lundi 30 octobre 2006


Have been visiting Howard and Stella in Provence for the last few days so haven't posted for a while so here's an update.

On Wednesday night there was a tremendous and unforecasted storm (I think it sunk a load of race yachts in the Bay of Biscay). There was no rain just a warm hurricane force wind (which was fortunate as I could go outside in my dressing gown to try and tie things to the ground - like the car!). I was up all night as 100 mph winds tried to rip the roof off the house. The large lime tree by the workshop has a trunk nearly 1 metre diameter, it was bending in the wind...a lot...I thought it would be blown over. As I'm surrounded by forest the noise of the wind through the trees was deafening and the power flickered on and off all night. I consolled myself with the thought that the house has stood for 150-200yrs weathering all sorts of storms...but the new slate roof and the workshop have not! I went out and locked all the window shutters over the windows and weighted down the corrugated iron sheets on the wood pile with loads of tyres (to no avail - I heard the wind pick them up and hurl them down the road).

In the morning the worst of the storm was over and amazingly everything had survived. Healthy trees had lost large branches, several had been blown over (more logs for the winter), a few telegraph poles in the village had been snapped in half and generally there was lots of debris everywhere. I spoke to John who has lived here 7 years and he has never experienced anything like it.

I left the carnage behind and set off for Provence. The 7 1/2 hour drive was awful as for the first 5 hours I travelled with the weakening storm and the Suzuki being high sided with a short wheel base and noisy at the best of times, hates cross winds. My complete lack of sleep didn't help either.

Fortunately, hospitality was waiting at Claviers. Howard and Stella's home in Provence is lovely and as always I was treated to fantastic food, drink and company. The weather in Provence was beautiful the whole time we were there.

On Friday we headed to Theoule-sur-Mer in the bay of Cannes and swam in the Med, before an excellent lunch in a beach side restaurant 'the Marco Polo'. A walk through the Esterel completed a lovely day.

Sheila and Kevin, who were also staying at Howard and Stella's, were excellent company and we all drank and laughed late into the evenings.

On Saturday morning I did some logging to help out, then Kevin and I took off for a tour of the Gorges du Verdon and the Lac de St Croix - my old stomping ground. It was strange to be back after 14 years. I visited Comps sur Artuby, Aiguines, Bauduen and Aups - little has changed really. The gorge was more spectacular than remembered, I should have arranged to stay longer and redone some of the walks I used to lead.

All to soon it was time to leave. Even though I love Provence and it's picturesque villages have an unrivalled charm - it's good to be home in Pyrenees. My heart is definitely here.

Photo's to follow (very slow internet connection tonight).

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