jeudi, mai 28


It's been half term in the UK so Anna planned a lovely evening walk to the The Maltsters on Monday and on Wednesday Susie cooked an amazing spread of Indian cuisine for some friends at our house in Dartington.

An early flight this morning and I'm back in France. Gloriously hot and lovely sound of a thousand crickets in the meadow. After some much needed grass cutting, I went for stroll to check on the fields and bumped in Paul.

Nearly 91 and still driving his tractor up to his barn at Le Sarrach and climbing through the woods searching for mushrooms most days. He gave me the sad news that Louise (Annie and Lucette's mother and Minsou's sister, died last week).

The fields are full of orchids, some photos:


samedi, mai 23

Project updates

Slating and leadwork complete at Laura and Guy's

 The random width chestnut boarding on the facade

The project at Hastings 'slowly' progressing

samedi, mai 16

The latest building project, a kitchen and bathroom extension for Laura and Guy taking shape.

First shots with the new camera which Olympus sent to the replace my old one.

 Looking across Dartmoor on my way to see Anton Coaker for some chestnut.

Lovely weather yesterday, so we spent the afternoon in Dartington Gardens.

mercredi, mai 6

Camera problems and France

It's been a while since my last post. My Olympus Stylus 1 developed an annoying intermittent fault and as it was still under warranty I sent it back to Olympus for repair. Two weeks later it returned having been to Portugal to be repaired in little more than a plastic bag! It was missing the viewfinder shroud and had a load of new faults! After writing an angry letter to Olympus the camera is once more with their repair facility, supposedly with a senior technician. I'm still awaiting it's return.

Another timber frame building project is under way in Devon, this time a kitchen and bathroom extension for friends near Totnes. Photos soon.

A quick visit to France at the weekend is now coming to a close. Final works at La Falaise, emptying the barn of rubbish, strimming and extending the ventilation from the septic tank to the roof ridge.

A Quelebu, some long overdue works: 

Lowering the basin in the bathroom

 Double glazing for the old part of the house

 Kiwi plants showing signs of growth at long last

 The rose of the pergola expanding

Susie's onions and strawberries (after a marathon session of dock removal)

 Plants from Pont for the porch

  The lime tree doing well

An unknown beastie about 3-4 cm long...maybe a type of digger wasp?

dimanche, avril 12


Lovely spring weather in the UK at the moment and when we got home Susie and I worked on the vegetable garden which is full of life at the moment - potatoes, onions, garlic, broad beans, shallots, blackcurrants, raspberries and lettuces.

This afternoon I went for a stroll to Scabbacombe Bay. Clear weather and waters. A spot of fruitless spinning from the rocks and some photography.

In the next bay I sat in quiet spot on the cliffs and watched a pair of Peregrin falcons patrolling the cliffs.

mardi, avril 7

Basking in the sunshine

Easter week in Aleu and the weather is glorious. Most had a bit too much sun today and are resting with sunburn! As usual it's a mixture of work and relaxation for me...with trips to see the SMDEA, Notaire, clients and builders, plus some logging. 

After a family effort to move some of the stacked firewood from Le Sarrach, on Sunday we made a circuit via the Col de Saraille and Col de Bidal with a fruitless search for morels.

Monday was mostly relaxing for the kids, whilst I cleared and logged the trees which fell into Paul's field last winter, with an afternoon trip to Joubac for Susie, Jasper and I.

A trip to the Notaire this morning then more sun as Susie tidied the garden and planted more shrubs and herbs, whilst I started refencing Paul's field.

dimanche, mars 22

Wistmans wood

High pressure in the South West at the moment so we're making the most of it. Susie drove us to Wistmans wood near Two Bridges. An opportunity for Jasper to add to his photography A-level "woodlands" project and for Susie and I to take photos also. These are mine.

Also spotted a solitary lesser redpoll, but it moved away too quickly for me to take a photo.

Susie's great photo with flattened perspective

mardi, mars 17

Another snowy night before leaving for the UK but things were melting fast! On the journey home, discussions with potential purchasers and after some negotiations La Falaise at Pont de la Taule is now SOLD!

dimanche, mars 15

After three viewings at La Falaise interspersed with more painting and varnishing it was time to spend a few hours on Quélébu - making shutters for the bathroom window.

Most of the week has been glorious sunshine (20 degrees +), but rain on Friday gave way to snow on Friday night. Heavy snow showers have continued all weekend. I suddenly realised at 2.30 on Saturday that my next trip here with the family sees us arriving on Good Friday. In France 'holiday' means 'holiday' (they don't even do Sunday trading) so the first four days here would be with shops closed. A mad dash to the supermarket ensued to get food for us all. On the way back I noticed the screen wash in the car had stopped working, then the battery went flat! Transpires the Suzuki has the washer fluid in the same duct as the electrical wires. The pipe had frozen and the expanding ice plug had disconnected a pipe joiner. I could see the water dripping from the rear of the car but to get to the connector involved removing the bumper, rear lights, wheel trims, rear seats, interior trim, rear seatbelt and taking the skin off my knuckles....all in the ensuing blizzard. Nice.

Sunday afternoon a trip to see Justin (who has just returned from Toulouse Hospital after back surgery), Emily and the twins. I gave them a break by taking Myla and Thea upto the Col du Port in the blizzard for some major snowball fighting, sledging and snow-bear making.