mercredi 30 janvier 2013


With a 4.75m (15 feet) thickness of snow on the ground at the Cauterets ski station (Pyrenees), it currently has the greatest snow depth of any resort in Europe and second greatest in the world. Of course there are resorts in the US that sometimes have more than this...but right now here is where it's at! Shame the avalanche risk is still so high.

vendredi 25 janvier 2013

New sofas

Sometimes you just have to be in the right place at the right time. These two top quality sofas (second hand but immaculate condition) had to go...£50 each! I took them without a second thought. They're probably around £2000 each new. Fantastically well made.

Only problem was getting them up the stairs. After removing the balustrade they still wouldn't go. So through the first floor window was the only option - a bit scary but in the end it all went smoothly.

Up on the telescopic lift...what do you know it's raining (now there's a surprise!)

samedi 19 janvier 2013

Moor snow

Touching the bruise

Latest performance of Susie's extraordinarily powerful yet beautiful piece "Touching the Bruise" last night at the Cygnet Theatre, Exeter. Danced perfectly by her dancers, Suzie, Sarah, Amelia and Roseanna. Another performance tomorrow.

mercredi 16 janvier 2013

Another 6 inches of snow last night - up early to try to finish as much as possible here...plastering progressing well!

Late update: A thaw today, then this evening heavy rain. At about 10pm it quickly turned to snow which is falling thick and fast!!

mardi 15 janvier 2013

More snow (yawn)

Electricity has been off for most of the day, so had to rely on the just the fire to keep warm. The snow stopped mid-morning and there's been a slight thaw.

Without power I pressed on with jobs requiring hand tools only -  progressing the utility room and preparing our bedroom for plastering (removing the old lambris that has been there since I moved in).

Still snowing!!

The snow is dumping it down harder than ever this morning (perhaps another 20cm last night) but no sign of the wind yet. The electricity has flicked off a few times this morning. Normally we'd be without, as every year heavy snow would mean trees falling across the power lines below the village. This summer at great expense the line from Aleu to Biert was put underground. Unfortunately between Aleu and Pinsou is still above ground and  from Quelebu to the transformer at Pinsou is still through the forest. 

If the electricity goes off the main problem is that the central heating pump stops on the rayburn and there's precious little gravity circulation on my system. Every winter I say I must get an inverter so I can run the pump off a 12V battery and every summer I forget!

There was talk of skiing today at Guzet with Ian and Jason - but with the quantities of snow and the approaching blizzard I can't see that being sensible, even if it was possible to get to Guzet.

lundi 14 janvier 2013

Snow photos

At Quelebu we've had maybe 30-40cm of snow so far and it's still snowing lightly. More snow tonight and tomorrow with some strong winds. In the mountains at 1800m there's been 50cm on Sunday, 30 cm today and another 50cm forecast for tomorrow. Avalanche risk is at 5 with some very large avalanches predicted!

At the Port d'Aula there's been 110cm of snow in 36 hours!

Weather update


Yep, still snowing and set to carry on for another 72 hours

Nothing else to do but press on with DIY. A big powder day tomorrow, hope my foot is up to it!

dimanche 13 janvier 2013


Today has been painting day - window reveals, staircase, bedrooms and the utility room are done and I've started on fixing the architraves. Wow it's all starting to look finished!

Been snowing all day...more forecast!

samedi 12 janvier 2013

More stuff

A trip to the market this morning to give the twins their Christmas presents (though alas only Justin was there). Then after chopping more firewood I pressed on with finishing the last last window lining, velux linings and completing the stair wall. Architraves and painting next.

Still no sign of the snow. Forecast seems to be constantly being downgraded and arrival of the white stuff pushed back.

vendredi 11 janvier 2013

Staircase works

Slowly coming together...interrupted by a need to fetch in more firewood. Should of got it out of the woodshed not the field - as it's a not as dry.

jeudi 10 janvier 2013

Progress and weather

Newly plastered walls painted

Access panel for central heating pump

Timber clad wall beside staircase

The weather for most of today has been grey and cold but finally this afternoon the worst has passed and it's clear again. Snow is forecast in the mountains for the weekend and at lower altitudes next week.

mardi 8 janvier 2013

lundi 7 janvier 2013

Back to light and sun...

...but it wasn't an easy journey! Late Sunday night whilst packing I realised that I had mislaid my passport. After retracing my steps I realised that I had left it with a van hire company last Friday when I helped someone move to London. Of course the company's Totnes offices were closed on Sunday night, but my flight left Bristol at 10.30am so I had to catch the 6.50am train from Totnes!

I waited outside their offices before dawn in case someone turned up luck. I watched my train leave with out me. I figured that if I took the car instead and left it at the airport, I could leave Totnes no later than 7.55am and if there were no delays and I could push to the front of queues, I might possibly make the flight.

I returned home fetched the car and waited outside the offices once more. At 7.50 someone turned up and I was soon speeding (literally) towards Bristol, passport in hand. As I headed through Cleeve things were looking very tight. I was running out of petrol and time. Then just when it looked like it would all work out, just a few miles from the airport, all the drivers of on-coming cars started indicating that I should turn around. I knew if I did and took another route, I would miss the flight. I kept going and finally arrived at the scene of an accident. A milk tanker had collided with an on coming car. No-one was hurt but the two vehicles were blocking the road.

The passengers of three or four cars got out and together they bounced the car sideways (it was missing it's front wing and one of the wheels was mangled) until it was possible for the tanker to pull forward. It took a few minutes but things were once again looking possible.

I found a space to park and ran (much to my slowly healing broken foot's discomfort) to the terminal. Fortunately there was no queue at security and without any luggage I was able to get to the gate with a minute to spare.

Grey and misty in and around Toulouse but glorious sunshine from St Girons onwards.