3 Jun 2008

Aussie visitors and building update



A few photos of the finished off bits – I’ve painted the upstairs balcony, although I’m not sure I used the right product. But I have to say, this was actually a bit of painting that WAS satisfying – the oil and varnish going onto the raw timber and the difference it’s made. Very satisfying and it looks good.
The reverse cycle air-conditioning is up and running, so no more freezing in winter/sweltering in summer ….
The downstairs decking was finished just yesterday afternoon -

And I quickly put in a few plants to green things up in a hurry – just a couple of Morning Glory creepers that will give quick cover for the short term. I plan to put Wisterias up against the two veranda posts – but I’ve been told to only buy them in flower (which will now be next spring) otherwise you may have several years of a Wisteria plant before it will put out flowers.
Even a couple to go up the drainpipe ...
I had a visit from Wendy, Steve and Mike from Perth – who are staying in Villeneuve-Minervois north of Carcassonne for a couple of weeks but came to visit, have dinner with me and a sleep over! A good couple of days – we got out and about for a walk around the village (in the rain!) and the next day a few jobs got done – stars the lot of them.
Steve is a real handy man and must have been having DIY-withdrawals, because in no time at all, I had a small plastering job in the summer kitchen underway, a pine pallet broken up and sawed into lengths for my stove with a circular saw (I don’t feel safe using it – I think I’ll need to learn…), a bathroom fitting sorted, and a door that didn’t close now closes ….
And here they are working hard –
Wendy pulling nails!


Thanks everyone!
And then as a big treat (!), I took them to the wine cave in Ginestas. I convinced them that they needed to buy 5 litres of my favourite red to take back to Villeneuve with them.
Going in empty --
Coming out full – and looking even happier ....
We have had nearly a week of solid rain – with thunder storms waking me in the middle of the night. At 3am one night last week I stood at my bedroom window looking down at the road below which was running like a river.
And speaking of rivers, the River Cesse was running over the passerel (the footbridge that is the beginning of the pool used for swimming in the summer) and was as full as I’ve seen it. Normally the water is crystal clear but it was extremely brown and muddy from the run-off from the vineyards. Nearly back to normal now though.
I did take photos and a video of it, but seem to have accidentally deleted them – damn …..Given the rain pattern since I’ve been here i.e. lack of it! – I may have a long time to wait before I see it like that again.
Today, a quick trip to Narbonne to buy lots of BBQ stuff. Tomorrow is the big move into the barn. I’ve got a few people coming around to lift heavy things - with the promise of plenty of cold beer, wine and a BBQ to follow.
Oh, and I’ve found another interesting vegetable that I’m going to try this evening – another form of asparagus.
The name on the label is Ornithogale and here’s a description of it. Looks like it will be delicious!
On the way to Narbonne this morning, coming into Marcorignan, I passed a couple riding bikes – and noticed that behind one was a little trailer – with a dog in it! So, I crossed a bridge and waited for them, jumped out of the car and hailed them down. They must have thought I was mad – especially after hearing me speak my excruciating French. But as it turned out, they were British – so explaining that I would like to take a photo of them and the dog suddenly became a whole lot easier.
So this is Lewis – who is old and deaf – and now lives the life of Riley being towed around a beautiful part of France, getting out for the occasional stroll. If I were a dog, I would consider myself pretty lucky to lead this sort of life and have owners like this!

I will take photos of the big move tomorrow, but things are pretty hectic here, so I won’t be able to post them for a while. French Telecom arrives the following morning to move the phone and line from the main house, and unfortunately it seems that my internet connection will take another 10 days to change over. Doesn’t make sense to me, but there you are ……
However, I will be away for 7 of the 10 days – I’m heading off to Corsica for a week with the Troisieme Age group. We’ve been paying for this holiday in instalments for a year now, and finally it’s time to go.
So, two bus loads of us – only a handful of English speakers. The week has GOT to be good for my French. All the others are local people, mostly from Bize but also some from other nearby villages.
We head off to Marseille where we get an overnight ferry to Corsica and then 6 days travelling around the island. It’s meant to be very beautiful and I am looking forward to it.
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Moving sideways

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