Burns night celebration

Spent last weekend in England; and part of the experience was the (Scottish) celebration of their most famous poet – Rabbie Burns.

Went with friends to a Burns Night Supper in Shropshire. Wonderful experience, with the piping in of the Haggis

the address to the haggis, and the toast to the haggis

and then singing, poetry and dancing.

Had our own Burns Night on the day itself – 25th January, with haggis

neeps (turnip, or swede) and tatties ( mashed potatoes)

A fitting tribute to Scotland’s national poet.

Now it’s back home and on with the work – plenty to be done in preparation for the season. Have you checked out our latest property for let this summer?  or our special spring offers?

Hope to hear from you soon

Bob and 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

La Foire de Lessay

Just had a very busy weekend – school’s back, the season’s over, but still things happening. The Fair at Lessay happens each year on the second weekend of September; and for the past few years we’ve tried unsuccessfuly to get there. Established in the 12th Century by the Benedictines of the Abbey of Lessay for the Feast of the Holy Cross, but also ‘pour favoriser le developpement du commerce’ (!), the fair has a long history, and every year has in the region of 400,000 visitors.

busy

Always busy, the fair today is a mixture of traditional elements, from the trading of animals to the reconstruction of the past, to modern farm machinery, and of course the foire forain (funfair) of modern celebrations.

agriculture

foire foraine

There were recruitment campaigns for the armed forces, and the gendarmes; but the highlight of the fair for me was the “Battous du Cotentin”, a reconstruction of traditional flailing of the wheat – using ancient forms of wheat

tradition2

from the separation of the grain from the chaff

tradition 1

to the grinding to make the flour

tradition3

and then serving up the proceeds as crepes for lunch.  A busy, but very rewarding day. Too much to see and do, so we’ll definitely be going back, all things being equal, next year.

Sunday we spent with the “Association Attelage en Cote des Isles”, in a cariole for 4 hours between Pierreville and Le Vretot.

 

attelage

 

In company with a dozen horse riders and a similar number of  chariots, carts, and other horse-drawn vehicles, we travelled a circuit of lanes

 

Lanes

and bridal paths

bridal paths

around Le Vretot, finishing with lunch, which in the usual Norman fashion took most of the afternoon. A busy and enjoyable weekend; and more to come next weekend with the “Journee de Patrimoine”.

More next week

Bob & Marjory

Fete des voisins (neighbour’s festival)

Today, apart from Pentecost, is the festival of neighbours. It’s a holiday weekend here – tomorrow is a jour ferie ( bank holiday)” lundi de pentecote” (what used to be in England, Whit Monday). I remember from my childhood in Yorkshire the whitmonday walks (a walking race round the West Riding, as it was then, of Yorkshire). Also, the “beating of the bounds” – traditionally a walk around the boundary of the parish to mark where these boundaries are (accompanied at times by the beating of the chorister at the four points (compass) of the parish).

Strange customs these English have!?!

Links with “John o’the green” and other May and early summer rites. But then the French are the same – for a supposedly secular society they still celebrate many religious festivals.

However – back to the fetes des voisins. In an increasingly divergent and secular society, the government here, like the English government, have decided to encourage community action and neighbourhood events.

011

For the neighbour’s festival we organised a barbecue with our neighbours, and invited friends both French and English. We began at 1200 and finished at 1800. Tomorrow we recover, perhaps !?!

007

 

Look out for news of upcoming events in and around the area.

Bob and Marjory

Local artist has new exhibition

Pierreville, by Jacqueline Klocke

Pierreville, by Jacqueline Klocke

We mentioned last year the exhibition by three local artists at Pierreville. One of these, Jacqueline Klocke, now has her own exhibition at Flamanville.

Her medium is for the most part water colour, and her subject has been for the main landscapes. She has added figures of family and friends, as in “the Chasse at Surtainville”,

On the Chasse

On the Chasse

and with “Open day at Pierreville Manoir”.

klocke-manoir

She is also experimenting with still life and flowers,

flowers-klocke

and with paintings commissioned from where she has holidayed, as in “St Marco for Claude”

St Marco for Claude

St Marco for Claude

We have some of her paintings on our walls; Marjory prefers the floral studies, I much prefer the landscapes. An artist well worth keeping an eye on, and a person we are proud to count as a friend.

Bob