Sunday, 15 October 2017

The Great British Sausage fete

Well that was a great success, a British sausage fete organised for all the inhabitants of our wonderful community here in Le Breuil aux Gittons. Here in rural France 'community' is everything and throughout the year a small number of social events are organised that brings together all 33 families that are spread out across our rural hamlet, and unlike some parts of France we are the only English. In August the hamlet held the annual 'Mechoui' and we offered to organise a 'British Sausage Fete' in October, of course everyone was enthusiastic. Unknown to all our French neighbours we had already bought 100 special sausages from our local butcher and sausage maker extraordinaire in Stafford UK. They were taking up a great chunk of our freezer. As is the norm for these events, many people contribute to the menu so we provided the 'plat principal' three sausage casseroles or 'Ragout' to the French and the coffee. In the days before the event we were informed of what would be arriving and the menu was assembled:

Apero : Marquiset / coke / orange juice

Entrée :

Pate Berrichon  / Taboulé / Cake aux jambon et olives/ quiche


'Trou Berrichon' (pear sorbet with pear eau de vie /alcohol) 


Plat principal – Ragoût de saucisse anglaise

·        Ragoût de saucisses et pommes aux boulettes de croutons aux herbes(dumplings)

·        Ragoût de saucisses Lincolnshire avec des champignons, des carottes et des oignons

·        Ragoût de saucisses Cumberland avec des oignons de poireaux et du vin rouge

Avec  Pommes de terre purėe

Veuillez revenir et essayer un autre Ragoût de saucisse


 Fromage / salad



Compōte des pommes  / tarte aux pommes / Chocolate gateau


Café / Thê / Tisane


Vin/wine  : Pinot Gris / Touraine Sauvignon / Rosé d’Alsace / St Nicolas du Borgeuil

The marquee was erected and a email sent upstairs for great weather for the days ahead.
 In the days before we erected the marquee on our small field, collected tables and chairs from the town store ( no charge), invented games for the children, made famous 'sausage' people to hang in the marquee such as:

Its the very famous Napoleon Sausage

Plus the one and only Mr Charles 'la mer' Sausage (I will leave you to do the research)
At noon on the 14th October people started to arrive bringing an abundance of food and wine for the other courses. It was a beautiful day with temperatures in the mid 20's so we all collected outside the marquee to enjoy the aperos and the marquiset (a local drink made with wine and lemons).
Blue skies and great sausage

Young and old together - two are over 90 years.

 We then sat down for the sausage lunch!!!

My long time friend Michel, neigbour Monique and at the end at more than 90 years is Leon.
After the 'entree' followed by a surprise 'trou Berrichon' provided by another neighbour Maureen brought out the 3 varieties of sausage casseroles.
And so we continued with some games followed by a walk around the neighbours carp lake then a cheese course and salad plus 4 desserts before finishing with coffee or tea at 17.45 hrs. 

Of course we had to take a photo as a memory of the day:

Nearly everyone in the hamlet including the two dogs

The original plan was to take the marquee down the following day but since it was dry 15 strong men and women offered to start then and there!!!!!

Young and old jumped into action

Packing going on apace
Fortunately we have younger guys as my 69 years was by now showing signs of fatigue!

By 19.30hrs it was done so all 15 in the packing team were rewarded with a nice malt whisky or a coca cola.

What a simply wonderful and rewarding day and all part of the reason we love France so much.

Monday, 25 September 2017

Cottage garden in early September

I thought a few photo's of the cottage garden in early September may be appreciated! You can 'click' on each photo and it will be seen as a larger picture. 

As you can see the tubs and baskets are still flowering well even after a warm summer

The terrace at the bottom of the cottage garden is a lovely place to sit in the evenings

The lawn has survived, mainly due to regular watering from the well water.

Wall tubs are starting to go back but still have a good show

Even the hanging baskets are putting on a late show!

Sunday, 24 September 2017

Autumn update

Well any thought of winter is certainly not in our minds today as it's a lovely 26c in the cottage garden, beautiful blue skies and it looks like this weather is staying for a week at least. Our recent guests also enjoyed some glorious September weather so as we have said many times before there is no reason to just opt for high season at Les Deux Platanes.

In August the annual 'meshoui' went off well and as usual we were in the thick of it putting up tables and generally helping out

The two sheep were roasting nicely to feed nearly 100 people.
Maureen assists with the washing up
It's free so everyone attends!

The summer of 2017 will forever be remembered as 'The year of the fruit'. We have been inundated with tomatoes, courgettes and a vast quantity of plums from our trees. The jam supply has been well replenished.

A tiny selection of fruit from our garden
John has managed to collect nearly 300 litres of plums!!!! These are busy fermenting in 3 large plastic dustbins. After adding a little sugar and stored over the winter these will be taken to the distiller when he arrives in May 2018 and converted into alcohol, maybe 40 litres. 

Woodpecker visit: Our local green woodpecker has been visiting the cottage garden, we managed to snap a picture before he left for more wood pecking duties

The annual 2CV gathering took place during August. Visitors were welcome and as usual food and drink was on hand at all times!

The cottage garden has once again been entered into the regional flower competition. It's been a bit of an art this year, keeping them watered during the  hot weather we had in the middle of the year. Luckily John was able to move the tubs under the plane trees to take advantage of their shade. The well provides us with a very useful supply of free water which helps too.

The tubs and baskets were just starting to fill out when these pictures were taken.

Can we thank May and Mike who were guests all through August for their recent review on Cheznous:

A really lovely gite with an attention to detail and quality which we have never seen before - and we've stayed in 50 gites across France over the past 35 years.
The owners, Maureen & John, are helpful, friendly yet discreet.
The crowning glory is the garden which would be the envy of most English gardeners.

Lets hope the garden has an impression on the secret judges when they visit.

Well that's all for now, better go and stir the fermenting plums!

Friday, 21 July 2017

Strange goings on!

Apparently its that time of year again when we spot all manner of strangely dressed folks tending the fields....what more can be said?

Maybe its some ancient fertility celebration but no one appears to know - yes you have guessed it they are all men. Still non the wiser.

The flowers in late July

You can believe me when I tell you its been a mammoth task ensuring the flowers in the cottage garden have survived the hot weather early this month. With temperatures on some days in the mid to high 30's it was necessary to move some flower tubs and baskets under the trees to prevent them being 'cooked'. However they have survived and with ample use of 'Miracle Grow' they are all looking just fine. Those guests who are still to visit this year can look forward to a nice flowery garden to wind away your days with a glass of your favorite tipple. In 2016 we were awarded 2nd Prize in the regional flower garden competition, with some stiff competition and a large number of entrants what will we do in 2017 - all will be revealed in December.

July 21st 2017 - managing to keep the grass green
The second terrace is lovely in the evening
The small shutter to the blue bedroom
growing vines around the barrel this year
Hanging baskets and tubs have survived the heat
Your private enclosed garden - a lovely place to relax

Tuesday, 13 June 2017

A right Highland Fling!

Last week our guests here at Les Deux Platanes had an unexpected treat. They arrived in time to participate in a medieval banquet that was part of a major two day Franco - Scottish fete in our nearest town, Chatillon sur Indre.

In addition to an excellent meal we were provided with a range of entertainment during the evening. The French need little excuse to organise a fete and this one was outstanding. 

Looking back to the 100 years war it appears the town of Chatillon had some links with Scotland - so they formed a Franco - Scottish society and the rest is history as they say.  
Nearly 600 attended the meal
The roast boars were displayed for all to see

The serving ladies were all local volunteers
Plus dancing of course!
In addition to the meal the town was transformed into medieval magnificence with stalls selling food, craft displays and all manner of activity.

Friday, 2 June 2017

June is bursting out all over!

On some land near to the cottage is what we 'Brits' would describe as a small holding and this is maintained by Madam Monique with military precision. In addition to the magnificent vegetable garden she also has ducks, 2 geese, 6 sheep and around 80 chickens. Everything except the sheep will be 'dispatched' for the table at some point during the year and our freezer currently contains a duck and chicken. This week the new ducks and geese arrived - see picture:

This was only the second day and already they were in the pond.
The cottage garden is now all set up with flowers all appear to be growing well and since we have has a very warm and dry spring they have needed regular attention especially with watering.

Living in central France you enjoy a slow and peaceful life, neighbours passing with their latest vehicle:

Oh yes, its like Maureen asking about the mpg?
Barbecue information:

What can be better on holiday than a good barbecue on a warm evening, starlit sky above and only birds and our local owl for company - not forgetting a nice bottle of wine. At the cottage you have access to a good charcoal barbecue, everything except the charcoal is provided although in many cases previous guests may have left charcoal.

The trolley barbecue has two grills, you can use one or both, it has all the tools, sticks for lighting and normally some newspaper. 
All the tools, glove and an apron for the chef!
Plus a vegetable roaster if required.
Where can you use the barbecue?

Anywhere in your garden, you have a choice of two terraces both with tables or you may wish to move the smaller lighter table under the trees. The large terrace directly in front of the cottage has a large table, outside lights etc . Last week we had four French guests and the two men were barbecue experts and they used the terrace in front of the cottage. The second terrace is at the bottom of the garden and has a smaller table, retractable sun blind, electric light PLUS a socket for the portable hot plate. So all you aspiring  chefs can rustle up a real gourmet dinner.
The smaller wood terrace at the bottom of your garden area.

The hotplate can be used to keep dishes warm or for some gourmet delights!
That's all for now, also remember that if you have booked the cottage directly with Maureen their will be a small  'arrival' pack of provisions here when you arrive :Bread, home made jam, local ham, cheese, milk, tea / coffee and some butter. The local supermarket is open on a Sunday morning if required.