jeudi 30 novembre 2023

Stairs and Curtains

I'm revisiting the first weave I designed a few years ago. It made curtains for the kitchen but they were always a little bit too small and it's been annoying me ever since. So I'm weaving some more fo the fabric to widen each curtain. Four different coloured bobbins makes for a crowded workspace!

The finished fabric on the curtains

At the same time I'm also building/assembling/installing a very large four flight oak staircase on one of my projects. Oak is so unforgiving and almost every piece has to be slightly "eased" to make it fit exactly.


lundi 6 novembre 2023

Girantes par le Pas de Roc

A break in the unsettled weather on Sunday so Sheri, Michiel, Susie and I headed up Girantes for a leisurely walk with great views. From Coumebiere we made the loop acesnding via the Pas de Roc then descending via Port de Saliex.

 A tiny patch of snow on the summit

This morning a super bright rainbow in front of the Col de la Core!


mercredi 1 novembre 2023


Finally some of the leaves are turning and with a dusting of snow on the mountains it's starting to look autumnal. The hedge laying is long since finished and the mountains of chippings from the branches distributed to all the gardens.

A lot of weeding and mulching, new frames for the blackberry, loganberry and raspberries, which have been cut back and replanted as the beds were overrun with comfrey and nettles.

The chicks are now 3 weeks old and it looks like we have 2 cockerells as they are starting to chest bump each other - they may become our christmas dinner as Clinton rules the roost!


mardi 24 octobre 2023

 Results of the double-weave experiment. Swedish lace in 20/2 with plain weave in 8/2 and 16/2

lundi 23 octobre 2023

Étangs de Picots

Sheri and Michel are back from the US, so we decided on another day in the mountains. Sandrine popped by and we persuaded her to join us on a trip east to the four étangs de Picots above the Lac de Souclem. The start of the walk is steep and a bit uninteresting until finally the granite massif extending from Pic Rouge de Bassies across to Pentussen and Pic Seron Comes into view.

Pointe Michel Sebastien

The granite massif around Pic Rouge de Bassies

Shortly after the first étang is reached. There was a dusting of snow on the peaks above 2400m and rather more on Montcalm and Pica d Estas which pass 3000m. The terrain between each lake is steep and rocky, but each one is bigger and more spectacular than the last. The wind was cold and it felt like the first autumn walk for a very long time. 

First lake

We stopped for lunch at the third lake, but decided afterwards to press on to the fourth lake which didn't disappoint. 

the third lake

the fourth lake

looking down on the third lake from the fourth

The weather was looking to deteriorate so we headed down at 2pm.

A little below the third lake at about 2260m we were descending through some large boulders when Sandrine slipped. To avoid falling she jumped but landed awkwardly. It was quickly evident she had injured her knee and could not put any weight on it. Self evacuation even with 5 us was not an option in this terrain so we had to call for help. In this steep valley there was no mobile coverage even for the 112 emergency number. Susie and Michiel stayed with Sandrine to keep her warm and in company, whilst Sheri and I descended in search of a mobile signal. Eventually I decided to go ahead being the quickest and after about 1000ft of descent caught up with a group, one of whom managed to get a signal (not sure if it was the phone or the provider but no one else had a signal at all). We called 112 and after about 15mins of interrogation had arranged for an airlift. Sheri descended to the car with my keys, whilst I reascended to Sandrine. The mountain rescue PGHM weren't sure how long the helicopter would take, so I sent Michiel and Susie down to join Sheri before it got dark and told them to drive to somewhere with a phone signal and await further instructions. 

I waited patiently for the helicopter. After about 40 mins it arrived and clad in a red top I made the Y sign (for yes) with both arms raised until they saw me and approached. They then dropped two medics on a nearby bluff before returning to drop a rescue gendarme to us on a winch. He unclipped and the helicopter retreated whilst he checked Sandrine over and decided weather she could be put in a harness or needed a stretcher. He put an inflatable splint on her leg and put her in the harness. The helicopter returned and I retreated to film her departure. 5 mins later she was in the hospital at Pamiers being checked over. She had broken the top of her tibia. She called Susie from the hospital to let her and the rest of the gang waiting in the car know that I was on my way down and by 6.15 we were all back in the car and heading home.

 Sandrine's evacution

jeudi 19 octobre 2023

More adventures in double weave


I ve been thinking about the possibilities with double weave of having separate cloths joined at intervals where the cloths are different weave structures, yarn weights or setts.  So I'm doing some sampling starting with a fine open sett Swedish lace over a heavier plain cloth.

samedi 14 octobre 2023

Rug weaving

 A return to the loom with a cotton rug for the bathroom in diversified plain weave using 8/2 cotton and minimop. 

jeudi 12 octobre 2023

Hedge laying and new arrivals

The almost impossible task of photographing a dragoonfly on the wing

Hedge laying continues

After three weeks of patiently sitting the first eggs have hatched. Out hen is still sitting so there maybe more to come!


dimanche 1 octobre 2023

Hedge laying

It's a hot Indian summer and we're still making use of the pool. The five yearly laying of the hedges is underway - I've probably left it a bit long this time, so it's quite a job. I'm over halfway through. The removed material is chipped and put on the vegetable gardens as mulch.

Left: before, about 5m high. Right: after, about 2m high

It's a "mast year" so plenty of acorns which keeps the sheep happy.


mardi 26 septembre 2023

Crête des Tourets et Cap de Gauch

A long overdue reunion with Michiel. We set off from the parking at Osque de Couret with the aim of walking the watershed of the Ruisseau des Pics - Calabasse , Cap de Gauch, etc which has a nice narrow ridge between these two main peaks.  We were so busy talking we passed the departure of our path from the second bend of the piste forestiere and continued to climb (in the wrong direction) for a good 20 minutes before we woke up and realised our mistake. We redescended and started afresh. The tiny path that climbs steeply through the pines is unmarked and gets slightly lost amid a myriad of other animal tracks, but we managed to stay on course having made only one small error.

Eventually the trees stop and the landscape suddenly changes at the Col de l'Herbe Soulette. The cows and sheep are still here in the estive.

Pic de Calabasse from the col

It was now very hot without a cloud in the sky nor a breath of wind. The onward route looked quite long and having already lost a good 40 minutes taking wrong turns, we decided to skip Calabasse and instead head for Col de Terme tp slightly shorten the route. We have climbed Calabasse several times before.

View of the ridge to follow - Cap de gauch on the right

Aftrer skirting Calabasse's West face and passing behind the rocky Pic des Agneres, we arrived at Col de Terme. There are fantastic views of the peaks of the Eastern Couserans and rest of the Western Pyrenees from Aneto to Monte Perdido.

The Maladetta massive with Aneto and its small remaining glacier dominate the view

The Westarn Couserans - Valier, Barlonguere, Mail de Bulard, Mauberme and Serre Haute dominating the view

The ridge to follow with Cap de Gauch on the right

The ridge is a lovely airy traverse at times a little exposed but never difficult. The amazing views and Vultures circling overhead were a constant distraction.

traversing Pic de Peyre Nere

The final section to Cap de Gauch

Griffon vulture

A second lunch on the sumit Cap de Gauch before passing a small heliported shepherd's hut and beginning the long descent of Pale de Rase crossing Pics de Pale de Rase Superieur and Inferieur.

retrospective view of Pale de Rase

At the Col de consires we began our steep descent into the pine forest once more - sometimes difficult to find the narrow path under the shoulder high bracken, but the rock outcrop of Côte de Roc provided a reference to guide us. Then at last some shade in the forest until we regained a piste forestiere and shortly afterwards the car.