01 June 2013

Temps de merde

“Quel temps de merde!”, “Je vais manifester contre la neige”,”C’est une blague, ce temps!”. Never have I heard so much talk about the weather, not even in England. It is that bad. I don’t think I’ve properly seen the mountain on the opposite side of the valley for almost a week now. Practically everyday on the news there’s a headline about what a terrible May it’s been for the whole of France. However, there’s been a few nice days, which I made the most of, putting on my trainers and arming myself with a map to go and explore the area a bit more.

The first major walk I did was with Marianne, where we hiked across a couple peaks to reach the nearest mountain pass. Slightly awkward when a 21-year-old is struggling to keep up with a 45-year-old…

Marianne setting the pace. And the sun had now disappeared
So the next sunny day I decided to go it alone at my own pace, and I kept on going up and up, and then I got lost, and then I could see low clouds approaching, and then I got scared I was going to die. I found my way back and I am still alive.

And suddenly, last Sunday, I woke up to a completely cloudless sky. At the bottom of our valley is a lake, which I thought would be nice to walk to on such a glorious day. And it was absolutely stunning; with the bright turquoise water in front, snow-capped mountains in the background, and blue sky above. It was made even prettier with hundreds of para gliders scattered in the sky.

The 2-hour walk back up the mountain was much less fun though. For the second time in as many days I thought I was about to die.

Stupidly, as it was cooler higher up the mountain at the house when I left, I hadn’t thought to put suncream on, and 6 days on I’ve only recently stopped resembling a tomato.
Selfie, taken on Sunday evening
Otherwise, not much else has been going on. We’ve had a couple of school trips coming to watch the evening milking session, which means I take care of the sheep at the back so as to avoid excited French kids asking me questions which either I won’t understand or won’t know the answer to. I’ve learnt though that on average each sheep gives 1.5l per day, which means that with around 100 ewes, that’s over 1000 litres a week! And then there are the cows on top of that…

When Julie and Tom fancy a ‘night out’, we go to most probably the only drinking establishment within a 20 kilometre radius. There’s never anyone in there apart from us and a couple of their friends, but the fact that the bar has 30 different rums and 50 different beers makes it pretty cool. I didn’t even know 30 varieties of rum existed in the world!

I’ve decoded the enigma that was the two-name issue I was having with Tom/Yves. Apparently Yves is his real name, and Tom is a nickname for a variety of reasons: a) his surname is Giry, making him Tom Giry (which sounds like Tom & Gerry said in a French accent), b) he is short like Tom Thumb, c) because he makes Tomme cheese. Glad I no longer have that confusion to worry about.

And gaaaahhhh it’s so irritating. Marianne says “c’est fou quoi” at the the end of literally every sentence. How can everything be crazy?!

Lastly, I’ve only got 3 days left here, before I move on to the town of Aspiran, near to Montpellier, where I will be doing gardening or something. I don’t really know what it is, but the weather forecast is looking good, so I have high hopes whatever I end up doing there. Only downer is I have to sleep in a tent for 3 weeks as there’s no room left in the house. And the family are vegetarian which will be a shock to the system after having been fed meat for both lunch and dinner everyday for the previous 3 weeks.

Oo, lastly lastly, I have made a new best friend. She is called Bébé and is the most amazing dog ever. She’s probably what I’ll miss most about this place.


  1. Lucie says she will try and make up for you missing Bebe.
    Scenery looks stunning! Your pedometer must be working overtime on the mountain walks! Ciao x

    1. She's got a challenge ahead of her then! The pedometer has been working so hard that the battery is now low. See you in a few weeks xx