Here as in the UK it has been a fantastic year for fruit and nuts. For the first time ever we’ve found chestnuts from the tree by the garden gate which are fully formed and fat, there’s a couple of Kg here which is not bad given the size of the tree. Roasting tonight. This year’s crop of walnuts from both trees is going to be made into walnut oil, we’re clubbing together with a couple of local friends to have enough for a batch at the local press.
Already eating fig jam, there are figs for next year already forming on the bush. I’m told by folk who were here in the summer when they came ripe that the cherries were fabulous. And there was one apricot on the new tree. Well, it’s still very small, a mere toddler of the tree world…
July 14th sees us meeting up at the Salle de Fetes in Sauxillanges, about fifty folk, half of them kids who are collecting their paper lanterns. And we start walking around the town behind an enthusiastic band of a snare drum, a melodian, and a cowbell. By the time we’ve done two loops around the centre and taken in a couple of side streets, then meandered down to the lake, there were perhaps 1500 folk. Then fireworks!
We often pop out in the evening to see if today has brought an interesting sunset. It often does.
Today however whilst mostly sunny and warm (25 degrees) was punctuated by a few thundery showers. We sat under the canopy by the pool for a while at lunchtime watching the rain pound the water. Then it cleared up and we had a great afternoon.
This evening it’s still 21 outside, with a warm breeze. But them over to the west, are having a grandaddy thunderstorm. We can see the mountains from Cantal up to Puy de Dome and beyond, and we’re seeing a flash of lightning at least once a second. It’s been going on half an hour too.
Who needs 3D telly? This is free!
This article at This French Life, a newsletter we recommend to any regular visitor to or dweller in France, suggests that this summer petrol will cost noticably more in France than UK, hard as that may be to imagine, and you may save a few quid by topping up your tank before you cross the channel. The same report says diesel will remain cheaper in France than the UK, but only just…
We’ve just had a cancellation for G1 for the week of 30th July to 6th August 2011, so grab it whilst it’s hot!
You’ve all seen it – you’re queueing up to pay at the peagé and some smug bloke like me just swishes up the left lane and goes through the autmatic orange barrier and disappears into the future. Coz I have a “Liber-T” tag, which tots up my journeys and sends me a bill every 2 months.
Well I have had one for ages but I have a french bank account, from which it direct debits. But now SANEF, the motorway company for the Calais to Paris area of France, is offering tags to UK customers paying in sterling from their UK bank accounts.
There’s an extensive news story here on the excellent This French Life site.
It’s a little expensive compared to buying in Euros in France, but compared to the cost of opening and running a French bank account if you don’t have one or otherwise need one, it’s a good deal. (The extra expense is in the form of a setup fee, which I didn’t have to pay. The monthly fee is about the same at just under a pound, and the per-journey fee is defined by the motorway tolls, though of course as ever you’re at the mercy of whatever exchange rate they choose to use.)
When we put the pool in we knew the disturbed bank of earth would subside, and it did. Taking all the blocks around one side with it. We’ve had them re-laid, it looks good as new (our gardener/landscaper does excellent work!)
At long last the roofer has been and Gite 2 now has a new roof, membrane, all new tiles, looks neat, and the rain now stays outside where it belongs. (It used to drip down the walls inside if the rain and wind were just right – or wrong.)
Everything in both gites is now fully tested and prepared for the season so the house is looking forward to its guests.
The pool is cleaned and serviced and the pumps running, the solar cover is on. Still a tad chilly but in the next week or so it should warm up quite a bit.
The garden is in good order. There are some young fruit trees, we would ask you to avoid games and activities which might break them or knock fruit off.
FlyBe are starting a new route this summer. From May to September you can fly from Southampton to Clermont-Ferrand.
This brings cheap flights to the area for the first time since RyanAir moved their base for “Lyon” away from St Etienne.
The snow is arriving in the UK – and is already well set in in the Livradois Forez. So people are starting to think Summer Holiday. And, I hope, Spring Breaks!
This brought to my attention that the antique disaster area that is Microsoft FrontPage has once again trashed the text on our website so it comes up in “invisible” so this time, instead of fixing it by hand in the depths of complex config files, I decided to dump the system completely and start over using a Tidyblog WordPress site. You’re reading it now! If any of the pages are still not quite rigth, I apologise, I’m rabbiting away to bring all the important information across from the old site.
Meantime, people have started to place bookings. So if you want to have first choice of your holiday dates amongst the volcanoes of France for 2011, get busy…
NOTE our off-peak prices are only £300 per week this year!