We have been back at Moulin du Clout five days now and what glorious weather we have had - until today. The nights have been cold but during the day the sun has shone and we have had our meals on the terrace and sat out there until about seven in the evening. We even had to drag out one of the parasols from the barn it was so hot.
We found everything here very clean and tidy on our return - thanks to David and Johanna who spent three months of the winter here. Not in their scheme of things - they arrived one night early in December in their camper van on their way south. Matthew had suggested they might like to break their journey at the Moulin. They awoke to find themselves snowed in! A rare occurrence here in the Cantal they were told. Naturally, before they could get away they fell in love with the place and stayed until March.
|Snow scene over the mill pond - photo taken by Johanna Randall|
|Ice sculpture in the river - photo taken by Johanna|
Their stay was not without incident as during the three months they had to get the immersion heater replaced and had to call out 'les pompiers' to a chimney fire. It could have happened to anyone!
|Fire! - photo taken by Johanna|
We have yet to get the workman, Axel, to come and fix the chimney so that we can light a fire in the stove. It was defective installation which contributed to the fire and until it is fixed we cannot use it.
The surroundings are as beautiful as ever, the hill sides dotted with flashes of green as the trees develop their leaves and blossom everywhere - mostly wild cherry. The fields are full of dandelions - we have missed the salad crop of young leaves as the flowers are now full out. (Remember last year?) Lungwort, violets and celandines carpet the river walk and the newly created nature trail is still navigable although work will be needed soon to keep new growth down.
|Lungwort - Pulmonaria officinalis|
Apart from Johanna's lovely photos taken in and around the Moulin there are signs of David's handiwork too. Jim found a splendid fastening to his gate to the vegetable garden. He is very pleased with it. It works perfectly.
|'This way' - latch made by David Grove|
|Bird table - made by David out of bamboo|
David tells us there are some Inukchucks around the property that he made during his stay. We have found a small one in a plant pot - are there others? If so, we have yet to find them. We made one in Eastgate but had to dismantle it when the grandchildren were small in case it toppled over.
Jim has been hard at work in his vegetable garden getting it reading for planting and I have been titivating (I do like that word) my gite border and my tins. The frost and snow have wreaked similar havoc here as they did back home and something? has been digging tunnels in the border.
Jim has also planted the Bramley apple and the damson trees we brought from the UK. The French don't have a sharp cooking apple and we missed it so we strapped one to the roof rack and it seems to have survived.
We have yet to prepare the sites for Matthew's projects - pumpkins and sunflowers. He plans for us to have a stall at this years's Chestnut Festival in Mourjou selling carved pumpkin heads (Matthew) and Pumpkin and Chestnut Soup (me!). More on that another time.