After our non starter with the sandblasting on Sunday, we drove to the Ile de Ré, part of the Charente Maritime. It’s a pretty island joined to the mainland by a 4km bridge. We parked up just before the bridge, cycled over and started our cycle ride round the island, which is 30km by 5km with 100km of easy cycle paths. The houses had a slight Mediterranean feel being mainly white with all green shutters and doors. Not sure if it’s law to have everything painted green, but the majority of properties were this colour. The island is varied with lovely sandy beaches, forests that reminded us of the New Forest, marinas and salt marshes. There are lovely beach front restaurants, old forts and markets to explore. We meandered our way from north to south, had a lovely leisurely lunch then made our way back to the bridge just as the rain started!! We managed to see half of the island, so our next trip will be to go from one end to the other to see the lighthouse.
Tuesday, 30 September 2014
Saturday, 27 September 2014
We’ve had a week where a few niggly things have gone wrong. Roger ran over a piece of metal by the back gate and damaged something to do with the blade. Another part ordered and fitted.
With excitement, we were due to have the sandblasting done this weekend on the lounge and hall walls, but on Friday night we found out the shop had let us down with the compressor. Oh well, not a problem, we had work to do on the broken beam in the barn. Mr Builder arrived with scaffolding and acrows this morning but on closer inspection found that the new plates that will hold it in place were too short. So off they went to get new ones, only to find fermé exceptionnel. Apparently there was a lot of swearing in the van as Mr Builder thought he’d let us down. Roll on next weekend and fingers crossed both jobs will get started and finished.
On a plus, we picked the last of the apples which were turned into compot and another crumble. Did loads in the garden. On Wednesday we went on a lovely 5 mile walk and met a lovely couple who kidnapped us (her words) for a cup of tea. Arrived at 4 and got home gone midnight.
Sunday, 21 September 2014
Thursday, 18 September 2014
Tuesday, 16 September 2014
We were going to leave the veg patch until after the winter, but we wanted to get some winter veg in. The plastic that we had used to cover part of the patch killed of most of the weeds, we then rotovated and I followed behind pulling out more weeds. We decided to make a path around the edge, using old poles kindly given to us by our neighbour, so it would be easy to weed the sides and cut the hedge. We are so pleased on how the veg patch is coming along, compared to just a few weeks ago. To see it before click Here and Here. Leeks, assorted cabbages and broccoli were bought from Lezay market to start us off. Note to self – read how to plant leeks before putting them in. I hadn’t planted them deep enough, so had to pull them out and start again!!
Monday, 15 September 2014
The Marais Poitevin is such a pretty place and it’s a place to take things slow. Marais means marsh in English, but its also called Venise Verte or Green Venice because it’s made up of natural water channels with some man-made as well, covering 375 square miles. We got a cycle map from the tourist office and choose cycle route No 9. The routes were well signposted, so we could just plod along without getting the map out every 5 minutes. Coulon is very picturesque but very touristy, it would be far too busy in July and August for us, but September was not to bad. After leaving Coulon the paths were so quiet, we even had some of them to ourselves. There are loads of walks or you can hire a boat to explore the channels or go on a guided tour. The houses along the edges are so beautiful, what a peaceful place to live. Back in Coulon there was a historical display of jousting, troop movements, amour and uniforms etc, but it was the ladies playing a game caught my eye. Long before Playstations and XBoxes the French invented a game called French Hoops. The bottom photo shows a lady playing it and it apparently helped to develop feminine grace. When the game arrived in America it was called La Grace.
Saturday, 13 September 2014
Our car looks very weird with our new French plates. We’ll never find it in the car park now!! Bearing in mind you can’t choose your number, the first 2 letters are the initials of our sons names, Darrel and Joshua and the last 2 letters are my Dad’s initials, William John. Nice and easy to remember.
Friday, 12 September 2014
Wednesday, 10 September 2014
3 small apples.
1 tablespoon lemon juice.
100g sugar (I used caster).
Handful of sultanas.
180g self-raising flour or 180g plain flour and 1 heaped tsp of baking powder.
1 level tsp baking powder.
Pinch of cinnamon.
Preheat oven to Gas 4/180C or 350F. Grease a 2lb loaf tin and line with greaseproof paper.
Peel, core and slice the apples thinly. Put in a bowl and sprinkle over the lemon juice.
Cream butter and sugar together. Add the eggs, apples sultanas and mix. Add flour, baking powder and cinnamon and mix. Pour the mixture into the tin. Bake for 45 mins until golden. Insert a knife into the middle of the cake, if it comes out clean, it’s ready. Allow to cool before turning out.
Serve with Creme Fraiche, custard, ice-cream or cream.
Tuesday, 9 September 2014
Peter and Sue came for lunch on Sunday bearing gifts. Not only did they bring Champagne and plants for the garden but bacon and cheddar too. They had thought – if they lived in France, what would they miss the most? They decided it would be bacon and cheddar. We’ve had bacon here but we haven’t had a nibble of cheddar since we left England, so we are going to enjoy and savour every morsel.
The weather was fantastic, so we enjoyed a leisurely lunch outside then went for a walk around the hamlet. While the men talked mowers, strimmers and oil-fired boilers, Sue helped me identify some plants around the garden, which turned out to be weeds and poisonous too!!
Friday, 5 September 2014
Thursday, 4 September 2014
For those who saw my larder transformation in a previous post, you will know that I’ve been struggling to find nice knobs for it. Well, I had to resort to Amazon in the end and I received a lovely mixed box of ceramic knobs. Four have gone on the larder and the others will go on the wardrobe. So pleased, as I won’t have to use my nails to open the doors anymore.
Tuesday, 2 September 2014
Monday, 1 September 2014
The 5th stage of the Tour de Poitou Charente came very close to our hamlet on Friday, so we went along to watch. The tour started in 1987 and Mark Cavendish won this years stages 1 and 2. There were more police, publicity cars, photographers and security than riders and they went past in a flash. You definitely see more on TV!!
On Sunday we went on a 4 mile walk to help raise money for Cancer Research Deux Sevres in and around Clussais-la-Pommeraie. There were quite a few things going on that day in the area, so the turnout wasn’t as good as they’d hoped, but we still had a good time. We had a picnic afterwards plus there was a little show put on by the Pommeraie Players featuring their version of Stomp.