Sunday 1 December 2013

November 2013

Well Dave wins the 'most interesting photos' competition for this month!! 
Its not been an easy month for taking photos - the first two weeks of November were wet, windy and cold!
I have been busy with watercolour comissions and Dave has been keeping busy with anything that doesn't involve gardening!!

The sun returned last week with some very cold temperatures as well. We had a drive up to Andorra on Friday and were amazed how much snow there is in the mountains already. If it stays cold it will be a fantastic ski season

We have just had a very enjoyable craft weekend here. 14 of us exhibited different crafts and we had a reasonable number of visitors which made for a really sociable and fun weekend.

We are already late in uploading our albums - so here they are...
Dave's album
Lesley's album

Monday 4 November 2013

October 2013

The first snow of the season arrived briefly in the middle of the month on the mountains, but it didn't last long and apart from that, the warm, sunny weather has continued.

We have just enjoyed a couple of weeks back in the UK to catch up with family and some friends which was lovely. Back at La Maire now for a few weeks before Christmas so will use the time to do jobs around the house and garden that we don't have time for in the Summer.
Dave is planning the 'no dig ' method for the vegetable patch next watch this space!!

Here are our albums for the month
Lesley's album
Dave's album

Tuesday 1 October 2013

September 2013

Autumn is setting in - the above photo of morning mist in the valley is typical of this time of year. 
However after a cool start to the beginning of the month, the weather has been superb. We have still been very busy with guests but we enjoyed a mini-break on the Mediterranean coast at the beginning of the month.
This is also one of the best times of year for walking in the mountains - the sun is less intense and the snow has not yet arrived. The other photo above is of a local walk - you can see both Roquefixade and Montsegur castles in this valley.

Here are our albums for the month
Lesley's album
Dave's album

Sunday 1 September 2013

August 2013

We have had an incredibly busy month with guests, some staying just a night, some longer....English, French, Italian, Polish - so an interesting few weeks.
The weather has been mostly hot and sunny, so we have found time to relax in the garden ourselves as well as going for a few bike rides and walks and spending evenings with friends.

Daniel was able to come over for a few days last week so we have had an enjoyable and relaxing few days with him, as well as fitting in a few walks in the mountains.

All the veggies are suddenly ripening at once so I am dealing with the challenge to find as many different ways as possible to cook or preserve or freeze tomatoes and courgettes!!
Any suggestions welcomed!!

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

Thursday 1 August 2013

July 2013

A month of hot and sunny days broken by several storms and heavy downpours. Also a month of parties, fete's and lots of visitors.
Very busy - so very brief!!

Here are our albums for the month
Lesley's album

Dave's album

Tuesday 2 July 2013

June 2013

June has been a month of contrasts! Apart from a few glorious days, temperatures remained low until a week or so ago and the Ariege has experienced the most rainfall for years. Snow on the Pyrenees is melting slowly and the Ariege river is in full flow after some torrential downpours. We still needed the heating on at the beginning of the month and the above picture was taken at the plateau de Beille on 7th June.
Happily though, things are now warming up nicely and the pool has become very welcoming!

Its been a very sociable month again with a lot of visitors, and evenings out for both dancing and eating - so a lot of people in my album this time! 
I have also just had a very enjoyable stay in the UK - a couple of days in Cheltenham abd a couple in Maidenhead. Dave stayed here to hold the fort - to look after the rapidly growing geese, to tend the vegetables and cut the grass.
Here are our albums for the month
Dave's album

Lesley's album

Friday 31 May 2013

May 2013

May has been a busy month at La Maire with a number of guests, and also visits from old friends as well as Lucy and Andy. We also decided it was time we kept some animals and so we now have geese living in their own private area of the garden.

The weather has been the dominant feature of the month again with endless days of rain and the odd sunny day in between. The end of the month brings the news that there is still so much snow in the mountains that some ski resorts will open in a limited way for the weekend.

We would much rather see summer arrive now though.

Here are our photos for the month

Wednesday 1 May 2013

April 2013

Since we are no longer giving ourselves the task of taking a photo every day, our albums of the month give a rather false impression of continuous blue skies and sunshine, because its exactly those days that inspire us to take a photo! However we have had our fair share of cold and wet days in April as well. 

The month has included some more walks and a weekend away on the coast. We took advantage of a few sunny days to go camping near Argeles and were able to benefit from a luxurious campsite (at least as near to luxurious as camping can ever be!) at low season prices, as well as empty roads and beaches. It is a beautiful area and the light is especially clear at the moment.

 We have also had some busy days in the garden - both weeds and grass are growing like crazy and its time to start planting the things that we want to grow like crazy, like pot plants and vegetables!

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

Monday 1 April 2013

March 2013

Well, the two photos above tell the story of the weather this month! More can be seen in our two albums below.
We returned to La Maire on 12th March after a busy but very enjoyable week in Maidenhead. Since returning we have received chambres d'hotes guests, both French and English, have cut the grass (several times!!), and have been out cycling. Dave went woodcutting again with our neighbours, has been preparing the vegetable gardens and started fishing again. I have been painting, cooking, did a 5 hour salsa and bachata workshop and a Saturday morning market at Revel with Jean Paul. We have also enjoyed dinners with friends and a few quiet days in watching the weather!
Looking forward to the summer!! Anyone else?!!
Lesley's album
Dave's album

Tuesday 5 March 2013

February 2013

A little late this month!! 
We have just had a fabulous week skiing in Andorra with Daniel and Lucy and friends. The Pyrenees are enjoying record amounts of snow this Winter and conditions were fantastic - every run open and lots of sun in which to enjoy it. 
It was a great way to end a month that started with us both going down with the flu for a week!!
However we still had a good month, with several local walks, dinners and aperos with new and old friends, both English and French, and a day skiing at Ax as well with Lisa and Neil. 
Signs of Spring are now out in abundance and Dave has given the grass its first cut

Here are our albums for the Month
Lesley's album
Dave's album

Thursday 31 January 2013

January 2013

We had a good drive back to La Maire on 6th January despite Dave coughing and spluttering all the way with a cold that he had picked up the day before! We arrived here in fog, which lingered for the next 3 - 4 days. Eventually cabin fever threatened to engulf us so we hopped in the car with the aim to get as high as possible! We didn't need to go far above Foix to emerge above the clouds in the most beautiful sunshine and clear views over the mountains.

Since then the weather has been a real mix of rain, blustery winds, snow and sunshine, up until today when we have enjoyed our first coffee break outside this month! We have made the most of the sunny days to get out for some local walks and also managed a day skiing at Ax Bonascre, which was lovely.

It is tempting to hibernate in the cold weather, but we have been keeping busy. Dave has been finishing off some jobs around the house.....and making leek and potato soup in vast quantities! I have been painting and giving some painting classes.
You can see some of my recent paintings of the local area here on my website

On the social front, we hosted an aperos evening for around 40 friends and neighbours in the village - it was good to see them all and get to know them better...quite a challenge for our French though, especially after 3 weeks in the UK!!
 We also went to a dance party last weekend, run by my dance club....not much chat there, just lots of dancing and the traditional 'Galette des Rois', the cake which is baked in France to celebrate Epiphany.

We have both continued to take photos this month, without the pressure of one a day! 
Here are our albums for this month
Lesley's album
Dave's album

Tuesday 1 January 2013

December photo a day albums 2012

So here we are already at the end of 2012. It has been an interesting year for us - continuing to enjoy and get settled into our life in the Ariege, establishing our chambres d'hotes business, keeping the grass cut (much more difficult than expected!!), expanding the vegetable plots, improving our grasp of the French language, meeting new people from all over the world, consolidating new friendships, and of course enjoying visits by friends and family as well as a few trips back to the UK ourselves. We have also continued to explore and get to know the local area, particularly the Pyrenees themselves (in all weathers!!), discovering the wild beauty and variety of this beautiful range of mountains.  

Taking a photo every day has been both entertaining and also a challenge at times. Its great to have a pictoral record of the year and hope they have been of some interest to all of you to whom we send them. 
We both agree however that a second year of a photo a day would become more of a chore than a challenge, so have decided just to update the blog at the end of each month with an album of photos taken as and when we have felt like taking them!  
We hope you enjoy the final 2 albums of 2012 and wish you all the very best for 2013. 

Lesley's album

Dave's album