Tuesday, 21 February 2012

Gosip and idle thoughts

No theme to todays posting.. just odd thoughts and observations on life here.

So here we are coming to the end of another month. The garage is slowly moving forward but weather has held us back a bit. The forecast now is looking more promising so hopefully we can crack on with it and move on to the next job! We still haven't got round to registering the car in France (as the process is fairly complex) and as the insurance runs out soon, and my UK drivers licence needs to be renewed and changed to a French one, then this job is taking on more importance.

Sunday here is the hunting day. Mostly there are one or two hunters out looking for rabbits or hare, but every month or so the whole hunt come out in force to hunt deer. It's a bit of a fiasco and looking at them out there last week I couldn't help remarking to Ian, that for the hunt organiser it must be a bit like organising a day trip for age concern, since the average age of most of the hunting contingent is well past retirement. They are usually driven to their stations in a 4x4 as they are too frail to walk there and mostly they use the gun barrel as a mobility aid. I guess that over the next few years with the old brigade dying off, so will the hunt. There are younger members but most of them suffer from the 21st century disease of too little time and too much work. I have mixed feelings. Having been anti-hunting for years I won't miss the spectacle, but at least here they eat what they kill and respect the wildlife around them, wanting to preserve natural environments so that there are plenty of things for them to shoot. Without the hunt, people would put down poison and adopt other more nasty and dangerous forms of pest control to keep the deer, rabbits and hare, etc from taking over.

Looking at the older population around here, it did strike me that it is very like "last of the summer wine." The older generation still get out and about and get themselves into mischief. One dropped dead last week after shovelling snow. He was well over 80 and I couldn't help but think what a nice way to go! The local accent and patois is also widely used amongst this group. They have names like Combo, Old Scapan and Peter Orange. Old Scapan is a hunter in his 80s who has a wife 20 years his junior. He still drives his tractor around. Peter Orange lives with his wife but they argue a lot and he has made it known that he is looking for another, much younger one. I have yet to identify the Nora Batty character but there are several candidates.

On a completely different note, the first of the three babies expected to be born in the village this year arrived recently. Well, at least I assume it did as the pregnant lady no longer looks pregnant!

Thursday, 16 February 2012


At last the snow has cleared and we can see the field again. Temperatures are up to seasonal normal and life is slowly getting back to normal. Burst pipes are being mended, freezers re-stocked and mail is now being delivered.
We managed quite well despite the fact that we live in an unfinished house with no central heating and only a 3kw temporary electric supply. Ian even managed to continue on with the garage on some days, although on others keeping warm was a full time job.

Here are the latest pictures.

Next stage is the roof.

Thursday, 9 February 2012

A few photos of the snow (and no sign of it going any day soon!)

The view from the terrace

Looking up the road

The stinking pool that Gremlin loves

A VERY cold dawn (-13.9 on our thermometer)

Gremlin thinks it is great!

Wednesday, 8 February 2012

Coldest winter since 1985

9.45 at night and the temperature guage reads minus 9 degrees, which means that the real temperate is more like minus 12 degrees. The cold spell continues and the snow is still around and now unlikely to go until next week. By now most of us have given up trying to work as it is a full time job keeping warm. The farmer came round this morning with his snow chains on the car and checked we were okay. It was too cold for him to work in the vines and after he left us he rescued our neighbours who got stuck on the way to town.

Yesterday one of the other farmers attempted to clear the communal roads with a snow plough on his tractor. We managed to drive into town yesterday and did some shopping and we have enough provisions to last for a while (as do most people!),

Our elderly neighbour, Madame Delgrano, invited us over for coffee this afternoon. She had made a tarte au pomme and served that with coffee and Sangria. I think we helped her to feel less isolated this afternoon.

I will be glad when it warms up.

Friday, 3 February 2012


The sky is deceptively sunny. It looks balmy but the temperature didn't get above freezing today and was minus 8 degrees this morning and overnight. We unpacked the thick duvet and I looked out my thermals! When I took Gremlin for his walk this morning I was wearing thermals, three fleeces, a windproof jacket, two hats, two pairs of gloves and thick socks, and when the wind blew I was freezing! The culprit of this severe winter spell is high pressure over Russia and a Northerly wind!

This didn't stop Ian from getting on with the garage. The frame is now almost finished and the next job will be boarding and putting on the rafters for the roof.

3rd Feb 2012