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December 2006
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February 2007

January 2007

Online Calendar

Not so long back it was pointed out to me that Rentcalendar seems to have gone out of business with users not being able to update their holiday availability.

As well as using the complicated (from a users perspective) French Connections on line availability calendar I turned to Availcheck which offers a very simple to use FREE on line calendar.

It always pays to keep two copies running as it proved when Rentcalendar went AWOL.

Using a paper backup is rather old fashioned but it works too.

Are we over the worst?

Track_001 Before the winter had even started there was talk of it being extra mild and so it proved up to Christmas.

It was certainly cold afterwards and we have had some pretty chilly days of late but I did expect the days to be getting warmer. February in Aquitaine can be pleasantly warm and the first year we arrived we enjoyed a week at 70 degrees.

However, the anticipation of a warm glow has dissipated after talking to a friend over the weekend who says the farmers, who are notoriously well informed, are gearing up for another cold snap.

Continue reading "Are we over the worst?" »

The chilling calm

Sunset_003I was surprised to see a further covering of snow this morning which slowly melted through the day as the sun broke through and warmed the air.

It means a fantastic sunset this evening and the murky sky has yielded to a clear blue portrait but is means an extremely cold night to come. -4 to -5 is forecast so tomorrow will not be pleasant outside.

All outside water has been turned off and insulation checked.

I have also got my concerns about Charlie (drake). You will remember, the first Charlie succumbed to what we think was 'Wet Feather' in the last cold snap and froze to death because he was unable to distribute oil around his feathers.

Continue reading "The chilling calm" »

Geoportail Aerial View

Aerial_viewFrance has a rival to Google maps called Geoportail which is available for all the French territories.

Personally, I have not been able to access it since it was re-launched in the autumn of last year but I finally managed to get some maps up today.

This picture shows our farm (pre purchase) and I have put a white line to show the boundaries.

Unfortunately if you zoom in too far the detail is lost but for a free service you cannot grumble.

Continue reading "Geoportail Aerial View" »

A Blizzard rages

Snow_003 I didn't think it would settle but it has snowed for most of the afternoon and as this picture taken at 3pm shows it is settling.

More scheduled for tonight and tomorrow and then a freeze for the end of the week.

I am rather relived that we managed to collect enough wood for the foreseeable future and we have the open fire and the wood burner going so we should be cosy tonight.

Currency Exchange

I have to say we have been very fortunate since we arrived in France regarding exchanging our Sterling into Euros. I have a friend who works at a bank and he was able to change money at top rates under a friends and family arrangement.

Unfortunately, this arrangement has had to end due to anti laundering measures which has meant I have had to search for an alternative.

I had noticed a a link on a website to Currency UK and after reading through their details and terms I decided that I would set up an account.

I contacted them through their website and received an email back within minutes confirming that the details would be sent out this morning.

Continue reading "Currency Exchange" »

It is snowing

As predicted the snow has started to fall here in the Lot et Garonne. I am not sure if it will come to anything and I will pop a picture up if it does.

Outside work has been curtailed as the icy wind is tearing the ends of my fingers off. But unfortunately, yesterday I removed a section of the roof and started building the wooden frame for the mini dormer so I have a little precipitation coming in.

I walked down to the ducks earlier with the food without gloves and I could not feel my finger tips when I got back.

The weather is set to get much colder with -4 by Friday so it looks like some indoor work is on the cards.

Corner of France where it will be forever England

There is an interesting story in the Telegraph this morning about how the British are settling in France, not necessarily for the food, wine and peace but because France offers a way of life not seen in England since the 1950's.

You will often hear your parents (I am 42) or your Grandparents talk about how they left their door unlocked at night but here in France many will do so and not only that they will leave the keys in the ignition of the car park out side their house or even in a car park if they are shopping.

Continue reading "Corner of France where it will be forever England" »

Fuelling the Fire

Wood_004 With the winter cold set to return again later this week I thought it might be a good idea to stock up on some wood and also cut some stock for two years time.

Wood burning stoves are a great way to heat the home and very cost effective too especially if you have a 2 acre oak wood as we do.

What is apparent though is the planning and stock piling of enough wood to see you through a winter.

Continue reading "Fuelling the Fire" »