Bird trapping


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I thought it was illegal, well here in Andalusia, it is common place and the locals do not seem to be the slightest bit concerned who sees them.

Today is our first full day in Zahora on the Spanish coast, it is south of Cadiz and is where the Battle of Trafalgar took place. Not in Zahora but out to sea from Zahora, the coast juts out and there is a light house called Faro Trafalgar.Spain2

Back to the birds. I could see one group of guys catching them from my balcony and on a short walk up the beach I came across three more groups.Spain21

They have decoys which seem to be Goldfinches in little cages, they set about 6 of these out and then put up some nets. When some birds are decoyed into the area they pull a string and the nets fall down and catch the birds.Spain10

The men then run to the nets and check what they have caught. I did see some fly up and away, whether these were not wanted or whether they escaped I do not know. I also saw one chap stamping on something, whether that was a bird or maybe he was securing the pegs that hold the nets I do not know.Spain6

What I do know is that they were very busy and did not seem at all concerned about me or my camera. It would be so easy to restrict this, all the local police would need to do is drive past every so often and when they found any one doing this to just confiscate their nets and cages. No need to prosecute, simply by removing their equipment it would make it very difficult to replace as I am sure the cost would be quite substantial.

I was directed to a good article about this practice and it is worth a read. Click

Photographing the Blood Moon


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Well it was not so easy…… First it was cold and second it was dark. I suppose that was to be expected, but adjusting the camera when your fingers are frozen and you can’t see very well makes life difficult. I did have a torch and that helped.

This is what the moon looked like at 2.45 am ish. At this stage it was kicking out quite a lot of light so a fast shutter speed was needed to get  any detail.Blood Moon1

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Camera club and photoshop.


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Here are two photos from Poitou-Charentes which I am entering into the next completion at my local camera club. It is the Forest of Dean Camera Club, and you might like to have a look at their web site.After the harvest( Rape field in Poitou-Charentes)

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Civray market


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Look at what was on offer in the market… Ceps. Unfortunately we were on the last day of our visit and using up food stocks,  so we did not purchase any.Market day4

You never know what you might find in the local markets, always worth a visit. To check out when they are on visit  Poitou-Charentes market days

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Also if you are visiting Civray market then when you walk back to the car park, take a stroll along the river and enjoy the newly cleaned up church.Market day6

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

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 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 


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