vendredi 9 avril 2021

Table des Quatre Seigneurs depuis Lacourt

Under lockdown (confinement) again and trips for exercise/leisure are restricted to10km from one's home, so trips to the mountains are out for us. So we looked to explore some of the areas we haven't visited. Table des Quatres Seigneurs is part of a large limestone massif called La Montagne de Sourroque, the cliffs of which dominate the view from St Girons towards the East.

We started our walk from bottom of the valley beside the Salat river in Lacourt. A long steady ascent through prairies, woods and then beech forest eventually lead to the base of the cliffs and an area dominated by potholes or "Gouffres" as they are called here. 

We picked up the "Sentiers des Falaises" des finds a way through the cliffs, with some cables for support and eventually reaches the Poudac de Hibou, where we had lunch.

The are on the plateau above is an enchanting (enchanted) beech forest and we traversed it from east to west. 

A pair of Egyptian vultures nest here but we didn't see them. We did however see a black and white booted eagle and a golden eagle, as well as a griffon vulture.

Booted Eagle

Golden Eagle

A long descent on forestry tracks detracted a bit from the day, we should have chosen a different way down, but still an enjoyable exploration with 1320m of ascent and 23km.

Plenty of fertility in the limestone soil!

A tree-creeper

samedi 3 avril 2021

Porch progress

The worst wasn't over! The stone wall of the single storey bathroom had been built with steel reinforced concrete intermixed with granite blocks, took a day and half to dismantle it! Door now relocated, old door blocked up and today floor insulated and screeded ready for tiling. Window next though.

lundi 29 mars 2021


Project porch continues. Having removed the old bathroom window (to be reused on the other wall) and bricked it up, work has started on making the new doorway into the bathroom, heavy and dusty work breaking through the stonework and reinforced concrete lintol, but the worst is over I hope!

samedi 20 mars 2021

Fabric off the loom

Finally the fabric is off the loom and in the washing machine. 7m of "extended manifold twill" in cotton. Next curtain making.

Rula one of red hens has developed water-belly not uncommon in old laying hens, but she's not that old. "Ascites" is usually a sign of hypertension or liver failure so it's a symptom of an underlying illness, but there's a slim chance it could be a liver infection, so we took her to the vet. They emptied much of the fluid (over 200ml) and gave her some anti biotics and a diuretic. A very sick hen we doubted she be alive in the morning, but she's still hanging on this afternoon and eating and drinking, though she's obviously very weak. Chickens are so difficult to save if they get sick...time will tell, but her chances are still 50/50 at best.


samedi 13 mars 2021

Porch days 2 and 3

 After a day mostly adapting the old door (which is neither square nor flat) to hang and close snuggly, today everything is insulated and waterproof....external cladding and a door cill next, then internal finishes and a floor screed.

mercredi 10 mars 2021

Porch works

 Having found a beautiful old door (c1840) and obtained a window, works started today on enclosing porch.

mardi 9 mars 2021

Weaving continues

 75% of the way through...the end is in sight!

jeudi 4 mars 2021

Red billed Leiothrix!

I was surprised yesterday evening to catch a glimpse of a little flock of colourful birds I couldn't recognise. Today I returned and got some photos. A fast flying passerine, the red billed leiothrix comes from China and the Himalayas and was imported to Europe in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. Some escaped and they are now established in small numbers across southern Europe.


mardi 2 mars 2021


A trip to the north of the Ariège to see the Storks at Mazère and then a spot of orienteering in Pamiers with Sheri, Michiel, Paula and Andy. Mazère was bloody freezing and Susie and I were completely caught out as we'd got used to the sunny weather here. Thank god we didn't wear shorts which has been the norm here for the last week!


mercredi 24 février 2021

Latest wildlife photos with the new lens

Whilst planting some new fruit trees, I spied a weasel coming in and out of the sheep shelter.  As I waited patiently for an hour for her to return I was also rewarded by the squirrel! Later I found I buzzards nest which if not abandoned might give some great pictures of young.


vendredi 19 février 2021

Towards Mont Ceint

Retaining wall all finished...about ten trailer loads of stone and two blackened nails!

Yesterday, a snow shoe with Emily and Myla (who we haven't seen for ages) from the Etang de Lers towards Mont Ceint. Icy hard snow in the morning and a strong south wind so we decided to make a leisurely shorter day and summitted point 1839m instead. Myla's first time on snow shoes, she did very well even on the steep ground which was at the limit of snowshoeing.

Emily and Myla on the summit in the strong winds

Crazy clouds caused by the strong south winds