Lots going on at the moment.

Her Outdoors is doing Christmas markets most weekends. There are more stallholders than punters, which isn’t great. But the owls and moose are selling well.

I’m taking a break from working on the website (which is hard ‘cos it’s nearly finished) to learn 40-something mainly rock covers for the band I just joined. The first gig’s on Friday in Sarlat and I’m erring on the side of being over prepared, which should take care of the stage fright I used to suffer in my 20s.

The mayor dropped by the other day to talk about a few things, and invited me to join her team for next year’s elections. Which is an interesting turn of events. In exchange, she’s going to help raise the profile of écovallée. I’m making connections with various local tourist attractions anyway and it feels right to become more recognised in France as well as the UK.

The weather’s turning cold, which means thoughts turn to firewood.

Because I’ve been working this year, I haven’t had time to cut what we need. So I’m buying in some wood from the outside – €240 for four cubic metres of seasoned oak cut to 40cm. It’s our first winter fuel cost since 2008, so I can justify it using man maths. But I don’t know how long the wood will last and I’ll still need to find some dead standing for this year. They say this winter will be the coldest for 100 years, but they got the summer forecast completely wrong (thankfully – after a rainy start it was glorious and warm until November). With all the poison our atmosphere’s trying to deal with, I think it’s anyone’s guess.

Mushrooms didn’t really happen this year, which was a shame to put it mildly. I saw two parasol mushrooms and only a few field mushrooms, although I discovered a harmful-but-not-poisonous field-mushroom lookalike. (I didn’t eat it, but learnt to recognise it.) A friend found a lot of “Trompette de la mort” which we’ll have to look out for next year.

Sticking with nature, there are still plenty of leaves on the trees. The chestnut are almost bare, but the oak are grimly hanging onto theirs.

That’s all there’s time for now. More on all of this later…

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