Tuesday, 21 July 2015

Summer 2015

A gentle reminder arrived yesterday to say our BLOG was far from up to date so here I am up bright and early producing an update - thanks for the reminder.

This summer here in central France has been very hot and dry so far, late May, June and the first two weeks of July have been very hot, up to 40c,  so much so it has been a struggle to keep some of our flowers alive. However some careful nurturing and removing some plants into the shade of the Platanes has done the trick and the cottage garden is looking magnificent once again for our many guests to enjoy during their stay.

These photos taken early June show the flowers developing

Pictures in July will follow in the next BLOG.

Epine production 2015

The local aperitif of the area is a drink called epine. This is made at home by the majority of our French neighbors so naturally over the years we have been taught the secrets of manufacture. The basis of epine is home made 'alcohol' (eau de vie) and ours is produced from our plums and distilled by the official visiting distiller who arrives in May every year . An absolutely vital ingredient is the 'epine' tips picked fresh from the blackthorn hedgerows, wine of your choice and other 'secret' items plus some sugar.  This year we are very pleased with our 2015 vintage, even our French neighbours gave it the thumbs up.
The blackthorn tips collected in a three week window during the spring
The mixture soaking for two weeks
Filtering then into the bottles
We very much hope we have the opportunity to introduce you to 'epine' during your stay at les Deux Platanes.

40 years celebration

2015 marks our 40 years coming to Chatillon and Le Breuil so we decided to hold a celebration lunch for the hamlet's inhabitants, many of whom we have seen grow up and have families of their own.

Our marquee set up for the event
32 of the 35 inhabitants arrived for lunch and we were very happy to see them all.

 We tried to dream up a good 'English' themed barbecue for the occasion, Maureen did a great job and the meat / sausage brought from our butcher in the UK was very well received by everyone.

Célébration barbecue de 40 années

Entree / Apéritifs -

* Pimms Number 1, apéro traditionnel d’Angleterre pour une journée d'été chaude!
* Les Deux Platanes 2015 Epine
Barbecue a volonte:

Anglais agneau de printemps de notre agriculteur local au Royaume-Uni
Anglais saucisse de porc et poireaux
Anglais piment et la coriandre saucisse de porc cercle
Anglais poulet mariné au miel, de citron, l'huile d'olive, l'ail et l'origan.
Des pommes de terre avec la crème sure et sauce à la ciboulette
Carottes (Offert par Monique Royaute) 

pain à l'ail
Sélection de fromages anglais avec un fromage français de bonne compagnie
Déserts anglais typiques:
Pudding anglais d'été
fou de groseille a maquereau

We really love the sense of community here in rural France, your neighbours are so important and unfortunately we find this very different from some parts of the UK where in many places everyone seems to choose to live in isolation.

Annual  hamlet concert

Every year the local brass band arrives to provide a concert in the farmer's barn just down the road from Les Deux Platanes and true to form they arrived in early June to perform once again.

Everyone waiting for the band to commence playing!

Work continues on the renovation.

Our renovations on the house continue with 2015 hopefully seeing the finish of almost 10 years of enjoyable toil. The rear terrace required tiles so with the assistance of my neighbor we set about laying 25 square metres of tiles which we completed in two days.
It was 28c so we used a parasol to provide some shade during the work.

More or less finished on day 2

So that's it for now but look out for more updates SOON - I promise!

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