Self catering holidays & B&B at Chenevaux

St Pierre de Maille, Poitou Charentes, France
Chenevaux - un petit coin de paradis! A superb location for a relaxing short break, a longer holiday or some art classes with Mark. The Gite - very comfortable self-catering accommodation for 5, available all year. Bed and Breakfast is available in the Farmhouse. Facilities at Chenevaux include: Swimming pool, 9 tee pitch and putt, Croquet lawn, Table-tennis and Art studio, all set in 7 acres of private grounds.

Sunday, 28 May 2017

Baking hot end to May

Phew, 34C here today!  Have disregarded the saying about casting clouts before we melt!  The pool was at 26 yesterday, very pleasant.

A few years ago we received a free gift of a lemon tree from a nursery.  It took a while to get going, and we have to put it in the potting shed over the winter but here is the first harvest.

We enjoyed some bits of RHS Clelsea last week but it didn't seem as vibrant as usual.  Mainly due to the reduced number of large show gardens.  Never do understand the judging either.  Our garden is semi cultivated, semi wild and always in need of something doing, especially at this time of the year. No time for the manicured finish.  Here are a few of this week's highlights!

Eureka ( yes, really ) given to me for my birthday this year. 

A random red rose over the arch at the end of the gite path

Buddleia alternifolia - at the moment its a mini wildlife park

Benjamin Britton

Handel, macleaya cordata, A Shropshire Lad

Self-seeded nigella in the gite path

Perfect weather for a barbeque this evening!

Sunday, 30 April 2017

Spring cleaning

Those of you who know Mark will think this is an unlikely choice of garment for him to be wearing! Its actually a Japanese wedding kimono for a man.  We bought it at a charity auction years ago and its beautiful but less than useful as A) Mark is already married ( to me ), B) we don't live in Japan, and C) its not very practical in rural France as daywear.

If you had seen this picture first it wouldn't have caught your attention, unless you like pictures of rubbish.  So here's the picture of the rubbish, which is where this story starts.

Can you beleeewe it ( I know, I know ), all of this came out of the storage space behind ONE of the SIX doors in this old barn, which we rather generously call " the storage sheds ", apart from the end one which is the Cafe du Coin, oh yes and Mr Owl lives upstairs. Without any exaggeration we could hardly get in through the door, and OK it was supposed to be the recycling shed but not much recycling had been going on so time for a big clear out prior to the forthcoming brocante which we and two other couples had booked a 15metre pitch for.  At least that shows we're not the only storers.

Saturday morning and its dechetterie day ( recycling depot ).  The car and trailer are both full with the real rubbish that should have been taken there in the first place.  Will we learn, probably not, you never know what might come in handy in the future.  School bag (mine, I just had my 60th birthday, don't think I will be need ing it now! ), half a plastic barrel, washing machine hoses, vacuum cleaner bags from the last century ....

This is the remainder, deemed at least worth a shot at selling.  And to this was added a set of chairs, golf clubs ( somehow we have acquired around 5 sets, left and right handed and a few child size ), and various items from the gite and the house that had been on the list for clearing out but hadn't made it to the recycling shed due to it being so full.

Now look.  Or is it New Look.  Floor and walls visible.  Overnight bags, wine corker and jam jars all in easy reach, chimney sweeping brushes to hand and spare loo seat parts all in one bag. Paradise is a nearly empty shed.

Finally, here we are on the Sunday morning with our trailer and car load of sellables.  It was a really fun day, with lots of people and lots of sales for lots of small change.  As you can see, the kimono is waiting for a new home but we didn't manage to sell that.

Any offers?  I think Mark's new career as a model is going to be very short.  Opera singing ....

Sunday, 16 April 2017

April and a beautiful Easter Sunday

The first local brocante of the year is always at Angles sur l'Anglin on Easter Sunday so off we went to have a look ....

We had to park right down by the river but it was a lovely day.

Then in amongst this Mark found ...

 He's been looking for one for years, its to take bread (or maybe pizza) out of the ancient bread oven we have here.

The river at Angles sur l'Anglin

Wisteria outside the Gite
Wisteria along the front of the Farmhouse
Apple blossom in the back garden

Tuesday, 28 February 2017

February at Chenevaux

 February - sunshine, showers and spring flowers.

A very busy bee in some mahonia flowers

First daffodils

Hellebore in the sun

Lots of colonies of snowdrops

A double rainbow!
Lots of clearing done to make space for new shrubs and trees.

Viburnum in  flower in the gite garden

Mark was in charge of meals on the 14th!

Monday, 23 January 2017

January 2017 at Chenevaux has been a bit chilly so far

Winter sunset at Chenevaux
For well over a week now, and set to continue for a few more days it has been as low as -8C at night and during the day not much above freezing.  We're getting through plenty of wood on the log burners!

No snow but pleanty of ice around
At least it has been sunny so we have been able to do some outdoor work.  The project of landscaping the "pond" has been delayed due to the frozen ground but a batch of plants that were delivered a couple of weeks ago arrived just in time to be heeled in in the veggie garden.  Progress so far ...

The pond late autumn
Mark cut out a lot of the brambles and sloes about 15 months ago and we then ( with help from Mark's brother ) put the groundcover on the bank to stop them growing back - this photo was taken late Autumn 2016. The bullrushes have spread but we don't mind that. What we don't want is all of the other weedy mess.  Normally the area would be at least 30 cms under water at the end of the year but after a very wet late spring in 2016 it has been and remains really dry.  So as we could get down there it was wellies on and onto the next phase.

Lots more digging out of brambles, clearing and pruning later it was time to start planting.  Having ordered 40 low growing, ground cover cotoneasters the idea was to plant 10 a day for 4 days, however we didn't allow for the fact that the soil under the membrane would be like concrete, so it took a lot longer. Now the new delivery of plants to finish the central area; mahonia, red cornus and rose of sharon; will have to wait until the weather gets warmer again.

40 of these cotoneasters planted!
By the way if you ever think about planting on a steepish bank - its not easy!  I found that at the steepest point I had to sit on the ground with my legs astride the planting area and hope I didn't slip down to the bottom.

The right bank
In this area, which has also had loads of brambles dug out of it - inspired by our visit to Sissinghurst last spring - we have planted 250 anemone blanda to add to the existing bluebells. They were enough for about half of the area but are supposed to colonise quickly.  As you see from the photo below we are hoping for miracles but you've got to start somewhere!

Anemone blanda at Sissinghurst

Silver birch trees with oak and beech in the background

These are the silver birch trees we planted a few years ago, starting to make an impact in the winter sun.

Sunday, 10 July 2016

Its Summer, fancy a swim?

 Summer at Chenevaux - blue skies, sunshine, come and have a dip in the pool .......

 At last, blue skies, sunshine and summer temperatures, in fact the forecast is for 32C today!  Jam making season has started with mixed red fruit ( raspberries, redcurrants, cherries and blackcurrants ) and apricot already done.  The early plums are starting to drop too so that's next on the list before the birds eat them all.  Oh - and a yummy summer pudding the other day made with brioche and with a dollop of creme fraiche.  Food glorious food !

Summer guests are enjoying their holiday in the Gite
The holiday season is in full swing and guests are enjoying the pool, golf, croquet, table tennis and their own badminton set.  Today they are at Futuroscope near Poitiers - a full day out as there is a firework display at nightfall.

We've just got two weeks available in the Gite between now and the end of September, weeks commencing 20th and 27th August - get in touch with us if you are interested

The Farmhouse back garden has lots of colour, love these hollyhocks!

And the crocosmia.

Its a bit jungly but the overall effect is "impressionistic".

The wisteria along the front of the Farmhouse is flowering for the second time, and the scent is gorgeous.  And the roses are putting on a great show after being spoilt by days of rain earlier in the year.


Ena Harkness alongside a honeysuckle outside the bathroom window = perfume indoors!

Aleric Barbier

And this is a nerine that is in a pot outside the back door ( which is actually at the front but ... )
Anyway, its nearly time for the men's final at Wimbledon so I am going to turn on the telly, sit in my reclining armchair and clap ( hopefully ).  I wonder if we will spot any friends in the crowd?