A Jollier June, la gare de Sos Newsletter, June 2022
A Jollier June, la gare de Sos Newsletter, June 2022

A Jollier June, la gare de Sos Newsletter, June 2022

Bonjour mes amis,

Here’s the pet photos for June, some sent to us from our guests, thank you – love the one with Daphne at the table, she’s definitely not eyeing up that gateau basque, is she?

Starting with a wrist update – I can just about type using my right hand now, all be it very cautiously, and I can hold a glass of wine (not so cautiously!)– so that’s progress since our last newsletter when I was feeling jolly miserable about the situation.  June bought a ridiculous heatwave to our region as well as apocalyptic ice-ball storms, my best friends came to la gare to cheer me up, the station was full of lovely guests enjoying themselves and we welcomed our first guests to The Pump House.  The surrounding fields of sunflowers are bursting into colour, the wheat has been cut and the baling done and everywhere is currently green & lush.  Our hornbeam hedges will need cutting soon – any volunteers for that job in the heat? (Those with broken wrists don’t have to apply!)

Sunflower field on the road to Poudenas

 This picture was 2 weeks after my surgery and following my first follow-up consultation back at Auch Hospital, which is an hour & 20 mins away from us.  Lee dropped me at the hospital, then took Daphne off for a walk and a bit of retail therapy.  My x-rays were over & done with in a jiffy but then I had a really long wait to see the consultant. I was told that the stitches weren’t ready to come out yet and that my fingers should be moving more. I came away a little concerned because my fat swollen fingers had shaped themselves into a curved claw & had zero movement but my concerns just floated away when lovely husband announced that he had bought me a present – an adjustable spanner! You’ll see my delight in the photograph. The other photos show the views from my hospital room at Auch, not a bad view beyond the sixties concrete.

It was great to welcome a big railway group to The Station this month – The Booking Office Clerk from March, a guard from Ipswich, supervisors and a depot controller from Cambridge and one non-railway interloper, a very talented designer.  Despite the nightmare of EasyJet cancelling the original flight whilst they were queuing at Gatwick, they got here one day late but made up for that lost night by enjoying a super relaxing week, eating, drinking, sunbathing & swimming as well as taking the bikes out for rides and walking the old track bed.  A particular highlight was wine tasting at Chiroulet vineyard and the church visit at Heux.  “Bravo Girls” for tasting the entire range that Chiroulet produce, for breakfast!

Chiroulet Wine Tasting

And talking of wine – our vignerons have been knocked back for the second year in a row – last year it was late frosts that affected the vine’s yield, this year we got freak hailstones, the size of golf balls some reported, that shredded the vines and knocked off the emerging clusters of grapes.  Our catalpa trees had huge holes punched through the leaves by the hailstones so you can imagine what it did to the vines around here. 

The heatwave or “La Canicule” in French was absolutely intense, we hit the low 40’s and there was nothing to do but stay still, drink lots of water and cool off several times a day in the pool.  Not much fun for our furry friends either.  Thankfully it was only around for a week and once those first drops of rain fell, it was delicious.  Tracey’s friends from England arrived during the heatwave into a scorchio Bergerac and brought with them a long, waterproof arm / glove which enabled Tracey to have a dip to cool off, wearing it over her dressing.  We loved the story about how your boy broke his wrist playing scooter football Alison – more street cred attached to that story than slipping out of the shower and Tracey has really appreciated her “Blue Right hand”. The photos show Tracey, Nicola, Alison & Steph, friends for fifty years, enjoying the local sights, cafes and restaurants.

Whilst Lee has spent the month doing lots of additional jobs caring for Tracey, (including going shopping) – he’s also found time to lay the sleepers that will mark out the parking area next to The Pump House and he’s wired up the old toilet block, which is now his storage shed, installing sockets and lighting.  He’s fitted a new electrical distribution board in the pool house and organised and dealt with the emptying of the septic tanks all by himself.  We’ve had a couple of blockages caused by that 3 and 4-ply quilted toilet paper – a decent product for our guests but a nightmare in French plumbing and septic tanks –  it doesn’t break down easily and clogs up the plumbing pipes which means costly repairs – never gave it a thought but it’s obvious really, the quilted stuff actually expands in water rather than disintegrating so sorry dear guests but when the luxury stuff runs out it’ll be 2 ply from then on. Here’s a pic of him putting up our new house sign at The Pump House. We thought long and hard about the name being in English but the French translation was just too much – “L’ancienne Station de Pompage”. There’s a pic of one of Tracey’s cucumbers too – we were given the little seedlings and they’ve done brilliantly – just too many to eat as they all come at once.

We haven’t been far this month, except trips to & from the hospital but we’ve managed to share some lovely hospitality including a lovely Jubilee party, a D-Day apero evening at the local Bistro plus several meals out whilst Tracey is out of action in the kitchen.  The Jubilee Party was supposed to be hosted by us at la gare but our friends stepped in to take over the hosting and we had a grand afternoon, a BBQ, a plate of the best French cheeses and an amazing home-made lemon cake. We sang God Save the Queen followed by Madness and Bad Manners songs!  Our lovely French host, Marielle, told us about her youth singing along to Bad Manners “ Wooly Bully” – Tracey asked her how they knew the English lyrics and she explained that they did something called “Chanter en Yaourt” – Yoghurt Singing – or just mouthing a load of gibberish and trying to get some of the words right; however they sang “Wooly Bully” as “Roulé-Boulé” and to them it meant drink-driving or crazy driving!

One meal out at Le Relais in nearby Gabarret, Lee tried a Picon Bière, a dark beer poured over a bitter orange liqueur which he thought tasted refreshingly marmalade-y. Tracey thought it tasted like Fanta mixed with Banks Bitter and stuck to her wine. Really good value lunch here, lots of choice, 3 courses 15€.

We’re looking forward to the start of Le Tour de France, our favourite sporting event of the year and Tracey will be routing for Geraint Thomas as usual, draped in her dragons.  We may or may not get to pick up a stage this year – depends on the wrist recovery.

I don’t know how I forgot to mention this until now but we’ve bought a…………


It’s a little Decauville locomotive and wagon – the loco is based on a chassis and axles of a Decauville but the bodywork was designed and built by an artist, Tom Petrussan who also has an amazing metal work art sculpture called “Tholus” in the Jardin Japonais in Toulouse. Our train has a 2-cylinder Massey Harris diesel engine.  Planning permission has gone in for the engine shed – we just need some track!

We can’t end this newsletter without thanking all the folks who offered us help and support and all those who gave us help during June to keep our station open for guests.  Our lovely friends, the Yorkshire speaking hairdressers who made the beds & cleaned it to perfection, David, the previous owner, who ironed and ironed and ironed for us, Paul & Marielle & Dorothy at Meylan for the perfect Jubilee Party and all the guests that cooked meals for us. I’ve had best wishes from the neighbours and locals in Sos, lots of encouraging messages of “Courage” and a get well card all the way from Scotland – thanks so much.

Tracey also has to acknowledge the wonderful care given by the best husband, who some of you will know is not brimming with patience; he did his absolute best looking after this patient and made some pretty decent sandwiches, and that present, well, what more could a girl ask for?!