As usual, Creuse has hurled itself full throttle into winter. Last Thursday it was mild and pleasant, but on Friday it was cold, wet, windy and grey. The cycling season has screeched to a halt and it’s time to hunker down, apart from a couple of bracing walks each day to keep middle age spread at bay just a little longer. We had the first winter storm last night. Rain leeched in around the window in our bedroom so, on top of Ruadhri’s incessant coughing – he’s poorly again poor mite – and the rattling tiles and windows, we had the drip, drip, drip of water into a bucket. Needless to say it was a night short on sleep. I was worrying about the polytunnel, unnecessarily it turns out as it’s standing tall and strong still this morning, whereas Chris’s thoughts tend towards our chimney stacks whenever there’s a high wind. They survived too.

Driving Caiti and neighbour Charles to the lycée bus this morning, we came across lots of bits of tree over the roads and in places you couldn’t see the tarmac since there was a nice thick coating of slippery leaves. But the rain had stopped and there were clear and starry skies, so it wasn’t all bad. And there’s far worse weather to come!

We’ve got a week of strong wind forecast which is bad timing since our local eoliennes are due to be erected this week. Number 7 is already up. On Thursday morning, there was one section of ‘stalk’ in place. By Friday night the whole eolienne was there, rotors and all. I got a photo yesterday.

It’s incredible. It totally changes the landscape, however in a modern, interesting way, and there are eight more to go up still. It’s going to be a very different Boussac.

In theory eolienne 6 will go up today. The crane is in place, poised for action.

There was a steady stream of cars stopping and people getting out to have a look at it when I went by to take my picture. This is quite possibly the most exciting structurally-related event (I was going to say ‘exciting erection’ but that would only make you snigger) to happen in Creuse since Boussac castle was built in the fifteenth century!

Up the road eoliennes 4 and 5 are ready to roll with all their parts in place. Poor old eolienne 3, our closest and always the bridesmaid, is lagging behind in that its rotors haven’t arrived yet, but numbers 1 and 2 have the enormously huge shafts ready and waiting. I hope to witness at least one of them being assembled and winched into place.

What will the full impact be when they’re all up? Well, visually it’s huge. And friends who live within potential earshot of eoliennes 1-7 (they’re all actually very close together) have said that if they can hear them, they’ll be able to claim to have double glazing installed in their house for free. I’m not sure what happens if you can still hear them after that, and obviously it’s just tant pis if they’re annoying when you’re out in your garden! It’s the sound aspect that worries most people about wind turbines. Time will tell what it’s really like.

According to Le Populaire, the nine eoliennes will be on stream by February. Together with six others in and around Chambonchard, they’ll supply half the electricity demanded by Creuse households, but not including heating (“hors chauffage”). This seems a slightly odd assessment. I guess it’s meant to sound more impressive than it actually is with the implication that half the departément will get some benefit from them. Elsewhere I’ve read that our nine will be supplying 23,000 households entirely.

Enough of eoliennes for the moment, fascinating as they are. On to Christmas. I’ve posted a seasonal poem here on my Books Are Cool site which I think you’ll enjoy.

And a strong recommendation from me in favour of doing Christmas shopping at one of the various Amazons and having it shipped by them to the recipient. Having paid €6,50 in postage for one smallish parcel last week, and nearly €5 for another, I’ve had enough of subsidising La Poste. Its charges seem to be going up more frequently and more steeply than ever before. So I’ve turned to Amazon and it’s brilliant. It’s a shame I stocked up on so much wrapping paper though!