Sunday, June 15, 2008

A walk in the mountains, and a meme

I’m at the end of a two week break from work. It’s been lovely to have time to help Eddie out on the farm rather than sitting in front of a laptop all day. In the first week, some of Eddie’s family came to stay, and we got loads of jobs done on the farm that would have taken the two of us days to do on our own. Work was interspersed with trips and meals out, and a bit of lounging in the sun when it put in an appearance. After a lovely early spring, summer has been late arriving in south west France. Although warm, we have had a lot of rain – so much that May and June will enter Meteo France’s history books for the region! Forecasters say that the weather will finally turn next week, so we’re hoping for the long hot days to be with us soon.

Yesterday our walking group had a day trip to the Pyrenees. Thirty one of us set off in convoy from Beaumarches at 7.30 a.m and arrived at Cauterets just before 9. We parked just outside the town and set off along the GR10. To begin with, the weather wasn’t too promising

but the scenery was stunning. It’s amazing to think this is all virtually on our doorstep.

We climbed gradually upwards for 500m which took about an hour and a half – steep in places but not too bad. Our destination was this refuge,

and as we came over the final ridge the view was unbelievable

Some of the walkers were a bit knackered by the time we arrived!

During the walk we were lucky enough to see some Pyrenean wildlife – griffon vultures, the Pyrenean Chamois, and an animal I had never heard of before – the Marmot. I even managed to get a photo (kind of - looks better if you click on it!)

The wildflowers were wonderful too, particularly these Gentians which carpeted the area around the lake.

At the refuge we had a leisurely picnic lunch which everyone had brought with them in their rucksacks, enjoying the warm sunshine. Then some rested while the rest of us went for a walk around the lake.

The walk back down the mountain was much easier, and we finished off the trip with drinks at a cafe in Cauterets. We got back to Beaumarches about 6 p.m giving us just enough time to feed the animals, have a quick shower and change before the evening’s “pouletarde” – a communal village meal of chicken and frites. We had a lovely evening, and it rounded off a wonderful day.

Whilst I’ve been away from the laptop, Clarabelle has tagged me for a meme, so here goes:

The rules: Each player answers the questions about themselves. At the end of the post, the player then tags 5-6 people and posts their names, then goes to their blogs and leaves them a comment, letting them know they’ve been tagged and asking them to read your blog. Let the person who tagged you know when you’ve posted your answer.

1) What was I doing ten years ago? – In 1998 I was living in a cottage in Cornwall and the only “livestock” we had was Ben, then 10 months old. I was working for a firm of accountants, running their financial planning department (that sounds grand, but the “department” consisted of me and my assistant
J). Most of my clients were Cornish and Devon farmers, who I loved to bits, but I can’t say I was really happy in the job.

2) What are five (non-work) things on my to-do list for today/tomorrow: Hmm, well as it will be my first day back at work after two weeks off, I doubt there’ll be much time for non-work stuff but items currently on the agenda include: go to doctor’s for second tetanus jab (yay!), try and take photos of new additions to the menagerie, make inroads into the washing mountain (sub item - clean curtains peed on by new additions to the menagerie); go to dinner with friends.

3) Snacks I enjoy: Crisps, peanuts, chocolate, homemade cake, jaffa cakes (it’s a wonder I’m not the size of a house).

4) Things I would do if I were a billionaire: Whilst I would love to say I’d give it all away, I really wouldn’t, but what I would do is - Give up work; pay off the mortgage; renovate the house; build stonking new barns for the sheep and goats; buy Eddie all the “boys toys” farm machinery he would love, and which would make his life so much easier; install a gigantic swimming pool; start a Pyrenean-sized yarn stash; set up an elephant sanctuary and an orang-utan sanctuary (though not in France, obviously).

5) Places I have lived: Liverpool, Berkshire, Gloucestershire, Bristol, Cornwall, Bedfordshire, Leicestershire, Gascony. I’m not moving again.

6) Jobs I have had: Kennel maid, cleaner, barmaid, stage manager, admin assistant, financial planner / investment manager.

7) Peeps I want to know more about: anyone who reads this blog!


Blogger Caroline M said...

The marmots look like big fat guinea pigs sunning themselves there.

I'm interested in what you've got that's been peeing on the curtains, cats maybe to see off the mice? If the sun comes at least all that washing will be dry in no time.

5:26 pm  
Blogger Queen of the froggers said...

The Pyrenees look amazing. We went there as children as my parents always took us up mountains. We saw Marmots too!

3:46 pm  
Blogger clarabelle said...

Thanks for answering the meme questions, Carolyn! I love your billionaire 'wants'...

The 'walk in the Pyrenees' photos are stunning! Those reflections look almost unreal, with the water so still and the snow on the mountain tops. And those gorgeous gentians! I want to be there...

3:56 pm  
Blogger picperfic said... are so lucky to have that beauty so nearby. I bet you slept well that night!

10:00 am  
Blogger Soo said...

Those are amazing photos. Definitely a walk worth taking. I wouldn't be moving again either if that was on my doorstep!

4:36 pm  
Blogger Iris said...

I think it will take me some time to catch up with your blog, but for now... fantastic photographs! It looks absolutely breathtaking!

And you know what - I used to be totally obsessed with marmots throughout my childhood. When I was about 4 or so my great aunt took me to Saas Fee to see marmots and I was even able to feed them a few carrots. Ever since then they've been a favourite of mine, as many postcards that I collected over my childhood years attest to. I even remember playing 'marmot' as a kid, collecting all sorts of food to hide under my duvet in preparation for hybernation. ;-)


4:25 pm  

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