Firstly apologies to our regulars. We have neglected this blog – with the ease of posting and adding photos to Facebook we have regularly updated our pages there and not felt it necessary to replicate them here.
Below you will find a quick recap of some of the events that happened in 2012 …
What started as a favour for a couple of close friends resulted in our family growing by one …
Maybe joined us in January after initially staying with us while her family went away for a while to visit family and friends in Australia. She is an absolute delight and has settled in well with Pompy. Every day she brings a smile to my face and is just so adorable.
An old rotten window was removed and replaced with a pair of french windows. The room at the back of the house, which is currently used as a bedroom, will eventually become a sun room where we can enjoy the garden without being out in the full heat of the day.
Adrian and my father spent a good few days wiring the upstairs of the house and the atteliers with power. The house is over 150 years old and has never seen power or electric lighting upstairs ! It just looks stunning up there when lit up.
We have eventually got a footed fire for our lounge fireplace. The old insert, which was placed on the hearth, for the past 6 or 7 years, is now in the garage awaiting a new home in either the dining room or one of the barns.
Livestock & Garden
Plenty of chickens hatched throughout the year and we had 4 goslings hatch too.
There were 4 – 1 was just camera shy ! - Blog post here – http://bellebouche.com/blog/?p=2289
When the day came, after many months, to say goodbye – they were taken to a nearby abattoir. It was a hard decision to make but as we found in previous years, they just take too long to process and having 4 instead of our normal two would have taken us even longer.
Our old Brahma cockerel unfortunately died – he had been a constant companion to the ladies and even though he was half blind, was such a friendly and funny character to have around the place. We managed to source another pure bred Brahma cockerel who has settled well into the flock. He doesn’t have the personality of the old boy but he’s doing his business !
5 new birds joined our clan – 4 ladies and 1 fella – quails. We are keeping them mainly for their eggs but who knows we may try a few in the incubator !
The garden produced bumper crops again this year – the usual tomatoes, courgettes, cucumbers and fruits. A surprise bumper harvest were the pears – the first time we have actually harvested them and bottled them.
Peaches, cherries and plums were miserable – a late frost killed off the blossom so no fruit off those trees. The flower beds are getting well established now and are a wondrous sight when in full bloom.
Big Brew Day
Adrian hosted the annual Big Brew Day – this year an old school northern english brown ale. A dozen or so people attended and we managed to have a bbq and spend most of the day in the garden until the heavens opened later in the afternoon.
Fête Des Nationalites
Actually got to blog this one – see here :-
Fête du Pain
Every year we try to attend this wonderful day. A small hamlet in the Gourgé commune holds a festival of bread. The commune has 3 large bread ovens which are all fired up. Bread is cooked and sold at the little brocante /market they host in the hamlet.
Dough proving in the sunshine !
Mille et Une Scenes – Oiron
Every year we enjoy going to this festival at a nearby chateau. The dance, music and ambiance is just fantastic.
This is 2011 blog post - http://bellebouche.com/blog/?p=2143
Main Square Festival – Arras
Another trip to this wonderful music festival – this time with a friend and her son. Had 2 tents which became the centre of the huge campsite – met some wonderful people and had such a great time. The bands were superb and the weather was almost perfect all the time – just a little downpour before Pearl Jam.
Bands included – Pearl Jam, Simple Minds, Garbage, The XX, Florence & The Machine, Metronomy, Everything Everything – to name but a few.
Festival de Peinture et Sculpture, St. Loup
This wonderful 2 day festival brings together both professional and amateur artistes. Paintings, sculptures, shoe makers, hat makers and more. It is a delight to find such wonders in a small village.
Here is a blog post from 2011 - http://bellebouche.com/blog/?p=2158
We also visited the Magné Arts Festival in the Marais Poitevin. The town was full of painters painting, along the riverbanks, streets, alleyways etc.
Festival of Games
Another festival we try to visit every year – with friends or family who are visiting at the time. See the blog post - http://bellebouche.com/blog/?p=2355
Camping and spending the days wandering around Cognac, trying various Cognac cocktails and watching barrels being made.
Then spending the evening having a wonderful meal by the waterfront and watching the Stranglers do a hit list including their Peaches.
We went to Chatellerault to watch a band who played Buena Vista Social Club tunes. They were brilliant.
We also had a great day at Futuroscope. We were both surprised at how informative and fun it was for all ages. See the blog page - http://bellebouche.com/blog/?p=2322
Came across a bumper crop of hops by the river – one plant with huge hop flowers which have an amazing aroma of pear, spice, blackcurrant and a little touch of mint.
And Now …
2013 – is going to be a busy year. We have some major works going on with our out buildings. Some work has started inside the house and for fun …
It is going to be a year of Frippery!
I will try to keep you updated, even if it’s in short bursts – watch this space !