Friday, December 21, 2007


We’ve been experiencing a severe cold snap over the last week or so – the first prolonged spell of cold weather so far. Overnight temperatures have been as low as -7 and each morning we’ve been greeted by brilliant sunshine and thick, thick frosts.

Although we do have central heating (which actually works now that we have a new boiler!) what we don’t have is very much in the way of insulation, so as turning the heating on seemed akin to setting fire to a pile of Euros, we haven’t. Which makes life “interesting” here at Pedemont.

Fortunately we have a HUGE wood burning stove in the lounge, which comfortably heats the lounge, kitchen and bathroom – rooms which flow one to the other (yes, I know, having a bathroom off the kitchen is less than ideal. It’s on The List). The only other room in the house we are using is our bedroom WHICH HAS NO HEATING WHATSOEVER. We do have an electric blanket, so we’re fine once we’re under the duvet, but it’s not a room you want to hang around in otherwise. Although we haven’t yet woken up to ice on the inside of the windows, it’s been close. So tomorrow, we plan to go and buy one of those oil filled radiators, which will hopefully take the chill off, and won’t cost a fortune to run.

On the knitting front I am making progress on the shawl

(that woodpile is all that stands between me and abject misery!)

I managed to persuade Ben to take some time out from his busy schedule (that would be the one that involves lying in front of the wood burner 24/7, only reluctantly venturing out when Nature calls) to model the shawl for me. You can tell he’s keen can’t you?

I still have two problems with the shawl: either I won’t finish it in time, or I will, but it will be too short. I have about 120g of yarn left and I estimate it will be about 50” before blocking. It’s very stretchy so I may be able to block it to a decent size. Time will tell. So far, it’s been a great knit. I thought acres of 2x2 ribbing might be deathly boring but the cable rows are frequent enough to keep me interested. I think the finished shawl will be pretty, but I can see how much lovelier it would be in KSH. Maybe one day....

Last Sunday one of our local villages, Marciac, held their Christmas market.

This is the first time I’ve seen Santa in shades, and I love his little helper, balanced on the horse’s back. Santa spent the afternoon taking children round the square in his cart and that little dog stayed stuck to the horse the whole time!

I very much doubt I'll post again before Christmas, though I will try and let you know if the shawl is finished in time for the New Year's Eve bash, so for now, may you all have the Christmas & New Year you wish for!

Sunday, December 02, 2007

Toute seule

I am here on my own this week (well, that’s if you don’t count the 3 dogs, 9 chickens and 100 sheep and goats :0) as Eddie has gone back to the UK for a few days. It’s actually the second time he’s been away in the last few weeks and the first time he went away I did wonder how I would feel being here on my own.

I had no worries about how I would cope if some sort of mini (or major) crisis occurred – I can think of at least eight people off the top of my head who I could phone and who would do all they could to help, which is very reassuring. Whilst we have no intention of living in some sort of ex-pat enclave, and we hope to eventually be able to count some French people amongst our friends, the advantage of knowing other Brits is that everyone, to a greater or lesser degree has been through the settling in process we have, and every one of them at one time or another has needed, and received help. For that reason, people really do seem to rally round, and there’s a fabulous spirit of “pay it forward”. We’ve been blessed with meeting such lovely people since we moved here, and I know if we were ever called on to help out another Brit (or anyone else for that matter!) we’d be there like a shot.

What I did wonder was how I would feel being alone in the house. We’re not isolated, but the nearest neighbour is not within screaming distance and I wasn’t sure what the house would seem like with just me in it. It is a big, rambling old place, but – as I’ve discovered – not at all spooky. From the outside it is really welcoming and has an air of calm and tranquillity about it. Inside, it’s snug and cosy and warm. The only things that go bump in the night are the mice that have taken up residence since the weather turned colder!

We had rain yesterday. Hardly “hold the front page” stuff you might think, but it was the first time I had seen rain here since mid September (we did have one day of rain in October but I was in the UK). It was really quite odd to see grey skies, as so far this autumn / winter we have been blessed with gloriously sunny days, so even when it’s been cold (and it has been down to -4C) it’s still pleasant to be outside. Today is beautiful. The temperature must be in the low 60sF, which can’t be bad for the beginning of December. What’s more, the goats are still out every day

which makes life so much easier for us (and I’m sure is better for them). Since they would have been permanently housed in the UK from about mid September every day they have been out since then has been a bonus. It’s just another little thing that makes the winter seem so much more bearable. They’re also now grazing a field which can be seen from the village so the locals are finally getting to see them. They are a subject of huge interest on the Saturday morning walks we go on. We started going on these at the beginning of October. A group of villagers meet every Saturday morning for a 2 hour “randonée” around the commune. There is only one other English couple who go besides us so it’s proving to be a great way to practice my French in a social situation, rather than just when dealing with shopping or bureaucratic stuff. Everyone has made us feel very welcome in the group, and during the walks most of them will make a point of walking alongside us for a while and chatting to us. It also means that now when we go into the village we are much more likely to see a face we recognise; someone we can pass the time of day with, which all helps to make us feel part of the community.

On the knitting front, after much dithering I finally plumped for the Lily Chin Reversible Rib Shawl.

My goal is to finish this in time for New Year’s Eve when there is a large village gathering for a six course meal and general knees up. I think I should have enough knitting time; my only slight concern is whether I have enough of the yarn dyed in this colour (as I think the chances of my being able to repeat it are virtually nil). I have just over 300g, which should be about 900 - 950 metres. Fingers crossed!

<< *.* >>
Subscribe with Bloglines