Tuesday, 6 June 2017

WE FINALLY GOT TO THE SEA

May was the month of Grandparents. Florent's parents visited and then my Mum. We were very happy to have family visiting and the girls loved the extra love and attention. It felt like a holiday for all of us. These visits add to our determination to continue to renovate the house as well as we can and offer our friends and family somewhere comfortable to stay rather than the tent in the attic (sorry Mum).
And, we finally got to the sea! After living here for almost a year we made the trip through the arid Corbières hills, all the way to the Mediterranean. It was amazing to discover new places and climates and plants. We walked for hours in the hills above the beautiful port of Collioure, through terraced vineyards tended to only by hand and amongst blazing yellow broom. There were groves of cork oak, olive trees and aloes and cactus. As is always the case with us, a circular walk that should take two hours took us all day but despite the slow pace we do feel very proud by the end of it. Proud of the girls and of ourselves for our own sheer determination to encourage them, sometimes plead with them (!) and, at times, hoist them on to our backs and shoulders so we can finish what we set out to accomplish!

 








 


 





When we were thinking about our move to France, this little corner of the Pyrenees seemed right; not too far from the sea, not too far from Spain and beautiful in it's own right. I even imagined that weekend camping trips to Morrocco would be on the cards. We had, however, grown used to British distances, where a journey that lasts an hour seems long. Suddenly, in remote southern France, with a van that guzzles fuel, the small budget and a lot of building work to crack on with, Spain and the Med seemed much further away than they looked on a map! And Morrocco is what my dreams are made of for the moment.

There is so much to discover on our doorstep this has not so much been a disapointment but more a lesson in how there is a wealth of things to enjoy right here. Taking the time to find private corners on the lakeside, marvelling at the seasonal changes along the same footpaths and discovering where the small roads around here may lead us.












 

Spring is giving way to summer here. It's hot and storms threaten and lizards sun themselves on walls and paths. We went mad foraging wild cherries and yarrow and elderflower. We finally plugged in our fridge and freezer and it's been pretty luxurious. I was desperate to start freezing all the surplas from the garden for homegrown goodness later in the year and the cool of the house was not enough to keep the butter from slowly melting away from the dish and across the table... (And we can stockpile fishfingers for lazy lunches!)







I have been in the garden lots, mostly battling bindweed, a battle I am inevitably loosing but the plants are growing well and I am beyond excited at the prospect of what I might be able to grow in this sunny climate. The girls harvested the two carrots (a not so successful February sowing) yesterday and then Little L lost one of them. We're hoping for more success soon.


 



THE HOUSE

The enormous amount of clay from the courtyard has now been excavated and removed. Florent's new hulk like upper bodymakes it look like he's been using steroids. Anyone feeling insecure about the width of their shoulders, don't risk roid rage just come and dig our garden, there's a tent in the attic waiting for you...

Luckily for Florent's back it's masonry work now. Rebuilding walls and then pointing them. The sandstone he's working with is hard to cut, often cracking and slowing down the process. On the rainy we've had work shifts inside to the kitchen/ living area which now has a ceiling (very much working from top to bottom!).
 
 






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