Sunday, 8 July 2018

World cup weather and flowers

We (including our current guests) are all excited and hoping to see England do well in the football world cup.  Maureen's home town is Ashington in Northumberland and she lived only a few streets away from Bobby and Jackie Charlton when she was still a little girl. As you may recall Bob and Jackie both played in the 1966 World Cup winning England team. 

All the photo's below were taken today when our guests were out and I was watering the flowers: Sunday 8th July 2018.

The hanging baskets and flowers are magnificent this time of year, photo's fail to capture the colour.
Another corner of the cottage garden and at the end of the cottage we now have vines and grapes growing.
The well has a new handle!!!! Bought for only 15 euro at a local brocante.
The cottage has a second terrace at the bottom of the garden, this catches the sun in the evening. It has a light and mains socket plus a hot plate if you would like to cook something 'al fresco'.
The cottage garden is full of interesting corners, this was new in 2018
At the side of the narrow road passing the cottage, near the entrance, the wall flowers are beautiful 
Ah Love at first sight!
As you may know we were awarded 2nd prize for the best flower garden in the Indre region in 2016 and 2017. The secret garden inspectors will be around this year so we hope they are impressed with the show, lets hope we do well in the 2018 competition.

We look forward to seeing all our future guests, if you have any further questions simply contact Maureen.

Wednesday, 27 June 2018

Jolly Musical June

As the weeks pass the flowers get better by the day, our latest guests are all very impressed with the garden and relaxing in the shade of the big trees with a nice glass of chilled wine could not be better on these warn evenings. 

The wall outside the cottage has the best showing of flowers for years!

The annual concert took place in the farmers barn last week, sandwiched between two combine vintage harvesters the local band from Clion gave everyone from the hamlet a magnificent performance.

Hopefully the video will let you listen to the band.

Thursday, 14 June 2018

Wet but wonderful

Well late May and June has certainly provided sufficient rain for the gardens, the deep wells in the hamlet will be full for the summer and everyone will be happy. We are however now ready for some of the hot days of summer. The 500 plus flower plants that arrived from our nursery in Staffordshire are now planted and established in the gardens providing an early show of colour but lots more to come yet. The cottage garden has been awarded second prize for the regional garden competition two years in a row, what will it take to get 1st prize? 

The first eight photos below were taken today , Thursday 14th June in the cottage garden, our cottage guests are all enjoying the show. 

Clematis loves the wet weather - lots of flowers

Planted in 2016 the vines at the end of the cottage have the first grapes developing

Poppies giving a great show of colour

Now you will never guess the significance of the barrels on the trailer! They all contain plums, 3 from our plum trees and 3 from the plum trees in Michel's garden (my French friend of 45 plus years). All 6 were filled during the summer of 2017, had sugar added and were left to over the winter to ferment. Of course in May 2018, as every year, the roving distiller arrives and all 6 barrels were on the way to be distilled into eau de vie. This year was a bumper year and the eau de vie was of very high quality, starting at 87% and eventually dropping down to 42% . I am sure the 40 litres will keep les Deux Platantes in eau de vie for the next 10 years! Some from 2012, has just been made into the local aperitif called 'Epine'.  

Maureen's vegetable garden received a major renovation in 2017 and this has been completed in 2018. It now has raised beds, gravel paths and special areas for tomato growing and fruit bushes.

Tomatoes and herbs

3 types of potato all starting to flower

Leeks, carrots, beans, melons, courgettes, radish and lettuce growing well due to the damp weather.

Last but not least was the recent commemoration to celebrate the arrival of the Scottish Army which formed the 'Auld Alliance' to help the French fight the English.....600 years ago! As ever this was yet another excuse for a wonderful long afternoon meal and Maureen assisted with the deserts making Cranachan which the French thought was amazing as it contained whisky.

The Mayor saying a few fine words before the meal. 

Sunday, 20 May 2018

French friends love the Royal Wedding

All the ladies stole the show all looking very elegant for the wedding!
In France any excuse can be used for a lunch or dinner invitation so the Royal Wedding provided yet another opportunity to have our French friends for lunch. Royal themed invitations were sent out and Maureen came up with a magnificent 'wedding breakfast' menu for the big day. Some friends had previous engagements but we ended up with 10 for lunch, just sufficient to fit around the table. Everyone made some effort with flags or hats. 
Patrick arrived in his Morgan looking very 'English' 

Liste des invités - all given titles for the big day! 

·       Sir Michel and Lady Chantal  de Voncq
·       Philippe Duke of Maison Carreau and Dutchess Natelie
·       The Lady Carole Grand Dutchess of Route D43
·       Celine Countess of Chatillon & Environs
·       Patrick, First Earl of Morgan & Countess Irina of Morgan
·       John Marquis of Platanes & Maureen Marchioness of Platanes
The gentlemen made some efforts also!

The wedding lunch menu @ les Deux Platanes

Canapés de mariage & Champagne


Plateau de jambon Serrano


Sorbet Sakura - à partir des fleurs de la cerisier


Tranches de saumon aux oeufs de caille et asperges des Bois

                        Sauce aux fines herbes

Salade de fèves et parmesan

Sélection de fromage


Gâteau aux fleurs de sureau et citron


Café /  thé

The table was suitably decorated
Maureen's lemon and elderflower cake was excellent 

A most enjoyable afternoon here in central France

Friday, 16 March 2018

2017 another Award

A knock on our door yesterday revealed two of our neighbours and they were bringing news from the local mayors office! We had our suspicions but they brought confirmation that our cottage/gite garden had won 2nd prize for the second year running in the regional 'BEST FLOWER GARDEN' competition. 

We do take great pride in preparing the cottage garden for all our guests to enjoy, if you reserve the cottage for your holiday the cottage garden is yours and only yours to enjoy during your stay. Yes you may see John around if he is watering or Maureen 'dead heading' but we try our very best to do these tasks when you are out exploring this wonderful area of rural France.


Wednesday, 28 February 2018

Down to 80

 SLOW DOWN TO 80klm/49.71mph

As you may have heard the new speed limit on non divided roads in France, which is the vast majority of roads in rural France is soon to be 80klm which is 49.71 mph. On the positive side it will no doubt save some fuel although most vehicle manufacturers give 55mph as the speed they have designed the engine to give maximum mph. But as you know if you have been traveling on a 50mph average speed road in the UK it is a tedious and soul destroying speed and the thought of doing 80klm from Calais to central France is not one I look forward to in 2018. Having undertaken some research into the accident statistics in France compared to other European nations I can see that the French road deaths due to speeding are no more and in some cases less than other countries HOWEVER the deaths from alcohol related driving is very high compared to other countries to I think the 80lkm speed reduction misses the mark in this case. 
One of the hanging baskets outside the cottage

Maureen has been in contact with our UK plant supplier to discuss our 2018 flower order. Last summer was hot and some flowers could not survive the 35c plus temperatures on those hot days so we need some alternative specimens. The cottage garden has been awarded second prize for the second year in 2017 for the best 'gite' flower garden so we need to keep up standards for 2018

For 2018 the Blue bedroom is receiving a fresh coat of paint, yes we know it looks perfect but the cottage has high standards to maintain and last year the rose bedroom was redecorated. We will maintain the main colour, these will remain more or less the same...yes Blue! 


If you collect Tesco points we remind you that these can be used for travel on the tunnel, and several boat / ferry companies in 2018. If you have £30 of points these transform into £90 worth of travel so its well worth using the points in this way if you can. Full details on the Tesco 'Clubcard' website.

The cottage calendar is filling up fast and we look forward to seeing some past guests and new guests in 2018.


Sunday, 10 December 2017

Merry Christmas past and future guests

Christmas greetings everyone

Seasons greetings everyone

Well the hot and dry summer of 2017 is behind us and we look forward to 2018 and meeting new and returning guests at les Deux Platanes.

The romantic small terrace at the bottom of the garden
The two giant Platanes trees that provide glorious shade in the cottage garden have been 'trimmed' in November 2017 reducing the height. The large oak situated at the end of the cottage will receive a substantial 'pollard' at the end of January allowing more sun into the garden as the sun is setting in the evenings, The small terrace in the cottage garden was built for you to enjoy the evening sun, an ideal situation for a barbecue or a glass of wine in the evening but the oak was shading it a little as the sun was setting and we cannot have that!

As you may have may have noticed from the news the greatest rock star you may never have heard about has died and the French are sad indeed. Johnny Halliday was a French icon and this was recognised by his funeral which was to all extents a 'state' funeral with tens of thousands lining the route in Paris. When you visit the cottage you will find a Johnny Halliday CD in the collection, its worth a listen and contains
many of the songs for which he was loved and famous in France. In the 40 plus years we have been visiting France we have spent many an evening dancing on some campsite terrace to the wild rock of 'Johnny'. He leaves a place in the hearts of nearly every French citizen who like Maureen and myself remember some moments of enjoyment in his musical company. Rest in peace old rocker.

Its a quiet time of year so all we can say is have a wonderful Christmas and maybe we will see you in 2018 at les Deux Platanes.

John & Maureen Hindhaugh