Sunday 22 August 2010

23rd August 2010

Here you are Brian - a photo just to prove that Dave is doing some work as well!

We finally celebrated completion of the patio this week (photos above!) - and toasted all Daniel's hard work! We finished the pointing after several aborted attempts as we couldn't find a mortar that we were happy with! However, all looks lovely now,and will look even better when Dave has finished the little wall along the back edge - and a bit of greenery has had a chance to grow!
The weather is also now very hot and sunny, so we have enjoyed several dinners on the terrace overlooking the valley - lovely!

We have also ordered a pool this week - a kit pool, which we fit ourselves, but have a man to come and dig the hole, then the manufacturers come to fit the liner in the Spring. We have decided to locate it at the bottom of the back garden which gets all day sunshine, and overlooks the valley (just behind Dave in the photo!) - so we will look forward to that next year!

The house has seemed very quiet this week after Lucy and Andy and then Daniel left! However, it has been great to have Broadband here at last and be able to chat on Skype.

The dry and hot weather has meant that the grass is growing more slowly and gives the mower a bit of a break - but why do the weeds grow faster than ever?!! We are also discovering that courgettes and runner beans love the climate - so if any of you are hoping to visit us next year - I hope you like green beans and ratatouille as the freezer is full of both!!.....oh and plum crumble!

Sunday 15 August 2010

15th August 2010

Well - it has finally happened!! - we are online at La Maire!!!!

So here is the blog update, posted on a Sunday evening 'chez nous' - not at McDonalds!!!

It has been a good week. The weather has still not been great - it has apparently been an unusually dreadful Summer so far. The usual run uf uninterrupted hot and sunny days hasn't really materialised, but it has actually been great for us, as higher temperatures would have made working a lot harder - and we have still had a reasonable amount of warm and sunny weather, so no complaints! We would just like normal conditions to resume next Summer when we have the pool in place!!

Lucy's boyfiend, Andy, arrived on Tuesday, and was a great help with laying patio slabs, painting the kitchen - and cooking and washing up! We had planned to have a day up in the mountains, but the weather didn't oblige, so we just had an afternoon out at Carla Bayle, which they enjoyed. Otherwise, there has been plenty to do here to keep everyone occupied and we have all had a fun week.

On Thursday evening, Dave and I went to Lisa and Neil's - they had an 'aperitifs' party for friends to celebrate the opening of their B&B accommodation, which they have been working hard to prepare over the past few months. It was lovely to spend some time with all the new friends we have made since arriving here.

It was Daniel's last day today, so we went up the Plateau to Beille again - Daniel was keen to cycle up it, so Dave and I spent some time at the Sunday market at the village of 'Les Cabannes', then drove up to the top to meet Daniel. He really enjoyed the ride, despite some rather moody cloud building up, and it was also very cold (for Summer!) at the top - just 10 degrees!

We take Daniel to the airport tomorrow - we have really enjoyed having all the 'kids' here and they have been a huge help as well - we have made a lot of progress over the past few weeks. We will then be on our own for 2 weeks before good friends June and Jim join us at the end of the month

Monday 9 August 2010

9th August 2010

Good news this week – we finally have a phone line! No internet as yet, but this is the first step, and it is good to be connected to the outside world!

The weather has been fantastic this weekend, so we have made the most of it, with a BBQ on Saturday evening, and a day out on the Plateau de Beille yesterday. The plateau is about 75 mins drive from here, the last 30 minutes being the climb up to the top. The plateau is a cross-country ski area in Winter, but is a wonderful area for walking in Summer, with views of the Pyrenees in all directions. Photos are above.

We also had our first dinner party on Friday evening, with Sue and Steve and Lisa and Neil (8 of us with the four of us!!) . It was a fun evening, and
I also made good friends with our new cooker!!

The patio slabs arrived on Wednesday, so that is another challenge for Daniel before he goes home in a week’s time. The first one took about 30 mins to lay and get level – but things are speeding up now. We have also started tiling the kitchen, and the future pool area and garden around it are all clear of weeds (for the time being.

Lucy’s boyfiend Andy arrives on Tuesday, so we will have a quieter week with some time out, and will hopefully finish the patio and kitchen.

Monday 2 August 2010

2nd August 2010

It has been a mixed week of weather – some glorious hot and sunny days, but also some cloud in between and finally thunderstorms and rain last night. The sunflower photo above was taken during a bike ride from a local view point.

This is the time of year when the French all go on holiday for at least two weeks – sometimes the whole of August, so shops and businesses close and everyone goes away!! This most probably means that we won’t see any progress on our phone line for at least another month. It seems it is just a matter of waiting until they have put the new lines in to the village, which is apparently more complicated than we first thought. However, it will be done. Magali at the office called them again last week while we were there and had a long conversation, stressing how important it is that we get a phone very soon as we have been waiting for so long, so she is doing her best for us and we are grateful that she is doing it for us, as I still find telephone conversations in French very difficult!!

As for progress at La Maire – Lucy has been painting all the landing walls and doors, so it all looks much brighter and fresher. The main bathroom is ready,, except for fitting a side to the bath, and Daniel has spent the week building the barbeque, which is almost finished. The patio slabs should arrive tomorrow so the sitting area in the back garden will soon be ready!
We have also connected up and used the new cooker, so the next job is to re-tile and paint the kitchen….then re-vamp the old bathroom.

On Friday evening, we took Daniel and Lucy for dinner at the Auberge in Carla Bayle. (see photo) It was a lovely evening, and delicious food as always.
On Saturday evening, Sue and Steve invited us to a BBQ at their home. This was also a lovely evening – perfect weather for sitting outside, delicious food…and it was also good to meet some more English people living locally.

Yesterday, we had planned a day out in the mountains as the weather looked promising. As we set off however, it started to cloud over and looked much less promising, so we made a quick decision to alter our route and go for a local walk instead. I had noted one not far from here that goes up to a hilltop TV mast and afforded fantastic views both over to the Pyrenees and also back to StVictor Rouzaud. The climb was certainly worth it, even in slightly murky weather. (See photo taken on the walk). We then drove home via the village of Sabarat, where we had our picnic. This is a very pretty little village on the river, and so full of character –prefect for painting, so I will be back!!