dimanche 26 avril 2009

Nice weather for ducks and kayaks

Raining today so spent the day at Pont de la Taule painting and wall paper stripping. Need to build a fire place next week.
Aujourd'hui il pleut, donc j'ai peint à Pont de la Taule. Semaine prochaine j'ai besoin constuire un chiminée.
On the way back I watched the kayak race down the Salat river.
À la rentrée j'ai regardé un competition de kayak sur la Salat.

samedi 25 avril 2009


A trip to St G market for some seedlings - then planting out tomatoes, courgettes, onions and lettuce.  These join the potatoes (now sprouting) and the strawberries Emily gave me.  A fence around the veggie plot will hopefully keep the chickens out. The grass seeds in the new field 1 extension have finally germinated so the nettles and brambles were scythed down to hopefully let the grass dominate.

Une excursion à St G à acheter des plants - des tomates, des courgettes, des oignons et des salades. Celles joignent les pommes du terre et les fraises, donné-moi par Emily. Une clôture au tour de la potager - j'espère que il barrera les poules. Les semences dans le pré numero un ont germiné enfin, donc j'ai fauché toutes les ronces et les orties.

Low cloud came in late afternoon and the rain finally broke at about 8.30...an 'atmospheric' evening view (the colour in the photo above is unaltered).

La brume est arrivé dans l'après-midi et le pluie commence à 20.30...un soirée atmosphèrique (les coleurs de l'image au dessus sont originaux).

vendredi 24 avril 2009


Whilst looking for mushrooms a few evenings ago I was crossing a stream (which had eroded a deep channel after the recent storms) and I noticed a short length (6" or 15cm) of dressed stone crossing in the stream bed - after a bit of poking around I realised I had stumbled across an old lavoire which was now completely buried under the hillside.  I went home for a spade and began to dig. After two evenings and most of today I have unearthed the old Pinsou/Quélébu lavoire at Gouteto.  There's some more digging still to do (getting all the clay out is hard work) but John said he'll give me a hand. It's about 30' x 10' x 2' deep (10m x 3m x 60cm deep) with two interconnected pools and twin outflows.  The back is carved into the white limestone at the springline and I even found an old stone spout through which the stream used to flow (it needs to be refixed).

Lorsque je cherche les champignons il y a deux jours, j'ai traversé un ruisseau (qui a fait un profond rigole pendant l'orage) et j'ai aperçu un court piece de pierre preparé dans le lit du ruisseau. Après un peu de investigation j'ai realisé que j'avais trouvé un vieux lavoire completement caché sur un éboulement.  J'ai rentré à chercher un pèle et commencé de croiser. Après deux soirées et tout la journée aujourd'hui j'ai découvert la ancienne lavoire de Pinsou/Quélébu à Gouteto. Il y a encore des travaux (il etait un boulou de vider l'argille) mais John m'a dit que il m'aideras. La lavoire est 10m x 3m x 60cm profondeur) avec deux eviers et deux sorties. Au fond est une calcaire blanche.
The weather has been glorious for the past couple of days.  Yesterday I was making all the oak window and door surrounds at Justin and Emily's for their new extension, which is marching along apace...already upto first floor level.

Les temps ces dernières jours etait magnifique. Hier j'ai fabriqué les encadrements de chêne à chez Justin et Emily pour la agrandissement de leur maison, deja au niveau de la première étage.

mardi 21 avril 2009

The River Wild

Woke up to the sound of a river this morning.  4 inches of rain has fallen in 24 hours and the little stream I've been clearing for the past few months had become a raging torrent - well audible from the house.  Most the paths had become streams too.

J'ai me reveillé le matin et ecouté un rivière. 100mm de pluie tombais dans les dernière 24 heures et le petit ruisseau que j'ai dégagé cettes dernières mois a devenu un torrent déchainé. Toutes les chemins sont ruisseaux aussi.
The path to Gouteto/Chemin à Gouteto.
Huge clumps of purple toothwort brought into bloom by the rain.
The sheep sporting newly washed fleeces (by the rain) ready for shearing
Les brebis avec leurs laine bien laver par la pluie, prêt à couper.

I've been working at Pont de la Taule for the past few days and for next few too probably. Travaux à Pont de la Taule les dernières jours.

samedi 18 avril 2009

vendredi 17 avril 2009

Four seasons in one day

Very changeable weather at the moment...but a chance to catch up on household chores, scything, servicing the chainsaw, tidying the workshop and admin' like my french tax return!

mardi 14 avril 2009

Oak framing

Having prepared plans to double the size of Justin and Emily's house in readiness for the impending arrival of twins, I have been lending a hand with the construction.  This morning I jumared onto the roof and demolished the chimney then abseiled back down (we didn't have a big enough ladder). Then he and I started on the construction of the new balcony. Using oak sawn a couple of years ago from trees felled at Justin's, we managed to build the first bay of the new balcony (which will eventually wrap around the enlarged house) by the end of the day.

vendredi 10 avril 2009

Chickens and sheep

My sick chicken looked poorly once again today and after an examination I decided to end her suffering. she's an old chicken and had water belly (or duck disease). Tonight the cockerel was out looking and calling for her...very sad. Hopefully I'll replace her tomorrow with two new hens.

The sheep on the other hand have been giving me the run around. Three times I've tried to move them down to field 4 in the woods, and three times they've escaped en route. Very frustrating, at times I thought about giving them the same treatment as the hen!

The rest of the day was spent logging a bough that a beech tree dropped dropped during the winter and building a mock-up of a window frame for John and Sandrine's barn - their builder has an unfortunate combination of inexperience and arrogance. There is a very unsatisfactory detail on the dormer window to their new gite which he is building and despite their requests he has blankly refused to change his 'mostly mastic' construction, so I'll have to build something that works. Incredibly, despite his inexperience, he's as much as said that if any of his work is 'questioned' again or even 'inspected' he'll 'walk'. I doubt he'll be in business long, he should remember who's building it is and who is paying his wages.

jeudi 9 avril 2009


After skiing through wet concrete yesterday I went for dinner at Anne-France and Magnus's place in La Trappe.  They are over for their Easter holidays from Sweden and it's the first time we've met in the flesh - we knew of each other through our respective blogs. Fellow blogger Penny came too as did my neighbour Dani from La Bordasse. A relaxing evening after the 'ski'.

Après le ski dans béton hier, J'ai visité Anne-France et Magnus pour un repas à La Trappe. Ils ont ici en vacances de Suede et c'etait la première fois que nous nous avons rencontré tête à tête. Avant c'etait sur le internet. Penny et Dani (ma voisine de La Bordasse) ont venu aussi. Une soirée sympa après le 'ski'.

Today has been a beautiful hot spring day (35 in the sun) and the scything is beginning again as all the plants start to grow once more.  My white hen which has been ill for the last week has shown some signs of improvement today so I hope she will 'pull through'...though it might just be old age.

Aujourd'hui un journée printanière et chaud (35 au soliel) et le fauchage a recommencé comme toutes les plantes pousse encore. Ma poule blanche etait malade depuis un semaine mais aujourd'hui elle a signalé un peu mieux. J'espere que elle va vivre, mais elle est tellement vieux.

mercredi 8 avril 2009

Guzet (ski)

With 30cm of fresh snow having fallen yesterday, a quick trip to Guzet this afternoon seemed like a good idea (even though it's been closed a few weeks now). Unfortunately the snow proved to be very heavy. After breaking trail to skin up to the top of Picou, we tried to descend what is normally the black run called Coombe. Trying to move forward even on steepest parts was difficult and turning more difficult still. The snow stuck to our skis and tried to set like concrete. At one stage I fell over and couldn't move for the weight of sticky heavy snow on top of my skis and it took me some time to release the bindings before two handed I heaved to withdraw the skis from the snow. I wouldn't want to be avalanched in this stuff!

Il y a 30cm de fraiâche, et une court visite a Guzet a semblé un bonne ideé ( malgré que la domaine etait fermer depuis trois semaines). Malheuresment on a trouvé la neige tellement lourde et tellement humide. Après avons fais l'ascension de Picou, Ian et moi avons essayé de descendre un piste noir, mais la descent etais très lent et difficile. La neige a collé à nos skis et solidifié comme béton!

mardi 7 avril 2009


Outside it's been snowing all day, inside I've been busy baking Pyrenean Pasties for future packed lunches.

Dehors il neige toutes la journée, dedans je suis occupé avec la cuisine - Pyreneed Pasties - pour les pique-niques.

lundi 6 avril 2009


A short snowshoe this afternoon to check out conditions...photos below.
Un court promenade en raquettes cette apres midi pour verifier les conditions de la montagne.

There is snow forecast for tomorrow above 1000m, perhaps as much as 30cm! Bizarre as today on the snow I was in a tee shirt. With a short snap of cold weather there is still plenty of skiing to be had (even at Guzet if you are prepared to skin up the piste). Today North slopes are still snow covered from 1400m with 60-80cm at 1550m but south slopes are completely bare until 1700/1800m.

Demain on attend de la neige au dessus 1000m, peut-être 30cm! Bizarre parce que aujourd'hui j'ai porté un T-shirt. Cependant des temps froides il y aurais beaucoup de ski (à Guzet quand même si on va monter sur les peaux de foq). Aujourd'hui les versants Nord sont bien enneigée au dessus 1400m avec 60-80cm de neige à 1550m mais versants Sud etais péle jusq'au 1700/1800m.

My little ridge below will have to wait a while for a winter ascent the approach is below cliffs still loaded with snow waiting to avalanche.

Mon petit arête en dessous va attender pour un ascension hivernale.