Felling for the winter

A short video of last winters tree felling carried out by Jezz and myself.

Saint Julia de Bec has a large forest managed by the Forestry commission equivalent of France. Part of their forest management program is regular clearings. Rather than the expense of cutting and leaving the wood, they give the job to the commune. The site is divided by number of residents and given parcel numbers. Each resident picks a ticket from a hat corresponding to ones parcel. Then we have the winter to fell the trees.

This winter the felling end date was extended till the first of May – which was great as the track down to the parcels was unusable for much of the winter (unless one has a 4×4).

Restaurant Review – Poulet Bicyclette

The Chicken on a Bicycle
Poulet Bicyclette
This seasonal restaurant, discreetly tucked away in the pine hills behind St. Ferriol, is visited by just about everyone we know. So after being here a year we had to try it for ourselves.

I was left with the question, is the meal is unimaginative or unpretentious?

The menu is certainly nothing special.
A fish dish (salmon fillet from frozen in orange sauce)
Duck magret
A page of pizza plates
Dish of the day

A short list of deserts, tart, cheese, ice cream, mouse, fruit salad,

The bar has beer and wine but limited in spirits and no cocktails.
They only accept cash payment
poulet bar
I had a set menu.
The starter is a small plate of salad with cured ham, mayo ham, crab rillette, pate and bread.

Salad leaf, crab rillette, ham mayo, pate, cured ham

Salad leaf, crab rillette, ham mayo, pate, cured ham

Followed by a very large duck magret with oven chips and a courgette gratin – a generous portion but the duck was lacking seasoning.
Magret with courgette gratin and chips

Magret with courgette gratin and chips

Desert was pear tart with whipped cream
A simple dessert of pear pie and cream

A simple dessert of pear pie and cream

Mara had
Salmon orange, with courgette gratin and oven chips. The salmon portion was small
Salmon, rice and courgette gratin

Salmon, rice and courgette gratin

Anika had sausage and chips from the kids menu of sausage or ham. The kids plate was as large as the adults.
Sausage or ham, with chips and ketchuph

Sausage or ham, with chips and ketchuph

I guess what the menu lacks is made up in the quirkiness of the restaurant. Built into the side of the hill, seating is on decking overhanging an artificial pond of carp, koi, gold fish and trout. Behind the restaurant is a woodland walk weaving through enclosed chicken runs of rare and unusual breeds. There is a small kids play area.
View onto the dining deck from across the carp pond

View onto the dining deck from across the carp pond

The restaurant was fairly busy but not so busy for a Saturday in August.
Service was very friendly but I was left waiting at the end when the support staff ended their shift.
I would go again for the kids and so long as one has no high expectations of the food,it will be an enjoyable experience.
The entrance to the chicken run

The entrance to the chicken run

From Quillan, drive through St. Ferriol direction Granes. Not long after leaving St. Ferriol there is an innocuous dirt road on the right which goes up the hill to the restaurant.
website: http://www.petanque-et-poulet-bicyclette.com/service-guestbook.html

Our new home

Well, we have finally found a place we feel we can settle in. Its a small hamlet in the south of France and it feels like home.
Les Tougnets 1
The last village we were staying in – for nearly a year – was just not working out. Apart from the house being dark like a cave, cold and gardenless, the village under its surface was just not very friendly. Most of the village were related in some way or other. One big family. We were not going to be able to integrate into it (perhaps after three generations thing would be different).

So we are in our new hamlet. tucked away in a small valley.

There are seven households living here permanently and two holiday houses. The population of permanent residents is eighteen. One family is moving away so that will drop to fourteen.
French – seven
British – five
Austrian – one
Kids – five

When the farm is sold – and family moves out – the demographics will shift to
French – five
British – four
Austrian – one
Brasilian – one
kids – three

More info to follow…

The Hamlet of Les Tougnets

The Hamlet of Les Tougnets