Our first winter


It wasn't too bad! November was a very busy month.

We had a Catalan team of builders here, an English/Spanish team and another builder/DIY guy called John, all doing different jobs. The main tasks were concreting the barn floor and the water course behind the barn & shepherds cottage, 1 floor in the Shepherds cottage and 2 in the stable.

We had 14 ready mix lorries trudging up the hill from Spain in November and almost every time they came, it was a horrid, wet day, often with fog! There were heavy trucks  skidding about in thick mud & fog dangerously close to the edge of the terraces, plenty of shouting &  gesticulations from the Catalans, and Matt was called out on numerous occasions to drag a truck in one way or another with the tractor or digger. In fact the first time he drove the digger was on one of these occasions. He went on line quickly to find out how to drive it, then was out there with an  audience of know-it-all builders, manoeuvring this machine as though he had done it all his life.

Proud wife moment!

There were a couple of stressful days when the ready mix lorry was unable to get where it needed to be (due to mud & skidding or pipe not long enough) in order to lay the concrete. The drum was turning, engines were on, fuel was running out and concrete was going off! They got there in the end, but one lorry load was wasted and some surfaces had to be re-skimmed.

There was a bit of a rush on to get 2 wood burning stoves in upstairs, various leaks and draughts stopped and enough wood to keep 4 stoves going, including the Godin.  I took one look at this retro piece of kit when I first walked into the kitchen and thought 'that has to go'. However, by the time Matt had figured out how it worked and had it all connected to the radiators, it felt like the heart of the house was pumping and it isn't going anywhere! During the coldest period in January & February, Matt was spending 1 day a week hauling dead wood out of the forest & getting it chopped & up to the house for us all.

We were working against the clock to get a stove into the big empty room upstairs so my sister & her kids would be warm and cosy when they came to visit for a month over Christmas. We had to get glass in the arrow slits, point the stone walls (there was 3 of us on that at one point), and stop any rat and draught entry points! We managed it and they were happy!

December was a beautifully crisp and sunny month, with the odd fall of snow but everything was still green and we had lunches outside some days.

We had a fair bit of snow in January & February but it didn't settle for more than a few days each time.