Archive for September, 2006

Out and about umbrellas at the ready

Monday, September 25th, 2006

Having a second home overseas can be a bit concerning when its a few weeks in between your visits, so it was something of a relief when we spotted an advert offering all levels of care/visits to the property and had arranged an appointment for the Thursday with Pauline Giles who, as well as running the Haut Languedoc Property Services, also runs the Les Quatr’ Farceurs guesthouse in Olargues – which incidently gets a very good write up in the Rough Guide.   What a charming lady – immediately we had met her we were happy to engage her services which gives us a wonderful peace of mind that our little home is cared for in our absence.

Following Pauline’s visit we set off to Puisserguier as I’d seen a charming looking shop Deco Cado which I’d been wanting to browse around.  At last I seemed to be browsing for “bits and pieces” of decor for the house, the lady who served us was charming and we engaged in as much conversation as I could manage in French while she beautifully wrapped my purchase – a service at which the French excel and is mostly so badly lacking in England.  The shop is pictured below with the lady watching us out of the window.

 

Deco Cado

 

Friday, again umbrellas at the ready but undeterred we explored nearby Olargues and had a good walk around the town snapping happily with the camera as we went. The scenery is delightful, you can see why Olargues is un des plus beaux villages de France, but you’ll see the clouds were still threatening!

 

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It’s a nice place to meander around with plenty of nooks and crannies and lots of alleyways leading off – you can’t help but feel tempted to explore.

 

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Joyeux anniversaire!

Friday, September 15th, 2006

Wednesday dawns, and yes – you’ve guessed it, more rain!  You might be forgiven for imagining that coming to the south of France to celebrate your 50th birthday would mean only sunshine, but not today.

 I had made plans, nothing too grand, but wanted to go to the local market at St Pons de Thomiere and buy some nice local produce.  So I opened my birthday cards (pictured below) carefully brought over from England and some posted to Premian by well organised and thoughtful friends, and kept an eye on the weather. 

Birthday cards

Believing that the rain had all but stopped, ever the optimists we set off for St Pons, we couldn’t have travelled more than 2km and the heavens opened again.  Once in St Pons our first stop was the local supermarket for an umbrella, then, both huddled under an inadequate umbrella we set off down the main street towards the market.  Unfortunately the traffic was failry busy, including numerous large lorries trundling by, and by the time we got to the market we were fairly drenched – and most of the stallholders were closing up for the day – defeated by the rain!  Oh well, we were already soaked and so on to the local hardware store where we purchased a further altogether more substantial umbrella – having looked at the weather forecast online we felt becoming a 2 umbrella family was probably wise.  Back at the house we took off all our wet clothes and draped them on furniture in front of radiators – at this point the decision was made – our mission was Bezier for that blasted tumble dryer.  When oh when will the practicalities give way to pure pleasures, not today thats for sure.  Anyway by later in the day mission was accomplished, clothes all dry, and we were at least looking forward to a very pleasant evening – we were not disappointed.

Les Bergeries des Ponderach

To celebrate my birthday Martin had booked dinner at Les Bergeries des Ponderach in St Pons.  The establishement exuded a wonderful ambiance and tasteful decor, the bar area was comfortable and cosy, the dining room grandiose but intimate, and the wonderful welcome and level of service by the staff was exceptional – attentive but not intrusive. Oh yes and the food – well suffice to say we shall be returning.

 Ok so the weather wasn’t as good as it could have been but all in all I had a wonderful day.

September in France

Thursday, September 14th, 2006

Our September trip to France, a much awaited, keenly anticipated trip. We arrived on Monday 11th, our holiday delayed due to going to Roundhay Park on the Saturday to see Robbie Williams! An excellent evening was had by all.

The early flight into Carcassonne at least gives almost a full day in France, and a lovely day it was too, we travelled across the Minervoise and in the distance saw the machines harvesting the grape, the weather was warm and heralded the start of a pleasant week in the sunshine, or so we thought…

Tuesday morning we awoke to the sunshine and, whilst it goes against the grain – our body clocks have no problem realigning to a no hurry mode, we had made arrangements with Sky France to have a satelite dish installed and so were up and about early. Stephen from Sky France duly arrived and a couple of cups of tea later the dish was installed, not only that but a lovely neat job and Stephen even cleaned up after himself! Not seduced by the idea of daytime television we headed off in the direction of Bedarieux and browsed in the electrical shops, we still needed to purchase a vacuum cleaner and perhaps a tumble drier – not for this week obviously but one will certainly be necessary in winter for the ski gear. The route along the valley still charms us every time we travel it, the natural beauty of the landscape, the villages and hamlets dotted along the hillsides and the manmade wonders like the 37 arch viaduct as we approach Bedarieux.

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We parked down near the river, oh to be in France and park the car without it costing an arm and a leg, and wandered looking around in that unhurried manner that we do when in France. However, the skies were distinctly grey and threatening, and sure enough it started to rain, warm rain of course, but rain nonetheless. Brollieless we sheltered under a shop canopy until the rain abated, whereon we continued our wandering, but heading back towards the area we’d parked in as the sky still appeared non too friendly. sure enough more rain which continued on and off all evening – ah well.