A house number at last

I thought I might try a slightly different approach to my blog; if I wait to write about an important happening, I could be waiting a long time as, since we finished the major work on the house and especially since COVID hit, life just trundles on and nothing much happens here in Caupenne.

So I’m going to try to write on a monthly basis, including the few little newsworthy items that occur.

So here goes……

February 2022

The major event of this month was that we now have a house number! Yes, I can hear the groans of “get a life”, but just imagine sharing an address, which doesn’t appear on any GPS system, with 7 or 8 of your neighbours.  I don’t know how many times I’ve either stood outside the gates, ready to flag down a likely looking van, or even sent Nick into the village on his bike to meet up with a delivery driver who couldn’t find us.

 Now, however, following a government dictate, we have a house number! We still have a few official bodies to inform, but it’s already making life easier as I don’t have to describe the house and its location to every delivery driver who rings, but can tell them it’s number 11, Route de Laujuzan.

Apart from dealing with the paperwork involved in modifying the address, we haven’t been idle. We were looking to introduce some shade to our garden; some friends have a gorgeous, wooded area, where they’ve installed a table and chairs. It’s a lovely, cool space in the summer, perfect for sitting with a glass of something.

We were thinking of doing something similar when I read about micro-forests, which are apparently springing up all over the world. Small areas,  densely planted with native trees, it seems they grow very quickly and can look like a 100 year old forest after only ten years.

So I put the word out that we were looking for little trees and friends responded; Steve arrived with a trailer containing oaks and troènes, a variety of privet that grows as a tree; Christine arrived at the textile arts group with a huge box full of baby trees, mostly oak, hawthorn and wild cherry, between 5 and 30cm tall, 20 or so to a pot, all labelled, and Nadine has invited us to take whatever we can find in her garden, mostly shrubs to go between the trees.

It seemed a good idea to improve the soil before planting; we have a huge compost heap behind the banking, but as it’s where I dump the nasty weeds, celandine, oxalis, etc, we don’t dare use it on the potager or flowerbeds. However, celandine and oxalis would be perfectly acceptable in a woodland, so up to now, Nick has dug and I’ve barrowed about 80 wheelbarrows full of compost to where the woodland will be. The heap has shrunk, but there’s still quite a lot left, which we’ll gradually shift.

We’ve planted all the trees and must get the shrubs in soon;   most of the trees look as though they’re still alive. I think we’ll need more in the autumn, but it’s a start.

Apart from that, I was voted president of the textile arts group at the AGM. It doesn’t mean an awful lot of work as there are only six of us, but every association in France must have its president, secretary and treasurer. As it’s often me who comes up with ideas for techniques to try and projects to undertake, not much has changed.

Spring is fast approaching and Alex, Graham and the girls have booked to come over for the Easter holidays; it’s over 2 years since last we saw them, so it’s going to be great! Gemma is hoping to get over from Australia in August too, so this could be a wonderful year of reunions.

The bluebells under the fig tree are lovely this year.
A wild cherry, one of the bigger trees.
A little oak, more representative of the size of most of the trees in our Micro-forest.