Friday, 2 October 2020

September 2020



 September has not been the month that we expected at the beginning of the year. Lucy and I were due to fly to Australia for my niece's wedding, but along with many other events this year, it has been postponed until next Summer. Here in France Covid cases are rising, but mostly in the large cities, so life in the Ariege goes on more or less as normal. 

We have had some beautiful weather, right up until this last week ,when it has changed quite dramatically over a few days. The mountains have seen the first snow of the season and we have lit the boiler. We have enjoyed a couple of walks in the mountains on sunny days but were surprised how busy it is everywhere. It seems the French are having local days out rather than travelling further afield for holidays at the moment.

A little owl fell down our chimney a couple of weeks ago and got stuck on a ledge half way down. He couldn't get back up again so Dave removed the cooker hood and tried to coax him down. After 3 days he finally flew down into the kitchen and we were able to let him outside. I was playing my guitar at the time so like to think that encouraged him down!! He seemed none the worse for wear after his ordeal and Dave got a photo of him flying by the pool

Our photos for the month are here...

Dave's album

Lesley's album






Tuesday, 1 September 2020

August 2020

 



August has brought some big blue sky days and it has been very hot at times, as is typical of this time of year. There hasn't been much rain at all so the grass is drying out and the vegetables have needed a fair bit of watering. We are now swamped with ripe tomatoes and cucumbers.

We enjoyed our brief trip back to Bracknell to see the family, then Lucy, Andy and Nala came over to stay for a while. It was good to share their holiday with them!

Here are just a few photos of the past month
Lesley's album
Dave's album





Sunday, 2 August 2020

July 2020


As the weather heats up this Summer, the grass is starting to dry out (and needs less cutting) and the vegetable garden is starting to produce. Cucumbers and tomatoes are doing especially well this year.
Some days have been extremely hot, but the temperature can drop by over 10 degrees from one day to the next, so we have had some cooler weather in between as well, which has been welcome

We have enjoyed several meals with friends which is a real treat since the weeks of confinement and we have also had quite a few guests booking in. Its good to see people are on the move again, but cleaning between guests has to be very thorough.

Dave has broken a little toe (doing DIY !) and has also put his back out this week so is taking it easy. I have been out locally on my bike and had a walk in the mountains with a friend

Our big news this month is that Daniel and Jess have had a little girl, Siena, born on 19th July - so we are grandparents! 

Here are our photos for this month
Lesley's album
Dave's album

Thursday, 2 July 2020


June has seen France more or less opening everything up again, except for anywhere that involves people meeting in large groups. Its good to see some life in the town again and people sitting outside cafes and restaurants in the sun. Mask wearing and social distancing is still required, but some places are adhering to the rules more than others.

We have welcomed our first guests of the year this month, but are only letting the self-catering room for now. Enquiries are coming in quickly though - people seem keen to book last minute holidays now

We have had some warm sunny weather interspersed by a few cooler wetter days, which the garden appreciates.

Dave's album
Lesley's album

Monday, 1 June 2020

May 2020


France is slowly opening up again now. From 11th May we were allowed to venture further than the 1km from home and were able to meet up with friends again. Although we have enjoyed the home confinement in many ways it was good to spend a couple of evenings with friends and to go out walking again. From next week bars and restaurants are opening, but with regulations on social distancing and wearing of masks.
We have opened our calendar for bookings again as well!
We are hoping that the quarantine rule for arrivals in the UK will soon be relaxed as well so we can see the family again

Here are our albums for May
Dave's album
Lesley's album

Friday, 1 May 2020

April 2020


Hello everyone! We hope that everyone with whom we have not been in touch during the last month is in good health and surviving the weeks of home confinement. 

We have kept busy with the garden, music, painting, local walk and have enjoyed regular 'apero Zoom' chats with friends and family as well. We often see the neighbours for a chat over the fence and of course the farmers continue to work hard. 

The Ariege is still relatively untouched by Covid 19, but on my weekly trips to the supermarket there have been very few people out and about and around 50% of those who are are wearing masks.
France begins its de-confinement plan on 11th May and people are already starting to go out and about a bit more as they are less afraid of catching the virus now and there are less police controls in evidence.
It will be some time yet before everything is back to normal, but it will be good to have the shops open again, to see friends and to walk further afield

The beginning of April was very warm and dry, but the last couple of weeks have brought some rain, which the dry ground needed. The combination of warmth and rain has encouraged everything to grow, including the fruit and vegetables which are getting off to a good start

Here are a few photos of the garden and my daily 1km walk to the village and back
Lesley's photos

Wednesday, 1 April 2020


When I sent out the blog update and photos at the beginning of March, I don't think any of us expected the chaos that has engulfed the world over these past few weeks. 

I felt very fortunate to have been able to spend a few days in England with the family at the beginning of March. Covid 19 was already spreading and the first few cases had arrived in the UK. Each one was big news then! Then a week after I returned home, the whole of France was in shutdown - about a week before the UK. 
The rules are very strict here - we can only leave our homes for a few reasons, and each time we do so we must complete and sign a government form outlining the reason for going out. There are regular police check and fines if you don't comply.

We are very fortunate here to have the space and countryside on the doorstep, but we are not venturing further afield than the bottom of the lane unless its for shopping. No-one is permitted to go out further than 1km from home for exercise.
We have however been very busy. The garden has never looked so tidy in the Spring and the vegetable patch is relatively weed-free and ready for planting. Dave has already planted the potatoes and onions and has also been potting up seeds. It has been mostly warm and sunny apart from the last few days when Winter temperatures returned for a while. It even snowed on Tuesday.

We are also spending time on our music and I always have a painting on the go. 
I am enjoying Lucy's 'living-room' dance lessons (see Lucy Cooper Linedance' on youtube) and we have regular internet chats and quizzes with friends and family. 

Here are our few photos for this month. 
We wish good health to everyone and hope that things will be on the up-turn in a months time

Dave's album
Lesley's album

Sunday, 1 March 2020

February 2020





Our albums for this month mostly feature our travels. We had a good week skiing in the French Alps with Lucy and Andy at the beginning of the month and have also just enjoyed a weekend away near the Mediterranean coast with Richard, Yvett and Scotty.

The weather has been sunny and warm for most of the month so we were also able to enjoy a walk near the chateau of Montsegur.
Here at home, the grass is growing fast so we have been busy mowing and tidying as usual!

The photos above, in descending order, are Morillon in the French Alps, Peyriac de Mer and Lagrasse in the Aude, then finally the chateau of Montsegur nearing the end of a sunny day

Our albums for the month are here
Dave's album
Lesley's album

Friday, 31 January 2020


Some snowy pictures this month. It has been a mild winter so far and any snow that has fallen on the Pyrenees has tended to be up high, so we haven't used our snow shoes yet this year. However we have enjoyed a few walks up there in the sun, as well as am impromptu day skiing in Andorra after a fresh fall of snow.

Here are our albums 
Dave's album
Lesley's album

Friday, 3 January 2020

December 2019




We made the most of a few sunny and bright days this month to enjoy the clear winter air. The mountain views are often at their best at this time of year. 
We have just returned from an enjoyable Christmas break with the family in England.
Very best wishes to all our blog readers from a good 2020

Happy New Year everyone!

Here are a few photos from DecemberLesley's album