The big freeze has struck the south of France. France Meteo, who do the weather forecasts, issue warnings in extreme conditions, vigilance jaune, orange and rouge depending on the severity of the conditions and today it is vigilance orange. Of course compared to Scotland it is nothing, but in Haute Pyrenees we don’t have fleets of snow ploughs that can clear the roads, so everywhere people are edging slowly forward peering over their steering wheels and fearing that sensation of the wheels spinning when you accelerate or turn a corner. I drove very carefully to the French lesson, 3 of us made it and it was lots of fun sitting in the teacher’s conservatory with a blizzard raging outside. The skies cleared slightly for a short period this afternoon, Philip & I put on our walking boots and did the circuit. It is so rare to see the fields covered in snow. The barn has really come into its own, the joys of living in one room when it is minus 5 degrees outside, solely heated by logs which we feed into the stove at regular intervals. The cats have scarcely moved all day, they are quite mystified by the snowflakes falling, sitting on the window ledge looking upwards. I ventured out for a brief visit to the mairie, hoping to meet l'abbé to discuss using the church, but the secretary told me he’d gone away for the weekend and that she was very worried I would venture out in the snow for nothing, but didn’t have my number. I was quite happy to sit in the mairie and have a chat about the weather. It is so extreme; the secretary couldn’t remember such sustained low temperatures. Nature is making up for the last couple of months of warmth. The daffodil leaves are all pushing through the snow, I hope they survive. We tried turning on the garden taps, they are well wrapped, but have frozen. We expect to have to replace them again when the thaw comes. Now Philip is braving the cold in the unheated main house to cook a week’s supply of different soup which we can defrost in portions for supper.