mercredi 31 décembre 2014

My main achievement in 2014...finally finishing the extension to Quélébu.

This movie got blocked because the music I used is a recorded by Julian Bream and his record company own the copyright, if I tick a box acknowledging this it gets unblocked - but with Google advertising on it. Something is twisted about that, but at least I get to keep the music unlike on most of my other movies.

It's been a 98% solo effort, but thanks to everyone who helped with the beam lifting, Chris for help with the concreting, Justin for helping with knocking the doorway between the kitchen and living room, Tony and John for helping fix the South facing roof slating, moving the Rayburn and the cast iron bath and of course Susie, Jasper and Ruby.

lundi 29 décembre 2014

xmas break

 Hover fly on early blossoms

A Christmas feast in Hereford with Susie's sisters and their families. Jen and Andrew put on an incredible spread for Christmas dinner of mostly home produce. This year we provided an exotic Boxing Day dinner with a glazed gammon, a parsnip, lentil and watercress bake, a bulgar, pomegranate, onion and haloumi pilaf, gyozo's and sushi. 

Susie making felt with her sisters

Home to Devon in time for a couple of days of dry cold weather which we took advantage of with a walk along the coast.

A bright cold post-Christmas walk along the coast

dimanche 21 décembre 2014

samedi 20 décembre 2014

Dryer, cooler weather in the UK and a chance for some photography and xmas shopping in the market. 

mercredi 17 décembre 2014

Beautiful 4 bed home in the Pyrénées for 89,000 euros - SOLD

My tenants moved out in January, so after some redecoration my house at Pont de la Taule (La Falaise) is available for purchase. Details below. See also here for more photos.

PONT DE LA TAULE is a small hamlet situated in the heart of the Parc Naturel Regional des Pyrenees Ariegeoise at the confluence of the River Alet and the River Salat. The hamlet benefits from an Auberge with a restaurant. The town of Seix with all local amenities (shops, post office, secondary school, doctors, etc) is less than 10 minutes drive away and the ski station of Guzet Neige is about 20 minutes drive away.

The area is perfect for walking, fishing, mountaineering, canoeing, cycling, (the Tour de France frequently passes through the village) and all winter sports.

The PROPERTY comprises, a HOUSE, a double GARAGE, a BARN, a small OUTBUILDING and LAND and woodland extending to just over 2 acres. The house has been completely renovated with completely new decoration, wiring, plumbing, insulation and septic tank. SPANC has inspected and approved the septic tank, energy rating is yet to be carried out.

The HOUSE is approached by a short path (20m) and stands slightly above the hamlet facing West, profiting from the most sunny location in the hamlet. Although neighbours are nearby, the house is not overlooked and is in a private location towards the edge of the hamlet.

The building probably dates from 1813 and is built from local marble and granite which has been rendered. The roof is of artificial slate and the windows and shutters are of wood (painted).

Immediately inside the entrance is a small CLOAKROOM (2 sqm) with locally riven marble floor slabs, adjoined by a CUPBOARD (2 sqm) containing the water cylinder, and washing machine.

The generous BATHROOM (9 sqm) it carved out of solid rock. It has a shower, wall mounted WC and handbasin and there is ample room to install a bath if desired. The room has an extract fan, electric radiator and large double glazed window.

Also on the ground floor is BEDROOM 1 (24 sqm). The bedroom has exposed beams a new wooden floor and a large window with an original carved marble sink. There is a built in storage cupboard (under stairs) and an electric radiator.

The staircase leads to the first floor comprising the KITCHEN, LIVING/DINING ROOM and TERRACE.

The KITCHEN (15 sqm) is a bright room with original wooden floor and a large double glazed window. A recently fitted kitchen with beech worktop, electric fan oven, ceramic hob and electric radiator.

Adjacent is the LIVING ROOM/DINING ROOM (28 sqm) with original wooden floors, exposed beams, a double glazed window and large fireplace with cast-iron woodburning stove.

A half glazed door leads to the terrace. In an elevated, private and sunny location, the terrace has wood decking and is surrounded by damson trees. A wooden staircase leads up to the garden of approximately 340 sqm which is currently meadow.

The ATTIC storey comprises three further BEDROOMS. Each bedroom is insulated from it’s neighbours for thermal and acoustic privacy, and the roof is insulated with 120mm of mineral wool.

BEDROOM 2 (15 sqm). New wooden floor, rooflight and window (both double glazed) with view up the Salat valley to the mountains on the Spanish frontier.
BEDROOM 3 (8.5 sqm). Original wooden floor and double glazed window. A small L-shaped room, large enough for a single bed and chest of drawers.

BEDROOM 4 (17 sqm). Original wooden floor, rooflight and window (both double glazed).

Opposite the house is the BARN (two floors each of 50 sqm). A stone building under a roof of artificial slates and some original riven stone slates (lauzes).
The upper storey is under an original chestnut framed roof and could be renovated to provide guest accommodation (bunkhouse or similar). Or the roof could be removed to provide a huge terrace in front of the house which catch the morning sun. The ground floor is partly occupied by the septic tank,though the majority of the space remains useful.
Further along the access path and below the garden is another two storey stone OUTBUILDING of about 5 sqm.

A short distance from the HOUSE adjacent to the road are a pair of connected GARAGES of approx 42 sqm. A large space in which a mezzanine could be added. A neighbouring garage has been converted into a chalet.
Further land comes with the property and includes a small parcel bordering the River Salat, a steep area adjacent to the road below the village and two large areas (approximately 1 acres) of steep mixed broadleaved forest on the other side of the River Salat and visible from the TERRACE.

The property is for sale for 89,000 Euros (about £69,500) or for rent at 450 Euros per month + bills (12 month rental minimum)

Please e-mail me at to view the property or for further details. French and English spoken.

vendredi 12 décembre 2014

Project at La Trappe

Latest progress of the barn conversion in La Trappe which I designed for Gilbert et Nicole Coron. Contractor is RDM (Bastide de Serou).

lundi 8 décembre 2014

A day of "bits and bobs". In the morning a trip to St Girons to talk to the D.D.T (planners) about the technicalities of turning my barn into a gite. Then on the way home a catch up with Minsou. In the afternoon there was a site meeting at La Trappe, then home to queries from Architecture projects in the UK. 

Still time for some DIY of course! Ticking off some of the jobs that need finishing -  the window shutter in the utility room, the ski rack, pipe insulation, hinges on the cupboard giving access to the central heating pump and draught sealing the old front door.

dimanche 7 décembre 2014

Dawn and 12cm or so of snow

Very proud of this of best I've ever taken!

samedi 6 décembre 2014


An early trip to the market to get a hat and to see Justin and Ian, then onward to Ax-les-Thermes to upgrade some of my ski-youring equipment at Telemark Pyrénées . It was soon snowing and on the way back over the Col de Port I needed four wheel drive. 

Back home it's been snowing all day...very Christmassy even though it's only December 6th.

vendredi 5 décembre 2014

Winter is coming...

" know nothing Jon Snow."

samedi 29 novembre 2014

Favourite bits of kit

I am extremely picky about my outdoor gear and often spend weeks, months or even years choosing my kit. I haven't made too many mistakes and most my gear lasts around a decade. Two items have reached the twenty year mark despite very regular use and have become my favourite bits of kit.

Mountain Equipment ultrafleece jacket 
Not too thick or bulky (probably much thinner now than it was 20 years ago). Where I go in the mountains it goes too. I think ultrafleece aka karisma fleece was discontinued in 2003, shame.

Montane featherlite smock
Perfect weightless, breathable and windproof layering in any season. Made of pertex, weighs 105g and packs down smaller than an apple. In 2012 I gained a wife and despite my best efforts, lost this item of clothing to Susie. She wears it everywhere and I have had to buy another.

dimanche 23 novembre 2014


After two weeks of wet and stormy weather, it was good to get outside for some fresh air without donning waterproofs and feeling like you were in a washing machine! Despite my best efforts I seem to have missed most of the glorious autumn they've been having in the Pyrenees. Back in about a weeks time - lets hope it's not all over by then, I need the sun.

Looking back towards Great Tor Hound Tor

dimanche 16 novembre 2014