A Productive Week

18 Mar

Most of this week has been spent doing gardening and other outside jobs around La Regalade, our current home. We got lavender planted, bushes trimmed, the wonky section of path fixed and lots of other small things.

On Tuesday we headed to Lorgues to make sure that our car insurance would cover us in the UK and thankfully it did and at no extra charge.  I must say that dealing with the Swiss Life agency in Lorgues has been a pleasure.  Next we needed to go to the bank to continue the saga of why Leanne’s credit card no longer worked.  It took some time and a phone call to the bank help-desk but the cashier finally sorted it and now Leanne’s card works again.

Because our car is, at least on paper, a commercial vehicle we have to pass an emissions test every year whereas the CT (NZ = WOF) is every two years.  This is a bit of a concern because I know that it blows smoke under heavy acceleration.  Not quite in James Bond proportions but enough to probably fail the test.  So on Friday morning I bought some Wynns snake oil that is supposed to clean the system and eliminate smoking.  I poured the first of the two parts into a 3/4 full tank and off we went.   About 10km later, on the drive home I floored it from 40kph in 3rd and it blew copious smoke.  Then I thrashed it for a bit including 15 seconds or so at 5000rpm.  After all that it seemed to stop smoking even on the hardest accelerations.  It hasn’t smoked since that I have seen and it used to be visible in the rear view mirrors under hard accelerations.  So then we needed to burn off that tank of diesel and put the second part of this snake oil into the next fill.  So some road trips were in order.

Market day in Lorgues on Tuesday.

Market day in Lorgues on Tuesday.

The buildings lining the main street in Lorgues are quite stunning but it is hard to get a clear shot of them on market day.  Guess what day of the week it is whenever we go to Lorgues?  Some better planning required.

The buildings lining the main street in Lorgues are quite stunning but it is hard to get a clear shot of them on market day. Guess what day of the week it is whenever we go to Lorgues? Some better planning required.

Like all self-respecting French cities, towns and villages, Lorgues has an impressive church/cathedral.

Like all self-respecting French cities, towns and villages, Lorgues has an impressive church/cathedral.

Roundabouts are special in France.  Many have names and also have elaborate gardens, sculptures, dioramas or a combination thereof.  Often they tell a story relating to the locale.

Roundabouts are special in France. Many have names and also have elaborate gardens, sculptures, dioramas or a combination thereof. Often they tell a story relating to the locale.

Finally got up to the lookout point near the house to watch the sunset this week.  This is looking towards the east.

Finally got up to the lookout point near the house to watch the sunset this week. This is looking towards the east.

One of the jobs completed this week was a repair to this path.  It had slumped where a tree had fallen a few years ago so it needed building up (plenty of spare rocks around here) and re-laying.

One of the jobs completed this week was a repair to this path. It had slumped where a tree had fallen a few years ago so it needed building up (plenty of spare rocks around here) and re-laying.

Saturday was our 28th wedding anniversary so we decided to go to Marseille for lunch.  It had been on our to-do list for ages and the need to run up some mileage added to the attraction.  We took the ‘D’ roads 90% of the way, i.e. not the toll road.  It is a very pleasant drive.  Leanne had researched the parking options and we went directly to a parking building about two metro stops from the old port.  From there we followed most of a self guided walk that Leanne had downloaded to her iPod and it worked out very well.

Marseille is only 90km from Carcès so we thought it was about time we got ourselves there for a day.  Saturday was cold but fine so off we went.  The Basilica of Notre Dame de la Garde is on the far side of the old port from where this shot was taken.

Marseille is only 90km from Carcès so we thought it was about time we got ourselves there for a day. Saturday was cold but fine so off we went. The Basilica of Notre Dame de la Garde is on the far side of the old port from where this shot was taken.

On our way across town we passed the stock exchange and chamber of commerce building.  It is undergoing a major renovation and most of the front shown in this photo is actually a printed screen over the scaffolding.

On our way across town we passed the stock exchange and chamber of commerce building. It is undergoing a major renovation and most of the front shown in this photo is actually a printed screen over the scaffolding.

Looking straight done the old port - I had forgotten how big it was.

Looking straight done the old port – I had forgotten how big it was.

There were lines of live seafood stalls along the port including this one selling live octopus.

There were lines of live seafood stalls along the port including this one selling live octopus.

And this one selling… well, these, whatever they are!  All smile now.

And this one selling… well, these, whatever they are! All smile now.

The area of the new port near the Nouvelle Cathédrale de la Major is largely a construction site.  There is a shopping centre being built I guess because it is near to the terminus for the cruise ships and ferries.

The area of the new port near the Nouvelle Cathédrale de la Major is largely a construction site. There is a shopping centre being built I guess because it is near to the terminus for the cruise ships and ferries.

We did take a quick look inside...

We did take a quick look inside…

Just along from the cathedral were some new buildings almost completed.  This one seems to be a new art museum.  Google Earth shows this area as all dry land so they have re-flooded it to create the current look.

Just along from the cathedral were some new buildings almost completed. This one seems to be a new art museum. Google Earth shows this area as all dry land so they have re-flooded it to create the current look.

Part of the defensive installations at the entrance to the old port.  There is a walkway linking around here from the cathedral to the old port itself.

Part of the defensive installations at the entrance to the old port. There is a walkway linking around here from the cathedral to the old port itself.

We found a restaurant beside the old port for lunch and took a table in the sun where we could see the harbour.  Lunch was very good.

The walk up to the Basilisque Notre Dame de la Garde was steep - made no less easy after lunch with a full stomach including a 'pichet de vin rouge'.

The walk up to the Basilisque Notre Dame de la Garde was steep – made no less easy after lunch with a full stomach including a ‘pichet de vin rouge’.

This is the view back down from the top of the first part which is only ¾ of the way to the top.

This is the view back down from the top of the first part which is only ¾ of the way to the top.

The last few steps to the top and a great view of the basilica.

The last few steps to the top and a great view of the basilica.

The views from the basilica were stunning but the wind was brisk and it was freezing.  Just thought I would mention that because there is no hint of it being wintry in this photo.

The views from the basilica were stunning but the wind was brisk and it was freezing. Just thought I would mention that because there is no hint of it being wintry in this photo.

The islands off the coast of Marseille.  I know there are stories to tell about them and they are all there on Google!

The islands off the coast of Marseille. I know there are stories to tell about them and they are all there on Google!

On Sunday we got up to a rainy, cold day but decided to go on another road trip anyway.  This time the destination was Manosque and anything along the way that looked interesting in the rain.  By the time we got to Manosque it was lunchtime so we found about the only open restaurant in town and had a very good menu du jour.  After lunch we continued to Farcalquier.

This is one of the four gates to the village of Manosque which is roughly 80km NW of us here at Carcès.  It was raining today and the temperature was about 4˚C.

This is one of the four gates to the village of Manosque which is roughly 80km NW of us here at Carcès. It was raining today and the temperature was about 4˚C.

On the walk up to the citadel at the village of Forcalquier we came across these unusual things.  Does anybody know what the story is?

On the walk up to the citadel at the village of Forcalquier we came across these unusual things. Does anybody know what the story is?

The Citadel de Notre Dame de Provence high on a hill in Forcalquier.  On a clear day the views would be great.

The Citadel de Notre Dame de Provence high on a hill in Forcalquier. On a clear day the views would be great.

Near St Auban, on our way up to the hilltop village of Montfort, we stopped to look at the snow falling just a little further up the valley towards Sisteron.

Near St Auban, on our way up to the hilltop village of Montfort, we stopped to look at the snow falling just a little further up the valley towards Sisteron.

The first tank of diesel was finally getting low so before starting the trip home we found a pump and refilled including the second bottle of snake oil.

Almond blossom.  Spring officially starts on 21st March I believe.

Almond blossom. Spring officially starts on 21st March I believe.

Our drive back home took us right through the Valensole Plateau and it seemed rude not to stop and take at least one photo with lavender in it.  It's not everyday I get to shoot lavender fields with snow-covered mountains in the background.  ;-)

Our drive back home took us right through the Valensole Plateau and it seemed rude not to stop and take at least one photo with lavender in it. It’s not everyday I get to shoot lavender fields with snow-covered mountains in the background. 😉

That wraps up another week.  We only have just under two weeks left until we drive to the UK so it is going to get busy and probably limited time available for taking photos.  We’ll see…

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One Response to “A Productive Week”

  1. Nicole Lie March 18, 2013 at 21:36 #

    Love your updates Brian. A lovely reprieve from, well… ‘Life in the fast lane’. Such an amazing life you two are living nowadays. Its awesome for you, and for me as I can view all the photos and day dream a while.. 🙂

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