A week in Cauterets, Haute Pyrenees 

A week in Cauterets, Haute Pyrenees ⛷🏂🎿Missed the Mais.

This was a lovely half term week skiing. Didn’t think I could manage all week but I did. It would have been nice to do the spa and Loudes but there just wasn’t the time. Our skiing has progressed really well. Particularly Callum’s snowboarding 🏂. We’ve filmed him on a red run for his GCSE PE and he’s also used his GoPro to film himself.

Cauterets is a really gorgeous place to stay – really busy all day long so a great atmosphere, interesting architecture.  There were lots of Eataries BUT as usual for me as a vegetarian, food was an issue, unless I was happy eating pizza all week – and most were booked and/or had two sittings so we booked one night and most nights just wandered till we found one with a table free. The evening we were going to venture to the cinema, La La land was cancelled.  However, there were lots of things to do, if you have the energy after a days skiing.  A swimming pool, spa (x 2), salle de jeux (mini arcade with pool tables / air hockey / pin ball etc) and several play areas for younger children.

Hotel Edleweiss, where we stayed was a family run hotel – the mother and father had very little English but one of the sons spoke really good English and as it happened another family staying at the same time could also speak very good English too.  The cousin of the hotel owner even bought Grandma a gift when we left! On the down side the restaurant had no choice, only plat du jour. No bar and the sitting area was for a max of 10 people. We did manage to get tea, coffee and wine every night delivered to this area. Not the same as having a huge open fire and views of the mountains as we have had in previous hotels.

Skiing – a bit daunting  when we first got up to the top! Blinded by the sun and what appeared to be very steep runs. Even my son, who is very brave, was a bit overawed to start with but ended up loving the steep slopes.  The food at the top was fine – there was a restaurant (but we tended to eat sandwiches / hot dogs / chips / waffles and crepes from the bar) it was busy but we always found a table and never queued for more than 10 minutes and that was a one off.

Our lessons this year were “ok” – the instructor just said that we could clearly ski and knew the techniques but just needed confidence (more of a psychology session!). He wanted to take us up to the top but I was too nervous – he said we would be fine!

Queues were horrendous – 45 minutes (at its’ worst) for a turn on the “source” pommel. However queues to go to the top on the proper lifts were actually very quick and if from 8am till 10am the queues were manageable.  But it was half term school holidays in France too.

The basic small blue runs (3 choices of routes down) we started on were a bit of a pain because of “moguls” that were created every day by the sheer number of skiers going through one crossroad – and then bumps just after (on two of the options) where you would take off and needed good balance to get through – these didn’t exist at the start of the day but were very difficult to handle at the end of the day. Also hard because of the number of people who congregated at this point / slowed down to get through them.

Tapis wasn’t too bad – reasonable for warming up / cooling down and queues easier to handle – lots of under 8’s to slalom around!

I lacked confidence so stuck to the green and blue runs. The instructor took us on a steep part of a blue run and taught us how to slide so we would know how to get past steeper bits we didn’t feel like skiing! However, I fell and that knocked my confidence.  Quelle wimp!

The weather was brilliant, although no new snow.

Oh I forgot – there was an avalanche but fortunately not on the pistes. My son was on the chair lift and saw it all but Paul and I were having a coffee so missed it!

Really looking forward to being en France again at Easter.  6 weeks to go!

 

Yes, I’m feeling février positif

Well I’ve made it through January.  I really don’t like the first month of the year.  My beloved mum passed away in January, it’s cold, wet, dreary (not always, I know) and I usually catch a bad cold or the flu.  But, I’m feeling like I’ve ducked a bullet this year.  It’s February 1st and I’ve made it.

Last year I was convinced that I had a case of SAD (Seasonal Affective Disorder) .  I purchased Echinacea and vitamin D but still caught a really awful virus that put me in the doldrums until the Easter holidays.  Then I ended up with a shoulder injury.  A rotator cuff injury according to a physio friend.  Ended up seeing a consultant and getting a cortisone injection.  It worked for about 3 months and then I had a go at some Pilates and it was worse than ever the next day.  Back to the consultant again and another cortisone injection later it was much better once again and lasted for a while, but I am having twinges again now.  The consultant insists that I will definitely need to have an arthroscopy where he will clean out the joint.

I’ve had some lovely messages from you all out in blog land.  Thank you so, so much. It’s really comforting to read your supportive comments.  We feel quite helpless at the moment about the French house as we are not there and wont make it back to France until Easter, which is just over 9 weeks away.  In the meantime what can we do?  We are at the mercy of our builder, who may, or may not complete the inside of our extension, which was due to be completed by December 2015.  We were planning on taking a trip somewhere different this summer but these plans have changed as we want to try to organise the completion of the extension now, together with painting and purchase of some extra bits of furniture.  It’s all very frustrating but I’m feeling February positive at the moment and just thinking positively about what it will all look like in the end, when it’s finally completed.  The main thing to cling to is that we always have a fantastic time as a family in France.

I’m going to have to break off from writing this as Bella (our cocker spaniel) needs a poo and I have some marking for school to do.

Bella pooed and marking done, I’m back.

When the two extra rooms are finally finished, we will have a salon facing the garden and our own chambre with toilet and shower off it.  I don’t want to make any rush decisions about new furniture.  We did that when we first bought the house.  Mainly because we had to, in order to be able to have a holiday there.  I’d like to purchase old furniture that I can paint, or not, as the case may be.  I want a much more authentic look.  I certainly don’t want a modern French look, where it’s all bright colours and leatherette.  Horror.

I envisage a lovely old armour and sideboard.  I’ve collected lots and lots of images on Pinterest.

I’d also like a metal bed but whilst waiting to find the perfect bed, we’ll probably purchase the Fyresdal day bed from Ikea.fyresdal-ikea

If we are unable to get on with the house this summer then I will focus my energies on the garden.  I’m really excited to see if the Willow tunnel that I planted last year has taken.

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But what I really want to see again, is those beautiful blue skies.

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Optimistic phlog post

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Le Petit Coquelicot

Le Petit Coquelicot

The family2

Having real trouble with our builder in France.  Seems like we’ve become another casualty of the British builder abroad.  Haven’t felt like blogging for ages so thought I’d look through some of our French photos from the last few years and post some to make myself feel better.  Just looking at all that sunshine has raised my spirits.

Our building project is now into its second year and I’m not confident that it will be completed by the end of 2017.

Very sad face indeed

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Bon les vacancies école

It’s been a tough old half term for all sorts of reasons, so we were all looking forward to this half term trip to France.  It has the effect of re-charging our batteries for some reason, even when it’s an 18 hour, non stop, journey on a friday evening.  And these were the first few sights early morning after we came off the N10 at Angoulême on our journey south.  A sky crisscrossed with plane trails and this ethereal, spooky mist hovering above the fields.

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And as the sun came up, this gorgeous dappled fig tree leaf on the turn.

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And when we arrived at the house there was a very neat hole in the wall.  We were very pleased.  It might have taken just under a year but, hey who’s counting.

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Bon matin France.

Open garden, South West France😍

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First lunch at B’s.

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Then to Loubens where one of B’s friends lives. She has a lovely Girondaise farm house that is on the market at moment.  House near Loubens

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Super place to check out which plants will grow in this part of France and for garden design ideas. We will return to check it out at the start of the season. At the moment it is so dry and parched. Still looking good

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I always think it’s lovely to stumble across a hidden oasis and treasures within a garden. Hydrangeas to die for and lots of hidden object d’art to stimulate the senses.image

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To get all the details about open gardens in France go to:

http://rendezvousauxjardins.culturecommunication.gouv.fr/

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Summer 2016 phlog part 1

Beautiful, but sad sunflower☹️image

OK, a phlog’s a bit of a cop out. More pictures, less words.

Visit to Taillecavat vide grenier this morning and then a walk through the grape vines with Bella and grandma.

Gorgeous vintage wicker bag, a necklace and some gentleman’s cuff links were my finds at today’s vide. Was looking for some wooden dining chairs but these were trop cher, at soixante euros😳

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Eclectic stand at vide today, followed by antique French confit pots, a Western horse saddle and a little black vintage car.  And our lovely village moulin à vent from our walk today.

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