October 2010

After a trip back to UK and a house full of visitors we restart work, completing the electrical installation of the large gite, and the “boxing” of the windows in the lounge to reveal their original shape. The ceiling goes up much easier – we are experts now! Walls are painted and the race is on to complete the huge downstairs lounge in time for Christmas. This room will be the dining room and lounge, the centre of activities and we are aiming for a spectacular effect of white walls and ceiling, cream woodwork and oak doors and beams.

September 2010 Late Summer

Late Summer, and the evenings begin to draw in. An unsettled spell of weather (unusually for September) refreshes the landscape as the grape harvest gets under way. They say this year will be a disappointing vintage, because of the frosts and snow in early spring and the rain in May. Work moves downstairs, it takes three weeks to do the entrance room, again in simple whitewash, but with a restored floor and an oak table bought for a song from a pub in UK, and covered in black paint before the sander got to work on it. Now to get started on the main lounge, a forbidding task with over 40 m² of floor and ceiling, and several woodwork tasks.

The return migration continues, diminishing as the month proceeds. The bee-eaters and honey buzzards are fewer, replaced by large clouds of swallows and house martins (we saw red- rumped swallows at Cap Bear, but have yet to identify them at the house). Occasional eagles (short toed), kestrels, and ravens pass by, and the bushes are alive once more, with finches (our first chaffinch this month!) warblers and other passerines. The red legged partridge and pheasant seen this month would be wise to be more discreet, as the hunting season is under way. The cicadas have been replaced by the spectacular praying mantis, and baby geckos play in the doorways. The serious walkers have returned after the heat of the summer, regular groups setting off for Cadaques and many day walkers off to Madeloc or the Tour de la Massanne.

August 2010 High Summer

The high season – and the serious walkers have largely been replaced by tourists trying to get to Tour Madeloc. Often without maps, water, hats or boots, they need help to find their cars once more!

July 2010 Summer Arrives

Over the past month, work has focused on the small gite. We now have solar power, with two solar panels located discretely behind the house charging a 24v battery bank, inverted to 230v. With only low power lighting and few electrical devices, this is more than adequate for our needs. Life is a little easier when working, without the generator running. We also have a composting toilet in the latrine block, using peat moss to convert waste into compost. There is no smell, as the process is aerobic. The toilet itself has an amazing view of the coast and sea (see photo).

Making Progress 28 May 2010

Three hard weeks of work, putting up a ceiling, levelling the floors and laying tiles in the small portion of the house we will use. The tiles resemble the colours of the local schist, deep browns and blues, and we are pleased with the effect. With some basic furniture, low energy lighting and a curtain over the dividing doorway we now have a simple, one-bedroom house we can live in, even if the water, kitchen and sanitation are not yet in place.

Wildlife - Spring Arrives

This has been a strange Spring, with warm sunny days punctuated by some uncharacteristically severe weather: deep snow and temperatures below freezing for ten days in March, and a severe rain storm with gales in early May, with winds of 150kph gusting around Point Bear

Spring 2010 Building starts

Apologies that this blog is written in English. We speak French, German and Russian, but writing is a different matter.

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