Friday, November 25, 2011

Wonderful Autumn Weather

Like may parts of Europe we are enjoying wonderful Autumn sunshine.

The mornings are cold, dry and crisp with a superb sunrise.

Bright Autumn  sunshine -warms the cockles of your heart!

The luminosity in the sky  is incredible.
Whilst the  consrasting sunrises are equally magnificent.

It is certainly confusing the plants which are still flowering.

 Provence really is very special in the Autumn, it is so quiet & peaceful, and it is one of our favourite times of year to be here.
It is also an  opportune time to work in the garden where we have been carrying out much work in the last few weeks on Sanglier defences which we hope will be completed soon!.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Olive Picking, it's that time again!

Once a year, like Christmas, olive picking comes around.
We have been enjoying a fabulous warm Autumn, and our trusty loyal Olive pickers are arriving tomorrow.
However, earlier in the week rain was forecast, so we called in the back up team and brought forward picking to today.

The ladies did a stirling job. 
We have picked 245 kilos of Olives for the last two years producing almost 50 litres of oil for our use.
Sadly this year, a hot Spring & cold nights in July has led to a poor crop. In addition time to time, the trees simply take a rest and reserve their energy for the following year.
We have a range of accessories to collect our Olives in, this bag , was donated by Roy, from his days as a newspaper boy.
We also have a bag from New Zealand designed for collecting Kiwi's, a peg bag we bought in Australia, and  special engineer designed buckets from South Wales! quite a collection.

One of our olive pickers taking a break!!!!

And this is part of the crop, not the best we have picked sadly!

The reward for our loyal pickers, lunch in the sun on the terrace!

And the result, 198 kilos less than the last two years! That is nature! 
Volunteers for 2012 contact us now!! third weekend in November .

Wednesday, November 02, 2011

Weather in October

It is commonly known locally that each village has it's own micro climate.
In Saint Saturnin Les Apt the warm weather continued through most of October with just 4 days of rain fall recorded totaling 33mm.
So we are set for some glorious Autumn colours!

Tuesday, November 01, 2011

Time with friends

Last year in November we met our friend's Roy & Andrea in Berlin.
This year, it was their turn to come to us.
And as the tourist season is quietening it was an opportunity to get out and about without the hustle & bustle normally found in some of our villages and larger towns.
A good place to start is at the Moulin in our own village.

From here there is a great photo opportunity looking back over the village.

Next stop, Gordes, at the viewing point Roy & Andrea.
It is always packed in high season.  In fact, reputedly this year 3 million people visited the tourist office!

From here we head to one of our favourite places, Avignon.
The ladies are ready to shop!

No time for shopping! As ever we arrive at just after midday, time to eat and we enjoy a splendid lunch in L'Opera restaurant.

After which, time to walk around a small part of this lovely historic town.

One of the many Museums, Musee du Petit Palais.

The famous bridge 'Pont St Benezet', originally built in the 12th Century and rebuilt in the 17th Century.

'our lady almighty' , a gift from Pope John XXII in the 14th Century.

The Palais des Papes, formerly home to nine Popes, is set on foundations of rock.

The quiet back streets hide many wonderful buildings.

Before heading home time for a refreshment and some people watching in one of the many cafes.

Next day, in Roussillon, sheltering from a rather gusty wind!

We had a thoroughly enjoyable few days. 

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Wonderful Marseille!

Last weekend we took advantage of the warm autumn sunshine and spent 24 hours in France's  second biggest city Marseille.
The Saturday evening was taken up with the 'Fiesta des Suds' an informal music festival in the former docks, where you can wander from venue to venue in between which are numerous food stands (including champagne and oysters), everything  to satisfy a Frenchman's stomach! 

On Sunday morning we became tourists taking the train which at 7€ is great value.

Before setting off though we enjoyed  Petit dejeuner - breakfast- in this famous old establishment on the Vieux Port

The train takes you on an excellent tour through various parts of the city and then along the coast, past some rather splendid houses,
And this stunning war memorial
And finally to one of the best places in Marseille - the Notre Dame de la  Garde.

Standing proudly at the top of the City and dating to 1214 it a a stunning building with a wonderful interior and breath taking views over the city.
At the top of the Notre Dame is the Virgin Mary erected in 1870.

And the views are magnificent, here towards the docks and over the Vieux Port.

Looking South towards the Ile du Frioul where you can take lunch in the Harbour restaurants.
And in land, it really is a huge City.

Inside the interior is beautiful and very colourful.

The detail is incredible.

Any guesses on the date?

Model boats hang from the ceiling representing those lost at sea. Many wives of Fishermen and sailors come here seeking the blessing of Mary.

And so from here we head back, past one or two fabulous buildings, to the Vieux Port!

Where the fish market is in full swing.

Over looking the Harbour - the Hotel de Ville.

A quick beer before lunch....

The Vieux Port
And finally taking the new tram back to our hotel.

Marseille is just 90 minutes drive from home, it is bustling, diverse and exciting and well worth a visit!

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

End of season blues!

Our last gite clients have just left, and we can look back on a great season with clients from all over Europe, the USA & Canada, Australia & New Zealand, many of whom have re booked already for next year.
We are delighted to be listed No 1 on Tripadvisor for  B&B's in Saint Saturnin Les Apt, No 2 in the Luberon and No 5 in the Vaucluse out of over 340 properties. 
So a huge thank you to all our guests who have added just great feedback and comments.
We are so pleased our gites are what you are looking for!

Normally we are looking forward to time in the garden to prepare for Autumn & Winter but it has been dampened buy a run of bad luck!

First our normally efficient German heating system has suffered a little self combustion! 
The 500 Litre tank will be replaced we hope this week !

Next I managed to prang the car! Squeezing through a gap that was clearly too tight.
We are now looking very French!

But the biggest disaster of all is our pride and joy - the green lawn that (was) by the swimming pool.

We awoke last week to find the grass torn apart by the Sanglier.
The animals are  becoming a huge problem, and despite our electric fence they just came in! searching for water, which they found as we were irrigating the grass.

And despite increased defenses they returned to finish the job two nights later.
We are truly devastated. 
Thank goodness our guests have left and of course it will all be repaired ready for next year.

In need of a little refreshment this seems the most appropriate wine to drown our sorrows with!