dimanche 29 décembre 2013

Detox on the moor

A wander around Sheep Tor with Susie and Ruby.

vendredi 27 décembre 2013

It's been a long time since my last post. Two weeks refurbishing a flat in London, preparing for Christmas, three architecture projects and a forthcoming building project have kept me rather busy. Some R and R over the holidays should provide some post worthy news soon.

dimanche 8 décembre 2013

Stormy Weather

My flight back to the UK was delayed by three hours because of the storms in Scotland. Author and comedian Tony Hawks was on my flight (he has a home in Bagneres de Bigorre which he wrote about in his book "A Piano in the Pyrenees").

Christmas shopping at he weekend, during which Susie found some lovely shoes for me which are great - ergonomic, comfortable and stylish.

mercredi 4 décembre 2013

Starting the bedroom makeover

With the new parts of the house almost finished (just bathroom joinery and tiling, and Susie's wardrobe doors to do), our bedroom is next for some attention. Started by painting the ceiling white and having a big clear-up.

mardi 3 décembre 2013

A chance meeting

A trip to Foix this morning, to the prefecture, to change the name on my driving licence from Inglis-Sharp to Sharp. Which was very straight forward (am I getting used to french bureaucracy?). As I walked back to the car I heard a shout of "Lee!" and there at the door of a café were Donna, Sheri and Sam! Old friends who I hadn't seen in the flesh for a couple years and by chance all together. Was good to catch up over a coffee.

I called in on Minsou on the way home, who was in fine form and we chatted over a glass of Port.

It was a glorious afternoon and even though there is snow everywhere the temperature in the sun was in the mid-twenties...the advantage of living so far south. Spent the late afternoon painting the bedroom ceiling white.

lundi 2 décembre 2013

A short walk around the fields this afternoon and there are trees and boughs in all them to be cleared up, some of them sizeable and some hung up. It's not quite on the scale of 2010 but at least then it was May and the winter was over. I won't be able to tackle most of these for another 4-5 months.

Still the firewood supplies are looking very healthy...could probably sell some!


Woken by two avalanches last night, one off each side of the roof. This morning with the cone of debree up onto the roof, I had to do about 2 hours digging. These photos are afterwards.

Fortunately the car wasn't parked on the 'wrong' side of the house but safely in the garage.

dimanche 1 décembre 2013


It's been nearly two years since I last went skiing (other than one morning touring from my house last winter), so it was great to get out on the skis so early in the season this morning. I headed over to Ax-les-Thermes where there was a lot of snow and almost everything open. I couldn't resist jumping straight into a black run and although my technique was ragged after such a long lay-off and the snow deep and heavy, I got down with no problems. Skied all day but as my technique improved so did my fatigue. Fantastic weather!

samedi 30 novembre 2013

Dumping down with snow at the moment

But the Rayburn is lit and the wood store is full : )

 The track to John and Sandrine's gite blocked by fallen trees

vendredi 29 novembre 2013

Today I spent most of the day at Pont de la Taule Plumbing in a new water cylinder. My tenants had called me on Monday to say they had no hot water, so I bought a new cylinder when I arrived in Toulouse yesterday. Although the size was correct, most of the connections were in different places to the old one so there were quite a few modifications to make - it took until 4.00pm. Home in time to cut some firewood and light the Rayburn and fire to warm the house.

Although I haven't got out to look around properly today, evidently there is more damage than I first thought. Electricity and phones have been cut off for some days and my neighbours were unable to leave their homes because of the number of fallen trees across the roads.

More snow due tomorrow. As the trailer is buried in a snow drift, I'll be mostly waxing skis and visiting friends tomorrow.


Snow sliding off Philippe's shed roof

Home after a day's plumbing

Just after sunset

jeudi 28 novembre 2013

Back to the Pyrenees!

 A lot of snow fell here last weekend (2m in the mountains) and although it's compacted not much has melted.

 I arrived home at sunset.  It had been 3 degrees in Toulouse but in the sun it felt like 20 and I was happy in just a T-shirt. Once the sun goes down though the temperature quickly drops to -6 or so. House was remarkably warm despite this and the rayburn is quickly warming things up.

The snow falling on the trees which hadn't fully shed their leaves has caused a lot of damage and the road from Kerkabanac to Aleu is littered with fallen trees. It's not so bad up here as the May snow a few years back took down most of trees which were susceptible, but I haven't had a good look yet. Most the fences are down though.

dimanche 24 novembre 2013


Plenty of snow back home so I'll waxing the skis and getting out for a ski very soon!

samedi 23 novembre 2013

Playing with long exposures on the Dart

Jasper and I grabbed an hour or so on the River Dart taking photos with long exposures. My photos are above and Jasper's photos are below (he's getting into photoshop and making his photos look really professional).

mardi 12 novembre 2013

All finished at Cornworthy

The project at Cornworthy is now complete and linked to the house through what was once a small porch, which was partially demolished, then enlarged, re-roofed and remodelled.

samedi 9 novembre 2013

Yarner Wood

A morning walk around Yarner Woods Nature Reserve near Bovey Tracey with Susie and Ruby, looking for mushrooms and fresh air. Autumn colours and plenty of birds on the bird feeders in front of the hides.

Barometer Earthstar (astraeus hygrometricus) not yet open

Porcelain Fungus (oudemansiella mucida) which I only found out today is edible

Rosy Pinkgill (entoloma roseum)

  A Christmas angel found hidden by the side of a track (we found another too).

 Marsh tit


mercredi 6 novembre 2013

A farewell to France for a few weeks and a return to a dark, wet and stormy UK. A few weekends ago Susie and I revamped the bathroom which was getting a lot of mildew and looking scruffy. Hopefully the new paint will be easier to clean than the old emulsion.

Work on the project at Cornworthy is just about finished (photos soon) and has been interspersed with smaller jobs (a shop and a kitchen) and on-going architecture projects.

Martin Carthy is playing in Totnes at the weekend and I've always wanted to see him, so have got tickets for Susie and I.

mardi 22 octobre 2013


All done, but way too much concrete mixing and a septic little finger : (