dimanche 22 mars 2015
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 17 mars 2015
dimanche 15 mars 2015
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.
jeudi 12 mars 2015
mercredi 11 mars 2015
Works at Pont continue...lots of painting and today strimming and the creation of a fence. It makes the house feel more private and hides my neighbour Philippe's temporary pile of building materials for his on-going renovation.
This evening the sun set twice...either side of Cap de Bouriex.
Tomorrow the planners (DDT) to discuss their u-turn on my barn/gite conversion.
lundi 9 mars 2015
Long days at La Falaise repairing the damage from my lovely tenants. Repaired the shower and hot water system, re-glazed the skylights, mended the bathroom extract, re-hung the radiator in the kitchen, I've installed a window in the front door which makes the entrance much lighter.
The balcony guarding, which the tenants all but destroyed, is now repaired.
Kitchen floor re-varnished.
Living room repainted, floor re-varnished and broken lamps in the dining room replaced.
Much work outside also, burning rubbish and strimming.
By the time I get home this is all I see!!
dimanche 8 mars 2015
Back home in France to finish the repairs to La Falaise at Pont de la Taule.
My planning application to turn our barn into a gite has been refused. I have made two other applications for almost exactly the same conversion of barns to gites, in the same commune, under the same the same Plan d'Occupation des Sols, in the same Zone Non-constructible - and both have been approved. It makes no sense.
The reason for refusal is to safeguard agriculture. The only pocket of agricultural land here is owned by me, has been created by me, fenced by me and is maintained by me. The sheep which grazed it were mine. A hectare or so of land is not large enough for an Exploitation Agricole, the barn is too small for modern bales and would not comply with the Normes Francaises for ventilation if it were to be used to legally house animals. The future of marginal land here is as part of Agro-tourism. With a gite, we could subsidise our small holding, supplement our income, sell our surplus home grown produce to our paying guests. Surely that is why the Le Parc Regional Des Pyrenees Ariegeoise exists?
I will have to resubmit the application, hopefully with a letter of support from the Maire and the Chambre d'Agriculture.