Monday, 19 June 2017

The Raspberries keep Coming


What an amazing year for cherries and raspberries. Our cherry tree actually gave us some sweet tasty fruits, not the sour ones we’ve had in previous years, but our friends and neighbours trees are something else, just laden with fruit. Help yourself they said, but our bowlful didn’t even scratch the surface. However lovely they are, you then have the job of de-stoning them which a messy and time consuming job, so however tempting it is to pick some more, I’m not sure I fancy anymore de-stoning. Now raspberries are much easier to deal with, pick, wash and freeze, simple. So far I’ve given away 2 bowlfuls, frozen about 15 kilos, made jam, smoothies, clafoutis, sorbet, crumble, raspberry betty, eaten them with ice-cream and yoghurt and they are still coming. I forgot to stir the sorbet and it was like a brick, so had to turn it out and bash it with a rolling pin, but its easier to eat now.





Sunday, 21 May 2017

La Vallee du Thouet Cycle Ride

This is a ride that we’ve been wanting to do for a while, cycle from Saumur to Le Beugnon, 150km along the River Thouet through Thouars, Airvault and Pathenay. We’d put it off, because how were we going to get back, with our bikes at one end and the car at the other?? Our problem was solved by our friends Sue and Bob who wanted to come with us, the extra car made planning so much easier. It was decided to do the ride over 4 days/3 nights at B&B’s with the first morning and last afternoon travelling and dropping off cars. There had been good intentions of getting our rear ends saddle ready before the ride, but for lots of reasons that didn’t happen so with only one bike ride under our belt and with a bit of trepidation we set off from Saumur to our first stop at Montreuil-Balley, a distance of 24k. Day 2 – 63k to Airvault. Day 3 – 53k to St Aubin le Cloud. Day 4 – 22k to Le Bougnon finishing with a delicious lunch at A La Bonne Vie who were kind enough to look after our bikes while we collected the car from Saumur. As expected, we all had sore derrieres at the end of the ride but not enough to put us off, as we are planning another ride soon – Niort to La Rochelle.

Thouet 6
Thouet 7
Thouet 8
Thouet 4
Thouet 2
Thouet 10
Thouet 9
Thouet 11
Thouet 13
Thouet 5

Thursday, 20 April 2017

Freezing Carrots

The last time I froze carrots they went black, which put me off freezing them again for years. But as we’d dug out a load from the garden I needed to do something with them. After a bit of persuasion from my Mum and not wanting them to go to waste I gave it another go, but blanched them first this time. After peeling and dicing and with a bit of trepidation, into the freezer they went. But I’m pleased to report, that a handful was added to a beef casserole and the carrots stayed orange – yippee. As we have some more monsters to dig out I will be freezing them again.

Carrots 1
Carrots 2
Carrots 3

Wednesday, 22 March 2017

Around the streets of Melle

What to do on a grey, grizzly Sunday afternoon – explore the streets of Melle, something we haven't done since moving here. Apart from visiting the tax office, the supermarket, the post office and a few other unexciting but necessary places, we just don’t know our home town at all. I have to confess I haven’t been in love with Melle, the factory on the outskirts isn’t the prettiest place to greet you on your way in, so surely there must be more to Melle than that. So with the aid of this map, we took a leisurely stroll around the old streets and what a lovely surprise, beautiful buildings, loads of history and hidden places that we’ve never seen before.

Melle Map

Not the best photos as it was a dull day, so we plan to do the same walk again in the sunshine, but in reverse next time.

Melle 1

Music bandstand.

Melle 2

Les Halles – built around 1905 in iron, stone and brick and houses the weekly Friday market.

Melle 3

The last remaining porte (door) that was once part of the fortified city of Melle.

Melle 4

We discovered this lovely little park called Square du Jeu des Rois (The Square of the game of Kings) featuring this lovely little shell shaped fountain under beautiful blossom.

Melle 5

And there's a nice place to sit.

Melle 6

Maisons à pans de Bois dating from the 15th century with the wooden facades being rebuilt in 1802.

Melle 9

One of the 3 very large churches in Melle – Saint Pierre.

Melle 11

Love these Art Nouveau doors and windows at this house built in 1840. The central door is beautiful but on the day we visited a shutter was across. Hope to get a photo another day.

Saturday, 18 March 2017

All Dry

The bedrooms have dried out nicely but not much else has happened in the bedrooms. We still have some painting to do, radiators to put back up, plugs to install, curtains to take up and curtain poles to buy, but we have managed to find the flooring we like which we hope to collect next week, then the parquet can come up – yippee. The reason is, its been so lovely outside, we grabbed the chance to get the garden tidied, move plants, put in our potatoes and onions, pot up seeds and do some of that never ending job called weeding. There’s also been some down time, lovely walks, our French lesson and a lovely repas at Clussais-la-Pommeraie.

Bedroom 1
Bedroom 2

Do you remember me saying a few weeks ago that the children at Pouffonds school were going to choose the new name for their school. Well, the winner was École Camille Lemberton, name after the builder of the school.