Tuesday, 21 May 2013

The flowers that bloom in the spring tra-la!!

The spring may be cooler than normal but the flowers are blooming including those planted last year bringing some colour to the garden of Les Deux Platanes.
Rhododendrons and azaleas are lovely at the moment
The aquilegia (anconi in French) have such lovely colours

The entrance to the cottage has been receiving a makeover this spring with some new paintwork and new woodwork so its all looking very nice for all our cottage guests this summer.

All looking very tidy and ready for the summer of 2013

One of our recent guests was a keen photographer and managed to collect a range of photos of animal guests visiting the garden.

Now this hedgehog looks interested in posing for the camera!

A lizard creeps along a wall to catch a spot of sunshine.
Thank you Robert for the photos we were pleased you enjoyed your week and maybe we will see you again in your motorhome in the future?

We had a bit of a trip out on Monday as it was a bank holiday here. A lady we met had told us about a distiller up on the Cher between Chenonceaux and Montrichard, so we thought we would try to find him. We did - at Chissay-en-Touraine. He distils fruit into eau-de-vie and also crèmes. We tasted one or two finally deciding on crème de peche. It will be lovely with peach desserts, or even in a kir. Can't wait to try it! The distiller has offered a free visit to his workshop for anyone staying in the cottage. He offers tours in the afternoons, and he speaks English. A morning visit to Chenonceaux, followed by lunch, then a short trip along the river to his place for the 3pm tour would make a nice day out.
His website is : http://www.distillerie-girardot.fr

Monday, 13 May 2013

Zoo de Beauval

We promised a blog about our recent visit to the Zoo Park de Beauval at St Aignan, so here it is.

We have never visited this attraction in all the years we have visited and lived here, but we know it is a very popular place during the holidays - in fact all year round, so we decided to arrive as soon as possible after opening time. I ordered our tickets on line which was no cheaper, but meant we didn't need to queue. Sure enough, even at 9.10, there were already a lot of cars in the car park and camping cars and coaches in the designated areas.

The zoo itself is a delight to visit. Even though it was very busy, once we got past the entrance, we were able to wander at our leisure and see all the animals.

We spent a nice morning, strolling around the compounds then left for lunch which we had already prepared for a picnic. We were given a stamp on our arms which allowed us to return to the park.

We have no hesitation in recommending the zoo as a place to visit. The pandas were especially cute and played to the crowd!

Spring is here

Unlike 2012 the 2013 weather has been off to a rather slow start this year although the birds seem to be out in force this year bringing some colourful and interesting visitors to the garden of Les Deux Platanes!
A Hoopoe spotted on the grass at Les Deux Platanes with its long beak and beautiful plumage.

Recent guests to the cottage spotted a Hoopoe in the garden searching for some tasty morsel. His distinctive call (hoop-hoop-hoop) is one of the sounds around Le Breuil. The Cookoo has been singing regularly and the green woodpecker has been around occasionally.

The spring flowers are now out in abundance with the flowering cherry putting on a lovely display.
The cottage framed with flowering cherry
The apple blossom is magnificent this year so we should see a good crop later in the year.
 The wine fairs are now in full swing with many local towns providing opportunities to taste the 2012 and earlier vintages. One of the growers on our wine tour route has won a silver medal for his white wine at the international Sauvignon Blanc competition held recently.

Guests were provided with a gazebo - click on any picture for a larger image.

It may be a cool spring but it's central France, so 'cool' is always comparative. The garden of Les Deux Platanes was provided with a gazebo to provide some shade from the cool spring wind during a barbecue.

On a different note, this weekend we are having a 'Dam Busters' commemoration to remember the 70th anniversary of this famous raid during WW2. Friends are coming for a showing of the film, followed by a 1940's style tea.