Tuesday, 11 July 2017

France: Contrasts in l'Herault

The French school holidays are upon us - where has the year gone? - so last week we dashed away or a few days at the seaside, ostensibly to eat some Bouzigues oysters, but also for a potter around the villages on and around l'Etang de Thau.

Marina at M├Ęze

Tuesday, 30 May 2017

Walking in the Pyrenees - A circular walk from le Chiroulet.

At the weekend we walked the circular route from le Chiroulet in the Lesponne valley via Lac d'Ourrec, the Col de Bareilles and Lac Bleu before descending back to the car at le Chiroulet. 

Lac Bleu in November 2016
And in May 2017

Having walked the straight up and down route to Lac Bleu back in November, this time wanted to access the high Alpine meadows beyond the lake and in particular enjoy the spring wildflowers for which the mountains are justly famous. We weren't disappointed.

A Meadow of Buttercups near Lac d'Ourrec

Saturday, 22 April 2017

Garden: Late Frosts

Usually by this time in April the outdoor anti-slug shelving will be laden with tomato and chilli plants jostling with melons, aubergines and other tender vegetable plants getting hardened off before being planted out in the garden. But this year, after a really warm spell in the early part of the month they are yet to spend a single night outdoors. We are still carrying out the twice daily plant shuffle, which becomes increasingly difficult as the plants get potted on and take up more and more space in our salon-sejour.

Oh for a heated greenhouse or conservatory!

This April, as well as being incredibly dry - again - it has also turned really cold, culminating in frosts the last two nights. While the tender veg was smug and snug indoors, some things just can't be moved, like this gorgeous fig, Madeleine des Deux Saisons, which, by the look of these frosted leaves and fruit will only manage the one crop for us this year.

Tuesday, 21 March 2017

Books: A Work in Progress Dilema

Over the winter of 2014-15 I wrote the first two drafts of a bitter-sweet romance loosely about an older couple taking the plunge and buying a wreck of a house in the south west of France. Without giving too much away, the focus of the plot is her reticence about moving - new country, new man, new business and new challenges. 

My characters - well one of them - were captivated by a view like this.

All well and good, and then wallop, June 23rd 2016 comes along, the British electorate vote by the tiniest of margins in an advisory referendum to leave the European Union and suddenly my simple people-focused plot is in the middle of a massive political upheaval.