L'Echiquier au coeur de la Puisaye

L'Echiquier — in the heart of the Puisaye

The animals at L'Echiquier


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Animals at L'Echiquier: well, to start with there are two humans, one male and one female, who think the place belongs to them...

Ø indicates a picture in the photo gallery.

Cats (Felis catus)

P brought four cats with her from Paris: VashtarØ, DaliØ, CalicoØ and SesameØ. I brought goldfish from the UK. My last cat Jilly had died the previous year.

Vashtar, whose original owner named her after a ferret in a Saki story, died in February 2003, aged 19. She is buried under the big cherry tree near the gate.

In January 2005 Christophe Deslignes gave us BelfégorØ. Christophe was moving into an apartment and Belfégor, an affectionate, four-year-old male tabby, was used to the outdoor life. He fitted in well with the other cats but retained his independence, often going missing for days at a time. He vanished for good in August that year. We think he may have taken exception to visits from a stray cat who we later named ErixØ.

A young female tabby, Erix was so called because she had moved into Eric's house next door while the builders were there. She was friendly to us but a bit bossy with our cats, who were all wary of her. Eventually, for the sake of peace, we found her a new home with Laetitia Sands, who renamed her Erica. As Laetitia divides her time between Normandy and Maryland, Erica now flies regularly between France and the USA.

In June 2005 our vet told us about a kitten in need of a home. He was being cared for by Madame Bègue, who had found him under the wheel arch of a car outside her house in Bléneau. We called on Madame Bègue and left with a black ball of fluff not much more than a month old who later became known as JetonØ.

A jeton is a token formerly used in French telephone boxes and nowadays often needed for supermarket trolleys. It goes in a slot. As Jeton slotted in well with the other cats – and as he is jet black – it seemed like a good name, even if it takes a bit of explaining in both French and English!

P's cats were in the habit of following her around, so I decided this newcomer would be my cat. That's why he's also known as Hiscat.

Dali died in October 2008 and is buried next to the pear tree log that now serves as a seat, overlooking the lake. She was 16.

Another male tabby visits L'Echiquier occasionally. Noisy fights ensue if he encounters the other cats but we can approach him and I've even managed to pick him up once or twice. I've called him Linux because he's new and attractive, but difficult to handle. We've been known to feed him when he seems hungry but he doesn't come into the house. We think he may belong to someone at Le Puits Peleau, just across the Chasserelle valley (the Chasserelle is a tributary of the Loing).

So the current cat count is three at Nov 2009:

a ginger tom, aged ten, strong, quiet, patient, affectionate.
a tortoiseshell and white betty, aged ten, slightly timid, affectionate, intelligent.
a black tom, aged one, bossy, impatient, affectionate.


We would like to bring the total back to four, perhaps with a young female tabby...

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Bird list:-

These of course are all encouraged with bird feeders and nest boxes.


Still more info here on the RSPB site, the RSPB bird identifier 


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Here is a French Bird site oiseaux.net, in english. A great site.


You can see more info here in a '.pdf file'. You will need a pdf reader* to view this file, your browser ought to this automatically for you. Birds at L'Echiquier.

* - Adobe is the classic but Foxit is much smaller.    

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Contact details


In France: 0 3 86 74 88 06
From outside France: +33 3 86 74 88 06
(+ is the international dialling prefix, in Europe 00)

We hope you enjoy our site and would welcome any comments.


Created by Sefdik on - 15/10-2009  
Last updated - 6-dec-09 18:20   
Links last checked - 15/10-2009  


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