Sunday 26 September 2010

27th September 2010

After a hectic couple of weeks back in Maidenhead, I was happy to get back to La Maire last Sunday, to be met by a very happy Dave. After two weeks on his own here he was in danger of starting to talk to himself! I had an excellent 7.10am flight and was back at La Maire by 11.00am - just in time for a quick coffee before persuading Dave that we should go out on our bikes - the warm, sunny weather was just too good to miss.

Dave had made good progress with the bathroom, and it was also good to see the lovely balustrade made by Neil Anslow up at one of the living room windows - see photo above.

The excellent weather continued for the first half of the week, so we kept putting bathroom no. 2 project on hold and finding jobs to do in the garden - still a lot of weeds to be kept under control!

Lunch every day last week was corn on the cob, fresh from the garden. It has been the juiciest, freshest, most tender corn that either of us have ever eaten. Funnily enough, the French don't know how to cook it and just can't understand why we would want to eat it - they grow field after field of it, but all to be used as cattle fodder, so the idea of eating it doesn't appeal at all!

Helen (friend and watercolour 'student' from Maidenhead) and her husband Allan came to stay with us for a couple of nights last week as they are touring through France with their tent. It was good to see them and we enjoyed their company while they were here. Allan cooked a wonderful curry for us on the second night! They were also very lucky to enjoy what appears to have been the last of the very warm weather - a couple of photos are above.

After two weeks away from speaking French, I was pleased to spend an afternoon with Marielle at the mohair farm, chatting and putting brochures in envelopes to send out to their customers.

I also had a French/English session with Jean Paul, our new friend from the village - always very entertaining and helpful!! I am learning a lot about English grammar as well as French!

Mum and Dad arrived safely on Saturday, after spending 3 days driving down here, which they enjoyed. Mum has taken on the job of oiling the teak chairs (10 altogether!) and Dad is in his element with wellies and spade in the garden, tidying up some very out-of-control flower beds.

More photos of Mum and Dads visit next weekend!

Monday 6 September 2010

6th September 2010

This photo is a view of Foix Castle over the rooftops - courtesy of June!

We enjoyed the rest of June and Jims stay with us very much. We enjoyed their company - and their help - and had a wonderful week of warm, sunny weather, so were able to eat most meals outside on the terrace (even breakfast!) and from Wednesday morning, had our new table and chairs to enjoy as well! (to sit at, not to eat!)

On Friday morning, we went to Foix market, and enjoyed a coffee in the old part of the town, indulging in a little people watching as well!

Thursday was the day of our 'Aperitifs and hot-dogs' evening - a small party for all the new friends we have made since living at La Maire. We fired up the barbeque, cleared and tiled the 'bar' in the dining room, made a few extra 'nibbles' as well - and were ready to go! It was lovely to see everyone - both English and French friends from the village and nearby, the Prax family, from whom we bought the house and who still run the farm behind us, and also Sue and the girls from the office. The children loved the hot-dogs, but were not so sure about 'les oignons' !! Somehow, everyone seemed to know most of the other people there, so it was a good opportunity for 'catching up' and the house now feels well and truly 'warmed up'!

I returned to Maidenhead on Saturday, staying here until the 19th - so Dave is rattling around on his own at 'La Maire' at the moment. The next project is the second bathroom, so Dave will not be short of things to do, and I will expect it all to be finished for my return!!!

Wednesday 1 September 2010

1st September 2010

Progress last week was halted for a day or two as Dave's back siezed up - just as he was putting the final touches to the patio wall ! An enforced rest was probably good for him however, and we had a couple of days of very hot weather, so were both happy to take it easy for a bit. So with the kitchen, main bathroom and terrace all now finished, we can tick off a few more boxes!

June and Jim arrived on Sunday, to clear blue skies - and much cooler weather. Within a couple of days, night-time temperatures dropped from 23 to 10 degrees!! We have enjoyed showing June and Jim around, and having some time off ourselves as well. On Monday we walked up to the viewpoint, discovering that the road sign indicating the distance to be 2km was more like 2 miles! However,we had a lovely walk and got back in plenty of time for lunch. Yesterday was action packed - a walk and picnic up in the mountains, then we hit the night life in Pamiers. There was a live band on in the square as part of the Pamiers fete. The square was full of local people, mostly of 'a certain age' and all dressed up in their 'finest'. As soon as the band kicked off, they all got to their feet and started dancing around the square - walzes, tangoes, cha-cha-chas - you name it, they could do it, some expertly, some barely able to stand, and some just doing their own thing, but all totally without inhibitions! This was clearly the highlight of their year, and all all were having such a great time-huge smiles all round, and great entertainment for us.