Charente • Deux-Sevres • Vienne • Haute Vienne • Limousin

Open post

CLE visit Limoges

Arriving at Limoges Tourist Office we found our train waiting to take us on the Limoges City tour alongside over 20 CLE members.

For nearly an hour we travelled around the busy and quiet streets, whilst listening to a very interesting commentary. Too much to take it all in, but the salient points will be remembered.


We then had ample time to take lunch in any of the restaurants close  by, before taking a short walk to the Cathedral, where we were met by our very enthusiastic English speaking guide.

For the next 80 minutes we listened to, not only the history of the Cathedral but that of Limoges itself. So informative that one member said that of all the guided tours she had been on this had been the best.

We then went into the Bishops Garden and with a view across the river that was superb, our guide imparted even more information.

The day came to an end with a relaxing drink nearby before making our way back to the various parking locations. Once again we were lucky with the weather, which enhanced what was a very enjoyable day out with CLE.


Member feedback

We discussed in committee today how best to convey participants enjoyment of events. Our hope is to encourage members to join in with the social events all who attend them seem to enyoy so much.

As webmaster I have changed the Menu option Enjoy->Members Contributions to Members Feedback. When you submit a post there you should choose a category. If you relating a story then choose “Member Contribution”, if reviewing an event or outing you enjoyed then choose “Feedback”. If you have negative feedback please contact the President directly through the contact form on this site so he can address the problem more urgently.

A post here will go out to everybody. Also the Monthly Digest will put Member COntributions at the top, like editorial content. Feedback will go towards the end just before Classified adverts.

In order to maintain the function of the CLE we have also expanded the mail outs to include all content that would have otherwise come from the president.

Please make use of the ability to provide feedback – if you enjoyed an event, tell us all!

Le Petit Train Visit.

The view from Le Chateau.

We started off from Confolens with a beautiful blue sky and temperatures going upwards. A much needed change from the previous two weeks of dull and wet days.

Arriving at the Petit train station, the conductor welcomed us all onboard and we set off through the woods towards the beach. Passing horse riders and several walkers the panorama soon opened up and we arrived at our destination. What a lovely quiet and beautiful spot, with nothing except the Atlantic Ocean and 4000 miles between us and America.


We then had a very interesting ecological talk by the conductor who was clearly very passionate about the environment.

After nearly an hour our coach driver Wilfred was invited to drive the train to bring it to the other end of the carriages for our return journey. He was so excited at his and we were all having a laugh about how enthusiastic he was.


Travelling back:

We then travelled to Le Chateau a short distance away and made our way to the town restaurants.

The town of Le Chateau is very colourful and a couple of hours were spent exploring.

Laughter and joking accompanied us on the journey back, as Wilfred had tears in his eyes from horse and duck imitations from the person sitting behind his driving seat. 

A simple and inexpensive day out was enjoyed by all and everybody remarked on what a wonderful day out it had been.

May there been many more in the years to come. Remember to let your committee know of any places that you may think are worthwhile.


Lucky Encounter

 The french expression ‘Les ennuis n’arrivent jamais seuls’ translates to ‘Problems never come on their own’ or to the English ‘It never rains but it pours’. The motorhome was packed for departure the next morning at 7.00 am.  Our Cocker Spaniel (Toby) and Labrador (Poppy) had been to the vets and had their expensive, designer worm tablets.  The Eurotunnel for our Christmas return to Blightee was booked.  We had just finished a very pleasant lunchtime meal. What could possibly go wrong? We were driving back through Lessac as the creature was staggering across the road narrowly avoiding traffic.  I say creature because at first it was difficult to work out what it was.  As we got colder we realised it was in fact  a dog. Skin and bones would be an exaggerated description of his state of health.  He showed no reluctance to be picked up and placed in a blanket in the boot of the car.  The reality check kicked in before second gear.  It was Saturday afternoon, we were leaving for England the next morning and had a dog on two last legs, literally, in the boot of the car.  We had a vague awareness of the work of voluntary animal groups and that the Maire was usually the ‘fountain of knowledge’ on all matters.  For the former we had no contact details and the latter was shut.  However, a receipt indicated that our vets were actually open for business on a Saturday afternoon.

On arrival the empty car park did not bode well and we fully expected to see the all encompassing but non specific ‘Ferme Exceptional’ on the door.  Leaving our passenger asleep in the boot we ventured in and found a receptionist and vet.  They were not unsympathetic but after a brief discussion it appeared we had three choices, take him home, take him back to where we found him or pay a €30 consultation fee.   The first was impractical, the second inhumane so we went for number 3.  A closer examination revealed a pathetic young puppy of probably less than 3 months with no fur but a coat of cuts and sores and listless eyes.  The vet established he had probably been living rough from early November to now mid December and concluded initially that an injection may probably be the best way forward.  However , before we had considered this in detail the receptionist arrived with a watery food mix which was eaten with enthusiasm and the conversation quickly turned to other options. 

The only other option given our impending trip appeared to be that the puppy would stay at the vets and in a week time we would phone for an update.  Whilst there would be costs associated the vets would not charge their normal rate. A week later a tentative phone call was made.  The enthusiasm of the receptionist quickly conveyed that Lucky was making progress.  Indeed photographs and a brief video-clip followed showing a still pathetically  fragile dog but at least he had stopped limping and his eyes had a bit of sparkle.  After a brief discussion we decided to return slightly earlier than planned. Lucky was collected two weeks after we had dropped him off and his recuperation continued for several more weeks.  We debated whether it was chancing fate to keep the name Lucky.  However, it was agreed with the vet that even if he suffered misfortune he had been Lucky in that he probably would not have survived a couple more freezing nights if we had not picked him up.  Retrospectively if we had named him after his appearance, character or main physical activity he would have been Chewbacca, Gremlin or Zebedee respectively.  He is quirky and of unknown parentage.  His passport acquired before his hair had grown back indicates Cocker Spaniel Cross.  I think the vet used the same method to determine his breed as my mother did to win £5- 1s – 0d on Foinavan in the 1967 Grand National. (ie a pin)  Hopefully, Pet Passport control will accept the microchip as proof of identity and not request an identity parade.                                                                                                                       

Lucky is now a happy, healthy and integrated family member. Our Labrador regressed at times to puppy behaviour and our older Cocker Spaniel keeps the newcomer in place. I think we all reflect that it was a ‘Lucky Encounter’.

Lost in Translation

Lost in Translation

A fair few years ago we took our eldest daughter from Scarborough to Edinburgh to begin her first year at University.  After successfully completing all the necessary practicalities we ventured, early evening, into the local pub.  Being well away from the centre it was not exactly packed with cosmopolitan tourists but had a vibrant buzz. We selected seats adjacent to a couple of gnarled characters surrounded by their fishing tackle (rods and baskets).  They were both affably merry which combined with their strong accents rendered comprehending their conversation a tad problematic.

However, by a combination of gestures and picking out the odd word we understood that they had been fishing in the local canal.  They had decided to move to the drier environment of the pub when it started to rain mid-afternoon, hence the jovial disposition.  We conveyed to them, we think, our purpose for being in Edinburgh and as time passed we felt that we were beginning to have mutual success in understanding one another.

As we finished our drinks and prepared to leave it became obvious that one fisherman was keen to show us his catch.  There was quite an exaggerated build up as he lifted his fishing basket onto the table.  Further loud chattering attracted the attention of drinkers at other tables and the bar.  The expectations were heightened by the gestures of his friend indicating that the size of the catch was over half a metre long and the movement of his bent arms by his side worryingly suggested that the gills of the unfortunate creature may still be moving.

A distinct hush settled as the lid was opened and an arm reached in and dramatically pulled out a totally bald, whole, dead chicken.  Holding it by the legs in one hand he picked up his fishing rod and appeared to be trying to re-enact the moment when he allegedly pulled it out of the canal.  The rest of the audience nonchalantly turned away and carried on drinking.  We said our farewells and made our mystified way towards the exit.  We reflected at the time, and indeed since, on at which particular moment did we lose the plot.

Since arriving in France at the start of 2015 we have had one or two plucked chicken moments.  Included in these have been mixing up a duck and a red flowering plant ( canard/ canna), the local hunt and the annual go-cart race (la chasse/ la caisse d’ Availles) and the inappropriate use of “Je suis anglaise.” when informing a passing car’s occupants that I could not help them with directions because “I am an English woman.”The reality is that several years on we regularly recall that memorable Edinburgh pub moment.  Equally we have had a number of giggles about our French faux pas.  We can also reflect that we have brought a smile to our neighbours and other locals with our own versions of ‘Lost in Translation’.    Brian Robinson October 2016


Open post

Cheverny Visit

This is an example from our last newsletter. There will be more.

Wouldn’t you know it! After weeks of sunshine and warm weather, the day of the coach trip to the Chateau at Cheverny was forecast for cloudy, overcast and the possibility of light showers. So we went prepared with warmer clothes and raincoats. We were lucky we did not have rain. Our morning started in the carpark at Confolens at 8.00 a.m. waiting for the coach and listening to two nightingales singing in the trees. That was a good start. We left on time for our three and a half hour trip to the Chateau.

As our party of 29 was booked so we bypassed the queues and inside the estate, our first stop was the Chateau itself. Living in France we have visited quite a large number of Chateaux and some are very sparsely furnished, so it was a good surprise to be welcomed into a warm and lavishly furnished family home. The estate has been in the same family for more than 6 centuries.

Today the chateau is lived in by the descendants of the Hurault family,  the Marquis and Marquise de Vibraye. The rooms that are open to the public are sumptuously furnished and decorated, and being Easter time Easter bunnies and Easter eggs were present in most of the rooms. The main staircase is very impressive in the style of Louis XIII. We really enjoyed the visit.

Our programme for the day was quite packed so, on leaving the chateau we looked for something to eat. The town around the chateau is interesting and beautiful and there are plenty of restaurants. We were able to leave and re-enter by-passing the queues again. So we chose to eat in the town rather than the Orangery which we thought looked rather expensive.

In the afternoon we joined the group for a tour of the forest planted with remarkable trees, including limes, giant redwoods and several varieties of cedar in an electric car and then continued the tour of the lake in small boats. English speaking guides conducted the tour. The grounds are vast, and there is much so see if you have the time including a labyrinth maze, the kennels for the hunting dogs of the estate, the kitchen garden which was filled with a large variety of tulips and vegetables. Our next visit was the Tintin exhibition which was not just cartoons, but animation with lighting and surprising sounds – quite amazing. Last but not least (as usual is the Boutique Gift Shop. Plenty of souvenirs for those with money to spend.

Our coach was awaiting us for our return journey which was comfortable and pleasing at this time of the year to be in daylight. Thank you to the organisers at CLE. Well done.

Thank you Sheilagh Plumley

Hello all

This is a first entry to this group. Hopefully you’ll be able to talk about places you’d like to go, dishes you especially liked. Anything food-based I guess.

Open post

My first member contribution

So this is me, the web site creator. This site is only as good as its contributors. I hope I have made the site as useful as possible and that time consuming tasks such as money collection have been reduced.

I love to be able to demystify computers for people. Many of whom are often baffled at the first mention of anything vaguely technical and turn off. Its worth persevering, if you know your browsers from your search engines, or your task bar from your tool bar then, chance are, you’re are getting much more out of your computer than someone who doesn’t (know…).


Scroll to top