So that’s a ‘no’ for all those plots that have brought me to the conclusions above, which is all but one of them I have visited so far. This last one, for the time being, is holding my imagination. A third of a hectare, with three ruins of buildings, a huge oak and several fruit and nut trees. Views to the south and west, over an inhabited valley with the mountains in the distance. Space for a house and barns, a big garden, polytunnel, chickens and maybe even a goat. There is a well, water, phone and electricity not that far away, along with neighbours and a little village.
|spot the distant mountains|
|a right proper ruin|
|and another one|
|plenty of space for veggies and chickens|
|boundary on the left with village beyond|
I’d love to go and visit again, but for the time being, Percy is in the garage. His exhaust pipe has rusted through and driving anywhere draws everyones attention. The noise is unbearable. I spoke to the garage last Friday, but Ford don’t take parts orders on Friday afternoons here!! Monday was Armistice Day, so all was quiet and on Tuesday the part was ordered, promised for Wednesday, it is now Friday and has yet to arrive. Patience required; I’m just happy to be staying with a good friend, Pierre, the baker who I met and skied with last season. He’s happy of the company and chance to speak english, after 18 years in England he has a better accent than me, loves explaining the intricacies of the french language. We’ve been out walking, cut wood for the stove, made soups, baked cakes, for after the village Armastice speech (attended by almost everyone in the village 25 inhabitants) made christmas puddings and mincemeat, collected chestnuts to make purées and desserts, watched french TV (a rarity for me). I’ve spent hours and hours trawling through estate agent listings on the internet and made myself a good and proper list of visits. It’s been good being here.
Friday evening and finally I have caught up with myself. I am writing now, about today. The garage called today and Pierre took me down to get Percy through the snow. All fixed, managed to get back up to the village at 800m in the twilight, everything white and the snowflakes seemingly flying straight at the windscreen the whole time. Great slabs of snow keep sliding and crashing down of the roofs there is the smell of woodsmoke in the air and even though the snow is blowing in the wind there is a certain stillness in the air. Winter has arrived.