Monday, 14 January 2008

Winter Sunshine

It's raining again, today. It's been wetter than usual, lately. Not so wet that I haven't been able to go out for a bike ride on most days, but wetter than we're used to down here. The locals are all starting to make noises about how terrible the weather is, but all that we can say is that obviously they've never lived in Glasgow!

The weekend, however, was a very different matter. The sun split the sky. On Saturday we had a rare opportunity to go into Arles for its fabulous market - where it's the height of the Corsican clementine season. (I say a rare opportunity as Saturdays in the Spring/Summer/Autumn are usually given over to the departure and arrival of our gîte guests and the cleaning of the gîtes in the intervening hours.)

On Sunday we went walking in the Montagnette with John and Ruth. (If you read my last post, it looks like walking with John and Ruth is a regular event. But my last shots, from the lake at St-Remy, were actually taken in November. John and Ruth seem to be emerging as our 'outdoor friends' though, as we are also about to go skiing with them next week.)

The Montagnette is a range of low hills about 5km to the west between us and the River Rhone. At the centre of these hills lies the Abbey of St Michel de Frigolet. The hills are laced with walking tracks and on a clear winter's day like yesterday (it's never this clear in the summer heat haze) you can see as far as the Alps in the North and East, the Cevennes and Pic St Loup above Montpellier in the West and you can just make out the shimmer of the Mediterranean on the horizon in the South.

This (above) is the Abbey of St Michel de Frigolet, looking South-East, with the Alpilles hills that run behind St-Remy-de-Provence in the background.

And this is the Abbey looking Nort-East, with a snow-capped Mont Ventoux standing proudly behind.

Friday, 11 January 2008

So why the big paws?

... as the barman said to the bear.

But it has been a long time since I blogged, I confess.

Last September, 2007 turned from busy to hectic and for a variety of personal reasons, there was never any time for blogging. But I'm back now, and back on line.

And more significantly, Lindsay's back from working in Brussels, so I hope that she might find time to add to our blog as well. Here are a few pictures of Lindsay that I took last year. The first 2 I took in Montpellier, last August. (If you look again, you might be able to tell that Lindsay was feeling ill as the lunch that we'd just eaten was in the process of giving her botulism!) The third was taken in Paris at the end of November. You don't have to look that carefully to tell that it was cold!

We're just back from a flying tour of England and Scotland over Christmas / New Year and are settling back into life at the Mas des Grand' Terres. Provence has been looking distinctly soggy for the last few days, with a rare period of rain. It can keep it up for a few weeks yet as it's great for the new beds that I've planted in the garden. Plus rain down here means snow up in the mountains and we're due to go skiing in 10 days time. So, let it snow!

I did keep snapping through the latter months of 2007 and so have a back-log of images to share. To get things rolling, here are 4 images from a walk that Lindsay and I took recently with our friends John and Ruth in the Alpilles hills just behind St-Remy-de-Provence. I trust that they demonstrate that Provence is beautiful throughout the year. And once the hot weather and bus-loads have disappeared, there are compensations to be had with beautiful (and sometimes exilerating) walks in the hills.