September calendar

Its been a lovely September so far. Misty mornings breaking through to sunny afternoons and evenings. Its very noticable how the nights are drawing in and its now getting dark just after 8 pm, which as we have now passed the autumn equinox is to be expected.

looking south

looking south

looking north

looking north

We are still picking haricot and french beans, tomatoes, lettuce and leeks. The Mara de Bois strawberries are still fruiting and I think only frost will stop them! The courgettes and squash have finished and the vegetables for the autumn will be the borlotti beans, fennel, beetroot and cauliflower.

The flowers and herbs have been stunning this year with the Hyssop and the Asters being the star performers along with the ever reliable calendula.

As I said in another post we lost our tabby cat this month. She has been much missed as she was very companionable when we were working in the garden, and liked to wander around with us. Her loss has cast a bit of a shadow over this month.






Our beautiful tabby cat Jess died this week, which has been a huge loss for myself and Caroline. Together with her sister Sophie they have brightened our lives the past 18 months. She was only 2 years old and died from natural causes. We had rushed her to the vet but she died on the way there. She was a lovely affectionate, placid cat and will be greatly missed here in Grahy.

I posted about our  life with the cats earlier.

And here are some recent pictures of them both.





Le Tour de l’Avenir – Stage 2


The second stage through the Haute Loire.

Originally posted on la petite maison bijoux:


As planned, we drove over to La Chaise-Dieu to catch part of stage 2 of the Tour de l’Avenir yesterday afternoon. The last few kms of the drive were along the route of the race, so we were able to scout out a good place to stand and watch, and we walked back there once we’d parked the car. Then we just had to wait for a while… but it was a sunny day, we had a flask of coffee, the scenery was beautiful, and once again there was a cheerful small crowd, including several people on bikes. Chapeau to them; there is no easy route up to La Chaise-Dieu, which is at an altitude of 1082m.

We had a great vantage point when the race came through, as they came along the road below us, turned through a hairpin bend, then climbed past us, at a slightly slower pace…

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Le Tour de l’Avenir 2014 – Stage 1


A lovely afternoon watching the arrival of the young riders with La Petite Maison Bijoux.

Originally posted on la petite maison bijoux:

For people who enjoy cycling and follow it fairly closely, we’ve had very little luck with the Tour de France. We’ve been in many places which have featured in the race, just not at the right time. Notably, there was the year a stage started from Brioude a few days after we left, and the year we just missed it passing through Normandy. The Grand Départ in Yorkshire this year topped it all off. Stage 1 left from outside the Leeds Central Library, where I used to work. It passed the end of our road in Harewood. It went all over the Dales, where we used to walk most weekends. It finished up in Harrogate, where I used to work. And there we were, watching it on the television in France. Still, it’s an annual event, so the chances are it’ll come within striking distance of us at some point in…

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A visit to St Flour and the Garabit Viaduct

St Flour

Yesterday we went on a visit to Saint Flour, an hours drive from us and most of the way via the  (free) A75 autoroute. We had often seen the town in the distance while on the motorway and it had always looked an inviting place to visit up on its basalt platform. However on reflection it would seem its best view is from a distance. There are two parts to the town, one below the cliff and one above. The new town is fairly vibrant with many shops and restaurants and a pretty bridge over the river. However the old town is very run down, with many empty shops that have closed down completely or moved to the community below. There are a couple of fairly touristy streets with hotels and restaurants, these lead up to the main square that has views of the surrounding countryside.

The panorama is somewhat spoilt by an enormous development on the hillside opposite, seemingly modelled on a UK 1930s housing estate. Luckily the views to the right are over the town and the river below.

However there was a boulangerie selling excellent ice cream, so all was not lost!



Viaduc de Garabit

As we still had plenty of time we headed off to visit the Viaduc de Garabit a rail bridge built by Gustave Eiffel over the Truyère river. Again we had glimpsed this from the autoroute and wanted to get a closer look. There is a handy rest area near junction 30, the Aire du Garabit , this directly overlooks the bridge and has a small cafe with informative panels on its construction. It is very well worth a visit and a closer look is obtained by leaving the autoroute and descending to the car park directly below the bridge on the banks of the Truyère.

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