MUMBLES IN THE MOUNTAINS

with Jenny Rhodes

I met Jenny Rhodes for the first time in 2008, in their deliciously cosy cottage in the heart of Les Angles, just a five minute walk from the ski slopes. Rosy, fun and delightfully chatty, she explained to me that she was in the middle of pickling everything that moved. I stood very still…. and asked her whether she would be interested in providing a ’gossip in the mountains’ type of column for Anglophone-direct readers. She has never looked back!

Wednesday November 23rd

What on earth are we to think? Sun and rain – does anyone know what the weather is doing?

A couple of days ago our son went down to Perpignan and he took four hours to do three kilometres  in a foot of water, eventually turning off the road and coming back home without even getting to Castorama.

Apparently everyone including the Gendarmerie was out trying to clear the drains of dead leaves but with rain coming down by the bucket load they were wasting their time. Up here we had sunshine. How weird is that.?

Snow had been forecast for this week and although it has been cold, and it has rained, there has been no snow except on the tops of Puigmal and the Cambre D’aze. It has been rumoured that the snow is over a metre deep on Puigmal and some hardy souls are ski touring.Now that is what I call keen.

The trouble is now that the wretched weeds are still growing and the rose bushes are getting new leaves. Could we be picking roses for Christmas?

Now there is another thing, Christmas has really come up quickly this year. What is it? Er five weeks. That is really quick.

I have to admit I start Christmas shopping early. This year it was June, I quite enjoy seeing something nice and thinking I’ll just pop it away.

The only problem is finding the thing when it needs wrapping and sometimes I have bought things and found out later that it is outdated or not needed anymore.

Still my family always smile politely and say “ That’s lovely Mum” when they are probably thinking “What on earth was she thinking?”
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What news of the village? Hmmmm, it’s quite difficult to say as there are loads of “ seasonal” staff pottering around.

The resort is ready, all the lifts are serviced and ready, the piste bashers are standing by and the cafes and restaurants are fully stocked with food.

The first weekend in December is a Spanish holiday and usually the village is heaving with people but this year we will have to sit and wait to see what happens.

We are being very honest with people who are booked with us and keeping everyone up to date with the weather news. Mike spoke to a friends who live in the Alps and he was in a short sleeved t/shirt and said there wasn’t a flake of snow anywhere. But it meant that he could keep working on his house renovation.

Poor Lili [the dog] was really freaked this afternoon as the chimney sweep came to do his yearly scrub.

He uses a very odd contraption of a very heavy metal ball attached to a brush. He then gets onto the roof and drops the ball and the brush down the chimney therefore clearing all the debris as it comes down. It is pulled up and dropped down a number of times so all build up of deposits are dropped into the grate and then hoovered up.

You would think it would make a terrible mess but it is one of the cleanest methods I have seen. Lili is reserving judgment on the whole thing including the chimney sweep himself.

Finally after waiting for three years and changing my mind several times on tiles for the kitchen, we made a sweeping decision on the wretched things and they were up and grouted within two days.

You would have really thought it was a major event to buy the things and we have made numerous visits to DIY shops for years . What was the problem?

With other things we make decisions and stand by them but the tiles just took us one step too far. It must be an age thing. Now they look lovely and we are extremely pleased and maybe a little embarrassed at our indecision.

I’ll be back on line once we have something white and fluffy coming from the sky.
‘til then……… take care of yourselves

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