Saturday, 24 May 2014

A cat’s life can be tough

Trying to get some shut-eye
I often envy our cat, all she does all day is snooze when the mood takes her, go for a little walk if she fancies, run around chasing things and generally doing things she thinks are fun. She eats when she likes, from the food that is always available and she get cuddles on demand.

But the last couple of weeks I have really felt sorry for her. We have redstarts nesting in our vide.

Safe in their nest
Now what could be yummier for a little cat than fresh chicks from a nest? Fortunately for the chicks, the nests are well out of Fifi’s reach, but this is where my empathy with my poor cat comes in.

Anyone who has had any dealings with redstarts will know what a heck of a noise they make. Tick, tick, tick, tick loudly and endlessly, on and on they go. The noise is to divert your attention away from the chicks, but what these stupid birds don’t realise is that all this constant ticking alerts everyone else to the fact that there is a redstart nest nearby.

Poor little Fifi is being driven potty. She has found the nest but can’t get at them and is constantly reminded of that fact. The blasted zooming backward and forward and loud ticks drive me insane when I am just carrying plants or garden tools in and out of the vide, what it must be like for a little cat who is trying to snooze in her basket and ignore the fact that a nice snack is just out of her reach.

Daddy keeps watch while....
.....Mummy brings home the dinner
So here are some photos of the offenders and the quiet little chicks. Hopefully they will fly the nest soon and our garden will go back to the quiet place it once was where people and cats can snooze undisturbed.

Saturday, 17 May 2014

The chateau at Berzé-le-Châtel ravaged by fire.

There is a quite superb mediaeval chateau in Berzé-le-Châtel, you can see if for miles around and it is the last landmark I see as the train nears Mâcon TGV station on my trips back from the UK, the definitive sign that I am almost home. Imagine my horror when I saw in the paper that there had been a huge fire on Thursday night that had completely destroyed the Burgundian style roof.

The fire brigades from as far away as Charolles (40km) and Le Creusot (70km) had attended. Just looking at the photos, that I have taken from Le Jourmal de Sâone-et-Loire website, you can see what a huge fire it was.

The chateau is not open to the public as people live in it, but you can have a guided tour of the grounds, the ramparts and the chapel. To be honest it is one of the most interesting tours I have taken of a chateau, the guide explains the defences of such an imposing construction, how the different walls, moats, gates and twisted internal passages combine to make such an edifice almost impenetrable.

During the weekend, I managed to talk Cees into going to see what was left of the castle. We set off into a thunder storm, which seemed quite appropriate considering the sombre mission. We neared the castle and could just make out its form through the driving rain. We parked and waited for the rain to pass and to our surprise we saw the castle in all its glory! No charred ruin at all.

Maybe the paper had exaggerated the extent of the damage. We headed off round the other side of the hill to see the roofs from a different angle. Still no sign of the damage. It had only been three days since the fire, there was no way that they had managed to repair the roof. So we headed up the hill to the castle entrance and we saw tourists with their umbrellas up touring the ramparts, but no sign of even the remains of a bonfire.

Considerabley confused we headed home and paused for one last photo, which seemed to show that part of the roof had recently been replaced. That must be it, after all it is an historical monument, maybe the National Architect had managed to come out and get someone in quick to construct a temporary (but very good looking) roof over the damage to prevent further deterioration of the building.

On arriving home, all was revealed. We re-read the newspaper article and we now realise that there are two chateaux in Berzé-le-Châtel, the mediaeval one and one that is a wine chateau. And guess what? Yes, you are right, it was the wine chateau that had the fire. No less upsetting for the owners of course, but at least “my” chateau was still in one piece even if I hadn’t believed with my own eyes!

For more information on the beautiful castle in Berzé-le-Châtel clck here or for details of our gites nearby, click here

Friday, 9 May 2014

Famous in Paris

Back in March we had a long weekend in Paris. We have visited so many times, you wouldn’t think that we could see anything new, but this weekend gave us a number of firsts.

The first, first was to be greeted by a sign, when we entered the metro system, announcing that public transport was free for the whole weekend. On the one hand great for our purse, but on the other hand not so good for my asthma, the reason for the free transport was due to very high levels of pollution.

When we arrived at the flat we had rented in Montmartre we went up to the Scare Coeur, just look at that beautiful blue sky – what pollution? Then look the other way over Paris and can you actually see the Eiffel Tower through the smog?

After seeing some tremendous art and just enjoying the wonders of Paris, soaking up the atmosphere, our last morning was to be spent in a TV studio being part of the audience of the only programme we actually watch on TV - “Questions Pour un Champion”.

The outside of the studio was not as glamorous as I had envisaged it in my mind and the studio was a lot smaller than I had expected, but it was exciting none the less.

So why a blog now about a trip to Paris in March? Well yesterday and today the programmes were/are on the TV. At last, time has caught up with us and just to prove that Cees was there, here is a screen shot of yesterday’s quiz. I've added an arrow in case you don't recognise him. Of course I am just off screen, almost on TV yet again… I’ll get there one day!

Saturday, 3 May 2014

Camping is good for you – it’s official

Beautiful sunset at La Tuilerie
The camping season has started here at La Tuilerie. Our first campers of the season turned up last weekend and pitched up for the week. The fact that many people come back year after year does not really surprise me because as any real camper knows, camping is good for you.  After a week in the open air, enjoying all that nature has to offer you, you feel just fantastic and you are set up to face anything that real life can throw at you.

Snoopy's got it right
Whilst that is of course my theory, I have now had it confirmed.  I was browsing the BBC website the other day and came across an article that stated just what I say - camping is good for you.

Apparently if you spend a week camping, you reset your body clock by setting your melatonin levels straight again. This will of course bring you enormous, untold health benefits.

So get your tents out and start planning your next holiday on our lovely campsite !

La Tuilerie Website
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