Snow, and more snow … and snowball fights with the neighbours!!

Arrived back home last Friday after a few weeks in England. Some snow at Caen as we docked, but nothing here. Awoke Saturday morning to

The main road was just passable

with chains, and for essential services (e.g. the milk tanker!)

Minor roads, and the little roadway into our drive were not really possible

30cms of snow had fallen overnight, accompanied by thunder and lightening. Power lines were down, and homes without electricity, even, as it was reported in the papers “deux pas de Flamanville”(the nuclear reactor). Our power was off and on several times during the day, but we banked the fire and stayed indoors, apart from bringing the wood in. Sunday was a bright sunny day, so we wrapped up well and ventured out on foot to get some fresh bread from the little shop in St. Germain.

Monday and Tuesday again were bright and sunny, though very cold. Snow that had melted froze each night making going out more hazardous, but we managed to get to Les Pieux for some shopping – huge bags of potatoes and onions, bread and bottles of wine!! I also did a tour of gites and holiday homes, putting heating on against the frosts.

Wednesday it snowed all day, and again today

Now the snow is even deeper than it was last weekend

and the van that was cleared of snow and out and about on Monday and Tuesday is in need of digging out again

Don’t think we’ll be going out again this side of the weekend. Did call next door, after digging our way to the gate

to check that the neighbours were all right. Marjory suggested playing in the snow, and much to our surprise our 69 yr-old neighbour came out for a snowball fight. The dog, a springer spaniel, joined in, disappearing on several occasions under the snow!!

SO, a white Christmas?? don’t think I’d bet on it – you can have too much of a good thing after all!!

 

First effects of global warming? Paradoxically, could well be with the Gulf Stream pushed further south by the water from the melting ice-caps. So what to do about it? Stay in; keep warm; open a bottle of wine, or perhaps a drop of calva – what more ??

Bob & Marjory

“Thrones” of the world

A little stroll along the “Boulevard de la Bastille” at the moment, and you will see the latest photographic exhibition mounted on huge placards, and dedicated to “thrones” of the world.

From the desert of Morocco

to the arctic circle

From the Mekong Delta

to one of only 2 of its kind left in the suburbs of Paris

And just who is this emerging from a tin shack in the outback of Australia? and what is he doing?

And these photographs in these urinals in Iceland we are told are of the bankers who led the country into the financial meltdown!

The pictures are an eloquent social commentary; but also have their serious side in reminding us of the UN statistics showing that well over half the world do not have proper sanitation.

This final speaks for itself

and well deserves the title “throne”

Bob

A long, hot summer

After the longest and coldest winter for many years, indications are that the summer is equally likely to be the longest and hottest for many years.

From the blossom on the trees

to the hedgerows full of flowers

it appears that Spring has finally sprung. And is it my imagination, or are the primulas stronger

and more profuse this year ?

Even the gorse looks “jolie” in full bloom

The blossom and flowers indicate warmer weather. The swallows also have returned – I saw a lone one over Surtainville a week ago Monday, four over the port at Portbail last Thursday, and then again four over Surtainville the same day; and today a lone one over Pierreville. The cuckoo has been heard at Surtainville and at Pierreville; and there are even some reports of the Hoopoe in the area. Flies, butterflies, honey bees and bumble bees have also been in evidence over the past two weeks; and today this little chap decided to take a walk along the road

Will it last? local folklore says yes – for the first time for years we have only twelve moons (spring tides have been very high, but this is also supposed to be an indication of a good summer). And … the magpies are nesting right at the top of the tree, not in the middle

Let’s hope the summer turns out to be the best for years

Bob & Marjory

Sun and Snow

As yet another blizzard blows in, some pictures of  Pierreville in the snow from last week. Starting with a snowman??

and then some of the garden

and across the road

New volets were fitted to our upstairs windows today. We hope we’ll be a little warmer.

Keep warm

Bob & Marjory

La Foire Internationale de Caen

Managed to get there on Friday afternoon. Expo this year was  “The India of the Maharajas”

India of the maharajas

a history of Rajasthan, that told us of the importance of the elephant in Indian society

elephant

of the importance of the tiger in the life of the maharajas 

tiger

and of the religion of hinduism in the life and culture of India

ganesha

And at the end of the expo a chance to buy spices from India

spices

and to visit the bazaar

bazaar

Of course, the fair is more than just the expo. 1000 exhibits, 50 countries, 30 restaurants; and much, much more.

Well worth a visit, even if just to the websites –

www.caen-expo-congress.com

www.indedesmaharajas.com

Had to visit Friday, because last weekend was the “journees de patrimoine” and this weekend is of course, the first day of the Chasse. Our friends are involved in the Chasse, and today were doing the meal for the chasseurs! We ourselves were awakened at 0900hrs by the noise of the guns around us. Next week is the Foire de Brix (St. Denis). We will not be here, as we are setting off on conges (annual holiday). Summer’s over, but still lots of things happening locally.

Bob & Marjory

Plants and Flavours of Autumn

This coming weekend at Omonville-la-Rogue, an expo organised by the Hague tourist board

PSA2009_mini

Expos in the garden and courtyard include ornamental plants, fruit trees, ancient and forgotten vegetables, garden furniture, and food and other products derived from gardens and plants.

hague expo

Also in the Manoir du Tourp and its grounds are the on-going exhibition dedicated to Alexandre Trauner, cinema set designer who worked with Jacques Prevert (his house in Omonville-la-Petite well worth a visit );

trauner

the photographic works “Regard sur La Hague” of Philippe Mauger; photographs of gardens; books about gardens, and particularly in the Cotentin; and photographic books of local history and culture, such as “Paul and les Autres”.

Also a bonsai exhibition, and a chance for youngsters to create and play their own musical games.

Plenty of fun and things to do for all the family. Visit www.lahague.org or www.letourp.com for more details.

Bob

Les Journees de Patrimoine

Didn’t get to the Expo at Caen this last weekend. Instead on Sunday we went for a “walk down memory lane” with our neighbours, visiting the chateau at Briqueboscq, and then the water mill at Belle Fontaine – in process of  being restored.

chateau

Francis spent his childhood around the chateau, but had never been inside. Unfortunately this was not possible on Sunday either. But the exterior was well worth a look, and the history of the place as told by the present owner, though somewhat repetitive and dry at times, was interesting.

chateau2

 More interesting was Francis’s memories of the German occupation of the chateau; and the factory in the grounds producing rocket bombs to be aimed at London. 

(On the way back through Les Pieux Francis pointed out the foundations of the Post Office, saying that in the war it had been a German block-house (the foundations still visible) with guns trained onto the road coming south from Cherbourg.)

gite

We were allowed a look inside the gite that now takes up one section of the house. It has many of the original features – the fireplace, the doorways, the beams – plus some items of historical interest reworked as furniture, or simply for decoration, placed there by the owners. Will take up to eight people, but we didn’t get the price – probably much more expensive than ours! 

mill expo

The mill at Belle Fontaine is under process of restoration – with a long way to go yet. So far, one of two water-wheels has been restored and is in working order.

waterwheel

 The millstones are in place, but the cog mechanisms are in need of much work, as is the whole of the interior of the buildng. An enthusiastic band of volunteers, sponsored by, amongst others, EDF – have done the research, and begun the process of restoration.

mill workings

For the journee de patrimoine they were there to explain the workings of the mill, and raising money by selling craft works, and crepes cooked on the open fire of the mill. It appears to be part of a whole movement of restoration and revival of old traditions, alongside the windmill at Fierville, and groups like the Battous de Cotentin, and the folklore group St. Ergouffe at Surtainville.

EDF is involved in researching alternative, renewable energy sources. Is its sponsorship of groups such as these part of looking for these renewable sources?

Bob