Author Archives: Al in France

About Al in France

Dreams do come true and I am now retired and living with Maggie, my chocolate labrador, in France in the Deux-Sevres. I love travel and photography and hope to combine both interests here to make a record for myself, and somewhere where I hope you will get to enjoy a part of my life in this region, in France and further afield when I get the opportunity. Please feel free to follow and comment. A Bientot!

Misty Morning

Under a mantle of frost and mist, the countryside is looking radiant this morning as the low sun reminds us that winter will soon be upon us. The early morning mist and dew The faintest sunlight shining through, The branches … Continue reading

Posted in Local travels, Nature, Seasons, Weather | 3 Comments

Remembering

Armistice Day, November 11th, is a public holiday in France. For a great number I am sure it is seen as an extra day off and a very welcome extension to the weekend. Here in the village our population is … Continue reading

Posted in Village | 2 Comments

Adieu, Pyrénées.

Better late than never, eh? I have been waylaid these last number of days and just couldn’t find the time to make my last post from my Pyrénéean trip. Although I am back home now, the memories of my time … Continue reading

Posted in Pyrénées | 4 Comments

Picture Postcard Views.

One of the things I really enjoy is the sheer unadulterated pleasure of being almost completely isolated, planted firmly in the middle of fantastic scenery, the sound of nature all around me. Add to that a dose of perfect autumn … Continue reading

Posted in Pyrénées | 5 Comments

Pilgrims of Desire.

Here I am, back again for the continuation of my trip through the beautiful Basque country. Who would have believed that at the very end of October it could have been so warm…23c and wall-to-wall sunshine. Of course I was … Continue reading

Posted in Nature, Pyrénées | 3 Comments

The Hidden Gorges

Today is part one of a trip into the peaceful and rural French Basque country. The Basque country of Spain seems to be much better known, unfortunately due to the association with the Basque Separatists and the Spain-ETA conflict in … Continue reading

Posted in Nature, Pyrénées | 2 Comments

Pilgrims and Plastic Virgins.

Where do I start? Being so close I decided to make a visit to Lourdes, a small town in the foothills of the Pyrénées. It is perhaps best known as a major Catholic pilgrimage site with millions visiting every year to the … Continue reading

Posted in Pyrénées | 4 Comments

“Un Bouchon”

It’s time to leave behind all of the pretty little towns and villages and to get back to nature! OK, so I’m driving, but to be able to enjoy the great outdoors I need to drive! I am NOT going … Continue reading

Posted in Nature, Pyrénées | 3 Comments

A trip around the Béarn

This was a day spent dodging the rain, but eventually it caught up with me. Thankfully I am on the western side in the Pyrénées Atlantiques. To the east on the Mediterranean side they have been experiencing massive deluges of … Continue reading

Posted in History, Pyrénées, Weather | 3 Comments

Taking a Break…

No, not from blogging, but having a small holiday 🙂 I am currently in Oloron-Sainte-Marie in the region of Béarn at the foot of the Pyrénées. It is only about 4h30 from home, so only a half-day drive. Maggie has … Continue reading

Posted in Pyrénées | 3 Comments

Summer’s Last Hurrah?

Well here we are, mid-October and it is 26c. Much needed rains have fallen for the first half of this month and everywhere looks refreshed and invigorated. The weeds are making up for the heatwaves of summer and the grass … Continue reading

Posted in Local travels, Nature, Weather | 2 Comments

Just Maggie

Well, I am getting fed-up with my dad cos he never seems to let me have a say on what goes into this blog! Anyway, he’s in the garden pottering about so I thought I’d have a go at this … Continue reading

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Reluctant Storm

Eighty-eight of France’s 95 metropolitan départéments are currently dealing with strict water restrictions after the hottest summer on record in many parts of l’Héxagone. Mid-September and temps are still into the 30’s and to say that the ground is parched … Continue reading

Posted in Garden, Sky, Weather, Wildlife | 2 Comments

Winterising!

I don’t know if it’s even a word but this is what I had done to the car yesterday. It was due a service and revision of  the computer and so on (all too technical for me), and seeing as … Continue reading

Posted in History, Local travels | Leave a comment

Climate Change

I suppose it was bound to happen. Summer just can’t last for ever, nor would I want it to, but as we left August behind, September greeted us with strange looking grey skies developing into a soaking, fine rain, and … Continue reading

Posted in Nature, Seasons, Sky, Weather | 2 Comments

Signs

It doesn’t seem possible that we are into the last week of August….Already? I can’t bear to think that it will be turning autumnal so very soon. It gives me a certain feeling of melancholy. The signs are there that … Continue reading

Posted in Nature, Seasons, Sky, Wildlife | 3 Comments

Head in the clouds

The last heatwave in July was really unbearable at times. There were days when it reached 40c+ and I felt as though every ounce of energy had been sapped from me, leaving me lethargic and almost unable to function. I … Continue reading

Posted in Sky, Weather | 1 Comment

Boiled or Baked?

As I sit here on a quiet and very pleasant Sunday afternoon, enjoying my lunch and a glass of a very fine chilled rosé under the shade of the gazebo, I am looking out over the garden, or what is … Continue reading

Posted in Seasons | 8 Comments

Eclipsing the pique-nique

Common at this time of year are the many small local events; picnic’s, music evenings, night markets, concerts, quizzes, brocantes, exhibitions, fairs…in fact almost any excuse you can think of to have a ‘get-together’ and for communities to just get … Continue reading

Posted in Local travels, Sky | 4 Comments

That was our National Day!

The sun shone on the festivities and it seems that a very good time was had by everyone…all 300+ of us. Kick-off was midday and within minutes the wine was flowing, people were mingling and chatting, handshakes and kisses were … Continue reading

Posted in Village | 1 Comment

Our National Day

There is a quiet busyness in the village this morning. Sundays are usually even more sleepy than usual but today there is a low rumble of trucks and vehicles around the village green where tables and benches are being set … Continue reading

Posted in Village | 1 Comment

If Wordsworth was French…

‘I wandered lonely as a cloud That floats on high o’er vales and hills, When all at once I saw a crowd, A host, of golden …… Sunflowers!’ I am sure that William Wordsworth would have been moved to write … Continue reading

Posted in Flowers, Village | 2 Comments

All Good Things….

…Come to an end! Well, it just isn’t possible to always stay on holiday, no matter how nice a time you are having! The reality is that I was ready to come home even though I was truly enjoying the … Continue reading

Posted in Germany | 1 Comment

Burning in Bonn!

Well, perhaps ‘burning’ is a bit of an exaggeration, but the heatwave across Europe continued and it seemed to be getting hotter. The expected high was 39c but with the humidity they said it was going to feel like 45c. … Continue reading

Posted in Germany, History | 4 Comments

Getting hotter on the West Side

As hard as I try, it seems impossible to avoid this heat. Of course I am not alone seeing as most of Europe continues to be barbecued by the current blast from Africa. We had to go to Cologne by … Continue reading

Posted in Germany, History | 2 Comments

Cool Cruisings

The heat continues and it seems that Europe is slowly baking to a crisp. I have always thought that once we are over 30c, anything is hot, but 40c is just crazy and I am pleased to have avoided the … Continue reading

Posted in Germany, History | 4 Comments

Managing the German Heat…or not!

I’m playing catch-up, being a day behind with posting, and I think it will be like that the next few posts! I am blaming it on the heat, but in reality I am having too good a time to spend … Continue reading

Posted in Germany, History | 2 Comments

Hot on the tracks!

So, yesterday I took the train(s) to start a short break in Gemany. There is something really nice, in my mind, about train travel. It is easy, certainly cheaper considering the price of fuel and road tolls, and less tiring. … Continue reading

Posted in Friends, Germany | 2 Comments

Summertime, an’ the livin’ is easy

As the famous song says, the livin’ is easy, especially now that it really does feel as if summer has arrived. It has been a strange spring and summer up till now with wetter and cooler temperatures than expected, and … Continue reading

Posted in Nature, Seasons | 1 Comment

Staying Home

Although there is a change on the wind today, the weekend has been absolutely glorious. The thermometer climbed above 30c, the sky was clear and as the days progressed it would have been just plain silly to do anything other … Continue reading

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Learning from History?

With the European elections coming up soon, the hoardings have been put up in the village and gradually the various parties will stick up their posters. The first one has been pasted onto their allocated space and my only question … Continue reading

Posted in Uncategorized | 1 Comment

La fete de la victoire

Under a leaden sky and with clouds pregnant with precipitation, a small group of us gathered around the village war memorial to celebrate the day in 1945 when France was liberated at the end of WWII. It was a simple … Continue reading

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Lucky May

This morning dawned with clear skies, the sun beating down and the birds singing as if they were going to burst. Being May 1st, it is a public holiday here in France – “Fête du Travail” – International Worker’s Day … Continue reading

Posted in Flowers, Nature | Leave a comment

On the doorstep

It seems that April has almost passed me by, and I haven’t posted anything. It isn’t that there hasn’t been anything happening. Au contraire, I don’t feel that I have stopped for breath. Being spring, the garden has taken plenty … Continue reading

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Leaving like a lamb

Can we really be at the end of March already? It seems only yesterday that I was posting about March coming in like a lion, and here we are, on the cusp of April and the month, true to the … Continue reading

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Close to Home

To say that I am exhausted would be an understatement. Now that we have some glorious mild temperatures and an extended period of dry weather, I am busy sanding and painting les volets (shutters) on the house. Being new, they … Continue reading

Posted in Chateau, History, Local travels | Leave a comment

The wearing of the green

Well, I couldn’t resist it. It is St Patrick’s Day, after all! However, I am avoiding the obvious pictures of green-clad leprechauns and shamrocks, pots of gold and Guiness! Anyway, there aren’t too many of them sitting around in rural … Continue reading

Posted in Nature, Seasons | 3 Comments

One for the rook, one for the crow.

Following on from my post of a few days ago, I have now shifted all of the soil; several tonnes of it into my new raised bed (for my potager), and the rest now levelled out for a new grassed … Continue reading

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Water of Life

Whilst making our lunchtime stroll around the village, my nostrils started twitching…you know that kind of thing when you catch a smell in the air and you think you know what it is, but then again, you’re not sure. Then … Continue reading

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Lions, Frogs and Gendarmes.

So far, March is living up to the old proverb of coming in like a lion. We have been battered by strong winds, hail, torrential rain and clouds scuttling across the leaden sky at break-neck speed. Generally the weather wouldn’t … Continue reading

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Spring….or not?

There will be many people arguing if March 1st really is the start of spring. Take your pick…today is the meteorological start of spring or you can wait for the astronomical start with the vernal equinox on March 20th. I’m … Continue reading

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Saintes

Mid-February and we are basking in very spring-like temperatures; 15 – 18c, and one corner of the garden, which is a real sun trap, recorded 20c the day before. It really is essential to make the most of this kind … Continue reading

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Cranes

Almost 30 years ago I was living in Canada in Northern Alberta. As you can guess, winters were long and hard, but very enjoyable. However, after far too much snow and ice and regular temps of anything between minus 10c … Continue reading

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Valentine’s Day

I can’t decide if this is natural or the product of some secret lovers who carved a heart into this tree. My wistful, romantic side wants to believe that they met in ‘lovers lane’ years ago and declared their undying, … Continue reading

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Early one morning….

Weather-wise, it feels as we have had little else other than rain, damp, fog and overall misery these past weeks, so when we get a nice day it gladdens the heart and soul and it sort of makes it all … Continue reading

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February…at last.

It is often quoted that February is the border between winter and spring. Thankfully we have now left January behind. I always think that the first month of the year is such a long, tiresome month that feels endless and … Continue reading

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Wet.

There is something perfectly lovely and cosy about waking up to the sound of heavy rain beating down on the tiles and lashing at the windows whilst being inside, still in bed, warm and dry, Maggie pushed into my side … Continue reading

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Another day.

Who would have believed that a day could change so fast? We have been spolied by the generally mild winter so far, with above average temperatures, certainly no snow (rare for this area), and little in the way of storms … Continue reading

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Freezing Fog…UGH!

If there is one thing I really hate, it is fog, followed very closely by freezing fog. I let Maggie out at 6h30 whilst it was still night…bitterly cold, frost covering the dark world and millions of stars twinkling so … Continue reading

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Golden Glory.

        Look out and see an ascending sun; Her light dances upon frosty blades of grass in early morning; as dawn breaks and fog parts. Surrendering to a fleeting warmth. (Copied from ‘Valley of Light’ by Lily … Continue reading

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