Friday, 21 October 2011

Harvesting walnuts

October is a busy month for harvesting fruit and nuts. I have been picking walnuts for over a month now. I have to be quicker than birds and squirrels!

Nuts drop naturally when their husks soften around September/October time. This year they were about 2 weeks early because of the hot weather we have had in Brittany.

You don’t actually pick them from the trees! If some nuts are on the floor still in their husk, use gloves otherwise you will get black fingers and nails for days!

My neighbour’s walnuts are huge!! See the above photo!

I will post recipes with walnuts on this blog soon.

Thursday, 20 October 2011

Fresh quails eggs

When you live in the countryside in France, you always end up swapping excess fruit and veg or other things with your neighbours !

Last week, we got a dozen of fresh quails eggs (oeufs de caille). Our neighbours just had new additions to the farm, a couple of quails! A few days earlier we had goose eggs. Not quite the same size!
I served the quails eggs with other nibbles with the aperitif. I simmered the eggs for 5 minutes and they were perfect – that is what the guests said as I didn’t get a chance to taste them! They disappeared very quickly!

No doubt, I will get more from my neighbours very soon so if you have interesting recipes with quails eggs, please feel free to add them to this blog.

Sunday, 2 October 2011

Evran car boot sale today

Evran is having a braderie all day today. Mainly children cloths, toys, books, etc, but you will also find anything there!

I bought a few books and DVDs for a few euros.

I will have to organise another film night with the girls!

Evran is 10 min South of Dinan in Brittany.

Friday, 30 September 2011

Plousane Exhibition

At Plouasne Cultural Centre...

There is an exhibition of the work of seven local artists: a calligrapher-illustrator, a glass painter, a ceramist, a sculptor, a graphic painter and a paint-engraver.
The exhibition is on until October 2nd 2011. It will take you to the heart of our territory with its legends, anecdotes and stories, with many photographs old and new and a collection of objects used every day in the past.


Plouasne is 15 min South of Dinan.

Thursday, 16 June 2011

Special offer - gite in Brittany

We are currently offering a special offer on our Brittany gite for our last 2 weeks left for the 2011 season!

From 9th to 23rd July:
350 euros for 2 people
450 euros up to 4 and
550 euros up to 6.

For more information and photos, please visit

Tuesday, 31 May 2011

The price of French stamps is increasing!

As from 1st July 2011, the prices of stamps in France are increasing.

It will be €0.60 for France (increase of 2 cents) and €0.77 for Europe (it is currently €0.75).
If the stamps you have at home don't show any prices on them, you can still use them. If they do have a price on them, you can get some 1 cent stamps.

For more information regarding the services offered by La Poste see this link here.

Saturday, 28 May 2011

Gite in Brittany - Last minute booking!

Special offers on a beautiful gite in Brittany located near Dinan!

We are currently offering up to 150 euros off!

Bookings between 4th June to 2nd July 2011:
395 euros instead of 500 euros.

From 9th to 23rd July: 450 euros instead of 600 euros.

Special tariff for couples: 295 euros in June and 350 euros for July. Price for 2 adults.

For those seeking the countryside peace, there are opportunities for country walks around the pretty lanes that surround the gite or along the canal that runs through the town nearby.

For families there are plenty of distractions for the children, as the villa has a play area in the garden and the accommodation is baby, toddler and child-friendly.

Activities nearby: golf course, lake, swimming pools, horse riding, theme parks, water sports, zoo, parks and gardens, tennis, historic/medieval towns, etc.

For more information about our gite in Brittany, please visit this web site here.

Make use of this last minute special offer! Book your gite in Brittany now!

Thursday, 28 April 2011

Carboot sale in St Helen - 1st May 2011

Well, the 1st May is a busy day for Vide grenier lovers!

I have found another Vide Grenier in St Helen for this Sunday.

St Helen is 15min East of Dinan.

Wednesday, 27 April 2011

Brocante in Dinard

40 antique dealers will be at the Esplanade de la Halle in Dinard from 9 am to 7pm this Sunday 1st May 2011.

Free admission.

Whilst in Dinard, visit the Parc de Port-Breton. It is also free to visit.

See my post about the Parc. You will find it under "Places to visit", "Childrens corner".

If you don't know the promenade du Clair de Lune, do it!
It is the coastal path all around Dinard. It is so colorful in the summer. They splash out on flowers!

Saturday, 23 April 2011

Plant exchange in Dinan this Easter Sunday

Dinan plant exchange is taking place this Sunday (24th April 2011) in Dinan. Ste Anne area.

From Dinan centre, go up to McDonalds, turn right at the round about and right again at the next round about. Go to the bottom of the hill and you should find us.

I must say I have never been to this plant exchange before, so I can't tell you more about it for now but I will definitely go this Sunday - tomorrow.
It is from 10 to 12 only.

Bring plants, seeds, gardening magazines, and anything to do with gardening.

Pleudihen Vide Grenier on 24th April 2011

Pleudihen is having a Vide grenier this Easter Sunday.
Pleudihen is a quint village Est of Dinan. Visit the seal at Mordreuc beach if you go there!

See my other post about it under Beaches in Brittany and Childrens corner.

Vide Grenier on 24th April 2011

Borseul is having a Vide grenier this Easter Sunday.
Borseul is a small village North West of Dinan.

No doubt you will find a bargain!

Rare butterfly and insect exhibition this weekend 17th April 2011

Private exhibition of rare Tropical butterflies and insects in the 'Manoir de la Grand'Cour' in Taden.
Taden is next to Dinan!
The exhibition is on from 23rd to 26th April 2011.

Something unusual to do for this weekend!

Thursday, 14 April 2011

Vide gernier in St Pern 24th April 2011

Vide grenier in St Pern Sunday 24th April.

St Pern is near Bécherel, 25 min South of Dinan

Becherel is a lovely place.
Famous for books. There are over 10 book shops, some serving tea and cakes.

There is also a chateau there, called le Petit Versailles. You can only visit the garden.

You could spend a great afternoon in this area if you have never been!

Of course, visit our village of Evran whilst there! Have a picnic at Betineuc lake or near the canal!!

Vide Grenier in Trélat - 15 May 2011

Another date for your diary...

Trélat vide grenier (car boot sale) is on 15th May 2011.

Trélat is a small village North of Dinan.

Tuesday, 12 April 2011

2 great web sites

If you have unwanted items, too good to take to the déchetterie, and too big to take to a car boot sale, you can give them away using the following web sites:

I would advise to put a photo to go with the text.

I have recently put an advert on both web site and within 48 hours I had 2 persons interested!
As it is a settee and 2 huge armchairs, they have to find a transport. Hopefully the items will be cleared from my garage soon and useful to somebody else.

It is free to use both web sites. And you never know you might find something you need yourself that someone is clearing!

Vide grenier in Treverien

Well another date for your diary...

Sunday 24th July
Vide grenier in Treverien

Treverien is near Evran, about 20 min South East of Dinan.

Free stall.

i have a leaflet but there is no phone number on it to book a stall.
I guess we just turn up on the day?!

Monday, 11 April 2011

Tour de France 2011 going through Dinan!

Once again this year, the Tour de France is passing through our area.

On Thursday 7th July 2011, the cyclists will be departing from Dinan in Brittany on their way to Lisieux, 226 km further.

The 'Caravane' will start at 10am and the cyclists won't come til 11.45am. It is a long time to wait but don't worry the 'Caravane' will entertain you! The best place to stand is near the Post office in Dinan to see the cyclists closely or from the Jardin Anglais you will have a great view when they go over the viaduct.

Parking your car in Dinan that day will be a nightmare! It is best to go early or watch the Tour from another village ie St Helen!

If you have never seen the Tour de France, make sure you don't miss it this year. You have to see it once for real!

If you are looking for an accommodation in Brittany, visit this site here. Our gite is only 10 minutes away from Dinan.

If you are a keen cyclist, you can even cycle to Dinan from our gite in Evran using either the old rail way track or the canal path.

Record sunshine in Brittany

Spring temperature records were broken last week in Brittany. The temperature hit 26 degrees. It was very unusual for this time of the year.

I had a lot to catch up in the garden so I thoroughly enjoyed it! I planted my French beans, potatoes, runner beans, broad beans, shallots, onions, etc. Any excuse to be outside!

I caught up with the office work (translations) in the evening. I had to enjoy the weather while it lasted!

Plant exchange in St Carné

I have just picked up a leaflet showing various events around Dinan and i was surprised to see there is a plant exchange (Troc aux plantes) on 17th April from 2 to 6pm in St Carné. It must be their first one.

It will take place in the Salle des Fêtes.

St Carné is 5 min South of Dinan.

On the same day you will also find a Vide Grenier in Plesder, see my other post about it. Plesder is only a short drive away from St Carné.

Plesder car boot sale this Sunday

Plesder car boot sale (vide grenier) is on this Sunday (17th April 2011). It is usually a great car boot sale. You will find the usual: books, DVDs, furniture, cloths, etc.

I will no doubt pop in and see if I can something interesting there! I did buy a lot of DVDs last year - all in English and French - for 2 or 3 euros each.

Friday, 4 February 2011

The moles spent Christmas at our place...

When we came back from our Xmas break, we noticed moles (taupes in French) had returned.... The front garden looked like a mine field.

As it was their third visit, we knew exactly what to do. We had used all sorts but traps (trappe à taupes) were the best way.

Luckily, they had been and gone while we were away. We haven't notice any more activity. We just needed to rake the soil.

Here is a link of a great way to get rid of the moles... A bit cruel, but it does the job.

You can find mole traps from DIY shops or garden centres in France.

If you have any tricks to get rid of moles, please feel free to share them with us!

La Chandeleur - 2nd February

La Chandeleur, also known as Jour des crêpes (pancake day) is celebrated in France on 2nd February each year. It is 40 days after Christmas (Noël).

I am not religious but I do like home-made pancakes ! Being busy with work on 2nd February, I made my Crêpes the day after with free range eggs from our chickens and full fat milk from my neighbours cows.

You know La Chandeleur is coming as all supermarkets have special offers on frying pans in France about 10 days before!

In France, we often have pancake parties for La Chandeleur. We invite friends and eat pancakes together! We usually have jam or chocolate spread on them.

I can't really share my recipe with you because I don't measure anything! It is called 'au pifomètre' or 'au pif' when we just put ingredients together without measuring them.

For the 2 of us, I use 2 eggs, about 2 handfuls of flour, a pinch of salt and add milk until I get the right consistency. I don't put sugar in as jam has already enough sugar in it. If needed (if the pancake sticks to the pan) I put a bit of oil but the full fat milk from the farm replace the oil!


Snow drops - the sign of nice weather on its way!!

It always cheers me up when I see the first snowdrops (Perce-neige in French) blooming in my garden! And yesterday was the day!!

If you don't have any snowdrops in your garden, plant a few bulbs this autumn. They are very easy to grow - you don't have to do anything and they keep coming back each year! That is what I call easy gardening....

Bulbs can be purchased from garden centres or supermarkets in France.

Tuesday, 25 January 2011

Bonne Année !

In France, we wish our friends, neighbours or acquaintances a “Bonne année” (Happy new year). We also say

“Meilleurs Voeux” (best wishes), and “Bonne santé” (good health).

We only start wishing “Bonne année” or “Meilleurs Voeux” on 31st December and we have right up until the end of January to do so.

We send “Cartes de Voeux” in January rather than Christmas cards. Usually to people who live far from us and / or that we don’t see often.

If you haven’t wished Bonne Année to your neighbours, hurry up! You only have a few more days…

Photo: French carte de voeux showing Dinan, our local medieval town.

Friday, 21 January 2011

Unhappy Breton pig farmers

At the moment, pig farmers (éleveurs de porcs) only get €1.30 per kilo of meat. The price is at rock bottom and farmers are furious.

Yesterday, sixty unhappy pig farmers visited 4 supermarkets in and around St Brieuc in Brittany and took off the shelves all products (pre-packed ham, patés, sausages, etc) that didn’t have the mention « Viande de Porc Française » or « Origine France ».

Pig farmers have been asking supermarkets to promote French pigs and they have not kept their promises.

Looking at the photos of OuestFrance (see link here), there were not a lot of items left on the shelves!!

Hopefully local supermarkets will change their attitude as we know how bad French strikes can be!