So, it’s been a looong time since we worked on this ‘blog’ — not sure we can even call it that, given the lack of regular updates, but never mind.
After moving in, we had the house roof fixed first, and a major drain installed along the rear wall and down one side of the house. After a brief break, the barn and ‘abri’ roof were next, which made all of our main structures dry at last.
A Family Christmas
Izzy skiing on our nearest ski slopes
We were lucky enough at Christmas (2014) to welcome all of the kids and their respective partners, plus Granny. Everyone managed to get up to the ski slopes a couple of times, although driving back from Font Romeu was a touch hairy – particularly for Heather, who was driving a hire car on the ‘wrong’ side of the very squiggly roads through a blizzard!
The New Year saw building works move to the interior, with Colin and Phil keeping us amused with their amazing singing and humour (!)
Chambres d’Hotes du Lac Perdu
The front door of our B&B, Chambres d’Hotes du Lac Perdu
After months of work, we were almost ready to open as a chambres d’hotes – the Chambres d’Hotes du Lac Perdu – so we went live on our new website (www.lacperdu.fr) and Facebook page, and signed up with booking.com, not expecting too many guests at first. To our surprise, our first booking arrived the next night, and we’ve had a steady trickle since – even through the autumn and into December. Not bad without much in the way of serious marketing. Through the long, hot (approaching 40 degrees) summer, we’ve been lucky to welcome many visitors – including family and friends as well as paying guests – so our life has been very busy but never boring.
Singing with our local choir, La Chorale de Puivert
We are very happy in France, and have made a lot of new friends amongst the locals and other incomers. We have both joined the local choir and enjoy singing at various events through the year. We also go to French conversation classes and drink tea almost every day with a chatty French neighbour, which is great for our language skills!
Collioure, just north of the Spanish border on the Mediterranean coast
We live an hour and a half from the Med and within an hour of skiing, and are surrounded by glorious scenery, fascinating history and great markets. Cycling east-west along the valley is pretty easy, but turn north or south and you’ll hit serious hills pretty quickly. There are masses of serious hiking and mountain biking trails, and we’re a few miles from the Aude River – good for kayaking, canyoning, white water rafting, etc. — oh, and for gentle picnics too!
Looking across the valley, Campferrier just below
Some things have been far from easy and we still have one or two ‘issues’ to resolve, but we love where we live and even a trip to the supermarket or dentist takes us through amazing scenery.
And that brings us more or less up to date, apart from some notable events:
- Alan and Jodie got engaged while on a trip to Japan – Mount Fuji in the background! They’re in the process of buying their currently rented house and they still have mad cats …
- Paddy and Heather were both promoted during the year – Paddy to Head of Guild (house) at his school and Heather to Team Leader at her civil engineering work. They relax by playing korfball to a good standard and winning meat at pub quizzes.
- Izzy gained her Masters Degree with Distinction and won a prize from her department as top student. She also started her PhD course in October, researching autism, while Luke is enjoying work as a software developer in London. In his spare time, Luke is a Boys Brigade group leader and a drummer in a pipe & drum band. As well as her research, Iz teaches Irish dance, drums with Luke when she can, and they’ve both started playing korfball too.
- We were adopted by a scrawny, stray, ginger tomcat last spring, who is now a big, fat, luxurious, un-tomcat who loves the wood-burner and food.
- Patsy has spent a lot of time and care setting up and running the B&B, and making the house and garden look attractive.
- Last and definitely least, Bob started piano lessons in April and is having fun making progress thanks to a very patient teacher. Patsy says she doesn’t mind listening to him practicing …
Our adopted ginger tom, Roo