mardi 27 août 2013

Hedgehogs, a toad, a snake and a buzzard

After doing my back in trying to lift an old fence post out of the ground, the last few days have been gentle, whilst I try to let it get out of spasm.

A walk in the woods around Coumes produced a haul of hedgehog of the woods mushrooms and a toad.

Today we went for lunch with Alun and Breezy, who cooked us an amazing meal. Their place is really coming together now. Suzy and Ruby climbed up into their tree deck whilst I looked for mushrooms...and found a grass snake!

The buzzard I've been carving for the stair newel post is now more or less finished and fixed in place.

dimanche 25 août 2013

DIY and a mushroom walk to Coumerba

Susie and Jasper been building steps (to be continued)

Susie surveys my scything - I managed to break a blade : (

Our house from Coumerba

Coral fungus

Giant Boletus Satanas (poisonous)

Giant Cep Faux Royale (delicious)

Mushroom haul (cep, hedgehog of the woods, girolles, oyster, grisette) to add to our stew

vendredi 23 août 2013


Jasper passed his GCSE's so cause for celebration and a meal in Massat. Weather remains great and we've been tending to the fields, vegetable garden and continuing with the terrace. A short bout of "gastro" (stomach upset) laid the kids low for a day or so, but all is well again.

lundi 19 août 2013

Pic de la Croix des Lauzes

A couple of days camping in the Turguilla valley with the family and Jordan (Jasper's friend from Totnes). After negotiating the ladders and cables down through the quarry above Gérac we camped by the second lake - L'Etang de l'Astoue.

After some swimming, Jasper, Jordan and I climbed up to Pointe de la Hillette and progressed a short way along the ridge to about 2200m for some great views to Pic Certescan, Pic Montabone, L' Etang Hillette and down to the lake where we were camped.

Jordan peers over the edge in the void

View down to the lake, our tents are on the left hand side, Pic Seron above.

In the evening after some cassoulet, a fine sunset and moonrise, we settled in for the night.

View from the tent


Next morning the clouds were lapping at our feet, so we headed up to climb Pic de la Croix des Lauzes 2349m. Jordan, Ruby and I traversed across to the second top at 2318m before descending over nevés to meet the others at L'Etang de la Croisette. From here, our way home was in the dense cloud.

Pic de la Croix des Lauzes (2349m) looking towards point 2318m as the clouds sweep across

Jordan and Ruby on point 2318m

 Ruby and Jordan on the nevé

samedi 17 août 2013


After more patio building in the morning we headed off to the river for a swim and an explore upstream in the afternoon.

After some delicious tagine for supper we watched the developing storm which turned into the most incredible and fierce electrical storm I've ever seen. We sat on the porch in the warm evening watching the lightning fill the sky. After three hours we turned in as most the light show was over.

The finale was a couple of enormous thunderbolts which sent shock waves through the house, flattening us against our beds.

Today we were at the market and hunting for mushrooms in the woods (which we found). Tomorrow a camping trip in the mountains.

jeudi 15 août 2013

Etang d' Eychelle and Tuc de la Messe

Super hot in the mountains today. We left the house a bit late and all found the climb up to the lake from the Col de la Core (1395m) taxing (I've had an stomach upset for the last couple of days which has left me a bit weak). At the lake we all took a dip to cool off - thank god for mountain lakes! Over lunch we saw a white Egyptian vulture - a rarity as the vultures here are usually griffon vultures or lammergiers.

After lunch we had planned to climb Tuc de la Messe, but the heat and the attraction of the lake was too much for the rest of the gang so I set off alone and made in the summit in an hour. Good views of the rest of the Pyrenees, more vultures (griffons) and a lone marmot.

Tuc de Quer Ner from the Cabin d'Eychelle

Mont Valier from Col de la Crouzette

Summit ridge of Tuc de la Messe (2446m)

Looking East

Jasper and Jordan above Col de la Core

The return to the car was encouraged by the promise of fresh fruit: we'd spied bilberries and raspberries growing on the hillside on the way to the lake. Alas on a handful made it back to the car uneaten!


lundi 12 août 2013

Mr Vole rescued from a near miss with a spade

Same goes for Mr Toad, these animals should be more careful

Deck rebuilt around the workshop

The strawberry bed rejuvenated by Susie

Enlarging the lunch terrace...pergola to come!

dimanche 11 août 2013


A return to lovely hot weather and trip to Salau to catch up with Alun and Breezy. Bathing and picnicking by the stream. At Quelebu the boardwalk around the shed is under reconstruction!

Icy cold water in the Salat below the Port de Salau

Some macro photos of flowers

Pic de la Forque