Friday, 20 February 2009

The calm after the storm

It's been a while since I did a living in France posting so I thought it was high time I pulled my finger out and put a few words together.

It's been a bit of a start to the year already and I can't believe we are heading towards the end of February, where did January go, not that we will forget it.

So what have we had, first it was the snow that arrived on boxing day but has been back a few times to visit us since then.

Next we had the floods where our normally dry little stream bed turned into a bit of a torrent and was about to burst it's banks and flood our cellar.

That would have been handy with the gas boilers and electrics down there, good job we have a nice big log fire to keep us warm in an emergency, still didn't come to that in the end so I won't be too melodramatic, got us excited for a few days though.

Anyway the floods subsided and the stream went back to normal just in time for the hurricane to arrive and the demise of more than one or two trees including our ancient plum tree pictured which lost a significant limb and won't be giving us quite as much home made jam this year.

Have to say we were a bit twitchy walking the dog on that Friday, definitely a case of keep looking and listening, a new way to use the green cross code and not to avoid traffic but rather the odd tree that would come crashing down if it's roots weren't what they should have been.

Ever since the hurricane there has been the distant and local hum of chainsaws as all the debris gets turned into firewood, been quite handy in some instances especially as following the storms we have had a really cold patch with frost and sub zero temperatures.

Then finally in true South of France fashion out came the sun and we have had some gorgeous days in the last week or two, so all is forgiven, we are warm and cosey again with solar gains through the windows during the day and lots of nice seasoned wood to burn in the evenings, fabulous.

Skiing is fun as well and we did manage another day last week when we had some friends to stay. Ax les Thermes certainly has had it's fair share of snow this year and the skiing up there is absolutely brilliant for the likes of us that just want a nice little tootle down the slopes whilst taking in the mountain scenery, I can highly recommend it for it's uplifting and therapeutic benefits, well as long as you don't break any legs.

Charlie the latest addition to the family is also settling in well and has just had his vaccination booster and a rabies jab so we can get him a passport ready for his trip back to the UK sometime in the future.

He is certainly growing in confidence and last night helped himself to a nice and quite large Victoria sponge cake which we rather foolishly left out thinking he wouldn't notice it. There I go talking about the eating thing again, well I probably need to loose a bit of weight and the dog probably needed to put a bit on so I guess nature has helped in balancing that equation, it gave dogs a good sense of smell and made us a little bit daft.

All this stormy weather has made us think long and hard about our heating options in the house so this week we invited a builder along to look at how we can install another log burner in the gite sitting room.

There is some method in our madness, a log burning stove in there will make it a very attractive winter letting but if it doesn't rent out we have an alternative room which we can heat very quickly and effectively for our own use, got to be a winner especially for those of us who feel the cold perhaps a little more than the rest, I think you know who you are.

So that's it for the latest living in France post, hope you enjoy my driveling on, I added the last photograph to prove we are getting a bit of sun now and even though it does go down at night you can be sure that it also comes back up the next day.

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