I know, I know, it’s been over a month since I last wrote and I am starting to get emails from close friends checking that I am OK. Yes, all is well with me, I’ve just been rather busy and not often with internet access.
The second week of January, I stayed with my good friend Pierre in the mountains, we skied twice, went out on racquets in the snow and generally enjoyed a few cold and sunny days in winter wonderland, though, after November the scenery wasn’t quite as spectacularly snowy. We even spent a day at Chalet Lou Rider with Clare and her team which was great. A really good crowd, great fun, but with all that is going on with my land purchase, I am glad that I’m not there this year.
On that front, things are progressing slowly. Problems with a farmer neighbour (involving the present owner) have been sorted and all that is needed now is a reply to a legal letter confirming the outcome. I met the farmer a couple of weeks ago and we have agreed ongoing rights of passage and his use of part of my future land, for an indeterminate period of time, this is an additional area that the present owners are pleased to sell rather than the initial plot.
For two weeks I have been working flat out with a semi professional team, endeavoring to finish the ground floor plastering of Pierlo and Sandrine’s house as quickly as possible due to a change in family circumstances.. I’ve helped them periodically during the last four years and when I discovered that their son, Jules, had been in a swimming accident last autumn and is still quite disabled, decided to lend a hand. He suffered an apnea attack as he dived into the pool and was without air for some time before he was rescued. His lungs did not fill with water, so he had not drowned, but still, spent a couple of months in a coma. He is slowly gaining his senses, movement and comprehension, but it appears that it may take several years before he returns to some sort of normality. A huge shock and life changing for the family. They hope to get Jules home as soon as it is in a fit state to receive him and a great group of friends are rallying round to give support. I’ll no doubt be back to help from time to time, but for the moment have committed myself to another project.
I am back with Cherry and Chris, where I stayed over Christmas and the New Year, where I planted over a hundred trees in the autumn and house sat on a couple of occasions. They move house at the start of March and have an enormous list of chores. The offer of £££ for extra hours was a tempting one, so I am working more than full time for them till the end of the month. The new house is in the process of being renovated and will be no where near ready , so I shall be heading back to give Pierlo a hand when I finish here.
Looking further into the spring, hopefully I will have signed for the purchase of the land by then, I have 2-4 months for searches and official paperwork before completion. There are already three possible straw bale building projects available that want help (more arrive as we get closer to spring) and with Percy at the ready I am easily able to move from place to place to head off and lend a hand, learn still more skills and better formulate how I plan to proceed. Hopefully the current owners will allow me to plant a vegetable plot during the transition period so I am not too far behind with the season and then in early summer there is the possibility of a 6 day professional course in straw bale building near La Rochelle. I can use the trip north to visit other friends on route and then head back to the UK for Percy’s MOT and a long awaited visit.
Not sure how it’s all going to pan out and in what order it’s all going to happen but its going to be a challenging, exciting and demanding year. I am almost bursting with anticipation and am finding it difficult to hold back on planning and getting stuck in to my next chapter. I must be patient and bide my time until the formalities are over. There’ll be plenty of time afterwards for it all to unfold.
|snow capped Pyrénées|
|my current abode|
|Suzy, the bestest french dog I know|
|newly planted beech hedge|
|the new residence|