“Mad March Offer!!”

Spring has sprung early in the hedgerows of Pierreville. The primulas are already in flower, before the snow-drops are finished

The catkins are already hanging from the branches

There are even some early daffodils

So why not think about an early spring  holiday?

For March we have a special gite price from £200 – follow the link below to our website –

http://www.hirondelleholidays.com/specialoffers.htm

Brittany Ferries also has a special offer for March for the relaunch of the Poole-Cherbourg service – £59 each way.

http://brittany-ferries.co.uk/offers/ferry/poole-cherbourg

So you can have a week in Normandy for two for just £318!! 

Hope to hear from you soon

Bob & Marjory

Will it? Won’t it??

… be a White Christmas, that is.

The snow of a fortnight ago vanished almost as quickly. Christmas lights are going up in the local communes.  “Christmas” events, like the “Marche de Noel” at Pierreville that had been cancelled have been programmed in again –

As the snow melted, there were some surprising survivors

Not sure of their name; but I’m told that they’re not edible. Quite striking as they emerged from the melting snow. Also emerging, though showing some signs of frost damage were the chrysanthemums

Even some of our vegetable garden came through virtually unscathed

Last Sunday we were at the Surtainville’s “Marche de Noel”; and then Tuesday was the Pierreville Club “Buche de Noel”, so Christmas began for us this week, in quite balmy daytime temperatures of getting on for 8 degrees.

The tables were set

 

 … the room laid out, and the tree decorated

… and even Santa put in an appearance

… the buche, amongst other things, was eaten

… there was drinking, and singing

… and so the first celebration of Christmas is done.

Within the last 24 hours the cold air that has brought snow to England has also reached here; at present with just a smattering of snow this morning. The local forecast is for it to hang about for a couple of days before warmer, wetter weather establishes for next weekend.

We’re keeping an eye out to see whether we do get to spend Christmas with family in England. Whatever your plans, and whatever the weather, we wish you a very enjoyable holiday season.

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year
 
from
 
Bob & Marjory
 
Follow this link (full screen and sound on) to see and hear us at out best!!!!

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

Vacances en Espagne …

or was it Germany? –

If you look carefully you will see that even the signs are in German; but it was actually Mallorca! (Then again when we told French friends that we were going to Spain on holiday and they found we were going to Mallorca, they said “not Spain; the Balearics”; so not quite sure where we were!!)

Except it was Mallorca, but very definitely the German sector. As we arrived at the hotel we were greeted in German; in all the shops we were greeted in German. From the centre of the town you couldn’t see across the terrace to the beach for a huge marquee, where they were busy setting up for “Oktoberfest”.

And so the holiday went; a mixture of good and  not so good. The Hotel was lovely

though meal times were strictly regimented – we were told off for remaining too long (just an hour was allowed for meals) at the dinner table.  The setting of the town was beautiful;

though I don’t think I’d fancy the beach at the height of the season

The view from our balcony wasn’t too bad – after we’d insisted on a change of room from the smelly basement with no view that they wanted to give us

though it did have the disadvantage of looking out to the side over the kitchen and its extractor ducts

And there were some quite quirky aspects – like the fairground “Hall of Mirrors”; Can you recognise what it really was?

The first few days the weather was good – a walk on the beach and through the town in the morning. Relaxing in the sunshine with a drink by the pool in the afternoon

Then the thunderstorms arrived, and it rained

and it rained

and it rained

Hoping for a little better weather when we head off for Dublin shortly; though an Irish friend has given us a warning about the weather, as well as some useful advice on things to do.

Bob & Marjory

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

New for this New Year

Happy New Year from a very snowy and cold Pierreville.

It seems that most of Europe and Britain is very similar, so hardly surprising that peoples’ thoughts turn to the warmer days of summer, and summer holidays.

So we can announce a new gite for holidays this year; sleeping up to 7, and willing to take dogs, HT30 is now available.

Larger than our other gites at Hameau Tranquille, it has three bedrooms

plus a large seating/dining area with a kitchen off to the side.

With one of the bedrooms on the ground floor, with a seperate small sitting room and bathroom

it would be ideal for several generations of a family holidaying together; with space to be all together, but private spaces also.

Other features include washing machine, dishwasher and possibly also wi-fi connection.

We haven’t managed to get it onto our website yet, but already it’s booking up for the summer, so don’t hesitate to contact us if you might be interested.

Mieullers voeux 2010

Bob & Marjory

“Dreaming of a White Christmas”??

The snow arrived here, after some days of bitterly cold weather, on Friday morning. We’d been following the discussion in the media, which seemed to say nothing more certain than “possibly, but probably not”; so it was quite a surprise to waken to the snow in the garden

Just after midday we set off, somewhat warily as it was still snowing, towards Benoistville for lunch. The roads were covered, with only tyre-tracks each way, and the snow continued to fall . At Les Pieux we joined the back of queue of traffic which then ground to a halt. Fortunately, we managed to turn and make our way home, very slowly; passing various queues, and the gendarmerie on duty redirecting traffic. No pre-Christmas lunch for us on Friday.

Saturday we checked the gites, in the snow; but a glorious, if bitterly cold day

 – and the views over the dunes were wonderful

So, snow for Christmas ?? Posibly, but probably not. Today is grey and wet, though still bitterly cold; certainly not the stuff of Christmas cards.

One Christmas meal missed. But one occasion “The Buche de Noel” started off our Christmas celebrations last Tuesday

not only the cake, but an afternoon of eating and drinking -with fruit salad, biscuits, chocolate, clementines, and of course wine, coffee and calva and rhum!! 

Sunday we had our own Christmas dinner, as Christmas Eve we eat out at friends’ in the village, and Christmas Day with the neighbours. The diet starts after that, or maybe in the New Year.

Hope to see you next year; watch out for our special offers for the Spring, and news of another, larger gite for holidays next year.

“Bonnes Fetes” to all our readers.

Bob and Marjory

Celebrating the start of summer

Last weekend saw the start of some traditional summer festivities with the local commune of St Germain-le-Gaillard celebrating its Foire Saint-Urbain. Traditionally a livestock fair, it began with a concours de mouton; and then through the day an animation inter-commune; including courses en sac, tir a la corde, lancer de charentaise, course a l’oeuf – recognise these from English village fairs?

 priddy_sheep_fair_2003_150_150x180[1] 

 

 foire-aux-moutons2-250x185

There was , of course, the modern aspects to the fair, with a soiree couscous, a vide-grenier (literally an empty attic) or car boot sale, and a moto-cross.  All-in-all a good time was had by all; and the weather, though not as sunny as the previous few weeks was good. Not like now as we have traditional English Bank Holiday weather!!

But then there was the more modern start to summer. Last year it was the fishermen protesting at the price of fuel and blockading the ports. This year the farmers blockaded the supermarket carparks. In an on-going protest at the supermarkets’ lowering the price paid to the farmers for milk, old tires, fumeur (mucking-out from the cowsheds) and agricultural vehicles are used to block entry to supermarket carparks. To do our weekly shop last Friday we had to park in a nearby street, and walk to the supermarket. Super-U was quieter than we have ever seen it! The protest continues, and there are rumours of a shortage of milk and dairy produce. We wait for further news.

IMG_0001

Meanwhile however, the summer season slowly begins – watch this space for upcoming events and new, or refurbished summer attractions.

Hoping the weather continues to improve after this Bank Holiday setback. (We have our fourth bank holiday within a month next Monday – Lundi de Pentecote (Whit Monday, the [religious] forerunner of Spring Bank Holiday).

Bob and Marjory

One swallow might not make the summer …

but many swallows suggest that summer has arrived!!

swallow

Last Sunday the familiar shape passed over the road as we drove down to Portbail; but it was such a fleeting glimpse that it was not sure. However Tuesday was a very definite sighting of two over the bridge at Portbail, and then yesterday definite sightings of groups over the roads between Portbail and Surtainville.

It’s taken us so long to report these sightings because for the past week, as you probably can guess, we’ve been in Portbail. We’ve travelled in early morning, and not returned till late evening. 13hour days working with a group of French schoolchildren from just north of Paris on an immersion English course, including a daytrip to Jersey!! We’re exhausted, but just about ready for the season as it begins.

So summer is officially here, and all signs are that this is going to be a good one. A little cool today, Easter Sunday, but it’s only early April yet. Time to look forward to those long lazy days of summer holidays on the beach at Surtainville.

Bob and Marjory