On the second weekend of September it is the Circuit des Remparts in Angouleme. It is on Friday 14th, Saturday15th and Sunday16th of September 2012. Continue reading
We stopped off at Jarnac for a couple of hours when we were on our way to Talmont. More about that in a later post.
Jarnac is on the Charente river and is between Cognac and Angouleme in the department of Charente. Two hours is probably doing it an injustice as I found it a very attractive town and I enjoyed my visit more than visits to Cognac which I have been to several times. It seemed more user-friendly, smaller and there was less nondescript stuff in-between which seems to be the case in Cognac. Not that I would advise against a visit to Cognac. (click to see my blog on Cognac)
It has a lot of history but the one thing you can’t fail to notice is the domination of the town by Courvoisier Cognac.
Friday was the final stage of the 2012 race and was from Melle to Poitiers. We decided to station ourselves in the village of Aslonnes which is about three-quarters of the way along the final leg. We got there quite early so saw the caravane passing through. Good fun for the children collecting caps, T-shirts, pens, sweets, etc. Some had even bought along a plastic carrier bag to collect all the goodies in.
I parked myself under a large cedar tree close to the war memorial and promptly got resin all over my bum as the tree drips resin everywhere and I had decided to sit on the war memorial! Anyway it was not long before the cyclists came through, two groups, the leading group was quite big and made up of about 20/30 riders. They were about 2 minutes ahead of the Peloton and then there were a few straglers.
I took a stack of photos and here are some of the better ones.
What happened was this, the peloton split in two after the first 100 km, and it was ultimately Francisco VENTOSO (Movistar) who won by a few millimeters ahead of Thomas VOECKLER (Europcar). Following in this order Marco HALLER (Katusha), Luke DURBRIDGE (Orica-GreenEdge) and Rui Alberto FARIA DA COSTA (Movistar).
In the overall standings, it was Luke Durbridge (GreenEdge-Orica) who won the 26th Tour de Poitou-Charentes, with Jérémy Roy (FDJ-Bigmat) 6 sec behind ,then Lazlo Bodrogi (Team Type 1-Sanofi) 11 sec, Jean-Christophe PERAUD (AG2R La Mondiale) at 22 sec and Thomas Voeckler (Europcar) in 26 sec.
The results were as follows
Originally Robins were called Red breasts and then someone decided to give them a name and that was Robin, no doubt because robin red breast tripped off the tongue quite easilly and calling him Cuthbert or Simon would not have caught on. Eventually the redbreast bit has more or less been dropped and they are now just Robins.
We could do this for some of our other birds ??? How about Billy Blackbird and then they might end up being simply Billys. Tits were known as tom tits in the past but they have not become Toms and Sparrows are sometimes reffered to as spuggies but that is not a name like Tom or Billy.
Anyway the reason for this post is because we have a young Robin visiting the garden at the moment and he/she is just getting its red breast. We do not have much about at all at the moment, just some Blue tits and Great tits Nuthatches and Woody Woodpigeons. There are calls from woodpeckers and I have seen a couple of Black Redstarts, there are buzzards and swallows overhead but compared to May and June it is pretty poor.
Stage 1 on Tuesday 21st August and is from Villebois-Lavalette to Royan (182 Km)
Stage 2 on Wednesday 22nd August is from Royan to Melle (199.2 Km)
Stage 3 on Thursday morning is from Pleumartin to La Roche Posay (99.4 Km)
Stage 4 on Thursday afternoon is a time trial around La Roche Posay (22.1Km)
Stage 5 on Friday 24th is from Melle to Poitiers (188.8Km)
So with all the interest generated by our Bradley in the Tour de France and seven gold medals for cycling events in the Olympics with Sir Chris Hoy and Bradley, to name just two, doing so well I expect a lot of us will be getting out to experience a little local excitement when the Tour de Poitou Charentes comes near to our patch. To have a close look at exactly where it is going click this link. Tour de Poitou Charentes route.
By the way I have a tenuous connection to Bradley Wiggins which I will share with you. Several years ago when I ran the East Anglian Field Study Centre his brother came on an ecology course with St Augustine’s School and we spoke about Bradley who was at that time just becoming known so I feel I almost know him!
Rasta Donkeys, as I call them, are big, stocky donkeys with their coats in dreadlocks. They are local to this region and were nearly extinct in 1977 when their numbers dropped to only 44. Now there are more – probably about 180 pure bred ones with another 200 or so which are not 100% pure stock.
Pure stock should be large – between 13.1 and 14.3 hands high at the withers, they should have a brown shaggy coat known as a cadanette in French and have a white under belly, white nose and a white ring round each eye although this is often not visible due to the dreadlocks.
They were originally used to crossbreed with a type of horse called a Mulasssiere to produce Mules which were particularly good workers.
The one photographed here is living at La Parc de la Belle and I am not sure if it is pure bred. You can also see them at Dampierre sur Boutonne. On the Ile de Re they sometimes dress these donkeys up ostensibly to keep the flies off, though I think with a full coat it would have to be a very determined fly to get at them. Click here for more info on donkeys in culottes!
My experience of Poitiers Europcar is somewhat mixed. Last October we hired a car from Europcar and it took us a while to get the car fitted with both an infant seat for a 7 month old and a toddler seat for a two year old. The guy was unwilling to fit the seats himself – this is an experience we’ve previously had with hire companies so it may be something legally they want to avoid – and as a result kept on upgrading the car to help us to be able to fit the seats ourselves. He didn’t seem to get that while a bigger car was nice, the safety of the child was paramount. Eventually we fitted the seats, and were left wishing for a car rental service that realised if they made the car hire experience child friendly we would never use anyone else again. Continue reading