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! 

TESCO POINTS

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

Sunday, 5 November 2017

Cottage features on UK national Sausage Week website

Its not often (if ever) that this tiny rural hamlet in the middle of France features on some national website but our Sausage fete held on the 14th Oct has done just that......famous at last.

Click on the link below to visit the site:



Tuesday, 31 October 2017

Halloween

The rural community in France has so many wonderful traditions its often hard to keep up. Today being Halloween = calèche ride for the children and soupe a la citrouille plus some wine for adults.

The calèche is provided by a couple of young people, the lady of whom is a blacksmith and the partner is a horse specialist.


As is the custom the children visit all the houses in the hamlet where they receive gifts that are sure to contain loads of sugar, they all dress up in Halloween costume.

This year I converted the sausage people I made for the 'Sausage fete' on the 14th oct into witches, its amazing what you can do with a sausage. These decorated the road passing the cottage.

OK its a weird witch but remember it used to be a sausage.
The calèche heads off to complete visits to all the remaining houses.


At 19.00 hours everyone is invited to the farmers house in the centre of the hamlet for pumpkin soup and drinks ( Maureen has also cooked some remaining sausages so all our French neigbours can enjoy more English Sausages during UK Sausage week)

Monday, 30 October 2017

Time for a haircut!

Yes its true, every seven or so years it is time for a tree haircut. The two 'Platanes' in the cottage garden that provide glorious shade during the warm summer days are in need of a trim. Fortunately we managed to locate a professional tree surgeon who has performed the task, although I have to say that is not a job for the faint hearted.


Looks easy but this guy is at least 50 ft from the ground and climbing on what I describe as 'twigs'
Job 60% complete, can you spot him in the middle?
We now have mountains of cuttings to be cleared away and burnt although some of the larger sections can be used on the fire in 2019.

The 'two 'Platanes' will grow quickly again next year and provide great shade but at least the height will be at least 15 ft shorter than before.

Tomorrow is Halloween and the village children will be touring the hamlet in the calèche (Horse drawn carriage) as they call at everyone's house. At the end of the tour the inhabitants of the hamlet meet up for 'soupe a la citroulle' , pumpkin soup to you and me plus some English sausages that we did not cook at the sausage fete on the 14th October.

 

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

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

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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

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 Fromage / salad

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Dessert


Compōte des pommes  / tarte aux pommes / Chocolate gateau

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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.