mercredi 16 septembre 2020

 I ve had man-flu for 4-5 days, now thankfully over...could it have been Covid 19? I isolated just in case and will do an antibody test in a few days time. 

Hedge laying all finished (apart from the clearing up) and after saving since last february and help from mum, dad and auntie, we bought a new (secondhand) car on Monday. Hopefully we can collect it from the dealer at the weekend (in france it's illegal to pay more than 1000 euros cash for an item and bank transfers take 4 days for large sums). It's a suzuki vitara allgrip. First diesel car and first blue car.  It has almost three times the fuel economy of the mitsubishi so we should save some money even though he insurance is a little more. Our model, the copper edition, has a large sunroof, which may not be the best idea in the summer for keeping the car cool when its parked out of the garage, but I'm sure we'll enjoy it in the winter!

jeudi 10 septembre 2020


Since finishing the chairs we ve been mostly hedge laying, but the last couple of days I ve been assembling and installing this stair for Sheri and Michiel, with Michiel's help.

samedi 5 septembre 2020

L'observatoire Cap du Guzet

My initial design for the Observatoire l'Occitanie à Guzet, visitors enter through the inclined screen of photovoltaic panels which power the observatory and mirror the mountains opposite.

A job I was interviewed for last year and led to believe I had secured (pending funding applications) was for a new astronomical observatory at Guzet a few kilometres from Quélébu. I have been in correspondance with the client (an association) for the past 9 months and I did some initial designs for the building during the lockdown/confinement. The building which would have to function completely off grid, at over 1800m altitude, in an exposed location and accommodate people with a wide range of disabilities was an exciting prospect. 

Alas, I discovered a few days ago when I saw a facebook post, that the association has appointed another Architect from Grenoble to do the project and didn't even have the courtesy to tell me! The new design I have to say is rather bland and a lost opportunity to build something special on a unique site.

Pic Tarbesou

A walk a bit further from chez nous than normal on Thursday with a trip to Tarbesou, East of Ax les Thermes. From just below the Col de Pailhères, we (Michiel, Sheri, Susie and I) followed the classic route up the Crete de Mounegou to the summit for a fantastic 360 degree panorama.

From the summit we continued along the Sarrat des Escales and the Sarrat de Gabensa to reach the Roc de Bragues before returning via the three lakes to cross the col de Coumeille de l'Ours.  The landscape east of the Ariege valley is much drier than the Couserans and the landscape dominated pines rather than deciduous trees.

descending from the summit

Dead pine with the Dent d'Orlu in the background

Reeds in the first lake

Tarbesou with the col de Coumielle de l'Ours on its right

The incredibly green Etang Bleu!

Etang bleu and the very blue Etang Noir from the Coumeille de l'Ours