Living France - - Décourez -

Day two, and the bees were well es­tab­lished chez-eux. Af­ter con­sult­ing Pages Jaunes, we got in touch with a lo­cal bee-keeper, Mar­cel Lemaitre who wanted the swarm. He ar­ranged to come early the next morn­ing while it was still cool and the bees would mostly be in bed – I mean in bar­rel.

Day three: The ar­che­typal lit­tle white Re­nault van jolted and squeaked up the drive, driven by Mar­cel’s son, Sté­fane. Af­ter they put on the full bee-keeper’s garb, they lit the smoker and walked gen­tly over to the bar­rel. While Sté­fane puffed, Mar­cel stuffed a rag into the bung­hole. Lift­ing the bar­rel, they gave it a gen­tle shake. Nod­ding ap­prov­ingly at the over­all weight, they set the bar­rel, now hum­ming loudly, in the back of the van.

Ap­par­ently, old cognac bar­rels are of­ten used as tem­po­rary hives round here in Char­ente, and this one will be left undis­turbed un­til the spring, when the bees will be re­lo­cated to a nor­mal hive. I’m promised my bar­rel back, plus a jar of honey in the full­ness of time. I’m sure it will bee good... Peter Ade­line Char­ente To­day’s views – it’s cloudy and snowy out there. Get those gog­gles out, wrap up warm and dream of lots of stops for mugs of hot choco­late with Chan­tilly cream

Jean­nie Clark @french­fuse

Reached the five-year mile­stone and told ‘all clear’. I know it isn’t a guar­an­tee, but feel as if I can make plans now #Breast­CancerSur­vivor

Ian Moore @ian­mod­moore

Just had my wife on the phone ask­ing me to ‘talk’ to my son as he screamed the den­tist’s down. Like tak­ing a hostage call.

ABC...bour­gogne @abcbour­gogne

A beau­ti­ful crisp, chilly but sunny start to the day and some snow ex­pected in the next few days – I love all the sea­sons in Bur­gundy!

Muriel @FrenchYumMummy

But you are French, it’s easy for you to stay slim. Yeah right. As if. The writer of our Star Let­ter this is­sue wins a Sur­prise Box worth £29

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