Marans; Charente-Maritime.

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Marans is one of more northerly towns in the Charente-Maritime very close to the boundary with the Vendée, The River Sevre-Niortaise runs through the centre of the town on its way to La Rochelle and the Atlantic-Ocean.
This was once an important port with a large trade in Wheat and Dairy products, today the port  has no commercial importance save that of a marina for pleasure craft.

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The unusual futuristic Church spire of Marans, the Covered Market hall, the ancient moulin de Beauregard and the ruins of of the Eglise St. Etienne, together with the walks along the harbour side makes Marans a pleasant stop off on your journey.This is the covered market.

Having said that on the day we visited in early September it was very quiet, many shops and restaurants were closed and only a few people were about. The busiest part was the main through road which had an almost constant passage of heavy lorries moving through.

There were a couple of boat hire places open but no queues to get on the boats like I have encountered in places like Coulon during mid summer. I suppose it was the beginning of the ‘end of the season’. Evidently in days gone by there was a flourishing dairy industry, based on cattle which were well fed on the surrounding Marrais Poitevin pastures.

This is what the information board said.

Finally a few more photos that I took whilst there…note the lack of people. Anyway very pleasant and well worth a look, maybe in the summer.

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Barthélémy Fabbro   A citizen of Marans, Mr. Barthélémy Fabbro, provided for the construction of a bell tower in 1988 thanks to a donation. He deplored to see the church in which he had made his first communion,  remain without steeple. At the age of 93, he decided to offer this new constuction to the city and he chose the style. A company of the commune specialized in the construction of masts and they formulated the new bell-tower, paying homage to the know-how of the Marrans people……

To see comments and photos of other towns and villages in what was Poitou-Charentes  click Towns and villages.

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What’s on in Poitou-Charentes; October 2017

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There is still a lot going on in the Poitou-Charentes region this month. This is just a selection, I would suggest you also visit the tourist sites for each region where they list far more. However I am disappointed to see that on the regions websites they have listings for the Claudio Zavatta circus, and the  Grand Cirque St-Petersbourg . It seems that these events are still popular in France. My objection is their use of wild animals like Lions and Tigers.  What sort of life is it being transported from place to place and then having to preform. This is a link to a Utube clip showing the lions being ‘cared for’ in a cage. You make up your own mind.

Between the two towers Jazz Festival: La Rochelle: 30th September to 7th October (more)

Cirque Claudio Zavatta; Niort  1st October (more).

Well I would advise against this if they sill are using wild animals, tigers and lions etc I would direct you to a blog I wrote some years ago.  Maybe its just clowns and high wire stuff but if its wild animals then give it a miss.

Semaine Bleue et “américaine”: Niort,  2nd to 6th October (more)

RALLYE DUNES ET MARAIS,du 06/10/2017 au 08/10/2017,ST PALAIS SUR MER (more)

CINEMA: NÉS EN CHINE Rue d’Aquitaine16190 MONTMOREAU 8th October (more)

Angie Palmer in concert Luzay 14th October (more)

Spectacle Kamel le Magicien à Poitiers le 15 octobre 2017 (more)

SOIREE D’OUVERTURE DU FESTIVAL VISIONS D’AFRIQUE, le 18/10/2017 à 20h30
ST PIERRE D OLERON (more)

Concert Oumou Sangare à Poitiers le 20 octobre 2017 (more)

I do not know what this is all about, but the poster for it is quite eye catching….maybe click on the link and you may find out more and it might be of interest… better than French TV no doubt.

 

Concert Hommage a Stephane Grappelli à Chasseneuil du Poitou le 20 octobre 2017 (more)

Spectacle Le Grand Cirque St-Petersbourg Légende à Chatellerault le 20 octobre 2017 (more)

And it is on again in Poitiers. Spectacle Le Grand Cirque St-Petersbourg Légende à Poitiers  21st to 23rd  October 2017(more)

 

 

I would suggest you do not visit these events. They give the wrong message to children about respect for wild animals.

 

Festival international du Film Ornithologique; Meningoute: 27th Oct to 1st Nov. (more)

Projection du film “Marie baigne dans le beurre”; Luzay 27th October (more) 

Hmm, well if my translation of the title of the film is correct…. then the mind boggles.

Rallye International de Charente 2017 photos

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We set ourselves up in the little hamlet of Le Temple which is just north of Cellefruin and waited for the arrival of the cars. In fact we waited quite a long time and there was absolutely no one about, then an English couple turned up and explained that maybe the participants had stopped for mid morning coffee in Champagne Mouton.

Anyway eventually some Gendarmes came  through and a few fancy cars that were not actually in the rallye and the first car through was this very nice little French Triump Vitesse.

Here are some of the early arrivals, I have photos of most of the cars, I am somewhat biased so not everything got snapped.

Now we have some slide shows and if you see your car and would like a high definition copy of the photo then a nice request will no doubt be successful. The first photo is of a gate I was standing next to and over it is draped a dead and dried out grass snake!

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Here are some more , they are more or less in chronological order, although the computer reorganised some of them for me. I have also mainly shown photos of cars that were displaying the Rallye de Charente plate, ie official participants.

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This is the next batch

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And these were the back markers.

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I do not have a favourite, I do like Austin Healeys and Triumps are nice also the classic French cars look great but I have selected this photo as my featured ‘image’ because the driver looks so happy.

 

Also it was nice that so many drivers waved, piped their horn, flashed their lights and even slowed down so I could get  good shots…. thankyou.

Angouleme, Tour de Remparts weekend

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Went to Angouleme for lunch today, its the weekend of the Tour de Remparts and the Rallye de Charente, so lots of lovely cars. We had a quick look round but it was getting near to lunch time and there were quite a lot of people about so food was more of a priority than cars.

 

The booking hall was open to book a seat for Sundays racing round the town, I have never seen it, but I will one day.

We chose a restaurant with seats by the road so I could enjoy food and cars at the same time. It was the Resto des Halles, opposite les Halles as you might expect. The food was excellent and it was sunny and there were quite a few cars passing by.

 

 

 

All around it was cloudy and a massive storm was brewing to the north, we just  got back to our car as it started to rain and leaving Angouleme it was hammering down…. not so good for the open top cars.

Here are some of the cars we saw whilst eating my Moule picante. ( had spicy sausage with it and almost burnt onions… very tasty.) This is a Triump TR6 we had one of them years ago, ours was  chocolate and cream colour.

This is a Porsche 911 , we had two of them but not this model. We had the one before and the one after.

Lotus 7, never had one of them. This one was driven by a very old lady, well 75 plus and why not said Anita.

There were quite a few Jaguars about, we never had this model but we did have two XJS’s. I did catch  site of a nice XJS convertible but it was some way off and lots of other traffic about. No doubt see it tomorrow when we will be photographing the cars on the Rallye.

This one (actually there were two of them) roared past, I do not know what it is but suspect it is one for the racing on Sunday.

This BMW was also quite noisy, we have recently come to be BMW owners, first was a 3 series then a 5 series and now we have a 420 coupe, very nice and as near to a Porsche as I will get for the foreseeable future after the last one let me down big time.

Maybe this next car  would be a possibility in the future, they hold their value quite well, but insurance is a bit high and repairs/servicing can be a tad expensive.

Mission de France

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In the area around Civray there are lots of crosses, often in rather remote but visible places, and often they have an inscription which just says ‘Mission 1953’ or some other year.  Have you ever wondered what it is all about…. yes, something religious and obviously something evangelical, but why in the early 50’s and why in such remote places?

Well I did a bit of research and there is not that much that I could find but its seems that it is all down to a Cardinal Suhard.  He was the Roman Catholic cardinal of Paris, in the 1940’s.  untitled It seems that the Cardinal had the view that certain sections of the French population were not as God fearing as he would have liked them to have been. Especially in some of the rural areas and maybe also in some more industrialised areas as well, ie where times were hard. It is perhaps not surprising that after the first world war and the depression, the faith of some of the less fortunate in society had become somewhat diluted. And of course times were only going to get worse as the second world war kicked in.

Cardinal Suhard said in 1941  ( this is a translation from the original French, so sometimes it sounds a little strange , but I think you will get the gist of it)

“Il y a un mur qui sépare l’Eglise de la masse. Ce mur, il fa.ut l’abattre à tout prix pour rendre au Christ les foules There is a wall separating the Church from the masses, and this wall must be felled at all costs to restore to Christ the crowds, who have lost it.
This observation becomes a requirement for Cardinal Emmanuel Suhard, Archbishop of Paris. Under his impulsion,  The Assembly of Cardinals and Archbishops of France decided on 14 July 1941 to install in Lisieux a Seminary of the Mission of France, near the Carmel of St. Teresa of the Child Jesus. 
Entrusted to Father Louis Augros, the seminary opens its doors on October 5, 1942. Soon, the candidates flock and the seminar becomes a place for meetings and debates. At the end of their studies, the priests are sent as a team. Communities are formed in dechristianized rural areas, then in the suburbs  Workers in large cities. Some priests have a professional activity that can lead to engagement social commitment (trade union).
1949
29 May: a canonical status is given for three years on trial. It is little implemented.
1952-1954
The solidarities woven in this new or unknown world worry some and frighten. The development of  the Mission calls for decisions. The superior is dismissed. the seminar must leave Lisieux,
Moved to Limoges, and was closed the following year. That same year, Rome banned internships and work of the priest-workers. They must leave factories and workshops on 1 March 1954.
1954
August 15: Under the impulse of Cardinal Achille Liènart, the Pope granted the Mission of France an original status.
October: the seminary opens its doors in Pontigny, with a superior distinct from the Vicar general.
There are 50 teams, including three in the Maghreb.
1958
The Mission of France takes a public position for the respect of the rights of the Algerian Independence. It is the starting point for the presence of teams in other countries: Côte d’Ivoire in 1960, Argentina in 1962.

 

So it wold seem that it had a short life span from 1941 until around 1958 and then it continued in South America for a while. It is possible that Cardinal Suhard was the driving force and he died in 1949 so that with his demise the movement lost its way. Having said that there is a cross (illustrated above) with the date 1955 so it was still active then.

I wonder what the ‘mission’ involved, was it just the erecting of crosses in areas where the population were thought to need a bit of religious elbowing. Or did it involve a meeting with some evangelical curate inspiring? the locals. Were leaflets delivered? No doubt money was collected.

If you have any info on this then please pass it on and I can add more to this post than just the bare bones  that we have here.

 

Rallye de Charente 2017 route

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The route for this years rallye has been announced and here it is… In two parts, the morning section, then they stop for lunch and then the afternoon section. If you would like to check out the official site then here is a link to it Rallye International de Charentes

The Morning route.

 

The afternoon route

Bugs on Hazel bushes

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It is well known that Oak trees support more species than any other tree in northern Europe. It is also thought that the longer a type of tree has been populating an area then the more species will adapt to become dependant on it.

Hazel has been around a long time so I had a little mini safari poke about on the various hazel bushes in our garden. As you can see from the state of these leaves, they provide quite a lot of food for various species.

I found quite a few species, possibly the most spectacular was these Hazel saw fly larvae. (Croesus septentrionalis). They look like caterpillars but they turn into saw flies. They also have a curious defence mechanism, which is that if something disturbs them then they all arch backwards and present a jagged outline to the leaf. Presumably this is enough to deter predators.

Some of the species I found were incredibly small like a tiny spider and a red mite, here is a slide show of some of them.

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The largest I found was a stick insect, (Clonopsis gallicathis ) was about 10cm long.

I looked up on the internet (as you do) how many species live on Oaks and Hazel and found this article by T Southwood ….  is it the same Southwood who wrote the two volumes on British Moths back in the 1960’s ? …… probably.

So it is 284 insects on Oaks and only 73 on Hazel

THE NUMBER OF SPECIES OF INSECT ASSOCIATED WITH VARIOUS TREES
By T. R. E. SOUTHWOOD
Department of Zoology, Imperial College, London
It is common knowledge amongst ecologists and collectors that some trees have many species of insect denizen and others, usually recently introduced, comparatively few. But the number of species of insect associated with a certain tree would seem to reflect not only the actual time it has been present in Britain but also, and of rather more importance, its general abundance or scarcity throughout this period. If this hypothesis is correct, then in other parts of the world where the pattern of tree dominance is different from that in Britain, we should expect the comparative numbers of insect species to vary accord- ingly. The coniferous forest belt is far more extensive in Russia than in Britain and thus pine, spruce, larch and fir (the last three introduced species in Britain) will be comparatively
Table 1. Comparative series of the numbers of insect species on various deciduous (un- marked) and coniferous * forest trees in Britain and European Russia
Tree Britain Russia
Oak (Quercus) 284 150 Willow (Salix) 266 147 Birch (Betula) 229 101 Hawthorn (Crataegus) 149 59 Poplars (Populus) 97 122 Apple (Malus) 93 77 *Pine (Pinus) 91 190 Alder (Alnus) 90 63 Elm (Ulmus) 82 81 Hazel (Corylus) 73 26 Beech (Fagus) 64 79 Ash (Fraxinus) 41 41 *Spruce (Picea) 37 117 Lime (Tilia) 31 37 Hornbeam (Carpinus) 28 53 *Larch (Larix) 17 44 *Fir (Abies) 16 42 Holly (Ilex) 7 8

Réserve naturelle nationale de la baie de l’Aiguillon

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La baie de l’Aiguillon is situated just north of La Rochelle and part of it is in Charente-Maritime and the northern part is in the Vendee. It is a major nature reserve, particularly because of the large numbers of wading birds.

I visited it in order to photograph, carallets at sunset.  Plenty of carralets but just as the sun was setting a large black thunder-cloud spread across the sky and a pretty red or pink sunset was not forthcoming.

Along parts of this coast there is a road running right beside the sea. In places there are some low cliffs and the coast road runs along the top. In other places the road is below the cliffs and right next to the shore line. This is good if you want to spot the birds but not so good if you leave your vehicle and then the tide comes in. There are warnings that the area is liable to flooding but obviously some folks either did not read the signs or were distantly related to King Canute.

This is not the most attractive bit of coast line, there is quite a bit of shellfish industry with a few outlets selling mussels and oysters direct. Also a few restaurants but it is not really tourist country. There are quite a few camper vans and mobile homes parked up in some of the car parks but this is no doubt because it is free parking with overnight stays permitted  and it’s quite close to La Rochelle. Were it to be more scenically attractive then I suspect the parking areas would not allow overnight stays.

I was not particularly on the lookout for birds, but I did see large flocks of gulls, most Black-headed but also lots of Herring gulls. There were Cormorants and Shell ducks passing by and along the shore line I saw quite a few Turnstones. No doubt had I have taken along a telescope then in the distance I might have spotted some more interesting species.

Whilst we were driving along I did see a group of Grey Partridges in one of the fields… Much nicer than the usual Red legged Partridge. The sign board gives you an idea of what other birds you might come across…All the usual suspects.

 

So worth a visit and a kilo of mussels fresh and cleaned only cost 3 euros.