Les poissons en France

Sunday, January 28, 2007


As you can see Diana and Cleo are not impressed with this cold snap. They have realised that the calor gas heater is on most of the time at the present, so, when there isn't a lap available for them, they are camping in front of it.

Everyday I'm checking the weather forecast to see how long this cold is going to last. We should be out of the minus figures by Wednesday ( we hope!). For the past 2 nights it's been -10c although it has been bright and sunny during the day.

It's surprising how many layers of clothing you can put on and still be able to move.

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

It's Winter !

Woke up today, Wednesday to a proper winter scene. A covering of snow about 10cm deep. The day became a pleasent winter's day; no wind to speak of and even some sunshine. It was really interesting to see the animal tracks in the snow. We aren't experienced enough to distinguish between hare, fox or deer. By the end of the afternoon the snow was melting although the forecast is for some more during the early hours of the morning. After that things look to be improving so we are geared up and ready to go!

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Back to Normality

We arrived back home from our trip to England yesterday, Monday. We think that everyone thought that Rene's Life Celebration went well and was a fitting way to remember her. After we had sorted out a few 'legals' with solicitor and Bank, we all went to see friends in Manchester. Luckily, we left just as the weather developed into a storm, and it had died down by the next morning for our ferry crossing; only some 'ship movement'!
We then stayed a couple of days with our French neighbours at their Paris house. They have family on the outskirts of Paris and so spend the winter there. They were most insistent that we stopped off with them on our way back.
So, we are finally back home and we hope that we can now devote all of our energies to working on the house and starting on the garden. Just one hiccup! SNOW. It started to snow at about 10 this morning and it has continued all day. The forecast for the rest of the week is dry but temperatures of -1 to 3. But, c'est la vie!

Thursday, January 11, 2007

New Year's Entertainment

Prompted by the presence of Guy, we have been to Toulouse, our nearest large city. At this time of year things are quiet but, being a university city, there is obiously a huge range of activities, lots of museums and galleries and plenty of things to see.
This region we now live in is the strongest area for Rugby in France. As you can see in the photo, the Town Hall in Toulouse had a large poster on it for the centenary of Toulouse Rugby Club. We understand that some of this year's World Cup matches will be held around us and so we will make the effort to try to get some tickets.

We spent time in Toulouse walking the streets, soaking in the atmosphere and getting orientated. Sue and I instantly had a good feeling about it and feel sure that we will be coming here a lot for cultural activities. We visited an Art gallery but I always find it difficult; my understanding of 'ART' does not fit in with a lot of modern art. But it is still good to expose oneself to new experiences.

So, having experienced 'culture' we decided to experience the local sporting scene and we went last Sunday to the local Rugby club for the Sunday match. As non-involved spectators we found it to be a laugh. We sat in a small stand full of middle aged men and a few women who were taking it all very seriously. They became increasingly agitated as the ref seemed to give more and more decisions against Gourdon, disallowing 2 tries. Gourdon finally lost by 5 points. This resulted in everyone booing the ref off the field, 2 old men were hanging over the front of the stand whistling loudly their displeasure. We will certainly be going again!

Thursday, January 04, 2007

Rubbish Start

It has been good with Guy here to help me. We have been 'attacking' the huge pile of rubbish behind the ruin. It consists mainly of many years worth of old wine bottles, rusty tin cans, brittle plastic water bottles and old roof tiles and bricks.

We want to be able to put down pallets in the area behind the ruin so that we can stack all of the large pieces of stone that we have around the house and garden. We want to save them for when we rebuild walls and also ( a long way in the future ) when we rebuild the ruin. Putting them behind the ruin will help to tidy up the courtyard in particular.

I have spent most of today preparing some sketches of the alterations we wish to make to the outside of the house. They are basically changing some large doors into windows, enlarging windows, changing a window into a door, and putting 'velux' windows in the roof. I am taking the sketches back to the maire tomorrow when he is supposed to give me a form to fill in, if he can find it! But we are still not sure what sort of permission we are going to need. Hope we might find out tomorrow.

Monday, January 01, 2007

A Fitting End

This is our last blog of an amazing year of undreamt of changes. The last day of the year and warm sunshine! We all went off for a walk over the hill to the next village. I even didn't bother to take a coat. It was lovely walking along the tracks and roads, watching out for the birds and seeing some farmers moving their sheep. We then had the thrill of seeing 2 'chains' of caterpillars crossing the road.

These catterpillars hatch out of a large cocoon in Pine trees and they do a lot of damage to these trees.

We have been told about these caterpillars and but to actually see them in a long chain moving looking for a new tree to attack was amazing. I counted 60 caterpillars in one of the chains as they move nose to tail in procession.

Of course, life being 'red in tooth and claw', I was able to take the photos just before a farmer in his tractor came down the road straight over the middle of the chains. The survivors carried on in smaller units and the victims were left as food for whichever scavenging birds or rodents found them!

To celebrate the end of the year we went to a party organised by a nearby english couple. All of this ex-pat socialising is getting a habit! But it was nice to be doing something and we even got to celebrate the New Year twice, once at midnight, and then an hour later when it was midnight in England. However we felt slightly out of place as, although we put smart clothes on, we were decidedly under-dressed compared to the others. Our host was in his bow tie and cumerband, other men had on suits or DJ's and the women had long dresses. Not quite the Raj, but indicative of the type of person who becomes an ex-pat. Except for us of course.

But then we always have been wierd.......... n'est-ce pas?

Warmer Future

Boxing day and fortunately the weather has begun to warm up. It has started frosty but, where the sun gets to, it is thawing out. We are even able to reduce the amount of heaters in the house! We all went off looking for some of our bits of land that we own around the area. We now know roughly where our nearest 'parcelle' is but it is difficult when you don't have an exact starting point from which to take bearings. But, as the weather was good, we enjoyed getting out into the fresh air.

We have been using Guy to help us, and it is surprising what a difference an extra pair of hands can make. We seem to have been burning wood on the fire at an alarming rate in an effort to keep warm. So, Guy demolished a wooden wall in our barn and then chopped/sawed up the wood ready for the fire.

I was beginning to panic that we would be running out of wood to burn, and I had been making enquiries as to where the nearest wood for heating could be bought. But now, with the weather warming, the stock of wood out of the barn, and the reserve of the wood from the flooring of the first level in the barn, I feel a little less concerned. We'll have to see if it will last until the Spring!