Thursday, 28 June 2012

Les Deux Platanes in late June

33c, yes that's correct, for the past two days it has reached THIRTY THREE DEGREES 'C' . Any other year 33c would be nothing to shout about but the weather this year has been so damp and cold I thought I just had to make a big thing of this great late June weather. The damp warm weather to date has been good for the garden so today, whilst our guests were out I took some photos of Les Deux Platanes garden. So all you good people who are visiting later in the year you can see what the garden is looking like in June, no guarantee it will be the same in late September!
<><> <><> <>If you 'click' on any photo in the BLOG you get a BIG photo!<> 
From the wood terrace - very green grass!
The raised flower beds
Across drive and parking
Flower tubs on cottage front
 View from the well

It won't be long until the farmers start the harvest as all the wheat is a lovely golden colour. We took a walk around Le Breuil this evening when it had cooled down and noticed everything looked ready to be picked. No doubt we will see the combines out in force in the next couple of weeks, working into the night to get everything in.


Sunday, 24 June 2012

Great weather for ducks

May and June has certainly been variable on the weather front but fortunately our area of France has not suffered the storms or very wet weather seen in the UK or northern France. The long tern forecast for July is looking much better so lets hope we see some non-stop sun for a few weeks and then we can complain about the need to water the lawns to prevent them looking brown and hard! 

The new ducklings have arrived in Madam Monique's small holding and some are even taking to the water, brave things. 
Lets stay together folks!
The two big bulls featured in our BLOG last year have returned to the field across the road along with two new friends. The three beautiful working horses are still munching grass and happily accepting bread in the field down the road and the donkey is still making a morning call in the field around the corner. Together with the geese, sheep, chickens and a few mountain goats that can be seen if you walk around the hamlet the place could be mini zoo. The frogs are still singing tunes midday and this year the cuckoo has been particularly vocal.

Menu for a relaxing holiday!

Maureen has been preparing a lot meals for guests this year especially for the night they arrive,  it makes a relaxing start to the holiday before you stock up on shopping. Full menu details can be found on the website so you can order in advance if required.

Routes to Les Deux Platanes. 
Click on image for larger view
Look on the website under 'Location' for route details

The cottage website contains details of suggested routes from Calais and northern France (boat / tunnel) to Les Deux Platanes. We do not suggest coming via Paris, if you use a SATNAV it will take you via Paris unless programmed otherwise, many years experience suggests this will add hours to your journey. Under normal circumstances it will take between 5 - 7 hours if you travel via the suggested Autoroute and cost circa 45 Euro in Tolls each way. The other route we suggest takes between 6 - 7 hours, is 45 miles shorter but takes you on major roads but avoids the Autoroute after Rouen. This time includes some short rest stops. If you require any further information regarding travel or routes do not hesitate to contact Maureen and remember if you shop at TESCO you can use your vouchers for channel tunnel travel.

Thursday, 21 June 2012

Bath time

Poppy dog loves her bath time so when that time comes around she is happy to stand in her special bathtub and have a good shampoo and washdown.

There are of course four stages, the 'wetting' , the 'shampoo & scrub', the 'fight with the towel' and the drying in the sun!

I will let you decide if she is enjoying the experience!

Saturday, 16 June 2012

Work and play between the showers!

Everyone tells me its the 'jet stream' , the weather should be fine and hot but the 'jet stream' has pushed the good weather south and brought the bad weather over the UK and most of France.
However life continues and the commune is as busy as ever with the local farmers trying very hard to second guess the weather so that the hay, animals and the crops survive.
Last week the local orchestra from Clion came to visit so Friday evening was spent listening to an excellent selection of tunes and enjoying a glass of wine with local pastries.
You will of course notice that the ochestra is surrounded by farm equipment and yes that's a combine harverster behind the trombone player.
The renovations of the rear wall of the house are nearly complete and I am very pleased with the result.
Its amazing what you can do with a camera, The picture on the left looks like the finished article, but the picture on the right shows that work is still underway and hopefully the roof terrace (where the blue plastic is located) will be finished before the end of the summer and the scaffolding will be down after several years!!!!
The variable weather has its benefits in that our strawberries and other fruit is available in abundance. Maureen has made 19 jars of absolutely mouth watering strawberry jam and another 8 jars of gooseberry and elerflower jam. Fortunately both gooseberries and elderflowers were available together unlike last year when Maureen had to use elderflower cordial.
Its only the end of June so I can see that the store cupboard is going to be well stocked with jams before the end of the year. Just as well we supply the cottage guests - Maureen's strawberry jam with nice fresh breakfast bread or warm croissant - lovely.
Next up she tells me it's the turn of the blackcurrants which are just about ready for picking.

Sunday, 10 June 2012

Renovations continue

Despite the Jubilee and other distractions the renovation work in the house and rear house garden continues. 

The cottage garden is looking magnificent with all the planting and new beds built in 2011 and spring this year looking great for all our guests visiting in 2012.

It appears to be a very good year for roses with some stunning colours and shapes available to delight the eye.

The colours are brilliant and the quantity amazing!

The wall at the rear of the house was covered with a cement render which has now been removed using my JCB hammer drill and pointed with a traditional lime/sand mix - what an improvement on the rendering. More to follow when its finished!
Before and after, although the lime/sand pointing is still required.

Very much work in progress but certainly looking better than the cement render!
The only thing we cannot control is the weather and like the UK we are having more than our fair share of rain - an unusual start to the year to say the least. Locals are blaming the fact there are 13 moons this year, but whatever the reason, we prefer the normal long, hot sunny days!

Jubillee Celebrations continued

Its certainly been a busy time of late, pleased these Diamond Jubilee events only come around every 100 plus years, I am sure it will be the last in my lifetime. On the Monday we were invited to our English friends to continue the celebrations and watch the show put on outside Buckingham Palace. The local French 'hunt' who meet at our friends house and use the land had offered to provide the barbecue so it was all hands to the pumps to help prepare the location although as usual Chris and Julie had things well in hand. I had offered to build a back projector and screen so everyone could watch the event on a big screen. This had to work in semi daylight so after a bit of research and experimentation I came up with an opaque shower screen curtain in a black frame with the projector inside a trailor with a feed from an old satellite decoder and dish situated on a post in the garden. With Chris doing the fine adjustments a satellite was located and within an hour the whole thing was working complete with HiFi sound.. The picture was amazing, considering it was a shower curtain!

Here we see everyone gathering before the show started at 8.30pm an hour later than the UK.

It was a great evening with over 60 people with the majority French and enjoying every minute of the Jubilee.

After the events we spent several days packing away and recovering from all the excitment.

Saturday, 9 June 2012

Long time, no post

Hi all blog readers

It's been a while since we posted any new blogs. The main reason is that our internet has been out of action for over a week. (Don't get me started on Orange and it's abysmal customer service!)

We are back on line now and can bring you up to date on activities in Le Breuil.

Last Sunday we held a Jubilee tea for our friends and neighbours in the hamlet. We weren't sure how the Jubilee was being received in France, but apparently we needn't have worried. We had about 30 people willing to try a typical English tea - including tea with milk! We imported Pork pies courtesy of Gaynor B who arrived in Le Petit Pressigny on Saturday evening, and I baked cheese scones and lots of little cakes. John decided we had to have trifles, so we made individual ones which turned out quite well.

We had the marquee up just in case, but the weather was kind to us and everyone turned out for the requisite 4pm startIt was a lovely afternoon and we have some really good  photos to remember the event by - including this lovely group photo of the participants. We have been presented with a framed copy which we will take back to the UK to hang as a reminder of a lovely afternoon with our friends in Le Breuil.