Tuesday, 6 December 2011

Ryanair and wild boars

Our 2nd trip to the new house in France has enabled me to feel much more "at home"...and already some of my anxieties about not being settled in either home have faded.

The ease of the journey between homes has helped, and I never expected to be declaring Ryanair to be so good. I keep hearing horror stories, of stranded poorly treated ripped off travellers and await the first time we have a bad experience....but so far.....the company can't be faulted.

Early morning fog in Carcassonne meant our flight had to be diverted to Perpignan....Carcassonne hasn't got the facility required to enable planes to land unsighted. The air crew assurred passengers that buses would be available to take us all back to Carcassonne, and they were. All was well organised, the bus journey from Perpignan to Carcassonne was delightful, and all passengers arrived where they should have been, just a couple of hours later than expected.....and just as the fog lifted to display a beautiful clear warm winter's day.  Basically, whilst the weather is not under Michael O'Leary's control, everything he was responsible for worked perfectly.

The house looked amazing as we approached it.... some of the pine trees and gorse that I  had wanted removed, to give the almond, olive,  and oak trees more space, had gone....so the view from our terrace over the village was even more spectacular than 5 weeks ago.

We turned on the electricity, the gas, the water.... and amazingly ( or at least to me) the TV, the phone and the internet all worked perfectly, immediately. I was expecting all sorts of difficulties.... but we were there, in our own little bit of paradise, and connected to the outside world.

We did all sorts of practical things this time..... put curtains up, delighted to discover an ancient pair from at least 2 houses ago, were perfect for the living room.....bought some decent secateurs to replace the rubbish supermarket ones I bought last time, and made a soul destroying trip to Ikea in Montpelier. We vowed never to go again, but I always say that ... I just hope that this time, I never have the urge to buy something with an interesting Swedish name again. I have to say it is the only place I was able to find measuring spoons !
Curtain framed door to the terrace

New garden tools

We organised logs for the fire.....

and learned that the log burning stove is easy to work, and very very efficient.....it also made our French home look just like Abraham's barn, where we used to live in Mankinholes, before all the selling and buying of new places to live that 2011 has involved.

We did some exploring, went to Citou, a couple of local walks, into Carcassonne, the much maligned Montpelier trip... which was beautiful, apart from the 2 hours in Ikea, Mark played golf a couple of times, we entertained our first dinner guest, I baked a cake, and played in the garden.

The walk into the village

One of the gorgeous Caunes marble statues in the village

We discovered that we had a night visitor....le sanglier.....The hills behind our house, are inhabited by all sorts of wild life..... and we now know, quite clearly, that there are wild boar there. We heard noises one evening, but couldn't see anything, but found irrefutable evidence of snuffling rooting snouts, under the tree where we had hung bird food. When a local gardnener told me that from what he could see near our grape vines, there had been "pigs" in the garden, I thought he meant that the previous owners had kept pigs, which seemed pretty unlikley... but no.... he meant.... we get visitors.....les sangliers..... so I am very excited at the prospect of coming face to face with one at some stage. I did get up at dawn one morning, just to have alook around, just in case one was still rooting around. No luck with les sangliers, but a fabulous dawn all the same.          

So all in all.... yes, this is  already home, just need a few more pictures of the kids around the place.......so that's the next job.


  1. Wow Janice - this all looks and sounds absolutely wonderful. You've found a fantastic corner and it's looking very homely..in a rather sophisticated sort of way.
    I have to agree with you about Ryanair - I used them many, many times when Cesar was out in Spain with the children for six months and I flew out every two weeks without a single hitch, delay or inconvenience. And for a very low price.
    As for the wild boars, I hope you don't come face to face..I'd try a sidelong glance and avoid any sort of confrontation! Take care and good luck - they're gorgeous but not always friendly.
    Now having a little French nostalgia...only a little though. Axxxxx

  2. I'm cooking a wild boar casserole on Friday - had to order the meat on the internet. You could go into business!!
    It all looks amazing Janice - can't wait to go - just a few other countries to visit first!
    Hannah x

  3. Thanks Annie & Hannah.... still pinching myself, realising we have actually done this, and it is going to be a very happy place. x

  4. It looks fantastic, Janice, and what a view! How lovely to have a ready-made French home like this. I'm green with envy :-) It was a good two years after we bought it before our French wreck was even barely habitable and another 6 years on we're still working on the finishing touches. But we love it all the same. We couldn't have bought where you are as DH won't fly and neither of us can tolerate great heat. Enjoy it!

  5. Thanks for your comments Perpetua....we are definitely not major project people..... we can just about drill a hole in a wall for shelves....but that usually takes much longer than we expected, cos its the wrong kind of drill bit, or the wrong kind of wall, or something. So we knew if this was going to work, garden projects would be fine, but the house had to be habitable from the start. So I am going to be ever grateful to the delightful Mdme Marquier, the 85 year old lady who lived there before us, for keeping it in such beautiful condition.

  6. Remember Stephane? His father looked after the wood and the sanglier and when we visited we were served, spit roasted sanglier. I think Annies right, they are not that friendly, so i'm not sure I'd go looking for them without a shot gun.

  7. From what we saw at the local vide grenier ( car boot sale..... literally, empty attic) shot guns seem to be pretty common.... however, I think I 'll stick to sampling the delights of sanglier on a plate rather than face to face.Did it taste good ? Do we need to get a spit roast....think the rotisserie in the oven is only big enough for a chicken !

  8. Hello Janice:
    We have discovered your blog via Perpetua's and are so excited to read about the great leap which you have made to divide your time between a house in Yorkshire and one in France. And what fun you appear to be having, and clearly in a very short period of time have settled in well. Your house, set above the village, looks most attractive and we love the idea of being able to grow your own olives.

    Living as we do for the most part in Hungary [although we do keep a flat in Brighton], it is always of interest to read how others approach living abroad. We have signed ourselves as Followers in order to keep up.

  9. So good to meet you Jane and Lance... your divided life sounds exciting...I still have concerns about not quite feeling at home in either place, so am fascinated by others' experiences of the same sort of living. Hope you enjoy Christmas, whether you're in Hungary or Brighton.

  10. Love the views and the roaring fire. Hope you settle in well.
    I visit the area a lot. Favourite things are the lake at Pradelles up in the Black Mountains, Olonzac market and walking anywhere along the canal. The walks around Caunes are good too.
    A good book based on Caunes is Signs of the Heart by Christopher Hope.

  11. Thanks anon......I'll search out the book, and Olonzac is definitely on the list to visit. We had a lovely walk from Caunes, just around the quarry, and are looking forward to doing it in different seasons.