mardi 22 octobre 2013


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

lundi 21 octobre 2013

A hot south wind today, typical of autumn here in the Pyrenees. After securing another project for TQ Architects here in Aleu in the morning, the afternoon was spent concreting the patio (over a tonne of aggregate used so far and probably another 750kg to mix tomorrow) and starting to limewash the newly pointed wall above Susie and my's bed.

Turbulent skies this evening caused by the south winds

dimanche 20 octobre 2013

Heavy rain last night which was most unexpected and not forecast. The rendering on the gable between the new and old parts of the house (which I completed yesterday) survived unscathed.

It's been a busy couple of days. I've also pointed the stone wall in the bedroom, revised some wiring in the living room, done a heap of bed linen washing from our stay in the summer, shuttered the patio ready for more concrete tomorrow, drilled some ventilation holes in the stairs, cut the grass, replaced all the seals in my air rifle (which took three attempts to get working again) and been on a fruitless mushroom hunt (save for one tiny parasol).

There's logs and a field to cut but I'm out of petrol for the moment.

Today was glorious, 32 degrees in the sun! My legs are still a bit heavy after my mountain walk, but I'm hopeful of squeezing in another trip before I leave.

samedi 19 octobre 2013

State of the garden

 lettuce, chard and spinach

 huge radish


hydranger grandiflora

vendredi 18 octobre 2013

Pic de Barlonguere

Back in France and rather than wait until the work is done before going into the mountains (which has up until now resulted in no mountains), this time I have launched straight into a trip. Pic de Barlonguere has been on my list of unclimbed mountains for too long. I was planning on ski touring the peak, but a reconnaissance trip is always a good idea.

I started early (8.30) from Pla la Lau which is a lowly 926m so I knew I was in for a big a day of 1900m or 6250ft of ascent. Despite a very steep start through the forest to gain the hanging valley of Peyrelade I made good time reaching the tree line in an hour. On the way 2 wild boar and 3 betes rouges (piglets) crossed my path just 10m away...alas I wasn't quick enough with the camera.

Once out of the trees a very strong head wind for the rest of the ascent made for hard going. I've never been in this valley before and it was interesting to cover new ground hidden in an area I know like the back of my hand.

It's a steep haul most of the way. The Etang du Tuc du Mil 200m below the summit was still frozen and full of snow despite the excellent summer. The last few hundred meters to the summit are quite exposed -
a steep narrow ledge of a path crosses the steep rock face high above the lake. 4hrs 15mins to the summit.

 Etang du Tuc du Mil

 Looking back along the path of ascent

Views from the summit were great with Pico Aneto, Pico Posets and Vignemale noticeable on the horizon. Valier also shows it true size as Barlonguere is virtually the same height.

Pico Aneto highest in the Pyrenees from the summit 

Vignemale easily visible despite being about 100km away

Valier, Petit valier and Peyre Blanc from near the summit

On the descent I watched Griffon Vultures and a pair of Bearded vultures overhead, saw marmots and an isard far away on a tiny peak.

A pair of bearded vultures or lammergeiers

An Isard...very far away

I had an idea to cross the Port de Barlonguere and return via the Etang Long and Etang Rond, but I was tired when I returned to the cabane Barlonguere for lunch, so decided to return the same way. An 8 hour trip, sore feet and a sore knee from the long steep descent, but happy.

Cabane Barlonguere

The upper valley just below Port de Barlonguere

Autumn colours come early in the mountains

yet more mushrooms

A nice haul of ceps

lundi 7 octobre 2013

More shrooms

Another good haul of field mushrooms and boletus chrysenteron this evening, thanks to a tip off from Adrian.

dimanche 6 octobre 2013


A short exploratory walk through Dyer's Wood near Torbryan on Saturday afternoon produced a haul of parasol mushrooms. After the torrential rain of last week we have some settled weather again...just in time for slating the roof at Cornworthy.

Back to France next week!