Over November and into December the weather changed quite dramatically. Towards the end of November it was dry, with Winter sunshine and some ground frosts:
We returned back home in more snow; and over Christmas and since, there has been plenty of rain - enough to completely refill the depleted ponds and lakes and although not very 'Christmassy' it is a very welcome development, as a third Winter without significant rain would not be a good thing at all. One outcome, related or not to the heavy rain on very dry ground, has been the 'return of the moles' - our neighbour Daniel, something of a 'taupe guru' has referred darkly to a great plague of moles and, it's true, many molehills have suddenly appeared in our garden and the local fields are increasingly thickly dotted with molehills. Hmm, time to start making polite notices to request them to go elsewhere I think.
On the Twelfth Day of Christmas we held our 'WinterFest', inviting the commune to the 'Treize Desserts' and 'Vin Doux' afternoon. This year our pronunciation has improved, so at least our neighbours and friends don't think they're coming for a plate of sand along with silent wine drinking. Not quite so many people this year, about twenty-five, as it was the weekend before return to work and school and people were busy - but it was a jolly occasion, people brought cakes, fruit and chocolates and most made the effort to join in our 'wear a Christmas hat suitable for a snowman' competition. There was a good selection of 'desserts', including a Christmas Pudding which when we offered it a couple of years ago the response was as if we had placed the progeny of Beelzebub on a plate - but now people munched it very happily, encouraged perhaps by witnessing us setting fire to it with a good dollop of cognac. Here's a 'photo melange':
Now that Christmas and the New Year celebrations are over we're turning attention to the final stage of our development project - renovating the last part of the lower barn, to create a gite suitable for people with disabilities. The overall space is approximately 70 square metres and we aim to create a single 'studio space', with large sitting room, bedroom and wet-room, and a small kitchen. Work started last Autumn, with flooring and insulating the upper barn area that is above the new 'studio space'; and our French carpenter neighbour, Laurence, who had done the lovely work on the large French door in the sitting room (see Post November 2015), made and installed French doors and a window, working as before using chestnut wood and with the French door, using the old door to make shutters:
À bientôt .....