The new year at Pignoulet begins
Well it appears to be January and the New Year here has kicked in with a cold spell the temperatures over the last few days have dipped as low as minus 8 at night.
I am still awaiting the first snow of the season in the Pyrenees so that I can ski, it will come, soon, I hope. However January has started bathed in sunshine with foggy, frosty mornings and cold, crisp, sunny afternoons.
There is much to report on, the re-decoration of the house is nearing completion, although some of the windows will have to wait until the arrival of Spring, just too cold! We have one last bedroom left to re-paint and the house is breathing with a whole new energy. We have re-designed the kitchen including a new oven and integrating some of our furniture from England. It now feels much more like our old kitchen, including a great big table to sit comfortably around during the winter months whilst the outdoor eating area is too chilly! We continue to enjoy trying out new recipes for our future guests
The most exciting addition to Pignoulet is definitely the completion of the work on the barn. This has been transformed in 2 stages from a semi-derelict building to a beautiful extension to the house offering both outdoor and indoor space to enjoy, and making Pignoulet a year-round venue. In the spring we restored the far end, and converted this into an outdoor studio. Many of you have already enjoyed this facility, which looks out over the front garden and enjoys the sunrise and morning sunshine. Your practise is accompanied but the sound of birdsong, often insects and sometimes the odd tractor, it is a beautiful, rustic and tranquil space.
In November our wonderful builder returned and started clearing the top end of the barn in preparation for enclosing it, insulating and installing windows and replacing the ceiling whilst keeping the old timber joists. We have had a wood burner installed and a new floor laid. This room is now the most stunning indoor space which lends itself not only to Pilates and Yoga practise, but to a host of other activities, including gatherings of friends
and family for celebrations or just to be together. We have bookings in 2019 ranging from a family wedding celebration to a book group, to a Retreat for Therapists, and of course our gorgeous Pilates and Yoga retreats. The barn is now complete, with comfy sofas to relax, huge space to cater for parties to eat together in a very special space.
Life here is so very different, we are loving most of it. The downside is definitely the french bureaucracy – of which we cannot make head-or-tail and have had several frustrating visits to various government offices with zero outcome. However, the peace and tranquility of life, the long daylight hours and starry nights, the warm weather, the space and again, the kindness of our neighbours continues to astound and delight us.
Last week my neighbour Lulu (not THE Lulu!! – but equally lovely)
came over with two wood pigeons which she showed me how to gut and prepare for cooking – she even brought the pots with her and her trusty knife. Her partner Armand had shot them that morning (Vegans look away now!) Then this week whilst out running I met Jacky with his 3 Jack Russells who was out to move his bee hives, so I ended up having a lesson in bee-keeping and helping Jacky move his bees down the hill out of the way of the farmer’s Acacia trees, I have to return to Jacky’s house today with my empty jam pot to purchase his bees’ honey.
Pignoulet is very definitely a magical place and we so hope that if you are reading this you may just come and visit us with your family, friends or clients one day in the near future to experience a little bit of Pignoulet magic for yourself. You will very definitely be welcome any time of year.
With our very best wishes for both a happy and healthy 2019