dimanche 30 janvier 2011


Back from another trip to the UK visiting Susie, Jasper and Ruby. Did some decorating for the Dare's during the week which has helped to fund my trips!

A lovely crisp day walking on Dartmoor last Saturday.
Susie and Ruby posing
Susie walking on water
Some lovely lichen
Lovely Susie
Dom and Bridget

Light snow here at Quélébu on my return, but there is still no significant snowfall on the horizon - it's looking like a dire ski-season.

jeudi 20 janvier 2011

Tractor mended!

My plan worked and the tractor works! There was a small hole in the hose between tank and fuel pump.

Je suis desolé que je suis tardif avec les traductions en français, ils arriveront bientôt.

mercredi 19 janvier 2011

Tractor problems

A couple of very frustrating days trying to solve a diesel engine problem. The tractor runs for 10 mins or so then it starts to miss, loose power and eventually conks out and won't restart. At first I thought there was some water in the fuel as the behaviour started when I was traversing a steep hill and I assumed that the water in the fuel (which would sit at the bottom) probably moved over fuel tank outlet and was sucked into the cylinders. After changing all the fuel the problem has persisted. Once it's conked out I'm pretty sure there's no fuel getting through (no smoke from the exhaust) but I can get the tractor running again by bleeding the fuel line at the injectors. So now I'm pretty sure that it's air getting into the fuel line....but where from? It's a two cylinder, air cooled Ruggerini RD 220. So a pretty basic diesel engine.
My plan is to replace all the fuel lines (they look pretty old and perished) and jubilee clips, plus the fuel filter for good measure. Hope that does the trick otherwise it might be something more serious, beyond my knowledge and therefore expensive!

lundi 17 janvier 2011


Back to Pont today to continue with the studwork which is nearing completion.
Then home for a bit more excavation in the ruin, the pipe is a combustion air supply to the fireplace.

dimanche 16 janvier 2011


On Friday I made a day trip to London to accompany Susie to the funeral of her father.

Today I started clearing out the ruin next to the house, which I hope to acquire soon. The weather here is unbelievably warm (25 all day) but winter may finally arrive next week if the forecasts are to be believed. As usual here, the ruin is full of rubble, car parts, bottles and other assorted rubbish. I'll probably need to borrow a mini digger to properly empty the building. Plans have been quickly drawn for a possible extension of the house but I won't be 'counting my chickens'...'until the fat lady sings', or at least until the notaire has prepared documents for us both to sign.

dimanche 9 janvier 2011

Etang Bleu

After yesterday balmy day basking on hot rock in shirt sleeves, today with a change in weather and location we plunged into winter.
Post holing in rotten snow on the way up

The weather was cloudy and rainy this morning but we knew it would be snowing higher up. We headed off for the Etang Garbet with the idea of maybe pushing on to the Etang Bleu if the weather wasn't too bad. It is rare for Paul and I to venture into the mountains together without some disaster besetting us (a few years ago we were avalanched out of a couloir climb on Pic Maubermé), so it was no surprise when on reaching Garbettou that we realised we were following fresh bear tracks through the snow! They were difficult to photograph in the flat light but the size of the print, the size of the stride and the 5 forward pointing toes with big claws were a give-away. He was somewhere out there in the mist but we didn't see him. A few minutes later the crash of a sizeable avanlanche somewhere to our left in the low clouds rang out. It was reassuring to know that after yesterday's uneventful rock climbing that things were back to normal!
The Etang Garbet was completely frozen and by the time we got there it was blizzard conditions. The push on to the Etang Bleu in the rapidly deteriorating weather didn't appeal so we headed for home.

The frozen Etang Garbet

samedi 8 janvier 2011

Climbing at Calames

Paul is staying for the weekend, so today as there is no snow to speak of and the weather is unbelievable warm we headed over to Calamès for some rock climbing. It's been nearly 18 months since I roped up but the I soon got back into it. We climbed several routes at 5a, 5b, and 5b+ in glorious sunshine. We bumped into Donna and Tes at the crag, then called in on Emily and the twins on the way home.

Rain forecast for tomorrow, but hopefully we'll get a full day in the mountains regardless.

jeudi 6 janvier 2011

Shin splints

A short time before Christmas I started running again, after a five year lay-off. Although I've done 2 half marathons, I've never considered myself "a runner". All started well but now I am beginning to suffer shin pains (which was one of the reasons why I gave up I now remember). After a couple of miles my shins hurt, I feel myself running flat footed, it feels like my forward foot is already swinging backwards before it hits the ground and when I stop to try and stretch, I find I can't pivot my foot upwards from the ankle. Any advice would be most welcome.

On Tuesday night I had a pleasant evening with Magnus, Anne-France, their children and briefly Serge (Danni his wife was unwell so he had to leave early). Yesterday I was hunting for the first time in ages and today I finished the pointing for the first two attic rooms at Pont de la Taule. Next week I can make a start with insulating the roof, building the studwork and plasterboarding.

Another balmy day, 25 degrees in the sun this afternoon.

mercredi 5 janvier 2011


A decidedly balmy day today with an assortment of birds in the garden.

lundi 3 janvier 2011

Back home

After a lovely break in the UK with Susie, Jasper and Ruby, I've been back home for a couple of days now. The chainsaw is mended, firewood cut, the Rayburn is lit and the house is warming up again after my 2 week absence. There's very little snow in the mountains and none forecast in the coming week - glad I managed to get a ski tour done earlier in the year.

Nevertheless the weather turned cold yesterday afternoon and we had a dusting of snow during the night here at Quelebu.