I passed through Lourdes, Bagnere de Bigorre and Tarbes, staying a couple of nights and visiting as many estate agents as I could find. Needing to be further away from the mountains, for several reasons. Property is much sort after as the region is beautiful, land tends to be in smaller lots as the terrain gets hillier and steeper and also, as the snow melts in spring, cold winds chill the foothills long after the spring has started. Great, that’s narrowed the search area still further.
|a certain pull, lovely neighbours but miles from anywhere|
Percy is coming into his own. I just park up on the outskirts of town, take the bike off the back and cycle round town stopping wherever I need. No parking hassles, or narrow streets to navigate in a big vehicle and when I feel like a break, or when france closes to eat lunch from 12:00 to 14:00 I can pop back for my own lunch or have a kip or get some warmer/cooler clothes to wear.
|uninspiring with overhead powerline and 3m drop to get to the road|
From Tarbes I spent a couple of days pootling round the countryside discovering, in depth, the local area, the beautiful valleys with their wooded sides and pastures with cattle grazing, the larger flat areas with maize fields for miles, tiny stone built villages where no life is seen but everyone knows that you have passed through. Winding zig zag climbs through chestnut and oak forest opening out to stunning views to the mountains, plains or just the next valley when reaching the summit. My search area here is narrowing and my geographical requirements more precise.
|wires and more wires everywhere|
Now that I have seen a good selection of possibilities within my budgetary constraints, I know that I shall be more selective from now on. Bare open plots are a blank canvas, but it’ll take years to grow trees big enough for shade. Being amongst the maize is claustrophobic and the thought of being doused with pesticide spray from a helicopter does not fill me with delight. There is remote or nicely tucked away - with a village in easy reach. Damp and soggy valley bottoms and windswept hilltops. The right place is there, I just need to find it.
|bleak, windswept and featureless|
|just a field, nothing more, nothing less|