I am back writing again, I know that a bit of typing doesn’t really take that long, but I never seem to find the time, or perhaps find the inclination to continue blogging whilst I am in the UK. It isn’t as if I haven’t done very much. On the contrary the last couple of months have been action packed. I think that the longest time I stayed in any one place was just after I returned from my winter in the Pyrenees was 9 days, and that was partly because of a change of plan that was out of my control.
Should I put pen to paper or keep the memories, I haven’t decided yet, but I know that people will be logging on again and not expecting to see pictures of the snow, this will put pay to that and push it further down the page.
Where to start? Well, it’s a bit late for that, seeing as I have already written half a page. I am back in France, Ruffepeyre, to be exact, starting another journey at the same place that I finished the one last summer. Nicholas picked me up from the airport three days ago and I almost feel as if I have never left the tower. Little has changed as no one was here for the winter and the new crew of helpXers is yet to arrive. The forge floor that I helped to lay now has some amazing tiles on it - still to be finished but looking very smart. The ‘kitchen’ has moved in there so that a bathroom, toilet and bedroom can be installed, given another few weeks the place might just be habitable.
The cupboards are still full of preserves, jars and jars of beans, tomato puree, carrots and the most excellent tomato chutney that I worked on last autumn. I often wondered, through the winter, how they had turned out, whether they had survived the ravages of being frozen during the depths of the winter in a building without heating and almost open to the elements, if the jars had cracked in the frost or the seals given way and let in the mould, but no, apart from a few, they are all fine. There are probably enough beans to last until the next crop is ready, the garden has been completely replanted and is growing well, the preserved ones are delicious and frequently on the menu. The chutney too, is amazing, I had forgotten that I had made a spicy mix, it has a great curry kick to it and is disappearing fast, Nicholas has it on toast for breakfast and at any other opportunity he can find. The tomato puree will be on the menu tonight and I am assured that it was well worth the effort. The thousands of walnuts have dried and are now stored in hessian sacks, available as a healthy snack, included in mixed salads and no doubt in cakes if ever we get round to baking.
I have done a little work in the garden so far, but my main task is to continue restoring the stonework around the building, replacing mortar and remodeling sandstone cornerstones as I did last summer. It didn’t take long to get back into the swing of things, collecting sand, getting the cement mixer going, creating the right consistency of mix and continuing with a seemingly endless task of filling all the holes in the walls of this ancient building. Satisfying in doses, but not something that I want to do for any length of time. Thankfully there are plenty of other tasks to intersperse the mortaring, trips out to get supplies and some lively discussions about alternative lifestyles and how we are going to change the world. It’s good to be on the road again.