tooooo much time on your hands you could...........

Monday, 27 May 2013

Bath time in front of the coal fire.

This picture taken at the Richelieu Brocante  a couple of weeks ago brought back childhood memories.

Friday night bath time in a tin bath very similar to this one and in front of the living room coal fire. Circa 1950's

My parents lived in a terraced mill cottage, my mother was a weaver and my father a maintenance fitter. The house had no bathroom and an external WC at the end of the yard. The bath, as I remember, hung on a nail in the yard when not in use! This was the norm for that type of property at that time.

By the 60's they had an internal bathroom installed and the tin bath was no more.

Does not bear thinking about today but that was how it was and remarkably I have some memories of it.

Today the baths are sought after for mixing plaster! well in England that is. It would be a brave soul who mixed a bath of French plaster; it would be set before it had been mixed!

Sunday, 26 May 2013


We have never had such a lovely display of aquilegia..

Here are some of our favourites....

I would dearly love a "granny's bonnet" aquilegia if anyone would like a seed swop. But unfortunately they do not always come true from seed... It's the luck of the draw, with some wonderful results along the way.

Saturday, 25 May 2013

Two Spheres

Two spherical objects captured in our garden... 

But here the similarity ends. 

Both are fascinating and complex structures....but given the choice, which would you prefer??!

Friday, 24 May 2013

Where is that Edge!!

Elizabeth when you need her...

The rate the grass is growing at present caused a slight problem with me mowing!!

What I thought was the edge of our hole was only grass! and as they say I bottomed out and got stuck with the cutter surround flat on the ground and the front wheel in thin air...

The solution:- I  had to call out Edge rescue... who sat on the machine whilst I pushed it free.

She also had the camera to hand to capture my misfortune and have a good gloat!

Thursday, 23 May 2013

Franglais row: Is the English language conquering France?

This is the heading to an article in yesterday's BBC news magazine and the article raises some interesting points about the "value" of language, not just as a means of expressing thoughts but also as a type of litmus to the culture and nationality it represents. I'm only mentioning one or two main points very briefly

For some time now the elite universities have been teaching courses in English and the suggestion is that this should percolate down to all universities to make them more competitive to international students.

However this argument is far reaching; is it possible that International students might elect to study in France to subsume themselves in its language and culture? In this case, teaching in English would be pointless.

If the UK were to leave the EU there would only be three countries with English as their joint official language, so there would no longer be a need for EU business to be conducted in English.

And perhaps the most convincing argument....
"Teaching [them] Proust in English, in France, would be a travesty"

It's a heated debate, with even good old Cardinal Richelieu getting a mention! The Academie Francaise was founded in 1635 by him to fight off foreign influences on the french language, though in this case it was Italian not English..

Few countries guard their linguistic heritage as closely as France, so we suspect they will still be debating this one when the High Speed Rail link from London to Birmingham is complete. (!??)

Or maybe they are just waiting for us (expats) to give up trying to speak in French?? Now there's an interesting thought!

To read the full article go to this link:  .

Wednesday, 22 May 2013

A Special Day for a Special Friend!

Jean, as I write this you've probably only minutes to go to your retirement...
Does this image seem familiar????

Well, the time has come; and it couldn't have come at a better time. You've the summer ahead (?!) to kick start the next chapter of your life. Live it to the full!

Lots of love from us and from all fellow bloggers, too!
Jean Lacey!!

Tuesday, 21 May 2013

A fabulous creation...

One of Elizabeth's many talents is that she makes fabulous meringues...

And this creation can only be described as fabulous...
A steady hand with the piping bag
and cooked slowly at 100°C for 40 minutes and then left in the oven to go cold.
Can you see what it is yet?
It was definitely as good as it looked...

What she hasn't realised yet, is that when all our strawberries are ready... 

Send your orders to....... anywhere but us!!

Monday, 20 May 2013

Richelieu on Facebook

Since signing up to receive Richelieu's office de tourisme posts on Facebook we've been amazed at the range of activities and events going on in our neck of the woods.

Sometimes it may just be an invitation to take a walk round the Parc de Richelieu, or to go visit the plan d'eau and go fishing..
Le soleil avait invité les pêcheurs à l'étang de Richelieu ce week-end !
Les cartes de pêche sont en vente à l'Office de Tourisme (journée ou 1/2 journée)

Other things are more unusual such as the filming of a television programme for Secret d'Histoire en Pays de Richelieu! This is part of a series going out on national television in the summer. If you wish to know more, see here for an article published in La Nouvelle Republique.

This unlikely looking pair hosted an event, including lots of activities for children, at the Domaine Pierre et Bertrand Couly at Chinon...
Journées portes ouvertes au DOMAINE PIERRE ET BERTRAND COULY à CHINON les 4 et 5 mai de 10h à 19h!!
Au programme: Animation culinaire le samedi, atelier découverte du goût pour les enfants, ventes de produits du terroir, quiz œnologique, animations surprises...!

 And, aimed (I'm guessing!) more at an adult audience, was an open day at Chai du domaine Dozon at Ligre..

PORTES OUVERTES du mercredi 8 mai au dimanche 19 mai 2013 au Chai du domaine DOZON à Ligré!
"Du 8 au 12 mai" venez découvrir les Pineaux, Cognac, Vins Blancs de Montlouis, Fitou, Muscat de Rivesaltes, Vins de Bourgueil, Vins de Chinon et d'ailleurs!!
"Samedi 18 et dimanche 19" participez au plus grand pique-nique de France organisé par les Vignerons Indépendants!!

For the more sedate pastime of postcard collecting there was an event to share treasures from a bygone era..

So there seems to be something for all tastes but sadly by the time we get round to reading them, we've usually missed the best bits!

One good use of Facebook, though!

Sunday, 19 May 2013

Parked up too long?

When we opened the car tailgate the other day we noticed we had some potentially new residents.

The structure has been made by wasps and in the past we have come across the same type of nest on our front door casing and on the window casings. We blogged about them here.

Our friend and insect expert Tim commented on these saying: "These are not your normal wasps and do not need to be removed... this is as large as this nest gets! They are a semi-social hunting wasp Polistes gallicus or similar... they are called "paper wasps". They build a 'communal' nest. Each cell is filled with caterpillar [paralyzed] upon which the egg is laid. Each wasp is a female and adds as many cells to the nest as she has eggs. I've handled these without getting stung..." 

Perhaps these are 'Traveler Wasps' and wanted something more mobile!!

Saturday, 18 May 2013

A viewing milestone

Yesterday we reached 75,000 pageviews... I tried to get it exactly on 75,000 but as you can see failed... It was reading 74,996 one minute and the ten minutes later it had moved to the total below!!

We cannot believe we have had this many views for a blog started so that our family and friends could follow our exploits in France.

Many thanks from us both to all our followers for your viewings and comments...
Long may they continue!

Friday, 17 May 2013

The Good Old Days

With all our talk of getting older over the past couple of days, we thought we'd continue the theme and share this little gem with you.....

Oh, how very true!!

Thursday, 16 May 2013

Baking Challenge

Baking a cake for Colin's birthday was not without its problems. He is following a low fat diet, I have coeliac disease - so no wheat flour, barley, rye, or their derivatives - and it had to suit Colin's grandchildren.

I went for a Fat-free Sponge Cake courtesy of BBC's GoodFood website. The recipe is very straightforward with few ingredients; you can find it here:

I adapted it slightly, using gluten free self raising flour instead of plain flour, and omitting the baking powder. I also added a few drops of vanilla extract.
Ready for the oven
The recipe makes two 20cm round cakes, which can be sandwiched together with jam, cream or your choice of filling.
Twenty minutes later, it's baked to a turn!
I used a little seedless raspberry jam to sandwich the cakes and served it with whipped cream - for those who could indulge! The result was an incredibly light cake which suited everyone.
Colin, with his mum and grand-daughter
Hopefully I rose to the challenge and luckily the cake did, too!

And if you're wondering about the light bulb, let's just say it was easier to use Watts than arrange and light all those candles!

Wednesday, 15 May 2013

May 15th

Colin's mother informs us that on this date many years ago, the weather was glorious....

Ah well! That was all those years ago....


Tuesday, 14 May 2013

Hearty artichoke

This is the artichoke we thought we had lost in the winter frosts....

The cup in the foreground gives an idea of scale..

We were obviously wrong about the frosts!

Monday, 13 May 2013

The old and the new!

This is a great old statue in the mairie courtyard at Angles sur l'Anglin.

We think it is a statue of Saint Joseph with a child. 

What we found such a shame was the new backdrop of concrete blocks!

Sunday, 12 May 2013

Photos of Angles sur l'Anglin

As we mentioned the other evening, we went with Jim and Pauline to the picturesque village of Angles sur l'Anglin, set in the Vallee de l'Anglin. Despite the, at times, indifferent weather, the charm of the place couldn't fail to captivate.

We'll let this random selection of images, taken as we walked around the village, do the talking..

The Chateau..

Overlooking the Vallee de l'Anglin

One way down to the Ville basse...
The water mill and weir..

The winding streets of the village, with an amazing assortment of properties, some beautifully restored and some left to go to ruin..

Taken from a vantage point looking across to the chateau. They certainly knew where to locate the important buildings in those days!

Looking down from the Ville haute to the Ville basse..
The Mairie...

And, finally, as we got back to where we had parked, I couldn't resist this shot of the church with the wonderful chestnut "candles" in their full glory..

If you've never been, it is well worth a visit... To find out more about Angles, see here