Sunday, 27 January 2013

Bingo – Again

Bingo time again
I am not a fan of Bingo, but it is that time of year again when we run the fund raising Bingo event.

So I have been out traipsing the streets selling tickets, well not actually traipsing the streets, I talked a couple of friends into buying some tickets and we bought the rest ourselves this year. With so much on and with such cold weather and what with it being so last minute and all - excuses, excuses, excuses.

Having said that, our cards have been relatively successful in the past, so maybe more people would have wanted to invest, had we had the time and energy. Our first year of selling, one of our tickets won the consolation prize for the second prize (sounds odd, but they have odd rules in this country) so a terrine (a little jar of pâté to you and me) went to R & G in St Ythaire and the following year one of our tickets won a cordless vacuum cleaner, which went to a chap in Luxembourg. We were buoyed up with our successes last year, so we went on a huge selling spree and as opposed to our usual 20 tickets, we managed to sell just short of 100. Not one ticket won !

So going back to selling just 20 tickets again, I didn’t hold out much hope of a winner.

Guess what? Yes, we have a winner. This time it is the second prize - a getaway from it all weekend for two.

Who’s the winner? Here he is.

Claude the Tiger
I am not sure what the adjudicators will say when they realise that the weekend has been won by a stuffed tiger too young to gamble, but I won’t let on if he takes me with him.

La Tuilerie Website

Wednesday, 23 January 2013

Changes at La Tuilerie

This time last week
I am a bit tardy this week with my blog, but I think I have a relatively good excuse - I’ve been hard at work.

The bathroom in l’Ecurie has been showing its age the last year or two - well who hasn’t really - so this winter’s big maintenance job was to give it a face lift.

As any cosmetic surgeon will know, when you start to correct one thing, something else lets the whole image down. In this case, I started chipping off a little bit of plaster back in November and well, one thing led to another.

The troops have arrived
This time last week, the bathroom looked like the first photo and I was beginning to despair that it would ever look like a bathroom again and even if it ever did, I had no confidence that that would be in time for our first guests at the beginning of April.

Despite the snow early last week, a very competent friend turned up to swell the ranks and things started to improve. At last someone with confidence that this could be solved. Walls rendered, tiles up and finally this morning, I have finished the grouting, now doesn’t that look great?

Grouting done
For the full reveal you will have a wait another week or so until the painting is done and the shower put up etc, but at last I feel we are getting somewhere.

For details of our holiday accommodation - almost with a new bathroom - click here.

Sunday, 13 January 2013

Celebrations and Sad News

The Mayor's speech
This Friday evening we went to the “Voeux du Maire” which is an event held every year, where the Mayor gives a speech celebrating what has gone on in the last year and looking forward for the next twelve months. It is the chance to say “Happy New Year” and kiss, kiss to all your friends and acquaintances, then enjoy a glass or two of crément and a slice of brioche. All very amicable and an enjoyable way to spend a couple of hours.

This year was the same as always, the speech was as expected: the new school is up and running – the kids love it; all the houses have numbers – please use them; the new dustbins are up and running – please recycle as much as possible; thank you for all the hard working volunteers for this, that and the other. Then when he was almost finished, the mayor became very emotional, we actually thought he might begin to cry and then he announced that our village bank machine had been vandalised again, less than one year after the last time this happened.

We were stunned, it was obvious that not all the village had heard the news and so those who knew, told those who didn’t, all the details. This time the thieves were better equipped, better organised and not a little bit cocky. Not only did they remove the whole bank machine and move it to the square outside the church to continue demolishing it to make it easier to transport, but they shouted “we’re bank robbers” at the tops of their voices when they saw curtains twitching.

The Grange Finot
The last time the machine was damaged, a replacement took 5 months to arrive and to be honest, no one has any hope that this one will actually be replaced. So a big thank you guys, I hope you enjoy the couple of thousand you have won at the expense of the whole village and the thousands of tourists who pass through here.

Another piece of sad news reached our ears as well, our favourite restaurant is closing down and moving to Cluny. OK so it is not too far for us to go for a meal, but as The Grange Finot is literally just around the corner, we will be sad to see Serge go.

On the upside, he has sold the restaurant and we are all hoping the new owner will be as good. No dates have been given for the move, but we will certainly be keeping our ears to the ground on this one.

La Tuilerie Website

Saturday, 5 January 2013

New Year in Burgundy

We normally don’t actually celebrate New Year, we are rather boring if the truth be known and not party animals at all, but this year we were talked into going to dinner with some friends, and what a dinner it turned out to be.

In total 20 people were invited, we started at 8 o’clock with crément and aperitif snacks - too many to list here, but all delicious. This was followed by an excellent dry white wine, together with a very good amuse-bouche of lentil and ham mousse in a verrine (a small glass). After that, the starter appeared, fois gras with a pear chutney served with warm toast and a sweet wine from the Alsace. Fish course next, salmon for everyone except me, who was treated to an absolutely delicious pâté, served with a green salad and the original dry white wine. Red wine time now, a local burgundy, with roast beef, roast lamb, boiled ham and carrots, beans, parsnips and roast potatoes.

Fois gras
We were just finishing our main course when midnight was sounded. Out came the champagne, party poppers, pea shooters and silly hats, kisses all round. One set of next-door neighbours arrived shortly afterwards bringing more champagne and then the neighbours from the other side arrived, totalling 35 of us at the most busy point. Good job our friends have a large living room.

Most of the extras left by 1 o’clock and we moved on to the cheese course, an excellent selection made all the more perfect as it included one of my favourites, St Félicien - a small runny, creamy number. Finally the first dessert arrived, mousse-au-chocolat, again in the very cute verrines.

St Félicien
Lots of dancing, lots of chatting, giving and receiving presents, great fun all round.

By five thirty you would have thought we had all had enough, but no, it was time to make some onion soup! All the lads into the kitchen, finding and chopping a couple of kilos of onions and expertly making the soup, making garlic croutons and grating cheese. I had heard that French parties ended this way, but I didn’t really believe it. “Good for the digestion” the lady next to me at the table had said.

Onion soup to round it all off.
So there we were at half past six (yes it took that long to make) eating our onion soup and for those who hadn’t had enough to eat, there was also a strawberry cheesecake.

We found our bed, as everyone left, at 7 am. I think I'll need a whole year to recover from this one.

Happy New Year!

La Tuilerie Website
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