Charroux: Painters in the street.


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How could I have missed this event? Well I have now rather belatedly added it to my list of what is on in Poitou-Charentes.11800110_869018783191092_1748204324657452716_n


It is so interesting and it also provides a great photo opportunity, it looks so ‘French’ Charroux15


This is the square on the same day. At least I think it was, it is certainly the square.Charroux9

What’s on in August 2015


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OK so I got my months muddled up and published July events when it should have been August. But looking on the bright side at least I realised the month was coming to an end, just not clued up as to which month. So now it is closer to Christmas than I thought and soon there will be Christmas stuff in the shops.

OK so now here is what is on in AUGUST.

Painters in the Street, Charroux August 1st and 2nd (more)

De Bouche à Oreille Parthenay, From July 29 – August 1st

L’Ile aux Livres; Le Bois-plage -en-Re: 7th 8th and 9th August (more)

Festival de Jazz José Cando; Fouras-les-Bains: 11th August (more)affiche-portrait-2015-320x449


Festival de Confolens; Confolens: 11th to 16th August (more)

Les Soirees Lyriques de Sanxay; Sanxay: 14th August (more)

Literary festival;Charroux: 27th to 29th August (more)

Tour de Poitou-Charentes (cycling) 25th to 28th August (more)

Festival du film Francophone; Angouleme:28th August to 1st Sept (more)

Les Choeurs de Feux Angles sur l’Anglin, August 3, (More)  2014 site

Festival du livre Angles sur l’Anglin, August 15 – 17 (More) 2014 site

The demise of the small vineyard


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Dotted about in the countryside you would often come across a few rows of grape vines. These belonged to the local farmer and would supply him with enough grapes to produce sufficient wine for his own consumption.IMG_8619

Gradually over the years I have seen these small local vines fall into decline and then be grubbed out and disappear.

It is inevitable, but I still think it is a shame. When you can buy a cheap bottle of wine from the supermarket for under 2 euros, one can understand that the local farmer is not going to go to all the trouble of pruning, spraying, harvesting brewing and then bottling a wine that will be of dubious quality.

How many more years before this is another aspect of rural France that is gone forever? The vines in the photo were removed in the winter of 2014/15.

What’s on in Poitou-Charentes; July 2015



If its not too hot you might like to get out and enjoy some of the vast number of events big and small which take place this month. For more information on any event just click on the (more) and it will link you to the web site for that particular event. Or you might just like to chill out at your local Plan d’Eau.ballon-à-gaz

There will be a lot of hot air at this event, no matter what the weather.

So here is the list of some of the events this month.

Nuits Blanches en Pays Jaune D’Or; Segonzac: 1st to 31st July (more)

Festival au Village; Brioux sur Boutonne: 3rd to 11th July (more)  

Festival Bouillez; Brioux sur Butonne: 4th and 5th July

GT Tour;Circuit du Val de Vienne, Le Vigeant, France: 4th and 5th July

Trail des Ruisseaux 21Km run; Clos de Roches Premarie: 5th July(more)

Medieval Fete de Dignac; Dignac: around 6th July no info yet.

Festival de Music et Danse; Airvault: around 6th July no info yet

Festival Ludique; Parthenay: 8th to 19th July (more)

Terre de Danses; Bressuire: 9th to12th July

Festival au Gre des Arts; Pranzac:10th to 19th July (more)

Les Francofilies; La Rochelle 10th to 14th July (more) Johnny Halliday this year…..hmmm

Festival des Enfants du Monde; Saint Maixent L’Ecole:11th to 16th July (more)

Festival de Musique classique; Saintes: 11th to 19th July (more) Great setting for this.

Festival Villages Sessions; Villebois Lavalette: 12th to 18th July (more)

Fetes du bicenteniare; Ile d’Aix:12th 13th and 14th July (more) Its a one off! Similar event planned for 2115.

Festi’piano; Le Domaine D’Essart: 13th to 19th July (more)

Festival Atouts Arts; Thouars: roughly 15th to 18th July.

Festival Musique en Re; Le Blois-plage en re:15th to 30th July (more) 

La Guinguette Buissonniere; Angouleme: 17th July to 9th August (more)

La Roche a Foucauld;  La Rochefoucauld: 18th July (more)

International Painting Festival; Magne: around about? 19th to 20th July

Fete du Cognac; Cognac:23rd 24th and 25th July (more)

Marche sur L’Eau; Le Vanneau-Irleau:25th July (more) Don’t forget your wellies.

Festival de Bouche a Oreille; Parthenay: 29th July to 1st August (more)

Coupe d’Europe Montgolfieres; Mainfonds: 29th July to 2nd August (more)

Un Violin sur le Sable; Royan: 31st July (more) With fireworks.  

Les Estivales d’Artenetra Celles-sur-Belles and surrounds, around ?July 22 – August 8

Chaffinches preparing for British exit from E.U. ?


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The Chaffinch has a very distinctive song and can now be heard from virtually every location in the Poitou-Charentes countryside.

Chaffinch Male

Chaffinch male

It starts with a rather stuttering phrase, my wife thinks it sounds like Bruce Forsyth gearing up to say something. Anyway it ends with a very distinctive ‘pleased to meet you’  Well it is quite distinctive, it does have a bit of a cockney accent so can sound like ‘pleased t’ meat chew’ and occasionally they can be a bit lazy and just say ‘t’ meat chew’ or even ‘meat chew’.

On this visit to France I have noticed that some of them are rounding off their song with a different phrase which sounds very much like ‘miss you’. Not all of them have adopted this song, some are still sticking with ‘pleased to meet you’.

Could it be that the chaffinches are hedging their bets in the run up to the forthcoming referendum on British membership of the European Community?

Wildlife in and around the Plan d’Eau.


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Saturday was a lovely day so we visited our local Plan d’Eau which is at Saint Macoux.Plan d'Eau2 My wife and her sister who was on a short visit were content to lie in the sun, read their books and talk about everything and anything.  I am a bit more restless so took a slow and steady walk round the lake with camera in hand, often stopping and watching and waiting and sometimes photographing whatever was of interest.Plan d'Eau10

The plan d’Eau is two lakes and a couple of steams with some side branches. some of it is very busy and has a water chute and beach and other bits are very natural and quite.Plan d'Eau22

There is a slow flow of water through the lakes but it is very slow. There is a lot of weed in the lakes. Much of it is a peculiar form of algae which is called Chara. I say peculiar because unlike most algae which are quite simple and just make the water green or maybe form a green slime, this algae develops a quite complex structure so that most people would think of it as a water plant and not something as primitive as an algae. More about this algae click



There are other ‘proper’ plants like yellow water lilies.Plan d'Eau9

There are quite a lot of different fish and I tried to photograph some of them. Some were relatively obliging and I got some reasonable shots, but others stayed well away and deep down making it impossible to photograph them. For the record, I saw sunfish, pike, roach, trout, bream, perch and lots of little chaps, possibly minnows.

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The frogs were quite noisy but less easy to see. You sometimes disturbed one and it plopped into the water never to be seen again, but by careful approach I did see a few and interestingly there were two species; Edible frogs and Marsh frogs, though I expect you could have eaten the Marsh frog as well had you cared to . The Edible frog has a yellow stripe down its back.

Edible frog

Edible frog

The Marsh frog is fatter and no stripe.

Marsh frog

Marsh frog

There were a lot of Dragon flies and damsel flies, and I spent some time trying to get good shots of these. My sister-in-law asked me what is the difference between dragon and damsel flies and my not vet scientific reply was that dragon flies are bigger but at the limits there are some small dragonflies like darters which are barely bigger than some large damselflies like demoiselles.

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There was one butterfly which was quite an interesting one, and that was a Lesser Purple Emperor which was visiting the edge of the lake for a drink. It is called the Lesser Purple Emperor so you would guess correctly that there is another one. This is called simply the Purple Emperor, not a Greater Purple Emperor. However as with so many common names it is a bit confusing in that the lesser Purple Emperor is slightly bigger and has a more colourful look. The Purple Emperor does not have the ‘eyes’ on the fore wings.

Lesser Purple Emperor

Lesser Purple Emperor

I took some photos of pond skaters on the stream and there were a few birds around like Grey wagtails, which have a lot of yellow on them but not as much as a yellow wagtail. I also saw one solitary Mallard in the middle of the lake but did not bother to photograph it.

Pond Skaters

Pond Skaters

So that was my walk round the Plan ‘d’Eau  and I hope you enjoyed it.

Crops in Poitou-Charentes; Barley.



The sun flower is probably the most photographed crop in the Poitou-Charentes region, and it does look good. However in the immediate vicinity of our house this year we have barley, and it too looks quite good.barley3





















Obviously it is not as bright and colourful  as the sunflower, but it is more subtle. And when there is a slight breeze it sways gently and is quite mesmerising.barley2

It is of course a much more useful crop than sunflowers as it is mainly used in the production of beer.barley1

Saint-Omer; a good place to break the journey?


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Gloucestershire to Poitou-Charentes seems like a bit more of a stretch than Norfolk to Poitou-Charentes, so recently we have taken to spending one night in northern France to split the journey.  Maybe it is something to do with getting older and perhaps having a little more time. No I don’t think so.Moulin des Forges1

So we went on and booked for a night in Saint-Omer, a good looking hotel with a recommended restaurant in a converted mill, called Le Moulin des Forges. And that is what it was, but it was in Saint-Omer en Chausee which is not just outside Calais but about 2 hours down towards Paris. As they say on their card it is 15mins from the aeroprt de Tille and from the autoroute A16.  I have never heard of the aeroport de Tille but presumably that is a selling point.

Moulin des Forges2 Anyway it was a very good place to stop, the meal was excellent,  and as it turned out not too far out of your way except that Mrs sat nav took us from there to Paris and as there was a hold up on the northern part of the peripherique she decided it would be best to just go right through the centre.Moulin des Forges3 Probably a shorter route than via Rouen which is what we normally do but not for the faint hearted.

Looking around, a very high proportion of vehicles had dents and scrapes. Similar to what I observed some years ago when driving in Rome.

Finally whilst on the subject of driving, what is the point of a significant number of French motorists driving 5cm from your rear bumper and positioning themselves over the white line in a place that says ‘I want to overtake you, NOW.’  Especially when you are on a motorway which has been reduced to one lane due to repair work and the only place for them to go would be into the central reservation/wall.

What’s on in Poitou-Charentes; June 2015


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Notes en Vert at Perigny 5th and 6th June (More)

Spectacles nocturnes Coeurs en Bataille; Nouaille-Maupetuis: 5th/6th June (more) Don’t forget your glasses.

500 Ferraris contre le cancer:

Yet more Ferraris

Yet more Ferraris

Val de Vienne, Le Vigeant:  4th 5th 6th 7th  June (more)

Festival Musiques et Gastronomiques du Monde; St George de Didonne: 12th to 14th June (more)

Festival Bailatino; La Roche-Posay: 12th and 13th June (more)

Trail de la Boeme, 21Km run; Mouthier sur Boeme: 13th June (more)

Highland Games; Bressuire: 13th and 14th June

Polychromies de Notre Dame le Grand; Poitiers: starts 15th June then every night till 15th Sept. (more)

L’escargouille (snail farm) open day; Blanzay: (around the 15th June ) (more) Rather like the occupants, the owners are rather slow in updating their web site!

Festival free music; Montendre: 19th and 20th June (more)

Maraisthon; Coulon: 20th and 21st June (more)

Fete de la Music; A one day event across Poitou-Charente, indeed all France check web site for what is on near you; 21st June (more)

Festival International du Film; La Rochelle  26th June to 5th July (more)

Les Sarabandes; Marcillac Lanville: 26th,27th and 28th June (more) 

La Journee Medieval ‘La Rancon du Roi: Nouaille-Mauperuis: 28th June (more)

Blues Passion; Cognac: 29th June to 5th July (more) So far this year includes Selah Sue, Lenny Kravitz and Angus/Julia Stone. No doubt other big names will be booked.

Respire Jazz Festival Aignes et Puypéroux: normally end of June …nothing published yet (More) This link takes you to 2014 site.


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