October 2022 – Summer Came Back!
October 2022 – Summer Came Back!

October 2022 – Summer Came Back!

October – supposed to be Autumn but Summer came back!

Remember me writing that on Saturday 24th September Autumn arrived? Well, it lasted about a week and then warm sunny days returned with ridiculously high temperatures for October – we’ve averaged 26 degrees daily and we’re at the end of October and still swimming.  Those cardigans and long sleeves were promptly put back in the wardrobe!

We have welcomed two sets of guests this month – Lee’s long-standing friend and godson from Barnsley with family and partners and, at half-term, Tracey’s sister, nephews, and niece. It’s been lovely to catch up, share the station and village with them all and enjoy an extended summer with friends and then family. There are lots of photos showing what we all got up to and, as usual, a lot of drinking and eating.  So much so that “zipping up” is becoming more and more uncomfortable and for November we have embarked on a “cut-back” of the calorie intake.  It’s so difficult with such an abundance of lovely bread, cheese, duck products, divine cakes and wine available wherever we turn. I don’t mean to discourage our efforts before we’ve properly started but we are not hopeful.

Here’s the photos of “The Barnsley 8” – we went wine tasting at Chiroulet where a young Ukranian girl is working and who gave us a tour before the tasting. We spent a fair bit of time in the friendly local bar in Sos who made us a special meal of beef carbonade for the arrival night and who fell in love with little Blake. We had meals on the platform and a pizza night at Poudenas, plus we watched a Villa game with our Leeds supporting pal – who, it transpired, was from the same town as one of our guests and they knew lots of the same people from Sowerby Bridge – Le monde est bien petit!

Here are Tracey’s family, sister Kerry with her three children – our nephews and nieces who we haven’t seen for 2 years. A fabulous half-term week, with good weather, hours in the pool, a BBQ, a bike ride down the old railway track and a picnic at Poudenas, a stroll around Nerac, plus some great nights in the station playing charades and Monopoly with the kids. The highlight for the kids – riding round the station grounds on Lee’s John Deere Gator!

Some photos of our stroll around Nerac – note the cat in the window & the suspended Pink Umbrellas for October Rose – cancer awareness month, and note the astounding bridge photos – old Nerac is a stunning place. I’ll miss my physio visits to Nerac when my sessions finish.

Lee visited Nogaro racetrack for a classic vehicle show, over a thousand vehicles being displayed – – here’s a couple of the more eye-catching ones – a 1956 Renault Juvaquatre in a delicious green colour and a strange 1970s VW SP2.  It’s a great annual event, about 30km drive from us.

After our first guests had departed at the beginning of the month, we decided we had time for a trip in the camper van and headed off towards the Atlantic Coast with a cool box full of wine and a stash of crisps.  The draws in the camper hold everything that we need for a couple of nights away and we only have to grab the bedding and the Pedigree Chum for Daphne and we’re good to go.  We headed towards St Jean de Luz, a resort we know well, in the Basque region but went a bit further along the coast road, towards Hendaye and the Spanish border and stopped at Socoa.  We found an excellent site that was still open, with completely immaculate facilities and had a great spot for 2 nights, costing 39 euros.  You can’t visit “le Pays Basque” without tasting their delicious gateau basques – a set custard cream or black cherry filling in a veritable buttery pie.  We bought two to eat and two to bring home from a fabulous boulangerie in Socoa.  St Jean de Luz, across the water, is always very, very busy – great if you want lots of trendy, pricey shops and lots of restaurant choices but for a little less hustle and bustle we’d recommend heading round the headland to Ciboure and Socoa.  We managed a good long ramble over the weekend, a great meal at Fort Socoa harbour area and lots of sitting in the deckchairs, chilling out, looking at the pointy summit of La Rhune. The local Basque wine is pretty good, a red Irouléguy, and the basque cider, well, drink with caution – it’s tart and dry and strong and they have a tradition of pouring it from a height, allowing air and bubbles into the glass.  You taste a little at a time, repeatedly re-pouring from a height to keep the appley-flavours fresh.

Works at la gare this month have been external grounds maintenance – digging out the drainage ditches ready for winter and we’ve made a start on clearing the field above the old railway embankment, opposite the station.  It was all very overgrown with thirty years of weed and scrub – we have the rolling out still to do and then another rotavate in about six months time.  We left an oak tree that we discovered and it’s made a massive difference to the views from the station and Clarence loves his new play area.  We may plant a wild flower meadow, we’re not sure yet.  Tracey wanted a slope of vines but we asked the advice of a local ex-vigneron, who said “non”.   

One other minor change, a move around of the beds in the twin room, giving Tracey more room to make the two singles.

The Commune have done some vegetation works as well, cutting back the overgrowth on the old railway bridge – it looks great when it’s cleared of all the brambles, ivy & acacia – if only we had time to paint it.

A couple of pet pics and local Sos scenes. Clarence has been going out for Fight Club every night with the neighbours cat and we’ve had a trip to the vets with him this month – a nasty eye injury. The neighbour’s cat isn’t very nice and he has the cheek to wander up to the station and stroll along Clarence’s platform. Lee has taken to catapulting the nuisance cat with conkers to try to scare him off, so far unsuccessfully – the evenings are becoming quite anxious – waiting for the next bout of cat yowling, then charging outside to rescue Clarence from the cat we’ve named “bas-tard”. Look at the glorious red leaves on a couple of our trees, see the huge toad, named Terence, whose been visiting the platform since July. There’s a pic of one of the pruned plane trees in the village – the commune trees have all been pruned this month in the two village squares and a photo of a cool scooter outside the bar and us two inside the bar on Halloween weekend. The children of Sos dressed up and paraded around the village this year and the bar had a ghost and pumpkin display – not really a French thing we thought but it seems to be growing in popularity here. Take a look at all the leaves in route de la gare as well and our nicely trimmed hedge at The Pump House.

So, the water temperature of the pool on 30th October was 23 degrees under the glass and fine for swimming.  Last year I made a note that on 9th November it was 16 degrees and we had our last quick cool dip.  Fingers crossed that with our glass cover, and providing the night time temperatures don’t dip too much, we can keep it warmer than that and swim on into mid-November – “on verra” – we shall see….

hopefully, a link to the Facebook page for Station Vacation – la gare de Sos