What’s on in Poitou-Charentes September 2015



Festival Coup de Chauffe; Cognac: 4th to 6th Sept (more)

L’Imprevu Festival Montemboeuf; Montemboeuf: 11th to13th Sept (more)2014 site

Barrobjective photographic exhibition;  Barro: 19th to 27th Sept (more) excellent ….make the effort to visit this.

Remontee de la Seudre; Royan: 12th and 13th Sept ((more)

Le Grand Pavois boat show; La Rochelle: 16th to 21st Sept. (more) Biggest in Europe?

79_afficheofficielle2015Circuit des Remparts/International Rallye: Angouleme: 18th to 20th  September……   I love it. (more)

Half Marathon; Chasseneuil: 20th Sept (more)

Les Ormes; Cockney made good?


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Well what a surprise, finding a bottle of wine produced my me old mate Leslie Ormes or as he preferred to be called Les.Les Ormes2

I am not surprised although the boy has come a long way since his days back in the East end. He probably got it from his dad ‘Arry Ormes.  I remember when ‘Arry had a stall selling live Eels just outside Upton Park tube station on Green Street. Then ‘Arry progressed to producing jellied eels mash and liquor and taking them round all the pubs in the area. He had a patch which covered Green Street, the Barking Road, Plashet Grove and Katherine street. He would cover all the big pubs, the Anne Boleyn, the White Hart, and ended up at the Duke of Fife on Katherine Rd.

The Duke of Fife was where the Walker brothers would hang out…. not the ones who sang the boring song…..’You’ve lost that loving feeling’. No Billy and George, Billy or the Blonde Bombshell as he was known was a heavyweight boxer and his bruvver George was his manager and was the brains. Of course the White Hart was the home of another local boxer; Terry Spinks.e7_dukeoffife

At the time Les was just a kid at Sandringham school which was how I knew him, Sandringham? what a name. The place could not have been more different  from the Queens place in Norfolk. You grew up quick there and if you were lucky you learnt to add up and take away as well.

Les used to help his dad with the pie and eels and that’s how he got to know Billy Walker. When he left school he had a place just behind Valentines Park in Ilford, it was an off licence, but that was just a front, really it was an outlet for baccy and booze what he was bringing in duty-free from France. He was one of the first to get a big old transit van and start the weekly booze runs. I think George may have helped him get started.

This was what got Les interested in the wine trade, and like his old dad he always wanted to run the whole show. When ‘Arry was doing the eels he had family who had moved up to King’s Lynn after the war and they were supplying the eels, direct from the Great Ouse, regular, every week they were running them down from Norfolk in an old Bedford van.

Les Ormes1So it was not long before Les got a place in the South of France. Cambras in the Pays d’Oc, not too expensive just a nice little earner. And surprise surprise there it is in my local supermarket. Went down well with half a dozen oysters, perhaps I should have had it with some jellied eels for old times sake.

Defiplanet; Dienne, Vienne


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This is well worth a visit, we went in August 2015 on a clear sunny day but not too hot. This was good because it takes some while to go round, it is not a short walk.Defiplanet2

The first part visits various countries, there is what they call  a Mongolian yurt, ( Mongolians prefer the word Ger as Yurt is a Russian word and Mongolians are always a bit nervous about their big neighbours, the Russians and the Chinese. Also the Ger is the traditional building and a yurt is a more modern development of it.). There is a traditional house from Poitou-Charentes, then a Berber village, a caravan from the Camargue and a Hungarian house.

With these there are also tradional animals like the Preswalski Horses or the Dromedary Camel and a white cow with massive horns that is actually called a grey cow and some long haired pigs. They have the Poitou-Charentes donkey the rasta donkey or Baudet Poietevin, and there is lots more besides.

Once you get through the countries there is a large woodland adventure, this has wizards and elves and lots of things for the children and some of the ‘grown ups’ to enjoy.

There are also lots of signs about the animals and birds that live in the woods and you might see but probably not.

One area had some impressive pine trees, not sure what species but their bark was most attractive.

Also part of this is a tree top walk, quite high and it sways about quite a bit, so I was told. I took the photos from ground level.

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Another aspect of Defiplanet is that you can stay there and you have the choice of staying in toadstools, or a giant snail or a castle and several others; they all look like fun.

Also they have a huge play area much of which is free but there is also a high wire experience which you do have to pay for. There is the inevitable shop but it is not too in your face and lots of the items are things like tooth paste and shampoo which is for the convenience of the glampers.

Have a look at their web site for more details http://en.defiplanet.com/en-defi-planet/en-liens-utiles/photo-album

Mad Hatters Tea Party; Caunay, August 2015


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We went there on the Saturday afternoon….. after it had rained all day on the Friday, so this gave the place the authentic muddy Glastonbury feel. Mad Hatters7

Saturday was a good day and we decided to stay on for the evening session. The afternoon is free but if you stay for the evening then it cost you and you have the option to pay more and then a meal is included or pay less and that’s just for the bands. We decided to pay less as we were not sure how interested the grandchildren would be.  As it turned out I think we chose the best option as we still could get food from the food tent and the queue for the pre paid evening meal was quite long and what I saw of the food it was not that special for the price.Mad Hatters2

There was quite a lot to do and the children soon made friends with other children and made good use of the bouncy castleMad Hatters5 and the face painting and other juggling type games. Most of this stuff was free as was the pop corn although you could make a donation.

There was one stage and the bands were quite good although our favourite was a two piece called ‘Coffees and Cigarettes’ and they played to the left of the main stage and also filled in between one ‘main’ band and another. My son even bought their CD and offered to book them to play at his bar in Birmingham called the Dubella Lounge. They said they had never played in the UK but they did exchange phone numbers so it might happen one day. This is one half of the duo, the other guy played a cello. Also in this photo is a guy who was very keen on this band and was quite good at juggling and had a lovely dog.Mad Hatters10

The beer tent was visited regularly and supplied recyclable containers which you could either keep or return and get your deposit back, we kept ours, the wine was cheaper by the bottle so that’s what we did.Mad Hatters14

The audience was largely British and a lot of ageing hippies, but that was all part of it. It makes you wonder how many Brits there are in rural France; well into the hundreds I would guess.The bands were more French and quite rightly introduced everything in both French and English. This was the fifth time this event has been staged and like most of these festivals will no doubt get bigger and better each year, I would certainly look out for it next year. Click on any of the photos below to get a close up and maybe see yourself in the crowd?

Their web site is http://www.madhattersfrance.eu/festival-deux-sevres.php and it is held in Caunay, don’t muddle it up with Chaunay which is close but not the same place. It is on the site of a big house which is a sort of good food/natural ingredients restaurant, Called Mad Hatters.


Le Musee de la Bande Dessinee (Angouleme)


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The comic strip museum….. well its not great.Cartoon museum1

We went there because it was forecast to be a grey/wet day in August and we had my sons family staying and we thought that comic strips might be interesting to our 7 year old grandson. He had some spending money and was keen on Marvel magazines and wanted to buy a marvel book.

I thought it might have some of the early Batman and Superman magazines which I collected in the early sixties along with stuff like the Incredible Hulk and Spiderman. I also thought that there would be comics like the Beano, Dandy and Eagle, also perhaps some Rupert bear or some Furry freak brothers with Fat Freddies cat. I expected to see Tin Tin and Charlie Brown. There were a few of these but you had to search for them and no Beano and only one of Fat Freddy.

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Well what we got was a special on Momin  who I have heard off but am not that fussed by, However the children liked it and then we got into the main permanent gallery.

This is organised in a historical way starting with the first cartoons and then progressing through to the present. Virtually all the exhibits are of French cartoons, and all the written texts explaining what is depicted is in French.  Also these explanations are mostly below the exhibit and dimly lit so you have to bend down and squint in order to be able to read them.

There are a few videos of interviews with people like Herge, but there are not many and they are on quite small screens. I would have thought they would have had at least a few big screens with stuff like Tom and Jerry or Mickey Mouse, but no …..nothing.Cartoon museum7

The whole gallery is quite dimly lit and not very inspiring for a 7 year old and even a 66 year old.  It soon became apparent that this museum was not going to hold our attention for more than about 45 minutes and for the seven year old even 45 minutes was pushing it.

As with all these places they have the dreaded shop strategically located so that you can not get out without passing through it. This shop area had vast numbers of books, obviously all about comic characters. Our grandson was keen to spend some of his holiday money but 99.9% of all the books were in French and mostly about some obscure comic strip that you had never heard of. Even the Batman and superman stuff was in French.

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Yes I know this is France, so you expect a French bias, but virtually all tourist venues in France have a lot of info written in English and often other languages as well. This museum is only for the French and not only that it is poorly presented and will only interest French speakers who are mad keen on comic strips. ie not many people.

This place needs to get a grip and get revamped so as to appeal to a wide European audience. Until it does so I suggest you give it a miss.

Oh an by the way the surrounding area is very pleasant with a river and gardens and there is a library with interesting architecture. There is also another museum which is the Museum of Paper…..???? Well I suppose with good presentation anything can be made interesting but after the dismal failure of the comics strip museum this one sounded even less interesting. Sorry it might be excellent but we walked on by. And its in the Rue de Bordeaux but as I said I would not bother.

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Incidentally if you think what I am saying is a bit negative then have a look at what other people say on Trip advisor and you will see that the majority are also quite underwhelmed. See what others say click HERE 

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


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