Tuesday, 27 January 2009

Disaster in the south of France!!!!!!!!!!!!

Warning, this edition of the blog is alpaca free.

Some of you may know that the great master plan for the Patou tribe is to take the mighty herd to the South of France in about 5 years time. We have already established a stronghold down there in the Hautes Pyrenees region having bought our 'Wooden House' three years ago.
We visit the house as much as possible and our friends and family use it as a place to escape and relax, or not, depending on who it is. The rental cost is a minimum of half a days work with the petrol strimmer. It's a jungle down there folks.
Anyway you may also have heard that the south of France and the north of Spain have recently suffered some of the worst storms in living memory, with death (literally) and destruction across the Pyrenees.
Sadly our little piece of France has been caught right in the middle of the storms and we have suffered our own bit of destruction.
Our french farmer neighbour kindly went round to check the damage once the storm had passed and noted several big trees down around the house. Thankfully none of them hit the house. However, whilst he was there it became apparent that there was a burst water pipe inside the house, in the bathroom. What made matters worse was that one of the biggest trees to come down, a huge conifer had come down right on top of the below ground water meter and stopcock.

Sue and I have been on and off the phone to people in France for the last couple of days trying to get someone to sort it out. Being 700 miles away and unable to just drop everything and go is very frustrating.
The wooden house last summer.

Finally late this morning I heard from Matt, a friend who lives in the Ariege region who had managed to get to the stopcock and turn the water off. I don't know if Matt and Becky read this but if they do THANK YOU GUYS!!

Matt was also able to tell me which trees had come down. The news was part good, part bad.

Basically the two big trees to the left of the house and the two to the right of the house are now not quite as vertical as they shoud be. The two on the right we were going to fell anyway to open up the view but the two on the left, magnificent specimens of some sort of blue spruce type tree were my favourite trees. As a result the bottom lip is out and I am sulking.

All Sue and I want to do is get out there and clear up the mess. We don't know how long the water had been squirting out inside. I imagine the resident mice are taking the opportunity to host their world swimming championships and I can just picture the plasterboard walls and wooden floors soaking up the water nicely. Still it could be worse. At least it's still standing.


Lucy said...

Oh my god, that sounds terrible. When I saw the storms on the news I thought of your house and hoped it was ok. Little did I know!

Zanzibah Alpacas said...

Hope is not as bad as you imagine, Im sure that things will be ok, for you I hope.
What a pitty to lose your wonderful trees !...I know it won't be the same, they take a lifetime to grow!...but on the plus side, think of the logs !...your wooden wonderland looks fantastic !....Im sure the mice will be taking good care of it while your away,the mice will play !....back-stroke in the bath, no doubt !!!!!!!....Jayne

Perry Wheeler said...

Sounds horrible! I hope there isn't too much damage. It's a beautiful part of the world there.

Are there many 'pacas in France?

Mark said...

There aren't many in France but the numbers are increasing.
We are hoping our arrival in 5 years time will be masterful timing!