Saturday, 25 November 2017

Bastides of the Gers

One of the joys of living in the foothills of the Pyrenees is being able to turn our backs on the mountains when the weather is poor - that sometimes all too brief period when the snow begins to fall but before the ski season kicks off - and head north into the beautiful rolling countryside of the Gers.

Snowfall - not good motorcycling conditions.
Throughout the summer our neighbouring department is all sunflowers, vineyards and a million camper vans, but in late autumn the majority of the visitors have left and for a motorcycling enthusiast the empty rolling roads become a playground. I love nothing better than cruising along at a steady pace, quick enough to get a thrill in the bends but slow enough to pause and watch a peregrine or harrier overhead.

Our last couple of forays have been out to explore some of the medieval bastide towns and villages in the Gers. These two were on the latest 200km round trip.

Lupiac - birthplace of the real d'Artagnan.

Tuesday, 7 November 2017

Garden: First Frost

With the temperature falling to minus two last night it is time to say good bye and thank you to all the tender plants that make the potager something special in the summer. 

Nasturtium

Tomatillo
All the peppers, chillies and aubergines are destined for the compost heap this afternoon, along with courgettes, tomatillos, cucamelons, basil plants and many others that I've forgotten.

Aubergine


Jalapeno

Wednesday, 4 October 2017

Books: Review - Not Just a Boy by Jonathan Hill




I read this short and punchy novella in just two sittings and afterwards wondered why the author had chosen this short form for his story. For perhaps the first time I feel that Jonathan missed a trick in not bringing much more depth to this tale of schoolboy bullying and its aftermath.

The writing is as ever neat and evocative but was for me a little lean. Having said that, the scenes of threat and fear came over really well, as did the sense of differentness portrayed by the Boy.

This is a great coming of age story, often bleak, but it left me wanting more, hence only four stars.

Tuesday, 11 July 2017

France: Contrasts in l'Herault

The French school holidays are upon us - where has the year gone? - so last week we dashed away or a few days at the seaside, ostensibly to eat some Bouzigues oysters, but also for a potter around the villages on and around l'Etang de Thau.


Marina at Mèze