“It’s not that easy being green …”

The advert on English television for a greener electricity production by EDF (Electricite de France), promises to reduce emissions considerably by 2020.

EDF, apart from owning several English power supply companies, produces electricity for the English National Grid, much of it close to here at Flamanville. The advert, using “re-cycled” audio and visual clips, appears to suggest that recycling might be the way EDF will achieve this new, clean energy.

However, the date 2020 has a different significance in the local area. It is the date by which the new generation nuclear reactor is due to be commissioned at Flamanville. The present reactor will be decommissioned, and a new one, in process of being built at the moment will take over. Is this the way EDF will be even “greener”?

There have of course been protests from those who hold that nuclear power isn’t green, much led by Greenpeace; but in general the French appear to have taken on nuclear energy as the power source for the future. Recent attempts to erect wind turbines locally have been blocked by popular protest! And at the moment the benefits for the local community are apparent – new road and communication systems, growing commerce and a growing economy, and an influx of population (albeit for the moment transitory – teams for specific construction jobs).

Local authorities as well as benefitting from this, have in mind the effects this may have on the traditional local activities – farming, fishing and tourism – and have plans for these. They are also aware of possible effects on the local population (particularly in respect of accidents) and are at the moment in process of public consultation on contingency plans (see the blog for Pierreville).

Of more concern might be the huge complex at Beaumont-Hague that forms the nuclear waste re-processing plant. Cogema, however, are proud of their green credentials, and produce regular reports locally as to what is happening, and the way that they are making a positive contribution to the well-being of the local environment. Regular tours of the plant (In English on Thursdays last year) take place to bolster this green and safe reputation. Worth checking out for yourself? when next on holiday here.

Bob and Marjory

Summer in Surtainville

Thinking of a holiday in this area for this summer? Before choosing your dates, if you’re not a teacher and so stuck with certain dates, it might be worth checking out some of the websites for local communes.

For example, Surtainville has in the last year totally rewritten its website, and has just published its calender for this year, including details of the summer festival on July 12th/13th. Well worth a look at, though the English translation side is not very good, nor up-to-date!! French needed!!

Websites for other local communes, again with Calendars (agendas) for the coming summer, are also well worth a look at in preparation for a holiday locally. Try Les Pieux, Barneville-Carteret, Briquebec, Hague tourism, among others.

Perhaps we’ll see you on the 13th July, when we hope to be taking part in the inter-commune games at Surtainville – though not sure on which side; should it be Pierreville where we live, or Surtainville where hirondelleholidays has its gites??

Best wishes

Bob and Marjory.

Christmas House

Christmas HouseVisitors to Surtainville will no doubt know about the house at Mare Du Parc which is brightly lit and decorated every Christmas (as also at Hallowe’en and Easter). Guests who stayed with us just before Christmas sent pictures they had taken.

The lights are on every evening from the beginning of December through to Epiphany (6th January). There is also a small Christmas Crafts market in the garage of the house. All proceeds fro the lights and the crafts go to charity. Well worth a look if in or around Surtainville in December.

Lots of other houses in the area are similarly lit; and this year the Community of Communes of Les Pieux held a competition, consisting of weekly visits to any house wanting to register. Lots of excellent entries, but we still think the original Christmas House is the best.

Bob and Marjory

Watch out; there’s a gendarme about

The local press reported the case of an English driver rushing to catch a ferry, arrested, fined and points put on his licence. Needless to say he missed his ferry, is out of pocket, and his car is immobilised awaiting a valid licence holder collecting it and taking it back to England.

He was recorded as driving at up to 183kmph in a 110km limit – a dual carriageway. The gendarmes immobilised his car and took him to a cash point to withdraw the €450 on-the-spot fine (he obviously did not have that much cash on him; cards and cheques are not acceptable). €90 is the basic speeding fine, but then an amount is added for extra kilometres over the limit.

A concern in the past has been that points have not been recorded on non-French licences. In this case the gendarmes confiscated the licence and sent it away for processing properly. Hence he was not allowed to drive his car.

We’ve heard in the past of others being caught out by not understanding or following the letter of the law!! It’s not really worth the hassle of complaining after the event. Much better to be sure, before you set out, of what the law requires, and what are the duties of the upholder’s of the law.

Some minor examples – having log-book, insurance documents, passport and driving licence with you at all times; having warning triangle, spare bulbs and so on, in the car. Check it out before you visit. Rather be safe than sorry.

Bob and Marjory

Twelfth Night – Epiphany

6th January – Feast of the Epiphany; celebrating the visit of the wise men (magi is the word used – not kings, nor are we sure how many there were).

The Christmas tree and decorations are taken down, some stored for another year, others disposed of, hopefully in an eco-friendly way. And so it’s all over for another year.

But not quite finished with here
– there is still the Galette des Rois to be enjoyed. A cake or flat pastry containing marzipan, and quite often fruits, and of course (!) chocolate. And in the package a cardboard crown, to be worn by the person who finds the figure in the cake. (A bit like the silver thrupenny bit in the christmas pudding, and as dangerous to dental health) Traditionally a figure from the nativity, this year’s favourite appears to be “Pirates of the Caribean”. A long way from the magi following a star to find the infant King of the Jews!

So even though overstuffed from the two festivals celebrated in the past two weeks, still more to look forwards to.

When will life get back to some sort of normality?

Bob and Marjory

Bon Annee – Happy New Year

Happy New Year 2008. Hello to our first trial at Blogging.

We want to keep you up to date with what’s happening with us, and in our little part of Normandy.

Check us out from time to time to discover what’s happening here – festivals and fete days, special holiday offers in our gites and chambre d’hotes, all things interesting and exciting, we hope.

At the moment we’re working on a special offer for school holidays for this year – Easter is the earliest it can possibly be – check out astral projections and golden numbers – so interesting school holidays with those on six-term years especially.

Do you really get a long weekend, and then a fortnight’s holiday just two weeks later??

Contact us for further information, or visit our website. http://www.hirondelleholidays.com

In France New Year greetings can be sent anytime in January, so “Meilleurs Voeux”

Bob and Marjory