Saturday, 17 October 2009

Autumn Leaves are here in France

Summer is now officially over here in France and the autumn leaves have arrived.

This week has seen the covering of the pool, our first frost of the autumn season and we have had to light a fire to take the chill off in the evenings. That's actually quite nice because we have a big log burning fire and it is very pleasant to have a real fire.

The days are still pretty glorious however and we are waking up to lots of lovely sunshine which has a real warmth to it during the day.

I actually love this time of year, its when I feel inspired to get the camera out and take a few photographs of the autumn skies and the changing landscape with the amazing light and different colours you get from all the trees going into their winter preparations.

The holiday season isn't quite over as we still have people arriving next week for the UK half term break which they have decided to take with us here in the South of France, good decision I think and hopefully the sun will continue to shine for a couple more weeks.

We have actually sat out well into November before now having lunch at a cafe in town when the sun is shining. Obviously not every day is like that and there is a chance the weather can turn to be pretty chilly or wet, but when that sun comes out it really is warming, even at this time of the year.

A little about French life, its funny how the chores change as you go through the year, I am now looking to build the wood pile for those winter evenings, I know I will have to start soon, in fact probably should have already if I am honest. So instead of tending to the pool I am cutting wood, preparing fires and taking care of the maintenance jobs I have been putting off all summer on the basis it was way too hot for that sort of work. Oh well no more excuses now, guess I will just have to get on with it.

We are also looking to install a log burner in the gite, which has now taken on a little more urgency, although in typical French style I have been waiting for about 3 weeks for the local heating engineer to come up with a quote following his initial visit. We did think at one point that it would have been nice to have it in for next week, but 'c'est la vie', I guess the central heating will have to kick in if it is too chilly.

Of course while I am waiting there are plenty of walks to go on armed with my trusty Nikon D40 SLR camera to capture a few seasonal snapshots.

Friday, 9 October 2009

Property for Sale - Languedoc Roussillon

If you are interested in buying a property in or around the Languedoc Roussillon region of Southern France you can find a selection of properties available below. Please contact the owners directly for more information and to verify the accuracy of the details provided.

Tarn et Garonne (Quercy). 30 mins west of Cahors. 5 mins shops. Beautiful stone farmhouse ( 4 rec, 3 bed , 3 bath ) with separate stone guesthouse ( 1 rec, 2 bed, 1 bath ) 2 garages. Set in 1.6 hectares of wooded parkland. Heated 12m x 6m swimming pool, oil central heating, two open fires, original exposed beams and stonework throughout. €399,000.

Contact Clive Brooks 0673 944127 . Email for more photos.

Superb 5 bedroomed villa on the edge of Villasavary, a small village with all commerces 20km west of Carcassonne. En-suite to master bedroom plus family bathroom and separate wc. Pool 11m x 4.2m , 3/4 acre land, own driveway with ample parking and garage. Open plan lounge/kitchen/diner of 38sqm. Beautiful mature gardens looking out onto rolling hillsides. €370,000

View more photos on . Call Rob or Mary on 0033 468 247758 or e-mail

Fully renovated 200 year old village house with enclosed south facing garden with views of Bugarach and Rennes le Chateau with plenty of parking space.The property has three bedrooms all with en-suite facilities and could be run as a Chambres D'Hotes.It is situated in a quiet wine making village 15 minutes from Limoux and Quillan and 5 minutes from Esperaza.The asking price is €270,000 or nearest offer. More photos on Contact Gill or Richard on

'Mon Repos' is a waterfront haven located at La Tamarissiere, Herault, with stunning views of the river Herault and Mediterranean. This luxury detached two-storey villa, situated in its own secure grounds, is located on the banks of the river Herault, where it meets the Mediterranean. Entirely renovated to an exceptionally high standard, this beautiful villa is the height of waterfront elegance. Priced at 750,000€ as a private sale.

For detailed information, contact:

An exceptional 1861 Maison de Mâitre, fully restored for luxury country living. 'Maison La Serre' is an imposing family home in South West France. Located within an hour of Toulouse and Spain, it sits in a dominant hilltop position with panoramic views of the Pyrenees. Priced at 998,000€ for a private sale.

Detailed information can be found at:

St Ferréol (Revel 4km)
Immaculate villa, 147sq.m, in tranquil woodland setting 300m from Lac St Ferréol . 4 double bedrooms, large bathroom, separate WC. Shower room, laundry/utility room. Separate kitchen. Living room 36sq.m with feature fireplace. Summer salon 36sq.m with pool/billiard table. Double glazing and reversible air conditioning throughout. Integral garage, 2,600sq.m land. Priced to sell at 270,000€ - important - now -

Contact Jeannette or Alan on 0033 5 62 18 01 39 or

To add your property to this page contact for details.

Saturday, 3 October 2009

I've got a brand new combine harvester, handy for a Sunflower harvest

I can't believe how brilliant the weather has been this summer, we have had blazing June, scorching July, red hot August and now we have had the best Indian summer I can recall for a September, although I have lived most of my life in the UK, so that's hardly surprising.

Oh pity you that decided against a holiday in September and actually October as well because it's still going. But as we have had the pool to ourselves this week, we have been making the most of it and going for a swim most days, still have to work though which is a bit unfortunate but it has been very nice taking an hour out by the pool for a change.

Not entirely sure the farmers have enjoyed the amount of sun we have had, I think they actually like it to rain once in a while, except harvest time of course when they do like things nice and dry. That's when life got a little bit exciting just recently, our local farmer arrived to reap the reward of his toils and to harvest the sunflowers, or tournesols as they are quaintly referred to here in the South of France.

I went out to take a few photographs and when Jacques (the farmer) spotted me the next thing I knew was that I got invited to take a ride in his brand new combine harvester which is a pretty impressive piece of machinery I have to say.

This was actually quite fortunate because quite a few of the guests who have stayed this year have asked me how they collect the crop when it is ready, so now I have a photographic account of exactly how it is done.

I think what was really impressive was the speed at which the machine could traverse the field taking in sunflower heads at one end, separating the seeds from the chaff and then filling the built in hopper with a big pile of them ready for transfer into the skip.

It is all totally automated so before you could blink what was a field full of dried ready for picking sunflowers was now a skip full of sunflower seeds that could be loaded onto a lorry and taken to a processing plant to be turned into Sunflower oil or some other sunflower based product.

So there you have it, that is how you harvest sunflower seeds, pretty neat really.

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