jeudi 19 janvier 2017


First ski of the year at Guzet today. The normal route to Guzet is blocked by an avalanche above Ustou so all traffic is having to go via Aulus. The route isn't very clear of snow and chains or a 4x4 are essential. I stopped at the Col de la Trappe and skied from there. Skied all the pistes apart from those on Freychet which were still be marked out when I was there, though just before I left Picou they seemed to have opened it for the first time. The off piste was mostly tracked out and now cruddy, though the few bits of untracked snow were glorious....perhaps a ski-tour soon.

lundi 16 janvier 2017

wind/temp/snowfall over last few days


All yesterday the snow fell. By night fall it had intensified and at 11.00pm we were forced to clear the snow from the polytunnel roof whilst wearing headtorches. By the time we'd reached the far end of the roof, there was already another 1/2 inch settled where we had began. 

Snow at 10.00 pm yesterday

There was no let up during the night and at 4.00am the electricity began to flick on and off. Outside the electricity cables were huge sausages of snow thicker than a shot-putters thigh and each isolator had collected so much snow that every pole was topped with a lolly pop of snow the size of a dustbin. I began to fear that structural damage was a short time away. From the house we can only just see the top of the polytunnel - it was still there, so it hadn't colapsed yet! At 5.00am the snow was still falling perhaps another 12 inches had fallen overnight...there was nothing I could do so I rolled over and went back to sleep. At 7.00am it stopped. Warm air had arrived and began to rain. The rain was heavy and it soon lubricated the snow slid from the cables and polytunnel roof - a reprieve!

Snow this morning, absorbing the rain

The forecast is for more snow today once the band of rain has passed and little tomorrow before the sun returns

dimanche 15 janvier 2017


A lull in the snowstorm yesterday so an opportunity to climb up Joubac in snowshoes. On the way down we called into Danni and Serge's for an impromtu l'apero.

Little snow overnight but more heavy snow falling non-stop today and tomorrow. 
Regular trips to clear the snow from the roof of the poly-tunnel with a rope.

Susie with her snowman

vendredi 13 janvier 2017

Here comes the snow!

The snow finally arrived at 6.00am and is falling thick and fast. It's forecast to continue until Tuesday so time to get the skis out soon. 

The chickens didn't know what to make of the snow and were too scared to walk out of the chickenhouse. In the end they flew to feeder and were totally confused by the "white stuff" and whether they could walk on it or not. They've retired to the chickenhouse once more. 

samedi 7 janvier 2017

Tuc de Coucou

A walk in the mountains before the snow arrives next week. We started very late so decided to climb the peak above Col de Part close to Tuc de Coucou (1894m on the map) from Pla de Lau. It's a steep haul out of the valley until you clear the timber line, then more reasonable. We left at 11.30 had lunch at the Cabane du Trapech de Milieu and were on the summit at 1.45. Lovely views in all directions. green looking East and hard and icy looking West (towards Pic des Cingles and Mail de Bulard).

Frozen falls below Pla de Lau at less then 900m

Cabane de l'Artigue with Pic de Lampau holding the only snow in the background

 Cabane du Trapech du Milieu (very clean well looked after cabane)


  Old rotten wind-worked snow near the summit

vendredi 6 janvier 2017

Wood (is good)

More frosty mornings as the high pressure continues to dominate...

This morning's work - a couple of stere of beechwood cut split and stacked for 2019.

jeudi 5 janvier 2017

The north wind does blow and we shall have snow...

Snow forecast for next last! I hope there's enough to help the local ski station as there's no snow there at all at the moment.

After New Year I had a nasty stomach upset that seems to have stripped my gut of all its bacteria. Everything I try to eat, however basic gives me stomach ache. Pressing on with the gite regardless, but temperatures are dropping - so maybe a proper door is next!

dimanche 1 janvier 2017


The remains bright and sunny has it has been since mid November and it's set to continue until the end of the month at least....a small chance of some snow flurries in 8 days time but no other precipitation. Ruby and Jasper headed back to the UK on the 28th.

Still mustn't grumble. The weather is allowing progress to be made on the gite. The stove is installed and working, the window reveals and cills are installed, upstairs is decorated and a start has been made on the plumbing.

The pig arc which I built on timber runners nearly 10 years ago, was moved for the first time without a hitch. It's now down in the spinney of birch trees where we plan to put the pigs in the spring. The last part of the big field in front of the house is also finally ours!

New Year was celebrated at Justin and Emily's where a soirée was held. We dined alfresco and boogied to DJ Max (Max Tenuta, Thea's other godfather who is visiting from Otsuni) until the early hours, despite the sub-zero temperatures. 

dimanche 25 décembre 2016

Christmas day

 Last light before santa arrives


Walk before lunch

Christmas lunch outside on the new picnic table

jeudi 22 décembre 2016

Tuc l'Adosse

It's been a while since the last post...the weather has remained clear and sunny during the day and cold at night (-1 to -3). After a quite a few days of administrative chores - controle technique, re-registering the mitsubishi, fitting winter tyres, selling the jimny, etc - work has once again resumed on the gite. 

Ruby arrived on the 12th having finished her first term at the University of the West of England and has been resting and generally being spoiled. 

Snow is greatly deficient at the moment and so walks are having to replace skiing. Today we went up Tuc l'Adosse (1669m) from the Col de la Trappe and Sandrine came along too. Interesting views from this last ridge before the mountains. 

Looking down on Le Trein Ustou

Possibly an immature golden eagle being mobbed by a smaller hawk

Lunch on the summit of Picou (1628m) 

The only difficulty on the route, the short scramble up Pic de Quer Martit in the background

lundi 5 décembre 2016

Pic de la Fonta

With the great weather continuing and Emily here for a few days, we decided to head up into the hills again...this time to Pic de la Fonta. Amazing clear weather, with choughs, vultures and peregrine overhead.

vendredi 2 décembre 2016

Cour Vic

With high pressure sitting over Northern France, the weather here remains bright, calm and clear. With the Polytunnel finally finished Susie and I headed up into the snow above the Col de Pause for a break. The snow starts above the Cabane d'Areou (1700m) and we headed upto the col below Cour Vic at about 2100m where the snow is continuous and hard ice under a couple of centimetres of soft wind worked snow.

On the way up we spotted a fox, he ran up to a little flat spot on a ridge then curled up and turned his back on us. On the way to the col we took to the snow sometimes and other times to South facing slopes which were sometimes bare of snow or thinly covered.

We took lunch on the col with great views to Valier and zig-zag path descending to the Cabane d'Aula.

We thought to continue up to the Port d'Aula but the snow on the ridge leading to Cour Vic was hard ice and we hadn't brought crampons or ice axe so we descended the same way.