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.

Sunday, 5 March 2017

Cookies for the Boys


If you have workmen here you need to keep them sweet, so I knocked up a quick batch of honey and raisin cookies along with some choc chip ones topped with a walnut and no surprise, they didn’t last long. But why were the workmen here - to point our bedrooms. We’ve had the walls ready to point since last year, but as it’s a rainy day job for them and we haven’t had much rain, it wasn’t done until Saturday. Well worth the wait even though the house now smells like wet dogs. We now need to wait patiently for the walls to dry before we can sleep in our room again. Will post some pics again when they’ve dried off a bit.

Pointing 1

Bedroom 1 before.

Pointing 2

The lime and sand mix going on.

Pointing 3

George and Josh working on bedroom 2.

Pointing 4

Bedroom 1 finished but very wet.

Pointing 5

Another view of bedroom 1.

Pointing 6

Bedroom 3.

Thursday, 16 February 2017

What’s in a Name?

Children ArtWell quite a lot according to the students at the primary school in Pouffonds, who have asked all the households in the commune to choose a name for their school. The four suggested names have been chosen by them and have links with the history and landscape of the area.

Our choices are -

1) École de la Fontaine – In Latin Pouffonds can mean a fountain well, with river sources from the Marcillé and Champbertier.

2) École des Trois Vallées – Named after the 3 valleys in the area, Coudrieres, Marcillé and Salles.

3)  École Puy Fontaine – The name Puy Fontaine was found while researching the history of Pouffonds. Pou came from the word Puy which means a place high on a hill.

4) École Camille Lemberton – A member of the resistance during WW”"2 and the builder of the school.

Our choice is No 3 but which one would you choose? I will let you know the outcome after the students have counted the votes on Friday 17th.