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cupboard back of stairs les guis virlet combrailles puy de dome auvergne france february fevrier 2010 copyright free photo royalty free photo

We started the month with a cold snap - temperature down to -9°C in the evening - and so I was obliged to work inside the house for a while until things warmed up outside.

This gives me an opportunity to deal with the space at the back of the stairs, in the far corner. It will make quite a nice cupboard for storgae, and it isn't as if I don't have anything to store either.


football stade d'honneur st eloy les mines combrailles puy de dome auvergne france february fevrier 2010 copyright free photo royalty free photo

We also managed something resembling a game of football too. Pionsat had a match against Nord-Combrailles otherwise known as "The Miners" who play at the various stadia around the St Eloy area.

This match was actually arranged for the the Stade d'Honneur in St Eloy, the first time that I've ever attended a football match (although I have been there for other purposes). This called for a commemmorative photograph.


heavy snowfall les guis virlet combrailles puy de dome auvergne france february fevrier 2010 copyright free photo royalty free photo

After that, it was back to the weather again and this time one of the heaviest snowfalls of the year. And this was where I discovered the disadvantages of having a door that opened outwards. 28 cms (a record) of snow through the night can block almost anything.

It was lucky that I had arranged for the main door of the house to open (and open inwards too) otherwise I would have had to have waited for the thaw before I could go outside.


eric hall liz messenger radio arverne anglais emission february fevrier 2010 copyright free photo royalty free photo

One of the tasks set by the local community for me to prove that I am worthy is to write, produce and present a programme on local radio. It's in English and it is aimed at helping the Anglophone community engage more positively with French administration.

I'm given a pile of information on a specialist subject and then I have to translate it into English, prepare a little "question and answer" dialogue and with the aid of Liz, my glamorous assistant, we record the series of programmes. It isn't half keeping us off the streets!


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

Back at my favourite spot here in mid-February and without the Pentax K100D which is away being serviced, I'm having to rely on the old Fuji compact. And with the icy relief and the heavy winter skies this image has come out quite well even though there is no way of enlarging it suceessfully.

Mind you I took some good photos with the old Fuji and it served me very well. In fact it makes me wonder how they would have resolved if I had had a decent DSLR back in those days.


abbaye de bellaigues virlet combrailles puy de dome auvergne france february fevrier 2010 copyright free photo royalty free photo

I went to Montlucon with Liz and Terry today and that involved a brisk walk down to the end of the lane in the beautiful weather.

Away in the middle distance is the Abbey de Bellaigues, the local monastery, and the dark line just below the horizon is the limit of the commune and also of the Department. Over there is the commune of Ronnet and the Department of the Allier. Virlet is one of the smallest communes by the number of inhabitants yet one of the largest by reference to its surface area.


hurricane les guis virlet combrailles puy de dome auvergne france february fevrier 2010 copyright free photo royalty free photo

We had a hurricane a-blowing around here for most of the night. It began to blow round about 19:30 but by the time 01:00 came round it was howling away like a good'un. The crescendo was at probably 04:00 when there was everything howling around. You could hear the wood that I had neatly stacked up come crashing down and it was round about this time that the bathroom window was blown in.

What was surprising though was how warm it was. it was 12 degrees outside during all of this - a good 10 degrees warmer than usual - and it rose steadily during the day.

So first job after breakfast was to fix everything. But in reality there wasn't all that much. The barn has lost a pile of slates but it will be going to lose all of them in early course - the same with the bathroom window which is going to be replaced. So the permanent damage is about nil.


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