Day 29 Setting up a Campsite in Gers

The past few days have been fabulous, now that we’re both at Le Poteau – albeit for a relatively short time.  It is our first chance to work together and so far so good!  Fiona arrived on Saturday morning on an early flight from Edinburgh.  In theory she is on holiday but realistically she is on a rapid and very hectic learning curve i.e working.   This has involved some quite dramatic hedge cutting of the numerous hedges that she had failed to notice in her previous 3 visits to the site.  My lovely wife has many strengths but being observant is not one of them.  Anyway, the hedges (some of which are/were not far off 20 feet) are being slashed to submission by our poor little Aldi hedge cutter which probably wasn’t really designed for such industrial scale hedges but hasn’t imploded yet.

Anyway, it turns out Fiona is a dab hand with a pitchfork- maybe it’s in the genes being a farmer’s daughter. Jimmy Stewart, her dad was born in 1914, so along with her 2 aunts, Nana and Sally, would have use pitchforks to build hay ‘stooks’. This is great, because she actually enjoys it.  When I unplug my ear plugs and stop slashing the hedges, she is often singing away to herself as she pitchforks piles of cuttings into a wheelbarrow and pushes them to the edge of the road where we are building epic piles of hedge debris.

Today, we had  a brief meeting at the Mairie in Castelnau D’Auzan.  They have been extremely supportive and helpful in dealing with some of the complexities of French bureaucracy.  Then we met up with the local baker, to discuss bread and croissant deliveries to the site. Michel was charming and very happy to work with us.

This afternoon, as we continued the battle of the hedges, some very welcome visitors arrived.  Joop and Marijke,  the previous owners of Le Poteau, popped in to see how we were doing with a gift of some beautiful oranges from Southern Spain where they have just spent five weeks relaxing and not worrying about cutting massive hedges!  It was their first time on the site since we took over and quite emotional for them.  After all, they spent 23 years developing this beautiful place out of raw farmland and did an amazing job. It was great to see them. They obviously thought we needed a wee treat as we have been invited for lunch on Thursday at their new home a few miles up the road. This time I will be prepared for a less than light lunch!


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