Stephen & Madeleine Kear's Holiday Gites In France

After Stephen's exhausting years and demanding schedules as a violinist in the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra we left it all behind us to run idyllic gites in the Gartempe Valley, La Vienne, France.

Friday, July 31, 2009

ADSL & wifi has arrived

We have been here in La Faye five years and today after a very long wait we can announce the arrival of ADSL and & WiFi . This will make the marketing, bookings, website editing etc so much easier. It means people can now reach us on our landline not to mention a huge bonus for our guests who wish to be online or just check their emails.
Because we are situated in a rural area not accessablefor ADSL via the telephone we have opted for the latest Wimax technology.

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Thursday, January 22, 2009

Rain rain go away…

One of those days you would rather forget – nothing to do that could possibly inspire or motivate. Just grey and wet and windy and cold. A real January winter day.

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Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Not much happening

While I went off to spend the day teaching Stephen tackled the wet plasterboard which had to be removed after damage caused by a burst pipe. The pipe had already been repaired by the plumber but the ceiling needed replacing which brought back memories from near two years ago when we put it up in the first place. Luckily the Grange isn’t too wet and hasn’t seemed to have suffered much water damage from the catastrophic recent cold weather.

We managed a walk just before the sun set which was between 6.30 and 7pm. How nice it is to feel that the days are drawing out. Avalanche chased a pair of quails. We live in hope of her bringing something back each time we take her out having profited from her capture of a magnificent male pheasant.

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Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Bruno’s Bistro and The New American President

Today we staved off the winter blues with a visit to what is fast becoming our favourite lunch spot – Bruno’s Bistro in Saint Savin. Stephen, having just returned from performing with the 'City of London Sinfonia' at the Cartegena International Music Festival in Columbia, South America, was hankering for some Froggie nosh, whilst I was determined to have an outing having spent what has felt like several weeks snowbound in our remote rural hamlet. While Stephen basked in 35 degree tropical climes we here in La Faye endured minus 12 temperatures that caused burst pipes, huge inconvenience and general frozen misery. The first lovely snowfall – that quiet beauty and stillness – quickly turned to ice, causing the lane leading from our house to become lethal and pipes to freeze and burst. While Stephen saw sloths and Iguanas and toucans of many varied beautiful colours I saw one colour only – and that was red.

However, a good meal can sooth even the most savage breast and indeed Bruno came up trumps. A salad composed of fine fresh leaves, pine kernels and sesame seeds was garnished with slices of his own house-smoked haddock. Very tasty indeed. For main course we sampled an excellent confit de canard with fried potatoes and broccoli. Dessert – a rich combination of vanilla, meringue and caramel icecream bathed in a thick caramel and chocolate sauce. Scrumptious.

After teaching tonight at the laboratory I look forward to coming home and watching coverage of the inauguration of the incoming President of The United States - Mr Barack Obama. Along with millions of other fans and supporters we wish this new President much luck and grace and sit quietly in awe that such a defining, inspiring and hopeful event has passed within our lifetime.

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Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Contemporary dance by the river in Antigny

Contemporary dance by the river in Antigny

On Sunday the community of Antigny were given a rare treat in the form of a modern dance piece set by the river. Titled ‘An eternal love’ the piece was a ‘pas de deux’ performed with intense and understated passion. Barefoot and clad in pale simple garments dusted down with white powder the two dancers resembled statues. They were accompanied by clarinet and violin. The music was insistent and often played on the same note, but was in keeping with the slow sustained dance performed which bore a lyricism of its own. The movements were sustained and controlled demonstrating the dancer’s skill and power in a very simple way. Their embraces and intwinings often resembled the sculptures of Rodin and in front of the tranquil flowing river it made a very beautiful art installation in movement, music and dance. It was rightfully appreciated by the community who probably have had little opportunity of experiencing such an unusual and graceful performance.

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Friday, September 19, 2008

Bruno's Bistro

We recommence the blog directly in autumn having had a busy and full summer which we hope to write about in future blogs. Today we had some exceptionatly hot weather. It was typical - we had only just fired up the wood-burner so fed up were we of the cold and unpleasant mornings and evenings. Today, though, we sampled a very nice lunch menu at the Brasserie of Bruno Moretti in the Hotel de France (Rated "Hôtel restaurant Logis de France 2 chimneys "& Michelin recommended) in Saint Savin. Diverging a bit from our usual addiction to Patissons we thought we'd give old Bruno a try. It was well worth the effort. For entree we had a delicious home made farci poitevin - normally a green sludgy slime of a terrine we are not too fond of. However Bruno turned it into something different changing the somewhat pedestrian ingredients of cabbage and sorrel into a truly delicious dish. For main course we had some truly excellent duck - tender and cooked to perfection. Stephen chose cheese to follow (served with walnuts and a tasty dressing) while Marg and I went for the lemon tart with blackberry sauce - a divine choice. The room was filled with people and an atmosphere of quiet conviviality prevailed. The price is more than the usual 10€ - they charge 12.50€ for a set lunch menu that doesn't include wine. However, we gave Bruno and his Bistro a big thumbs up for giving this area a good and classy alternative to the otherwise incomparable Patissons.

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Saturday, July 26, 2008

Fireworks and fruits de mer at St Trojan

Antigny’s fireworks were splendid as usual though the night was chilly and people did not linger afterwards as they usually would have done had it been more pleasant to sit out. RPO and BBC concert orchestra musicians Dave and Karen arrived for a stay in the small gite and although tired after their journey they managed to enjoy the fireworks before crashing. They have had a terrific week visiting the valley of the monkeys, the Abbey of Saint Savin, Angles sur L’Anglin and the Roc aux Sorcieres exhibition, and eating out at some wonderful restaurants. They have had a good week of lovely sunshine and enjoyed some of our vegetable produce. Andrew Bentley – manager for Royal Ballet Sinfonia, has been here just for two nights with his wife Rebecca. They too are enjoying the area and having a good and restful stay.

Nagged by the children to get out of La Faye and go somewhere we hit the coast on Wednesday and drove to St Trojan in Ile D’Oleron where most of the lovely seafood comes from. We had a fabulous day at the beach jumping through waves and sunbathing. At night we had a spectacular dinner of seafood - my platter of ‘fruits de mer’ being exceptionally delicious. It had been a hot day and we were able to sit on the terrace and watch the sun set as we ate – very relaxing and a place we would love to return to.

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