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Tiger mosquitos & allergies! Oh NO!

I’m a buffet. It’s true. And, I hate mosquitos. One of my earliest memories is of hearing that annoying high pitched singing in my ears. I didn’t know what it was. But I knew I didn’t like it. When the existence of mosquitos was explained to me, I didn’t like it so much that it became a point of teasing in my family. What’s for lunch? I’d ask, scratching at bites. Fried mosquitos. With frites and mayonnaise. Seriously. I didn’t know then what I do now… decades later I’d have  a real enemy in my life… the tiger mosquito.On my list of reasons to move away from the Deep South of the US, this wicked beast was a thing. A reason to move. A near-plea to take me away from the sub-tropics where they thrive. Yes, I was aware of the migration pattern of the tiger mosquito in Europe and …

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How the Bird Flu could affect us in the Vendée

Cases of HPAI serotype H5N8 virus or the Avian Flu, more commonly known as ‘the bird flu’, have recently been observed in Germany, the Netherlands, UK, Ireland, Denmark, Belgium and in recent days also in France. Because we are in migratory season – in autumn large groups of wild birds migrate south for the winter – France is on high alert. The Vendée is one of 45 departments on high alert listed in the government’s recently issued decree. What does this mean for our department and for our families? We’ve gathered some history, information, and reading materials.What is the Avian Flu? – Avian Influenza (or bird flu) is a highly contagious viral infection that can affect all birds and cause misc. issues depending on the pathogenicity of the virus and on the species. A Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza (HPAI) – strain H5N8 has been detected in wild birds, especially ducks, geese …

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Putain de merde! Writing 2020 off of my shoulders

The last week of the year is normally a time of reflection for me as it probably is for many people across the globe. At the end of 2020, I vowed not to. Because… why? What was the point? What could I possibly reflect upon more than what I had already demanded of myself, or screamed into my own ears, or lie curled up in a ball worrying about? With the festive season safely behind us and both feet firmly planted into the new year – that’s 2021 in case you were wondering – it’s probably time to write the traumatic experience that was 2020, off of me, and to regain a sense of hope and even a sense of humour about it all. After all… aren’t people going through so much worse on any given day and what the hell do I have to be so sad about? Well. …

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Why oyster shells should be recycled

Do you enjoy a meal of oysters on the half-shell at your favourite restaurant or at home? Recycling programs in coastal regions world-wide, including the Vendée, are popping up just about everywhere to ensure the shells are redeployed as a vital natural resource. Oyster shells provide the best material… to rebuild oyster reefs. As an oyster lover, contributing your household shells back to the reefs is probably the most responsible way to recycle them, but it’s certainly not the only way in which oyster shells can be re-used.What is an oyster shell recycling program – Oyster are a fundamental species for water filtration to maintain estuaries and healthy coastal ecosystems. As a result, oysters are also used to gather information on the overall health of the surrounding ecosystem. Healthy coastlines mean more tourism and water sports, which suggests that oyster reefs provide not only ecological, but also economical and recreational benefits …

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Judy’s Chicken tagine with apricots and almonds

Introduction Hello everybody! I was so very happy that Judy Lipton, our Facebook group member who is dying to visit the Vendée on her next trip to France, whom I am humbled to call my friend and… who is a chef, volunteered one of her amazing recipes for our Recipe Corner! I can honestly say that I can’t wait to see Judy again (she owns a home elsewhere in France) but until then, I know that when I try this recipe it will feel a little bit like putting my feet under her table. It will feel like a warm hug. I can’t wait. Let’s head to Judy’s kitchen in Tucson, Arizona, for this mouthwatering Middle Eastern inspired recipe!Ingredients and preparation Chicken Tagine with apricots and almonds For 4- 6 people 4 oz dried apricots (125 g) 1 chicken, cut into 8 pieces, or just thighs 1 tsp ground ginger 1 …

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Business opportunity!

Actual image of portion of our stockIf you are looking to set up a business in France, this could be the opportunity for you. Due to impending retirement we are selling our stock of 15,000+ second-hand books in English. The stock includes everything from classics, novels and bestsellers, biographies and memoirs, self-help, cookbooks, children’s books etc. Note: the image left is a portion of the actual stock.  The shop has been open since 2015 and is currently based in an outbuilding on our property. For further info, please do not hesitate to contact Cindy via email – cindy.allen@hotmail.fr Until then, it’s business as usual and everybody is welcome to browse and purchase books! (Please note: the main image is generic and not representative of the inventory that is for sale.)Share this Post

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Another drought! Prefecture decree ceasing unnecessary use of water in the Vendée

Summer 2020: The department has issued another decree to limit or prohibit all unnecessary use of water from August 10th due to severe drought. A drought is ‘a prolonged period of abnormally low rainfall, leading to a shortage of water.’ Alert through 31st October.  EFFECTIVE as of Monday, August 10, 2020 at 8 a.m. Prefectorial decree n°20-DDTM85-494 of 7 August 2020 on the provisional limitation or prohibition of water withdrawals and uses in the Vendée departmentSOURCE: http://propluvia.developpement-durable.gouv.frSOURCE: http://propluvia.developpement-durable.gouv.frCarte Départementale des Arrêtés (Vendée) au 10/08/2020 (arrêtés publiés le 09/08/2020 minuit ) au 31/10/2020 Crise: zones of alert in the Vendée Maines, Sèvre Nantaise, Marais Breton, Boulogne, Vie et Jaunay, Côtiers Vendéens, Autizes superficieRead the OFFICIAL VENDEE DECREEDrought or not, the birds and the bees need our help!Honey bees use water to make honey and to cool the hive. Some tips to help our friends through this crisis! a shallow plate with …

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Surprises from the garden: lettuce soup

I love a good salad. A big one. My mother calls it rabbit food these days though when I was a child there was always so much of it in our vegetable garden that we shared it with the neighbourhood throughout the season, and I remember plenty of it on my plate too. I love lettuce! Fresh. Crisp yet buttery soft. Green. But until recently I had no idea you could also cook with it. That is, endive is a lettuce I cook with all the time as well as serve stuffed for a fancy apero. But plain, green lettuce? I didn’t know! So, today is the day. This morning I deemed it time to pick the lettuce we had growing in planters in our concrete garden and for the first time ever, I’ll be turning it into lettuce soup. Dear friends who make this all the time kindly shared …

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Expatriate in lock-down France

In recent years, the thought has crossed my mind many times that if anything could keep me from my mother in Belgium, it might be World War III. Never had I considered a virus-related near-global quarantine. But the very first day of lock down in France my worst nightmare as an expat and as an only child, delivered a punch in the face: my mother, who lives independently, took a nasty tumble down the stairs in the middle of the night. It was the third time she would be in hospital this year, and the eighth time since my husband and I moved to Europe from the US after announcing she didn’t want to fly anymore, anywhere, let alone across the ocean. But when I think back in my expat life of twenty-eight years, it is only the third time that I have experienced a roller-coaster of stress as extreme …

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Fireworks ban Vendée

On December 23rd 2019 Benoît Brocart, prefect of the Vendée, has issued a temporary ban on fireworks as a preventive measure for the end of year festivities next week that prohibits the port, transport and storage of fireworks and pyrotechnic articles. The decree stipulates that: The transfer, for consideration or not, and the use of all categories of fireworks, including firecrackers and pyrotechnic articles are prohibited for individuals throughout the department of Vendée from Monday, December 30, 2019 at 9:00 a.m. to Thursday January 2, 2020 at 9:00 a.m. In addition, the prefect also issued a decree for a temporary ban on buying “take-away” fuel during the same time period. The purchase and transport of any fuel by means of jerry cans, containers, cans or flasks is prohibited from Monday December 30, 2019 at 9 a.m. to Thursday January 2, 2020 at 9 a.m. throughout the Vendée department, with the …

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Did you feel that? Earthquake in the Vendée!

An earthquake with a magnitude of 4.3 on the Richter scale struck throughout the region of Pays de la Loire on Friday, June 21st, 2019. Around 06h50 UTC – 08h50 local time – a loud noise was followed by a 10-to-15 second tremor. The epicenter [47.172°N 0.597°W] was located some 3.4km deep west-north-west of Vihiers, a commune of Maine-et-Loire some 31km south of Angers. The quake was felt as far as the south-Vendée and Niort. Needless to say social media shook quite instantly with people wondering what had happened or even excitedly posting the “freaky” occurrence. Some had never experienced or even felt a quake before and were as curious as shaken up about it. Fortunately, there are no reported injuries or property damage, but there are reports of aftershocks. The last time an earthquake occurred was in February 2018 and the force was like Friday’s. Earthquakes happen more often; …

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New proprietors at Café Cour du Miracle in Vouvant

We have the honour to announce a change of ownership at our beloved Café Cour du Miracle, a charming English run café-restaurant located at the heart of one of France’s petites-cités-de-charactere, Vouvant. Karen and Paul. the current proprietors, have announced their retirement! For nine years they were part of the community in Vouvant and the surrounding area, serving great food and afternoon teas with a warm welcome. Karen says: “We have enjoyed our time at Cour du Miracle. We’ve met lovely people over the years, tourists and locals alike. We have good memories to carry away with us. Now it’s time to travel and enjoy our retirement. We have plans!” Paul and Karen would like to thank everybody for their loyal patronage and support over the years and they hope to see you in or around the Vendée. In recent weeks the new owners, Suzanne and Dean Richards, have been …