vendredi 28 décembre 2012

Rosehips and more rain

2012 is now officially the wettest year in the UK since records began in 1910 and there are still a few more days to go.

Today the rain has been torrential (as it was yesterday and is forecast to be tomorrow). I did some hard pruning of the shrubs in the garden and collected 1kg of rose hips. I'll turn them into Rosehip Chutney tomorrow.

lundi 24 décembre 2012


Best ever chestnut stuffing - onions, bacon, ardennes paté, chestnuts (from Quelebu), parsley, thyme, eggs, breadcrumbs, mushrooms, butter, salt and pepper.

dimanche 23 décembre 2012

Seasons greetings to everyone who reads my blog and to all in Aleu. 

Mostly due to my broken foot, we're unable to be in France for Christmas this year - but I'll be back early in the New Year and hopefully my foot will be healed enough to ski in the mountains in the picture above.

vendredi 21 décembre 2012

End of World

Yes the end of the world is coming in just 30 mins time (according to the Mayans). We'll as you can see from the photo, hell has certainly arrived on earth!

vendredi 14 décembre 2012

Broken foot

Dropped a timber frame panel on my foot yesterday and by the evening my foot was very swollen and painful. After x-rays today I discovered I'd cracked a bone. Fortunately no need for plaster, but this Christmas I'll definitely have my feet up - doctors orders!

samedi 8 décembre 2012

New Camera

Well second-hand actually (ebay). It's an Olympus XZ-1 with the VF2 digital view finder and so far I'm loving the images it's producing. It's replacing my Samsung NP7 which has taken nearly all the photos on the blog so far, but has started to grow weary. 

samedi 1 décembre 2012


A range of jobs to keep the wolf from the door - staircases, kitchens, bathrooms and roofs. Some near by and some far away - Justin's roof in Clapham (London) turned into a 20 hour epic when floods and landslips caused railway mayhem!

There's been a good fall of snow in the Pyrenees 40-60cm and there's more due on Wednesday (I hate missing the first snows and the first ski). Cold weather here too but no snow. 

Susie and I headed off for the Western Moors and visited Foggintor and Swelltor quarries. At the second quarry I rescued a sheep which was stuck on a ledge - reckon she'd been there a good few days judging by the sheep shit on her ledge and her emaciated state. Managed to get back to the car before the worst of the rain.

 Looking to the coast

 Pinnacle at Swelltor Quarry

 Some blue sky

Stuck sheep
 Lower quarry

Abandoned granite corbels and Susie in two down jackets

jeudi 22 novembre 2012

Last of (my) 20 degree days

 Basking in the sun

Clouds illuminated by the sun which had already set behind the mountains

Another lovely day spoilt only by being stung on the head (probably several times) by an angry hornet defending it's nest in the outside loo of the barn (I only opened the door!). The pain was unbelievable for over 6 hours and only now is beginning to subside - even after taking pain killers and anti-histamine. If they'd really attacked I think I'd be in hospital. Enjoying the last of the sun before returning to storm battered England. Seems all trains to the South West past Taunton are cancelled because of flood damage, so god only knows what time I'll get back tomorrow night.

mercredi 21 novembre 2012

All done!

Thank god that's over...I've been putting it off for a long time, but am pleased with the result.

mardi 20 novembre 2012

Kitchen wall

Another long day but the first half of the 'problem' kitchen wall has succumbed to expanded metal and plaster! Another glorious day, shame to be mostly inside. Two tea breaks with Jon and Sandrine who were working in the bottom field ensured I wasn't with my nose to the grindstone for the entire day. The other larger part to do in the next two days along with some other chores.

lundi 19 novembre 2012


All day plastering with the super fast setting french plaster (and this is the slowest setting stuff they make!). After a cloudy start it turned out to be another beautiful day but I was too busy working to really appreciate it. Still clearing up.

dimanche 18 novembre 2012


Lots of hurling sand/lime render today as I attempted to dub out the window reveals and newly exposed living room wall ready for a top coat of plaster. Interesting how little suction there is to granite! A long wrist aching job...still the huge kitchen wall to do : (

samedi 17 novembre 2012

 Loire skeleton found behind the cladding

 Weather approaching from the west

New oak window cills - now for the plastering!

vendredi 16 novembre 2012

First day back

A walk didn't materialise but the weather has been glorious. Spent most of the day cutting the more field no.1, just two more to do before the winter snows arrive.

There's a lot of rendering and plastering  to do this trip so decided to finally remove the horrible cladding in the living room. The wall and window reveals will be plastered. The windows are much bigger now the boarding has been removed.

jeudi 15 novembre 2012


Back in France. the crappy grey weather in the UK is only a few hundred feet thick - glorious sun above! The skies are wonderfully clear and from 37,000 ft there was an amazing view of the huge dome of the Massive Central and the Alps beyond several hundred miles away. Mont Blanc, the Swiss Alps and the peaks of the Ecrins were all clearly visible.

Weather here is warm, clear and sunny. Passed Ian in the car and then bumped into Minsou for a chat. Saw a purple heron for the first time on the way home too.

Today is one of the few days that the sun sets twice...once each side of Mont Valier. Fire and Rayburn are purring away to heat the house through after being shut up for the last 4 weeks...tomorrow a walk to make the most of this weather before getting down to work.

dimanche 11 novembre 2012

River Avon

After some heavy building work early in the week (groundworks mostly) the weather at last took a short turn for the better so Susie and I took a walk to explore the lower Avon valley between Topsham bridge and Loddiswell, following the old route of the railway. A look for mushrooms but nothing found.

On Sunday Dominic and I took to the Canadian canoe and followed the Avon again, this time from Aveton Gifford all the way to the sea at Bantham with views to Burgh Island. Fun fighting the incoming tide when we hit the sea, but more leisurely on the way back upstream. Lots of kingfishers on the estuary and some big bass.

jeudi 8 novembre 2012

vendredi 2 novembre 2012