La Fête du Hutrel – 80th Celebration

Friday we had the rather bizarre experience of being at an English fête, but in Normandy.  We arrived rather late in the proceedings having been to the swimming pool in Saint-Lô, then having gone into town to get ice creams.  On the way home, just on the edge of Saint-Lô is a tiny village called Hutrel, which has a village pond, which is very much the focus of activites. We started by doing the Pony rides on two lovely shetlands from a local riding school, then there were loads of traditional games, including walking the plank, custard pie fight on a narrow bridge across the pond – the aim to knock your opponent into the pond.

Unfortunately the photos are not of particularly good quality  – taken with my phone, but hopefully it gives you an idea.

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First Time Fishing Success

Last weekend the kids had the great good fortune to be taken fishing for the first time.  Christmas 2009 they were given fishing rods and they finally got to do there job.  We went to the fishing lakes at St Germain de Tallevende, which is 15€ for a half day fishing, 25€ for a day.  There are BBQs as well, if you should choose to go in the evening you can grill as you fish.

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A Sunday Afternoon Stroll

We are really so lucky to live in such a beautiful area.  The colours are amazing at this time of the year, while there is still enough moisture in the ground.  This year we must be heading for a serious drought as we have had just one day of rain so far in the last month.  These are photos from our walk last Sunday afternoon.

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This is the first year that we have got to the cherries before the pesky magpies – although I heard on the BBC recently that they are no better or worse than any other birds, just much maligned.  My cherry tree was the first thing I planted in the garden here when we arrivee 15 years ago, and finally we have fruit.

Cherries from our trees

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Why not in my back yard?

A little over a year ago, I accidently discovered that they would be building 6 wind turbines around our village.  Two of them will be on the hill up the road from our home. When I say accidentally, I picked up a piece of paper on the floor in the mayors office, and on it were the proposed sites for the turbines.  I think there must have been a public notice up somewhere (on the fence of the field), but as usual I had failed to notice.  But so had everyone else I talked to about it.  So it would seem that perhaps the French are not so fussed about having wind turbines in there view.  Also I think the plan had been under discussion for such a long time, no-one who did know about it, thought they would really happen.

Friends who are much closer to them than we are (but part of the next door village) were completely unaware of their imminent arrival, and they will be able to see them out of every window – and not much else.  Often times people have told me that they are rather noisy, so if this is the case I do feel for the people who run a B&B business about 200m east of them, although at least their house isn’t facing them.  I suspect it’s not going to do their business much good.

We won’t actually be able to see them from the garden, but we will out of the few windows on that side of the house.  They will be visible if you were standing in front of the gites, but none of the windows face in that direction either.  We are far enough way that they really won’t trouble us, but I have to say my initial reaction was rather less laissé faire.  But, generally we always get rather excited when we see these metal marvels, so on balance I have decided that I am ok with it.  Plus it’ll make giving directions easy – just head for the turbines – at 140m tall they’ll be easy to find, then turn right and follow that road for about a km and we are on the left.

Anyway, this week work has finally started on the foundations, or whatever it is that wind turbines have.  If you look at the photos you can see these seem to involve earth mounds and a staircase.  I’m curious to see how it develops and will definitely being doing the dog walk that passes that way on a weekly basis to see how things develop.

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Sandball Tournament Saturday 4th & Sunday 5th June, St Martin de Bréhal

Organised by Brehal Handball, this tournament takes place on the beach at the bottom of the road from Maison Mielles.  It is followed, on Saturday eveining, by an aperatif and concert ( by ChapoT) in the evening.

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Les Heteroclites 17th – 21st May 2011

This year is the 14th annual fesitval of the Heteroclites, which is an arts festival, with music, theatre and art installations.  It takes place every year in Saint-Lô and has evening activities starting at 6 or 7pm.  Wednesday 18th includes a day packed full of workshops and theatre for kids, and Saturday activities start at 10.30am and the last act starts at 2am on Sunday morning!  We have still availablity in our gites, just 15 minutes away from the festival.

Les Heteroclites Flyer

Tuesday 17th May, 2011

Land’Art Installation by Christine Juillard, followed by an aperatif and concert by Samba do Calvao.
Wednesday 18th May

Microcircus – The Saltimbre’s Cirqus for children by children.

Un Jour sous la Tente – reading of fairytales.

La fille de la Mer – a mother-daughter duo, one a trapeze artist the other an accordianist give a tour of the sea.

Un lange passe – dansing and juggling by Compagnie Ecorpsabulle

Tapis volant – world music and songs for children and adults

Lalec – a ball (dancing) for children

Women are heroes by J.R. Projection followed by a debate with ALSticking –  CinéMoViking
Woman from the slums in Brasil, India, Kenya and Cambodia.

Thursday  19 March 2011

Theatre by Lycée Le Verrier invites you to explore the themes of conflit :madness, war, family et other situations.

Le Zig – French songs, songs sung by their composer, from folk to rock with a jazz accent.

The Fuck – A post-punk band

Friday 20 March 2011


This Belgian, French and American trio play exclusively with made or invented objects based on recycling.

Jésus-Christ Fashion Barbe -Caen/St Lo-folk n’ roll

Syncopera – Toulouse Blues Hip Hop

Alain Briant – French rock – à le Gainsbourg, Bashung and Katerine

Concrete Knives – Acid-pop from Flers

B-Ass – Electro B-Ass is an electro / hip hop duo from Caen and Saint-Lô, made up of Dj Belouga and Dj Favelas.

Saturday 21st March

Les contes dits du bout des doigts – Tales told from the end of your fingers. Companions of Pierre Menard (Bordeaux) jungleswith sign language, metamorphosing into a witch, an angry giant or panicking novices.

Circus Train – a trumpet and drums duo of impovists.

La promenade des éloignés – Gorky, Ile de France Theatre and jugglerGorky

Boris sur les planches
Cirqu / Street theatre

Les balles populaires – Gorky, Ile de France

Chut(es) ! – Les Saltimbrés,  Cirqus

Le groin dans les étoiles – Compagnie Anorak

Contrebas dansé – Zoranne Serrano & Julien Fleury Caen, dance et music

Da brasilians
Saint-Lô – Paris Pop Music

Strates –  Utopia Performance France – Sénégal – Taiwan Improvisation music/art/ dance

Lectures Circassiennes – story telling through circus

Bumble Bees – Rennes Chorale pop

Stranded Horse – Saint-Lô Folk Kora Stranded Horse,  kora/guitar duo

Gun’s of Brixton Caen Post Rock

Wrestling Gang Bang – Ile de France Rockstep

Daryl Corn Flexx on the guitar

La Pègre douce – Ile de France Funk / Soul / Tropical  a large young ensemble playing  funk, soul, rock’n’roll and boogaloo.

Flers Electro – minimalist and ambinate DJ


Tuesday free entry
Wednesday, 3€
Thursday free entry

Friday 3€
Saturday 4€

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