Tuesday 30 November 2010

Tuesday 30th November

We have been watching the snow and cold weather in England with interest - and are wondering whether to bring the car chains with us when we drive back on Thursday! Here we have had several dry and sunny days - frosty in the morning but quite warm in the afternoon. As a result, we have made good progress with the pool and now have the structure firmly in place. We are pleased to have reached the stage where we can leave it for a month. In the meantime, Laurent has been working on the 'Pyrenees Suite' and it is starting to take shape.
Dave has enjoyed spending an afternoon pottering in the garden, which has made a welcome change from wading in the mud around the pool. I am busy writing newsletters and Christmas cards.

We can hardly believe it will be a whole year ago tomorrow that we signed contracts and became the new owners of La Maire.

We have added a few more recent photos to the album, so if you would like to see them, just click on the link below

Sunday 21 November 2010

Pool Progress

It has been a busy week but we feel we are making good progress with both the pool and the 'Pyrenees Suite'! It has been quite tiring physically, but working in the garden in the midst of this beautiful countryside certainly beats going to the gym and it has been very satisfying to see the pool structure slowly take place. It still requires some imagination to visualise sitting on the pool steps this summer, or taking an early morning dip - but it will happen!!

The floor in the guest suite is now laid, ready for Laurent to start work this week, and we have also ordered the patio door-another job done!

The other two photos above show a beautiful sunrise from the living room yesterday morning, and a view of the first snow on the mountains from the paddock.

Monday 15 November 2010

15th November 2010

Work in Progress!
It has been a mixed week weather wise - some sunny and beautifully warm autumnal days, but also a fair bit of rain in between. We have started laying the foundation slabs for the pool. This is probably the most critical part of the installation as they all have to be absolutely level with each other. Lots of patience required, but its going well so far!

Work has also started on the 'Pyrenees Suite!'. Neil and his Dad have been helping Dave lay the screed on the floor (see photos above) in preparation for Laurent to start the plaster-boarding later in the week. It is actually starting to look like a room already rather than a garage!
On Friday morning I gave my first watercolour class in French. Laurent the plasterer is a keen artist and has been wanting to try watercolour for some time, so asked for a lesson. It was fun, and he is quite a natural with a paintbrush - but after 3 hours of teaching in French I must admit I was ready for an activity that was less mentally taxing, so spent the afternnoon digging!

Sunday 7 November 2010

Sunday 7th Nov

It looks quite daunting doesn't it!
This is the pool - a professional 'man with digger' came to do the job yesterday - the rest is up to us! The digger did a really excellent job and coped well with the trauma of breaking an underground water pipe taking water to the farm below us. However all was dealt with efficiently and with good humour. The water board came out and fixed the pipe, we moved the pool a metre to the right - and met another of our neighbours - the man from the farm below!!
So now all we need to do is install the structure - easy!
Today we started to fill in the ditch which will take the water pipe and electricity cables - and got very muddy and wet in the process as the weather has turned again-but its all good fun and the pool will be worth it in the end!!

Autumn at La Maire

The rain didn't last long, and we had some abolutely beautiful Autumnal days here last week - warm and sunny but with clarity and freshness in the air. The Pyrenees have a dusting of snow and look so close. Not long until the skiing season!
The trees haven't quite reached their autumnal best yet, but the countryside looks beautiful already. Some more photos can be seen here:

Our favourite cockerel has been strutting his stuff in the garden as usual, along with his 2 favourite chickens! There are also a flock of Guinea fowl (very funny and insecure birds who absolutely must stay together, otherwise they panic!), various ducks and geese from the farm, and even two very large rabbits which have escaped and have taken to sleeping in our stables

Monday 1 November 2010

1st November

We enjoyed our 3 weeks back in the UK. It was good to catch up with friends and to have some family time as well. We drove back to La Maire on Saturday. Despite worries about fuel shortages, we had no problems filling up and had a good drive. The Autumn trees throughout France were a real picture - I wished I hadn't packed my camera away in the case!

We found La Maire exactly as we had left it - always a relief! The grass and weeds hadn't grown too long and it wasn't too cold either. The night sky when we arrived at 10.30 pm was clear and absolutely full of stars. Dave fired the boiler up, feeding it with the 'granules' that we bought in September. It soon got going, but we also soon realised that it was eating our (very expensive!) granules rather too quickly, and turning them into very acrid grey smoke! However, the very confusing instruction booklet is now making a bit of sense and after experimenting with different settings, Dave has sorted it for now...we hope!

Today is my birthday - but our plans to go for a walk or drive have come to nothing as it has been raining since yesterday lunchtime! It is also a Bank Holiday here today, so shops and restaurants are shut as well - so birthday 'celebrations' are on hold until Wednesday, when the weather looks to be much better. Instead, we have been fixing curtains (me) and light fittings (Dave) and putting some pictures up.

It is lovely to be back despite the weather and the fact that the only signs of life around here so far are the cows and chickens-everyone shelters indoors in this weather and especially so on Bank Holidays. All will be back to normal tomorrow!