Tuesday, 30 August 2011

Thank you and here's to the next 30 .....

Thank you for your comments, emails and good wishes as we celebrated our wedding anniversary. We had a wonderful day!

Our plans to spend a few days walking in the Cantal were thrown into disarray so we decided to stay closer to home.
We had a lovely lunch at the Auberge de la Gabrière where we chose from the menu des étangs. You can see some photographs, but you will have to take my word that the food tasted as delicious as it looked.

I’ve never seen such a large cheese board!

When we’d finished we needed some exercise so went for an eight mile hike through the Brenne but more about this another day.

For the second day of our celebrations we are planning to visit a chateau, and yesterday Colin and Elizabeth pointed us in the right direction….

Monday, 29 August 2011

30 years, and still going strong ......

Today is our 30th Wedding Anniversary. Unfortunately I don't have a wedding photograph wiith me in France, but this was taken 30 years on.

However, just in case you think that these blog posts are just thrown together, with little in the way of forward planning, I do have a photograph of the church!

As a joint gift to each other we decided on some art for the walls ...

We're off to celebrate, but first one memory of the day .......

P.S. We share our day with Diane and Nigel. Unfortunately they aren't able celebrate together, but our congratulations and very best wishes go to them.

P.P.S I got the incorrect date for Diane and Nigel, it was in fact yesterday. I've just checked our certificate and we are definitely the 29th!!

Diane tells me they were able to celebrate - with the help of skype .

Saturday, 27 August 2011

A Saturday stroll .....

A few weeks ago I posted about a walk around Le Châtelier and promised more photographs.

However, my best laid plans were disrupted by our trip back to the UK and I haven’t got round to it since. I’ve been busy with preparations for the start of term - a teacher's holiday isn't all holiday - but I'm not complaining  :o)).  Luckily the weather has helped – either too warm,  or too wet to do much else!

Today we are taking part in an organised, guided walk to Le Châtelier. The email promised fun and wine, so how could we not join in?

Watch this space for more photographs, and a flavour of the history of the area …..

Thursday, 25 August 2011

Château de Ré

The Château de Ré, as the crow flies, is about a half a mile from Le Pré Vert, but we can't get the definitive as to whether it is possible to walk there. There is a path ,but the walking maps are not very clear as to whether it is a public footpath, and it is blocked in places.

The château is private and dates back to the second half of the 15th century, with changes made in the 17th century. You can't see much of the building from the road surrounding the chateau, but what you can see is lovely!

There is also beautiful mill house which is ripe for renovation, but as far as I am aware, is not 'à vendre' ......

Wednesday, 24 August 2011

Outside in ......

On my way back from my early morning walk - in the current temperatures the only time of day where walking is a pleasurable experience - I decided to have a closer look at the church. The Église St-Pierre is in the centre of the village, near to the Mairie and Salle des Fêtes.

I particularly wanted to look at the contrast of the stained glass windows, as viewed from the outside and the inside.

I love stained glass for the richness of the colours, the intricate, skilled workmanship and the story that it tells. The church is a very simple, but quite beautiful in it's simplicity and setting.

I wonder how this old chap lost his head?

Tuesday, 23 August 2011

Traffic calming, Le Petit-Pressigny style ....

A few months ago a set of traffic and pedestrian lights appeared on Rue de Savoureulx, the main street through Le Petit-Pressigny.

We have noticed vehicles speeding through the village, and we wondered whether elderly (more elderly than us!) residents needed a bit more time to cross the road. However, we thought that this was a much better option than speed bumps or the chicanes that are often used.

The mode of operation seems to be that the lights are always on RED, so that cars, either coming down the hill from La Celle-Guenand, or rounding the sharp bend near La Promenade, have to slow down in order to stop. As cars slow down to approach the lights change to GREEN, unless someone is crossing the road via the pedestrian lights.

This seems to be a very gentle way of ensuring the speed of all traffic driving through the village is reduced.

Traffic calming Le Petit-Pressigny style ……….

Monday, 22 August 2011

Monday music .......... the virtual jukebox.

It’s probably a couple of months since I’ve listened to Eva Cassidy, but we had some friends for dinner on Friday and one wondered whether one of the reasons why her music was popular was that she had passed away at a young age. Eva Cassidy died in 1996, before she was recognised outside of her local area around Washington D.C, and her back story is well documented. We will never know for certain whether her early death increased her popularity, but we bought her music because we liked the bluesy/jazzy feel to the arrangements and her pure, clear voice.

We have six of her albums in our collection, so I could have chosen almost any of her songs for the jukebox. The Eva Cassidy track on YouTube with the most (over 7 million) hits is Songbird, so I’ll go with popular opinion ……

I love her voice and feel it eclipses the Christine McVie original version.

I am very uneasy about the ‘posthumous duets’ (e.g. with Michael Bolton, Katie Melua and others) which are being put together, just because the technology exists to do it. Take a look at this clip from YouTube -

What do you think?

Sunday, 21 August 2011

The tale of the raspberry tart and the 10 second rule ......

Don’t get too excited, this post is about exactly what the heading says!

So to cut a long story short, I had arranged to pick Tim up from St Pierre des Corps at 8.41 pm on Thursday evening, off the TGV from Charles de Gaulle airport. Knowing this I planned a trip to IKEA and the large Carrefour shopping complex. Just as I was leaving home around 4pm, I received a text message " great news, I'll be there at 6.20". Scuppered again! I think Tim must have some sort of sixth sense as to when I am set loose with the cheque book .....

So...... back to the tart. The journey to Tours was slow, meaning IKEA wasn't an option, so I dashed into Carrefour to look for a dessert, quickly spotting a fantastic raspberry tart. The checkouts were busy and slow moving, and it was just my luck to pick one which completely stopped working just as I got to it. I'm used to this kind of hurdle, so I dashed to queue at the self checkout which refused to scan my bag and tart. Help arrived, but left again before the tart scanned!

By this time I was in a huff, so mid scan I picked up my tart and marched away to a diferent queue. This moved slowly, but eventually took my €8.50.
All went swimmingly, train on time, clear drive home and raspberry tart stowed on the top shelf of our downstairs fridge, until the next morning ....

The tart had somehow upended (could I have put it in upside down?) and raspberry juice had dripped everywhere in the fridge. When I opened the door a lettuce fell out, dripping raspberry juice on to the floor. Not only did I have a fridge and floor to clean, but also just about everything in the fridge was covered in raspberry juice!! I wish the camera had been at hand, but to get it would have meant walking through the raspberry juice. Not an option ...

As we had guests coming for dinner, I decided to take the tart out and wash the container, which is when the tart fell ..... 

€8.50 down the drain (or on the floor). We had a pear and apple crumble for dessert!

P.S. Should you be (un)lucky enough to eat chez nous over the next couple of weeks, beware of the raspberry tart. Of course, if you are family then the 10 second rule will apply ..............

Friday, 19 August 2011

An afternoon out .....

On Wednesday I spent the afternoon and evening with Chris and Sally, the parents of my daughter’s partner, Ben. Their house is about 15 miles away, and when I arrived Brice, a local blacksmith, was at the house attaching their new iron work railings. Although Brice has made an excellent set of iron work, it has taken him quite a while to make and then mount the railings. Still, I think the wait has been worthwhile.

The photographs don’t really show the railings to their best effect, but I think you can get a good idea.

Jane, who has been Sally’s friend for over 40 years, was visiting so it was good to meet with her. With Tim away I was beginning to get tired of my own company, so didn't need much persuasion to join them. Normally I am fairly comfortable with my own company, but, as with all things, you can have too much of a good thing!!!

In the evening we had a delicious and very relaxing BBQ – cooked by Chris but prepared by Sally and Jane. Just before I left to drive back to Le Petit-Pressigny there was a wonderful sunset …….

You can just pick out the wind generators on the horizon.

Thursday, 18 August 2011

Are the cracks beginning to show?

Although I haven't managed to visit le Musée de la Préhistoire at Le Grand- Pressigny, a couple of days ago I decided to have another stroll around the outside of château.

Still, the château has stood for hundreds of years, so I think it will last quite a bit longer!

The wall seems to be providing a tasty apéro ..... 

Wednesday, 17 August 2011

A way to live - according to Mark Twain ....

Yesterday, in pursuit of my search for something new to learn, I came across this quotation.
  "Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn't do than by the ones you did do.
   So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor.
Catch the trade winds in your sails.
Explore. Dream. Discover."     
Mark Twain

I like it .......

Well, to be quite honest I was looking for the best £:$ exchange rate, and didn't manage to find one that was quite good enough! Do I wait in the hope that tomorrow will give a better rate, or buy now just in case tomorrow is worse? Decisions, decisions.

I wonder what Mark Twain would say .........

Tuesday, 16 August 2011

Something new every day ........

There is a saying that goes something like " you learn something new every day". Now this is something I aim to do, although the context in which I learn this 'something new' is varied.

I try to pick up at least one new French word or phrase each day, although I don't always find myself in the right situation to make use of it. Then I'm at the mercy of my fast fading memory!

Sometimes the 'something new' might be a new ICT process, like learning how to skype for the first time to keep in contact with Tim and Tom in Boulder, or perhaps a function in excel, as I do my data analysis for pupil progress.

I've been teaching for 32 years now, but am still an open to 'new' techniques and ways of doing things, even though some of these have been tried (and failed) before!

On Saturday I went for a stroll around Le Grand Pressigny and noticed a planter filled with plants I didn't recognise. Well, I thought it could have been ornamental rhubarb!

So when I met Chris and Sally at the brocante at Yzeures-sur-Creuse, I wasn't surprised to learn that they are ace negotiators (or should that be hagglers?). They bought a lovely little drinks table, just right for their terrace. I also learned that the ornamental rhubarb was in fact swiss chard!

Right, I'm off to look for today's learning experience ..........

Monday, 15 August 2011

Monday music .......... the virtual jukebox.

A virtual jukebox should contain something for all tastes.

Today something from the 1960's, with a silly twist I found when searching on You Tube. Click on both videos .....

I wonder what Davy, Mike, Peter and Mickey are doing now? Probably all retired!

Sunday, 14 August 2011

Sale time .......

Last year both the Mairie, and Post Office in Le Petit-Pressigny were moved to a much more accessible building, and we speculated here about what the old building might possibly be used for.

Well….......  the old Mairie is now up for sale. Yesterday I spotted this ad in the window of an immobilier at Le Grand-Pressigny.

Any takers?

Friday, 12 August 2011

New beginnings .......

This afternoon Tom will be flying out to Boulder, to begin his studies at the University of Colorado.

Is Boulder the right place for a seafood fiend?

Tom and his Lonely Planet guide

We’ve been busy over the past few days making that sure everything he could possibly need is packed. He’s got his ski gear, cappo and i-pod and he might even have the odd pen and text book!

 The red buildings are CU and the football stadium is bigger than Villa Park!
Just look at how close the Rockies are ...

You will notice that on the side bar of the blog I now have three weather and time reports
·        Staffordshire UK
·        Le Petit-Pressigny France
·        Boulder USA

Rhiannon and Tom

Won't life be dull without the 'kids' fooling around!

Last night Rhiannon and Ben came for a ‘last supper’, along with their dogs Maisie and Lucy. They gave him the Lonely Planet Guide to Colorado which is full of things to do (and probably some he shouldn’t!).

Tom and the dogs 'taking advantage' on his last night at home. They ALL know that Maisie and Lucy are NOT allowed on the settee ...

If all goes to plan ,Tim, who is currently in the US on a business trip, will meet him in Denver and they will spend a few days together in Boulder.

An empty nest ......

* thanks to Geni (click to see more of her work)  for giving me permission to use this image, and for her wise words*