Tuesday, 31 October 2017


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


'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.