samedi 22 avril 2017

Shellie and the chcks were let out of their special rearing coop (which I hastily built the day before the eggs hatched) for a stroll around the main chicken run (the other chickens and the rooster we're locked out). A dust bath for Shellie and taste of grass for the chicks!

the weather here has been exceptional for the past fortnight - mid twenties every day...but snow is forecast for Wednesday night/Thursday morning at Quélébu. The trees are now in leaf so lets hope it's not as catastrophic as the May snow of 2010.

dimanche 16 avril 2017

Chicks are hatching!!

Four chicks for our hen Shellie, who has been sitting for the past 3 weeks. She had a dozen or so eggs under her but we only expected 5-6 chicks as these the others she's manage to collect from the other hens over the 3 weeks. In the end, once she had 4 chicks she quickly abandoned the other eggs.

vendredi 14 avril 2017

Cap de Bouirex

A long overdue stroll into the mountains with John, Sophie and Pierre. Cap de Bouirex gave us a snow free walk and an excellent view of the amount of snow still in the mountains. A lot of red kites wheeling over the summit. 

Back at Quélebu log splitting and field fencing continues.

jeudi 13 avril 2017

We're fully booked for the 3 weeks of Easter, so other than change-overs we've been able to spend our time doing something other than building the gite. I had to launch straight into some Architecture commissions which were overdue, then tidy up some fallen trees before the annual job of repair, replace and re-fix the fencing to the fields - almost complete. We may have sheep soon!

Susie started giving contemporary dance classes in Saint Girons. Just a couple of people at her first class, but hopefully she'll double that today.

lundi 3 avril 2017

All done!!

Well almost! There's always a few small things to finish aren't there, but we have 2 bookings already through air b'n'b. Next week we'll build our own website and get some more listings.

mercredi 29 mars 2017

Terrace finished!

Bloody hot today but the terrace is finished - the list is getting smaller and we have electricity!!

mardi 28 mars 2017

Egyptian visitor

A long day in Toulouse yesterday getting the last furnishings for the gite and a panic when we couldn't find a door for the shower! Although the websites of Lapeyre and Castorama both showed that they had doors available the reality on turning up was that we would have to order and wait 4 weeks! At last an evening trip to bricodepot in Pamiers saved the day.

Today Susie has started furnishing the inside whilst I built the terrace and installed the shower door. 

A rare sighting indeed today as an Egyptian Vulture circled overhead! We also saw a Hoopoe last week which is quite early in the year.

dimanche 26 mars 2017

Quélébu Grange

We're open for business from the 1st April with a listing on "Air bnb". Another big shop tomorrow to get the last items for the inside, decking for the terrace arrives on Tuesday and electricity is connected on Wednesday. Exhausted!

mardi 14 mars 2017

Gite progress

 Colours at last...two coats of limewash in the main downstairs room (and some nasty lime burns for my hands). The stairs have handrails and balustrades and cupboards and bathrooms are painted and tiled. A big thanks to Phil who finished the plasterboard jointing whilst I was away in the UK for a few days.

lundi 13 mars 2017


Susie's contemporary dance class is starting in Saint Girons in April.

Loads of progress in the gite with painting, staircase, shower and soon!

dimanche 26 février 2017

Gite progress

A busy couple of days installing the kitchen and assembling furniture and the gite is coming together nicely.
We hope to be open in time for the Easter school holidays (vacances scholaire de Paques) on the 1st April. will be live soon!

dimanche 19 février 2017

Glorious weather continues

The glorious sunny weather is continuing and we're making the most of it with some walks and outside work.

The three trees I felled have been chopped up and are awaiting splitting. The branches have all been chipped and a couple of trailer loads has been enough to make a floor for the polytunnel and to start mulching around some of our vegetables.

With the warm weather the sap is rising in the birches so it's time to tap it ready for some more birch syrup. 

vendredi 17 février 2017


Far too many pancakes at the Mairie, but the sun shone. In fact the sunshine has been glorious this past week with temperatures in the sun in the mid-20's. The seeds are germinating in the polytunnel, but we are in desperate need of 4 m3 of topsoil, which is proving difficult to find.

The last of the floor tiling is now complete, which is lucky as the disc cutter died a minutes later.

Upstairs is also ready for furnishings.

Whilst the adhesive on the last set of laid tiles was drying, we made the most of the sun with some tree felling (to open up the view towards Valier and for firewood) and testing the mulcher/chipper we bought last summer, making mulch for the floor of the polytunnel and the organic garden.

As usual hepatica are the first wild flowers in bloom.

samedi 11 février 2017

No longer a building site!

Tiling underway and suddenly the gite looks much less like a building site. Perhaps completion is a tangible distance away?

samedi 4 février 2017


Gale force winds from 3 am until 6.30 am, which kept me up most of the night. It was a first real wind test for the polytunnel with winds of 50mph or more. Glad to report no damage. Another storm on Sunday night will be even stronger, but fortunately the wind direction is NW and the tunnel should be more sheltered but it will bring more snow.

It's finally time to tile the floor of the gite, with the plumbing now finished. Some latex levelling is required before I can start, which I'll have to get on Monday. So today I built the raised beds....just need some top-soil now!

mardi 31 janvier 2017

Pic de Girantes

Pic de Girantes and back on skis in under 3 mins from Lee Sharp on Vimeo.

With temperatures rising and Sunday already booked up with other things, Monday seemed the perfect oppotunity to grab another ski tour. Several new acquaintances had expressed an interest in forming a posse, so after a few phone calls on Sunday evening a rendezvous was set for early Monday morning. Bas and Matt met me at Castet d'Aleu and we headed upto the Etang de Lers (1250m) where snow stopped further onwards travel.

The nordic skiing pistes helped us to save a little time climbing up towards the Port de Lers, but we were soon heading up through the trees heading for our objective Pic de Girantes (2088m). It's an interesting slightly indirect route which climbs to a col at 1810m before taking in an unnamed peak 1976m, crossing another col and then reaching the summit. We had a good skin track to follow from a large group which must have made the ascent on Sunday.

After a quick lunch we descended in good snow conditions. Below m the snow got very heavy and the final descent back to the car was in very sticky snow which coupled with the shallow gradient made even skating difficult.

12km, 800m/2500ft of ascent and a total of 2hr 40min for the trip.

mardi 24 janvier 2017

Quick ski tour

Tuc de la Coume mini adventure from Lee Sharp on Vimeo.

The forecast was for a sunny day but this morning the mist was cold and took some motivating to get Susie ready to get out but in the end we threw some kit in the car and headed for Cominac. The route to the Col de Vielle Morte was deep in snow and we had to stop a few miles before it as even the pinin couldn't make headway. After a long march along the piste forestiere we eventually reached the col and started the climb upto Tuc de la Coume. 

When we reached the open hillside (about 1.45 pm) Susie waited (she was in snowshoes) and I headed up towards the summit on skies. The sun was hot and the snow was transforming very quickly. About 50m below the summit I decided it was time to descend before the fresh snow turned to porridge. A lovely ski down on tired legs.

I skied down through the trees and fields, whilst Susie followed the path of our ascent...I descended too far then had to skin back up and in the confusion Susie and I missed each other at the rendezvous. Susie got back to the car before me and was alarmed that I wasn't there already - meantime I had waited at the rendezvous point, then reascended looking for Susie, before noticing her snowshoe prints descending. Eventually we met up at the car...all's well that ends well.