Tuesday, February 21, 2006

Many of the people who live here exodus during winter either to warmer climes or there original home land. We had been warned not only how quiet it would be but also how cold. Well yes it was cold , notably in December when temparatures dropped to abt minus 15 at night but the days are mainly clear, bright and Sunny. Friday 27th January was a day to remember though. The weather forecasts here are very accurate and Snow was forecast. Indeed the day before we collected a friend from the airport and the motorway signs were warning of disruption.When we woke Friday morning it began to Snow, and it snowed like we have not seen in years if ever. By 3pm it was 26Centemetres (10 inches in old money) thick!! Nobody attempted to go to work, it was a day when you walked and went to the bar to be socialable.
Typically of January it is a month for consolidation of both the finances and waistline after the festive indulgencies! We have been blessed with some fantastic weather since New Year with clear blue skies, bright sunshine, although cold temperatures so much so that even our jar of Nutella almost froze!. For variety though we have also had rain, snow and the Mistral blowing. During the sunnier days we have continued to explore with a return visit to Mont Ventoux.
  • January
    Just 29 Miles from our house and standing 1912 Meters high it enjoys one of the finest views in Europe and is one of the most gruelling parts of Tour de France. It also acts as a wind breaker from the Mistral that blows down the Rhone Valley, drying the air as it blows over, which is one of the reasons the area we live is so dry. Can you believe the Rhone Valley was for 20 Million years 'the sea' which contributes to its fertility today. We also visited the Colorado Provencal, the Ochre vein is the biggest in the world and starts 7 miles from our house. As you can see from the attached photograph it is quite stunning!

    On the property front a rather strange thing happened on Sunday. Only the day before, I mentioned to Karen what would we do if the land fell through. On Sunday morning I was looking thru some old e mails and came across one from an agent with a house in our village. I e mailed asking if we could view. We then headed out for our daily walk. We had taken a different route to normal and low and behold I spotted the house. Wow, we walked back to it and as we stood admiring the front a gentleman arrived in his car. We established he spoke English (he is in fact English!!) and he invited us in to view. Two beers later we are invited to stay for Sunday Lunch! and a very pleasant and relaxing one it was too, with Roast Beef and a very detailed discussion on the Wines of the Rhone Valley, which has given me the taste for a tour, more on that next time.What great hospitality though!

    Our French continues at an 'Escargot' pace! from next week we are adding a weekly 3 hour lesson at a state run language school so vive le France! I am pleased to report there have been no major embarrassments over the last month and as well as successfully ordering a delivery of oil over the phone for a friends house that we are looking after I have also mastered the on line ordering skills with Damart underwear (calm down ladies, I know you will now be picturing me in my long John's) and Darty to name but a few! For those familiar with our boys, Matisse has become increasingly eccentric and demanding rarely leaving my side except to sleep ( he is then at Karen's), and Splodge was today described as being like a Jersey Cow! large in other words!

    Well time for a walk,
    We hope you enjoyed our update and the accompanying photographs, do keep us in touch with any news at your end , we may be 850 miles south but as BT say, its nice to keep in touch and we really appreciate hearing from you, so until the next time,