Ethylotests obligatoire – breathalysers must be carried!!

From the 1st July 2012, all vehicles in France should carry a new breathalyser. This actually means that you need to have 2 breathalysers in your car, as if you are stopped and required to use one, you will not be allowed to move the car without an unused breathalyser in the vehicle!!

The law is in force from the 1st July; though thankfully sanctions (an on the spot fine of 11 euros) will not be applied until the 1st November. Having bought sufficient we lent some to a friend, and now can not buy anymore – latest news is that they are not expected until the beginning of August!

If you buy them anywhere other than France, pleae make sure that the conform to French norms, as indicated on the package

Norme Francaise

So that’s the new law – but what of the things that are already law?

Warning triangles are obligatory and should be used in the event of breakdown or accident

Warning Triangle

Reflective, or high visibility vests are also obligatory, and there should be enough for all passengers in the vehicle

Reflective vest

Country of origin plates are also required by international law – most number plates these days include these as standard, but if not you must have one.

Seat belts are compulsory, as are special seat restraint systems for children.

Radar detection equipment is prohibited; so if you have this as part of a GPS system, it needs to be switched off.

Headlamp adapters for English cars – dazzling continental drivers could invalidate your insurance.

Not obligatory, but recommended are –

First aid kit – European Law requires drivers to stop and provide assistance in the event of an accident.

Spare bulb kit – on the spot fines for non-working lights!

Spare bulb kit

Happy – and safe – motoring; and happy holidays

Bob & Marjory

“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

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

Le Poulailler

Interesting place to visit – called in by chance last week on our little camping tour – “le Poulailler”, a small, but very interesting bar close to the cathedral in Coutance. It changed it’s name in 2002 to

with artwork inside and out by Paul Martineau

In 2008 it was extended, and the interior made to look even more like a chicken shed, and with further artwork by Paul Martineau

Even the sign for the toilet continues the farmyard/chicken shed theme

A couple of “1664”s and a very palatable rose wine made for a very enjoyable apero. Well worth a visit.

Bob and Marjory

Hirondelle Holidays goes mobile

Went away last weekend in our new toy –

to the site and hooked up, ready to begin

First was to get the caravan level

as we’d already discovered that the fridge doesn’t work unless level! What, no chilled white wine?! Not quite so important to check the level of the glass though – unless to guard against spillage.

 Next was to get the awning up –

no instructions, and the first time we’d tried it – very much trial and error. But we got there and just in time for the apero !!

So, all sorted, and ready for our first night –

Just one last thing before bed –

coming in dark, and Marjory not willing to use the shelter of the hedge, or the bucket (with lid!!); or even to walk the 50 metres across the site to the bloc sanitaire; we had to get to grips with the chemical toilet

Always useful to read the instructions, just to check we’ve got it right

OK, so we were only 55km down the road at Agon-Coutainville; but it was a good 4 day break, and we were able to do something that we’ve not managed to do for a good few years now – be tourists. Coming up – some of the things we found around Agon-Coutainville. But we leave you with the site we stayed at – a lovely, quiet, family-run site – mostly mobile homes, but ten pitches for tents/touring caravans; showers, sanitary block, washing machine; some small recreational areas, but overall a good place to get away, be quiet and unwind.

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

Summer in Surtainville

 

 

surtainville

It’s official then – summer’s here; and Surtainville began it’s celebration of summer last weekend with “Surtainville en fete”. Saturday was the summer Loto (Bingo); followed on Sunday by a Vide Grenier in the morning, afternoon INTER-JEUX (Surtainville/Pierreville), and various other events, including a display of country (line) dancing. The evening saw the annual Souper Normand followed by a Bal Populaire and Feu d’artifice. A good way to kick off a whole range of summer events publicised by the Mairie. And don’t forget the weekly summer market –

marche_estival

Talking of the Mayor (in a roundabout sort of way) – saw her on Saturday afternoon directing traffic!! Huge wedding in Surtainville, and after the church ceremony, the taking of pictures of the bride and groom blocked the main way through the village as friends and relations crowded round the church door. There was the mayor in the middle of the road, helping traffic through the village. Then again sunday evening, she was amongst the group of women serving up the souper normand. Real hands on stuff this being  mayor of a commune in rural France.

For details of summer events in the area visit the local commune and tourist office websites.

All the best for the summer holidays,

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

Happy New Year from a snowy Pierreville

Yes, here it is. The holidays are over – very cold, but clear and bright for most of the last few weeks – and as people return to work and to school, here comes the snow. Pretty spectacular it is too –

snow3

We were promised snow flurries overnight, and awoke this morning to a dull grey day; no sign of snow, just very wet.

At one point it seemed that it might just brighten, but the grey, cold wet continued. Then the snow, at first a little sleet, “won’t settle”  but soon changing to the biggest snowflakes we’ve ever seen -you might be able to get an idea from the pictures.

 snow21

The TV news from England this lunch time was about the coldest winter for a decade continuing; our next door neighbour says here is the coldest winter for over 40 years. Seasonal weather, even though it missed the holiday itself, perhaps boding well for seasonal weather throughout the year ??

Best wishes for the New Year to all our readers and guests.

Bob and Marjory