In an earlier post (, I talked about the work which was about to start on the 12th century church, St Clair’s, in Nouzerines. The bell tower was in urgent need of restoring, as were the frescoes inside and the gargoyles. St Clair’s will be getting a ‘paratonnerre’ – a lightning conductor. (I think ‘paratonnerre’ is a great word, but my all-time favourite French word is still ‘trombinoscope’ – that’s a collection of files or photos of members of an association. Sadly it’s not one you can toss into many conversations!)

Well, the community pulled together and got enough initial funds raised to get the ball rolling. So work began last November when the scaffolding was put up. It took six weeks. Chris and I walk down to Nouzerines school every morning with Ruadhri, our youngest, as he gets on the school bus there. (By making this 2.5 km walk each way, we save him an extra half an hour on the bus. OK, the walk takes 25 minutes but we’re still 5 minutes ahead! But more importantly it keeps the three of us in shape. We cycle most of the year, but over winter it’s just too blooming cold.) So we saw the progress, day by day by day.

I was sorely tempted to shin up and take some photos from the top of the scaffolding once it was finished. It wasn’t shut off or anything! Apparently the Maire went up and took pictures. I hope he makes those available to everyone. They’d be stunning.

Since Christmas a new team has moved in and vaporised the steeple. This photo shows it very clearly!

You’ll notice the weather vane abandoned at the very top. That’s how much steeple has gone. There was a plan to sell the slates from the roof, but at the same time as the roof dematerialised, a large pile of slates appeared at the side of the road along our daily walking route. I’m pretty sure they’re the same ones. Looks like someone forgot about that particular fundraiser!

I’ll finish with an update concerning dogs. The dog we found on Saturday ran off on Monday while we were walking her, and shortly afterwards we met the hunters who’d lost her. They were a bit vague as to why they hadn’t come round on Sunday to collect her from us! Anyway, they gave us a nice chunk of fresh venison for dog-minding, or attempting to. Then yesterday, another stray turned up, literally on our doorstep. He was a small mongrel, very hungry and nervous. He made himself at home, but not for long. His young owners showed up, having been told that Les Fragnes was something of an unofficial dog sanctuary these days! Here’s our second stray of the week.

And finally, Caiti made me a belated 100th blogaversary cake to celebrate my milestone 100th post the other day! It was even more delicious than it looked. I’ll put the recipe up soon so keep an eye out for that.