Heading up to the take off area
A perfect landing
NIck went to the Pyrenees this weekend with the cycle club; they cycled there on Saturday, doing a couple of cols en route, stayed overnight and cycled back on Sunday. The weather wasn’t brilliant in the hills and they couldn’t see the tops at all, but it improved as they headed for home on Sunday. A total of almost 300km; not bad.
On Monday we retraced his route, this time in the car, as it was my big day, when I was to have a tandem paraglider flight. The weather was perfect this time, hardly a cloud in the sky and light winds. Nick set off to cycle up to the take off area, while we took a car ride with all the gear; the two pilots, myself, another passenger and the driver arrived shortly after Nick, who was waiting, camera at the ready.
We got all the gear on, prepared the canopy, took a few short steps down the hillside and we were airborne; it was an amazing sensation as we turned this way and that, finding the thermals to give us more lift as we soared above the trees, on a level with the birds. Teo, my pilot, was able to point out all the local landmarks; the views were just unbelievable! After a little while Teo let me take the controls, turning left and right as we floated over the lake, until we hit a patch of turbulence, when he quickly took over again, bringing us down for a perfect landing just minutes after Nick arrived, having descended the col as fast as he could.
We were up and out early this morning, heading to the Pyrenees for my birthday present – a tandem paragliding flight. It’s something I’ve wanted to do for years, though I have to admit to feeling a bit nervous.
We left home under heavy skies, but as we got into the hills, the cloud broke and the sun came out; by the time we arrived at Val de Louron, it was perfect and we could see several paragliders flying already.
We were to be two “passengers” on this trip, myself and a guy called Daniel; we got into the minibus with our pilots and the driver, to go to the top of col d’Azet, the starting point for our flights. But as we drove up the col, the cloud came down and the wind started to blow; once on the top we all loaded up our gear and walked to the take off area. The pilots weren’t happy; the wind was too strong and in the worst possible direction. We walked to a second and then a third possible take off point, but it was no better, so in the end we had to come back down in the minibus and re-book for another day. Very disappointing, but at least I’ve still got it to look forward to in two weeks’ time.
On the way home we stopped in the pretty Pyrenean town of Arreau, to take photos, as I’d promised there would be some today!
Nick m’avait promis quelque chose formidable pour mon anniversaire et ce matin on est parti tot vers les Pyrenées pour un vol bi-place de parapente!
On est arrivé en beau soleil, mais pendant le voyage vers le haut du col d’Azet, les nuages sont déscendus et le vent a commencé souffler fort, et dans une mauvaise direction pour décoller.
Nous avons essayé trois lieux de décollage, mais toujours avec le meme problème, donc en fin on a du descendre en minibus et re-booker pour un autre jour. J’etais très deçue, mais j’ai toujours l’anticipation.
A la retour, nous nous sommes arretés prendre des photos, comme j’ai promis hier.
How did that happen??
I’m not ready!!!
Forty was bad enough; it sounded far too grown up.
Fifty was worse; far too sensible.
But sixty sounds grey, wrinkled, ancient and positively decrepit!
S’pose I’ll just have to get used to it 🤔
We started the so-called celebrations last Friday, when Nick took me out to dinner at a fabulous restaurant; on Saturday the band was playing at a sheep shearing during the day, then we went to see a friend’s band play in Nogaro in the evening and Sunday was spent at Kieran and Alice’s, a very relaxing sort of day.
Today we’d intended to head off in the camper for a few days, but waking to howling winds and lashing rain soon put paid to that, so we spent the day shopping for light fittings and stuff for the new house instead.
Nick’s got something up his sleeve for tomorrow, I’m not sure what, except that it’s dependent on the weather. No photos today, but he assures me there’ll be some tomorrow, if the weather’s ok. Watch this space.
You may remember that Nick’s bike got slightly bent last November; though not his best bike, it was the one he rode most frequently. I expected finding a replacement would be one of the first jobs he did on his return from hospital, but who knows how a man’s mind works!?
He finally decided on a new model and ordered it a couple of weeks ago, expecting it to arrive mid-June; he was like a little boy on Christmas morning when the postman brought it this morning; did he have time to get it set up for this weekend’s trip to the mountains? Work immediately stopped on the kitchen, the noise of drilling was replaced by the sound of cardboard being torn and bubble wrap being removed. The bike under repair was taken off the stand and the new frame put in its place in order to attach wheels, handlebars, pedals and saddle, to the accompaniment of sighs and grunts of approval. In the end, a lack of bottle cages decided him that he’d have to ride an old bike in the hills, but that a short trip is in order this afternoon, just to try it out.
He’s a very happy bunny today.
Peut-être vous vous souvenez que le vélo de Nick était un peu blessé novembre dernier. Ce n’était pas son meilleur vélo, mais celui qu’il roulait le plus, donc j’attendais qu’il aurait le remplacer tout de suite à sa rentrée de l’hôpital, mais non; qui peut comprendre le cerveau d’un homme !?
En fin il a choisi un nouveau, attendu mi-juin, mais quand il est arrivé ce matin il était comme un petit garçon à Noël; pouvait il le préparer à l’heure pour l’amener en montagnes ce week-end ?
Tout travaux à la cuisine s’est arrêté; le son de la perceuse est remplacé par le son d’un carton étant déchiré. Il a mis ce nouveau sur le porte-vélo afin d’attacher les roues, la selle, les pédales et le guidon. Mais, en fin, c’est la manque d’un porte-bidons qui l’a décidé qu’il va en montagnes sur un ancien vélo, après une courte rando cette après-midi, juste pour l’essayer.
Il est vraiment content!
If there’s anyone out there who looks forward to my blogs and has missed them recently (well, I can dream!), I’m sorry. It’s not that I’ve had nothing to say, just that I haven’t had time!
While the weather was good, and mostly not too hot, we got on with the garden; I was digging, weeding, planting and sowing, while Nick cleared brambles and nettles from around the heaps of building materials, then used the digger to remove earth, and to fill in the hole he’d made with rubble, to make the foundations for our “ruin” wall.
We recycle the treated water from the septic tank to water the garden; up to now it’s been pumped across to a storage tank using a length of hosepipe, but it’s neither pretty nor practical, so he’s laid a length of pipe underground now.
The last few days have been cool, wet and windy, giving us a break from the 2 hour daily job of watering the aubergines, courgettes, tomatoes, butternut squash, broccoli, parsley, coriander, lettuce, beetroot and onions, not to mention all the flowers I’ve planted recently. Not watering means we sometimes finish work before 9pm – bliss!!!
Speaking of onions, we’d decided to plant 400 this year as last year’s 200 were eaten too quickly. I went to the market, it was the assistant who served me, not the talkative boss; he thought there were 50 in a bundle, so I bought eight bundles, but each one was 100, so I ended up with 800 onions! I found space for 700 and swapped the rest with Hervé, for some parsley and broccoli.
This week has been good weather for working indoors; Nick’s getting on with the kitchen, which is starting to look good, while I’ve filled the joints and started painting the entrance hall.
I’m sorry about the lack of photos; the computer isn’t working properly at the moment, so I can’t put them on here. I’ll add some pictures when Kieran’s fixed it.