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pionsat combrailles puy de dome auvergne france in the snow january janvier 2010 copyright free photo royalty free photo

First photo of the year!

I was on my way down to Liz and Terry's today in the ice and snow and just as I crested the brow of the hill down the road the sunlight (or what passes for sunlight around here in early January) caught Pionsat quite nicely.

The effects of snow and ice produced some kind of stark greyscale image just for a fleeting moment and so I grabbed hold of the old Fuji compact that I always keep in Caliburn and took a quick shot of the village. It would have been better with the Pentax K100D of course but I can do that again if I get the right light conditions.


site ornithologique birdwatching point st gervais combrailles puy de dome auvergne france january janvier 2010 copyright free photo royalty free photo

I stopped off at my usual spot by the birdwatching point to see what I could see, and there was this absolutely magnificent view of this tree on the skyline with a couple of puys, including the Puy-de-Dome, in the background.

I'm well-impressed with this image. The little cold front "everywhere today was a cold front" - ed at the foot of the puys gives some kind of a surreal atmosphere to the photograph. That's why I like this spot for my photos - every one always turns out differently.


bedroom building stud wall beam les guis virlet combrailles puy de dome auvergen france january janvier 2010 copyright free photo royalty free photo

I'm not short of work around here. I have work that I can do inside when the weather is bad and work that I can do outside when the weather is better.

At the moment with the weather well-below freezing point I'm working inside and I've recommenced work on the 1st floor of the house. My house consist of three rooms, each about 5m² on top of each other with no partitions, and so I'm partitioning the first floor into a bedroom, a stairwell, a bathroom and a little cupboard.


waste land abandoned orchard les guis virlet combrailles puy de dome auvergen france january janvier 2010 copyright free photo royalty free photo

The outside work involves making a potager or vegetable plot somewhere on my premises. The existing one is at the front of the house but that's what I'm planning to use in the long-term as a car park for Caliburn so I need to look elsewhere.

Between the house and the orchard (or what used to be the orchard before I was ill) is a patch about 40 metres long. At the moment it's home to an old Mercedes, a Ford Cortina, a Transit van and a huge amount of brush. That looks optimistic.


heavuy snow fall les guis virlet combrailles puy de dome auvergne france january janvier 2010 copyright free photo royalty free photo

But first you need to wait for some good weather and that's not likely to be for a while. We are in the grip of an icy winter right now and we are taking a right pounding from the snow.

It's just as well that there is plenty of work to do inside the house. There are times when you can't even manage to open the door to go outside with the amount of snow that we are having.


Pionsat intermarche les guis virlet combrailles puy de dome auvergne france stand alone renewable energy farm solar panels wind turbines copyright free photo royalty free photo

Pionsat has slowly been dragged into the 21st Century with today's opening of a decent supermarket

I went for a wander around and I was quite impressed. The owners seem to have undertaken a great deal of research into their potential clientele. Mindful of the large Alternative community that exists round here, they have tons of pulses, dried herbs, infusions, all that kind of thing and a really good "bio" selection.

They are also equally mindful of the large British community living round here. Heinz Baked Beans and Typhoo tea bags were just two of the dozens of traditional British products on sale. They even had Hartley's Jelly, something that I have never ever seen anywhere this side of the Channel.


tristar solar energy charge controller float mode january janvier 2010 copyright free photo royalty free photo

With all of the poor weather that we have been having lately my solar energy system has been under some pressure. The panels covered with 10cms of snow hasn't helped much.

But today for the first time since October the system is in FLOAT mode. This means that the batteries are fully charged and the solar charge will only tick in to replace any current that might be drawn by whatever appliances it is that I am using. And there was so much solar energy available that I even ran the fridge for a few hours - not that I needed to but it would give the batteries some exercise.


waste land abandoned ford transit les guis virlet combrailles puy de dome auvergne france january janvier 2010 copyright free photo royalty free photo

With the improvement in the weather I made it outside and went to survey where the vegetable garden will be. It's hard to believe that in 2002 I had cleared out all of this area.

There aren't just shrubs and brambles that have grown here - there are even trees. One tree is 5 metres high and 50cms in diameter and has grown around the old Transit. I am going to have my work cut out here to deal with all of this.


helicopter ride pionsat view from air aerial photograph combrailles puy de dome auvergne france january janvier 2010 copyright free photo royalty free photo

On the opening day of the new Intermarché they had a prize draw of which the major prize was a ride in a helicopter. I didn't win it but my friends from Luxembourg did and as they had no intention of taking more than one foot off the ground at any one time they very kindly gave the ticket to me.

So one damp Sunday in January some guy got his chopper out and we all took to the air for a little cruise around Pionsat. I was deafened by the noise but it really was a good photo opportunity.


first fire of the year january janvier 2010 copyright free photo royalty free photo

As you know if you've been following my outpourings for a while, I have enormous difficulty getting a fire to burn when I really try. When I don't try, like while I'm welding up a car sr something, I can summon up a raging inferno in no time at all. So I was most impressed by the first fire of the year that seemed to burn quite nicely.

But fires need careful watching in order to keep them burning and so it was no surprise at all that the phone rang immediately after this shot. And of course by the time the phonecall finished, the fire had gone out.


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