Saturday, 25 January 2014

Ariége - it's Business as Usual

Six weeks now and life has been much the same as ever, quiet and mild - but mainly quiet. We have plodded in the snow, climbed on a variety of crags and even been caving.
Life at Chez Arran revolves around working on Eastern Grit, playing Wiff Waff and enjoying the company of the cats.

Eastern Grit (Ver 3) is starting to look really good - even though I say it myself - the deadline of later this year is easily within reach - I might even have to find something else to keep me busy in the meantime.

Also on the publishing front, the skiing book produced by Thorbjorn/Jonas has arrived and it looks quite superb - even the proofing is of the highest standard :-)

The cats continue to be a delight - I never really considered myself a pet/animal person - but times change, or maybe I just never realised. Either way, they are a pleasure to be around, despite the odd scratch - certainly more pleasant than you average 'uman!

Top - Brilliant snowshoeing conditions at Beille
Middle - Comfy cats
Bottom - bats in the belfrey

Monday, 13 January 2014

A Month in the Mountains

Four weeks since we hauled up at Chez Arran, and it has been great. John and Anne have been away in Thailand for almost three weeks, so we have been in charge of the place, keeping the guests happy and the cats fed. The weather has been very pleasant, giving us the option for snowshoeing, walking, climbing or just taking it easy - all pretty pleasant. We even had a session on a snow-mobile up in Andorra - which was superb, though we did manage to turn the thing over which was a surprise to us and the instructor!

On the odd damp day I have pressed on with Eastern Grit, the third version of the book that started my relationship with Rockfax back in 2001 - it is starting to look a bit good.  12 years on from that Genesis and with eight books currently in print we have a bit of freedom to travel and work where-ever suites us. With that being the case we have been doing a bit of planning and might try something a bit different this summer; Iceland, Australia and Canada are the current shortlist - I sometimes I think I enjoy the planning almost as much as traveling so have been keeping busy.

 Right top to bottom: 

1) a walk around Verdun with Sinsat behind
2) Skidoo fun - Andorra
3) Sample Froggatt page from Eastern Grit III
4) White wilderness at Choula 

Wednesday, 1 January 2014

Back to the Ariège

Almost a week in the UK then it was off again - a horrendous drive through the UK's choked roads in the pissing rain (a truly unpleasant experience) saw us to Porthsmouth. A choppy crossing got us into St Malo for dawn then it was a steady eight hours on the French motorway system (a joy) and just before dusk we were back - White Cat even met us in the car park with an indignant "and where do you think you have you been".
A couple of weeks in and it has been the same as ever; a pleasant and mellow place to be. There was a big fall of snow 10 days before we arrived, but since then it has been mostly dry and bright. We climbed, walked, snowshoed and had a bit of downtime.
It is good to be back.

A month in Switzerland

Gornergrat - rammed A month passed in Switzerland and it has been very pleasant, climbing, hiking, chilling and even doing a bit of to...