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10th March

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We had a good walk yesterday, up to a ridge above Saint Lary. The walk took us up a steep path through woodland. We didn’t take raquettes, we hadn’t realised there would be so much snow on the North side, knee deep for part of the walk. We zigzagged down on a foresters track to a village further down the valley then walked back up along the river to Vielle Aure where we’d started.

Preparing for a holiday is very stressful. It was a frantic day spent looking for things…like passports which had mysteriously disappeared from their normal location after a good hour spent searching we remembered we’d put them in the van when we drove to Bordeaux, one of those French idiosyncrasies, one should have ones passport in the car when driving. Then I had to write a series of notes on how to look after the cats, we just hope they are still here when we return, they already spend part of each day with our neighbour, they might give up on us completely.

We wanted to get the sockets and lights in the conservatory done, things kept going wrong, like finding after the sockets were all wired up and working that the shutters could no longer be opened, so they all had to be shifted a few millimetres. I was so glad our builder called by, he called by yesterday evening with his daughter. He reassured us about the crumbling wall, that it would soon dry out etc and perfectly safe to attach sockets to and no we didn’t need to install grills in the floor for ventilation. Of course he might be wrong on all counts, but I was glad he came, we showed him around the barn as he hadn’t seen his work inhabited, with the wood burning stove in action.

I’ve checked the weather forecast for Istanbul, a maximum of 7 degrees while we are there and rain most days. I somehow thought the temperatures would be similar to those here but it’s much colder. We are only taking hand luggage so we’ll have to wear lots of warm clothes. I’ve packed an empty bag in case I have time to go shopping, though I expect Turkish carpets are better value on ebay than in Istanbul. It is primarily a sightseeing holiday, according to our guide books there are hundreds of places worth visiting and plenty of good places to eat.

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