Definitely not a swimming pool

The word has got around that we’re building a swimming pool underneath the house. Some passers-by asked me about it, and wanted to know why we didn’t put our pool in the garden like everyone else. I tried to explain that the noisy excavations now coming out towards the road were for dry boats rather than wet humans, but they look skeptical. All will become clear in due course, I assure them, dodging the issue.

Meanwhile, 9,250 km to the west…

I’m just back from a brief trip to NW California – San Francisco and the Napa Valley. Long enough to catch up with some friends, go on a 2-day cycling trip, drink some wine, and visit a Yoga retreat. Great scenery, with autumn colours still glowing, and miles of well-tended Sauvignon Blanc vines to remind us of the Dordogne.

Notes from a French building site

The new roof structure is mostly up, apart from the cladding panels which are due on site this week. The sequence below shows the progress made over a 16-day period last month, as seen from our neighbours’ house across the road.

We have lift-off

It takes a bit of nerve to strip the roof off one’s house in October. I’ve never previously tried it, and would not particularly recommend it as a way of calming the nerves. But in case you are considering it, I can report that it does not feel too bad if you have a Project Manager such as Didier Grandjean in charge of operations.

The 1860 Club

In August, just when most sensible people are escaping the heat and taking time off rowing training, I am poised to join the Sport Nautique de Bergerac (or SNB), which is not only one of France’s top rowing clubs, but is also conveniently close – just 1.2 km downstream from Allée Beau Rivage.

A chance to play on well-kept clay

Clay is a wonderful surface to play on, but it’s not used as much in the UK as it is in the US and France. The reason is weather: you can’t play on a wet court.  It’s hard to maintain, too. Not quite as problematic as a grass court, but there’s no doubt that keeping a traditional…

In Martin’s slipstream

There’s no shortage of good cycling routes around Bergerac. One that I’m keen to try is the 2014 Tour de France Stage 20 time-trial to Perigueux, as won by the great Tony Martin. Early October would be good for me. It would be best to do it with a group: anyone like to join me?

Wind in the Willows

In order to have adequate boat access to the water, we need to do some fairly radical clearance work on the riverbank. But it’s not that simple. This is not just a Conservation Area, it is also a UNESCO World Heritage site