Thursday, 17 January 2013

All change

As predicted, the weather has closed in over the past week and a massive quantity of snow has fallen up in the mountains which has resulted in a cat 5 avalanche risk. Our local ski station has been closed for the past 3 days and most of the bigger resorts have also been closed. Today, we have heard several 'booms' emanating from up at the Col de Menté where helicopters have been dropping charges to set off controlled avalanches in order to secure not only the slopes but also the access to the ski station. More poor weather is due over the weekend, so goodness knows when we will next be able to head up high.

Here, at our altitude, we have just had rain and lots of it, accompanied by high gusting winds -not the kind of weather in which you want to spend any time outdoors! Instead, we have been busying ourselves getting the big current kitchen/future dining room fireplace for the installation for a lovely little 7kw woodburner that is being delivered by the weekend. The room is 38m2 in size and will be so much cosier with the addition of a woodburner. Here is the obligatory 'before' photo in which you can see the copper cowl that was added some years ago and which was a real blighter to remove!
But it was eventually removed and the cracked back plate also taken out.
Some friends very kindly donated a gorgeous, decorative cast iron backplate which I rubbed down and painted with a light coat of Hammerite - shame it's going to be pretty much hidden behind the woodburner!
The back wall of the fireplace has now been boarded out with fireproof plasterboard and is awaiting a skim and we still need to get the flexible pipe that goes up the chimney, but we're nearly there. It is going to make such a difference to the room - exciting!

In other news, in a weather window today and despite super-saturated soil, we were able to plant up 64 hedging whips along some 50m of the boundary of the orchard. I got whips that will eventually form a stock proof hedge which will hopefully dissuade the deer and other animals from coming onto our land. A mixture of hawthorn, blackthorn, common sea buckthorn, silver berry/oleaster and, strangely enough, some European pear! I am just hoping they will 'take' despite the waterlogged ground. Time will tell.

This afternoon we managed to grab a quick hour on the mountain bikes before the next band of weather moves in. The clouds were building as we rode. It was a chilly, muddy 17km ride but good fun all the same, particularly since I haven't had any exercise in nearly a week!


Lee Sharp said...

Take the old copper hood to the scrap yard behind the green petrol station in St Girons, they'll pay you good money for copper. I got 90 euros for an old copper cyclinder.

penny said...

Thanks Lee- I thought we should be able to get something for it, although it doesn't weigh as much as a copper cylinder. But every penny counts!