Monday, 11 December 2017

Hard act to follow...

We did our second 'gig' with our Christmas choir yesterday at the well-attended 'Marche de Noel' at Ferriere-Larcon, where we performed in the church after the visit of Father & Mrs. Christmas - good fun!

Pauline took a couple of videos...only she didn't, she has many talents but film-making isn't one of them!* Thanks to David our choirmaster who supplied a couple of pics,,

*I am reminded of one my 'one-off' memory moment singing with a great jazz band in a club in Greenwich Village, New York which was saved for posterity as a photograph of her foot!

Sunday, 10 December 2017

Christmas carolling - Ferriere-Larcon

First outing for the carollers yesterday at the Christmas market at La Celle we are at Ferriere-Larcon around 4.00pm

Saturday, 9 December 2017

Blue sky back in Barrou

Was good to see the blue sky back in Barrou yesterday morning...even though it changed pm!

Friday, 8 December 2017

Marches de Noel and getting out the top hat

Its that time of year again when many towns and villages of the region have their Christmas markets and friends David (choirmaster) & Jane (costume designer) bring us together for a bit of carolling. This weekend we are singing on Saturday at La Celle Guenand, 3.30pm and on Sunday at Ferriere-Larcon around 4.00pm.

Thursday, 7 December 2017

Last week's walk...Le Grand-Pressigny,Etableau and the chateaux

Last weeks's walk with the Le Grand-Pressigny Randonnee club took us out of the village over the river Claise, up around the hameau of Courveaux...

and over the road D60

towards Chateau de la Vienne.

This is a private chateau with limited access but with it being Autumn you can at least catch a glimpse. 

Then it was downhill through the woods towards Etableau,

where we picked up the old railway track which is currently being converted to a walking path.

It was good to see they have left a little memento of its former use. 

After a short time on the track we took a sharp right-hand turn up into the woods of  le Parc d'Etableau

Looking back at the second chateau of the day, the ruins of chateau Etableau.

Once in the woods Joel led us to a 'cache et sel' a secret cave for hiding salt to avoid the very high tax (gabelle) that was inflicted on Touraine during the 16th century.

There was also an interesting,very well-formed bread oven built under the roots of a tree

We passed this pond before Joel had us going off-track into the woods to see yet another chateau although this one needed a fertile imagination as it was the 'ghost fortress' of 'Chateau Chanceaux'

Its origins date back to the 15th century but today the only evidence is a low round mound and what looks like a moat plus a path which may have led to the fortress

We then headed back towards Etableau...

where we again picked up the railway path

We knew we were almost back to civilisation when we saw this sign indicating the next level crossing (ex)

Then it was back over the river(s) along Avenue Andre Theuriet into the village and a view of our last chateau of the day.

Wednesday, 6 December 2017

Tuesday, 5 December 2017

In fear of pain...baguette etiquette

At dinner at our French neighbour David's last night I learned about a French superstition I was unaware of, although not from David directly but from our American friend Karen who was with us.
I had inadvertently put the bread back on the table upside down and David made a point of turning it around. This would probably have gone pretty much unnoticed as it was done fairly subtly, until Karen let us know that this,as a French superstition, could bring 'bad luck'.

This led me to wonder about the origin of this...and it took me here  to the possible answer.

"It’s fitting that France has a superstition based on bread. Apparently, putting the nation’s treasured baguette (or any loaf of bread, for that matter) upside down on a table will bring bad luck. This belief dates back to the Middle Ages, when the executioner was a very widely respected and feared man who you wouldn’t want to anger. Therefore, the baker would reserve his baguette by placing it upside down to ensure nobody else would take it. No one would be foolish enough to upset a hungry executioner. Over the years, the action became a symbol of bad luck."

Monday, 4 December 2017

In the heat of the moment - a tale of two restaurants

After visiting the chateau at Azay-le-Rideau yesterday to check out the Christmas decorations we decided to have Sunday lunch at one of the local restaurants that were still open this late in the season. Both restaurants above were offering lunch menus at 14.50 euros but we chose the one on the left as we preferred the choice. When we entered it was empty (not a good sign-though it was early) and took our seats in front of  a 'faux' fire. A french couple arrived soon after then two girls and a dog! Our waitress decided that as it was a little chilly (and it was) that she should put on the small heater at the door. We were well into our entree when I noticed smoke belching out of the kitchen door. The French couple had opted for pizza and as the owner rushed in and turned of the electricity he explained that the oven was on fire! Everyone remained relatively calm even though the smoke was intensifying. I had to chuckle as the cook appeared coughing and spluttering out of the smoke delighted to tell us that the pizzas were ok and duly presented them to the couple. After some discussion we were advised that we should decant to the other restaurant as they had called the pompiers.

So we gathered our demi carafe of rose and our glasses, the French couple took their pizzas and the girls took their dog, over to the restaurant across the road. We were followed by our waitress who suddenly became part of their staff - can only assume that they are owned by the same people. We had to reorder from their menu which wasn't so bad and contented ourselves in the fact that it was actually a nicer place...and warmer!

Due to the reduced lack of choice, the restaurant soon filled up and we all sat watching as not one but three fire-engines and a control van arrived on the scene. It was a little disconcerting for many of the diners who were not aware of the circumstances with one chap asking if it was us who were on fire! He and others were reassured that the squad of firemen had everything under could only happen to us! 

Sunday, 3 December 2017

They said they'd be back - 'sisters' returning to the Loire Valley

Our lovely American sisters have again (5th time) chosen to spend part of next year's European holiday with us here in Barrou at 'Le Bourg' and we are looking forward to seeing them again! 

"We love being here - our second home. Jim & Pauline are wonderful - so kind and attentive....we have been here four times and plan to be here again next April. We love 'Le Bourg', Barrou and especially Jim & Pauline. There is always something new to do here!"

As we have said before they are too generous with their praise of their hosts, we are just flattered that they choose to return time and time again.

Friday, 1 December 2017

Stripping back time

In what is going to be our salon at the 'project' in La Guerche we have this very good double cupboard which needed stripping back after years of neglect (100's?). It was interesting to note that there only seemed to have beeen two coats of paint applied in its history...which offered a lot of resistance when it came to its removal but we got there in the end!