February 27, 2011

LIGUEIL

Not far from Le Grand-Pressigny is the village of Ligueil.  It’s one of those places that are so easy to just pass through, without taking a proper look.

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In actual fact, Ligueil is not that easy to get through at all and we would often try to avoid the place completely.  Sometimes it can be quite a struggle, especially on market day, when it can be very slow going.  The road through is narrow, and having to stop every few moments behind parked cars to let lorries pass, or trying to avoid pedestrians as they step off the pavement to pass each other can be frustrating.  Not to mention waiting for them to exchange greetings and bisous whilst actually standing in the road!

We have often contemplated the difference between Ligueil and Le Grand-Pressigny in this respect and realised that our one-way rule along the busiest street makes driving through it a delight rather than a nuisance.

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One day we decided to stop and look around.  Ligueil has a fine church, shops, restaurants and all the usual commerces.  We found a good pizza restaurant in the square by the church called the Mandolin and have eaten there several times since we discovered it.  I can very much recommend the lasagne and the tiramisu.  Nick enjoys the pizzas.

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It’s so lovely to see the blue sky and flowers in these photos.  I have enjoyed looking back on our summer holidays.  Considering that February is the shortest month in the year, it sometimes seems to last the longest. 

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I wasn’t sure if this sign meant I should or shouldn’t park here.  I did and nobody seemed to mind.

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Nick was pleased to find a new source of fishing tackle.

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Around the back of the church is this long-closed shop.

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And also these very public “facilities”.

February 21, 2011

CANINE CUISINE

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When we were snowed in last December, we ran out of dog food. In fact we ran out of all sorts of things and were unable to get to the supermarket. The local village shop usually has a good supply of basic items but it soon ran out of everything as well due to the number of extra customers shopping there.

So we had to use our initiative when trying to feed ourselves and Lulu.

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We had a few eggs and a box of cheese triangles in the fridge so for Lulu’s breakfast one day we made cheesy egg. This was simply just one egg, scrambled as it cooked in the pan, with a cheese triangle melted into it when it was almost cooked. We stirred it into her usual plain biscuit mixer.

We served it to Lulu several times (until we ran out of eggs) and she wolfed it down. Luckily, after a few days we were able to dig ourselves out of the house and get to the shops to stock up on proper dog food, but we carried on giving her cheesy egg for breakfast as a treat sometimes.

One day, I was cooking Lulu’s cheesy egg and it just occurred to me how tasty it looked. So I decided to have some myself.

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In the fridge I had a packet of oatcakes. These are a speciality of Derbyshire and Staffordshire – I don’t know if they are popular in other parts of England too. I hadn’t seen them on sale for years until I spotted them in the reduced section of the bakery in Sainsbury’s. They are only 75p for a packet of six and these were reduced to 45p. A bargain.

They are something like an oaty pancake, similar to the galettes you get in Brittany. I have fond memories of Saturday breakfasts as a child, with fried eggs and bacon on oatcakes. With brown sauce on the side. Yummy.

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I just heated the oatcake gently in a lightly oiled frying pan. Alternatively you can just grill them. I made the cheesy egg as usual and just piled it on top. If I had been in less of a hurry I could have added some grilled mushrooms, tomatoes or sausages. But just cheesy egg on oatcakes made a nice lunch.

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My niece gave me this book for Christmas. I thought it was a joke but it’s actually quite serious. I’m checking it out for more tasty ideas !!

February 17, 2011

WAR GAMES

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When we went to Luzé last July for the auto/vide grenier event, there was a field reserved for a huge display of old army vehicles and other wartime memorabilia.

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It was all very impressive stuff.  There were trucks, armoured cars, tents and and all kinds of things I had never seen before, except on the TV.

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There were people in military uniforms and Glen Miller music emanating from one of the tents.

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I thought the rifle in the holster could come in handy sometimes!!

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This might be even better !!

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Apparently there is a very active society that collects all this gear and tours around, displaying it here and there.  I don’t remember what they’re called but there were leaflets around listing where they were going to be through the summer.  Unfortunately we were not going to be chez nous when they were next in town, which is a pity.  It looked like fun.  We shall have to look out for them again this year.

February 14, 2011

WINTER CHEER

What can we do on these long, dismal, late winter evenings to cheer ourselves up?

We can open a nice bottle of our favourite Loire Valley wines and play one of our favourite DVD’s.

There are two films guaranteed to make us laugh and forget that it’s cold, grey and wet outside.

One of them is “Wild Hogs”

As it happens, my Harley is the same model as the one ridden by the little guy, Dudley.  But I would like to think I am better at looking where I’m going.

February 11, 2011

LOOKING BACK AGAIN

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Last July we went to an event at Luzé, a village just south of Verneuil-le Château. I can’t recall where we saw it advertised – possibly on the sandwich board that usually stands in the square outside l’Office de Tourisme in Le Grand-Pressigny, which is where we often find out what’s on.

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We weren’t quite sure what to expect – some sort of autojumble or car rally. When we got there we found that it was a combination of vide-grenier, old car and motorcycle rally, bikers bash, autojumble, 1940’s event and country and western show.

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There were dozens of lovely old cars and motorcycles on display, including this Royal Enfield, which apparently runs on diesel. I didn’t know you could get diesel motorcycles.

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There was all the usual stuff for sale, plus a few surprises, including a stash of the “tiger tails” used by Esso to advertise their petrol in the 1970’s.

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These two mopeds looked like a bargain - 480€ the pair – if you fancied a double restoration job.

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All in all we had a great day out. The sun shone, there were hundreds of people in great spirits having a whale of a time, the frites were tasty and, believe it or not, it was free.

It didn’t cost anything at all to park the car and there was no entrance fee. We didn’t have to fight our way through horrendous Sunday traffic to get there. There was no unpleasant behaviour to be seen and all the youngsters we came across were enjoying themselves without offending anybody.

So different from here in the UK, where we would have arrived with our nerves jangling because of the traffic and would more than likely have had to shell out a hefty parking fee and at least a fiver each to get in. At Luzé all we paid for was our little cone of frites.

I think we’ll go again this year.

February 8, 2011

LOOKING FORWARD BY LOOKING BACK

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A flower head and insect in our French garden, last July.

Here we are in the middle of February and this is the time when I find myself positively yearning for spring.  Every day without snow is a bonus.  I can stand the winds, the rain, the frost and the endless grey, miserable days – anything is better than snow.

In actual fact today the weather was nice.  it was cold and frosty this  morning but as the day wore on it warmed up beautifully to about 9ºC and the sun came out.  I could almost have been fooled that spring is on its way.

Today I left work on the dot of 5.30pm and drove home as the sun set gloriously.  The sky was a mix of pale duck egg blue marbled with vivid coral pink and I arrived home just before it became completely dark.  For the first time in nearly four months.

Four months.  That’s a third of the year.  An awfully long time to spend driving home from work in the misery of darkness.

But this is the time when I know from experience it would be foolish to get too excited.  The winter may come back to bite us yet.

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Daisies from our garden and cherries from Nicole’s tree.

We had a great time when we were chez nous last July.

I can say that now because my memory has done it’s usual thing of focussing my mind on the good bits.  Last July I spent a good half of the week poorly with a bad cold.  Until I thought about it, I had forgotten about that.

Nevertheless, looking back at the photos of flowers, sunshine and the things we did, it was definitely good, a lot better than February in the UK.

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More flowers in our little French garden.

Looking back is good.  I can see all the things we enjoyed so much last summer and that we can look forward to again this year.

February 6, 2011

GARY MOORE

I am very sad indeed to hear that Gary Moore has died today.

Having seen him perform live a few times I can say he was an exceptional musician and he will be greatly missed.

February 3, 2011

LULU GOES TO THE SEASIDE

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We took Lulu to the seaside last weekend and we all had a wonderful time.

You can read more about it in Lulu’s blog here if you are interested.