Bonjour! So after months of careful planning we have finally made it to France and started our explorations here in the South West region of Languedoc-Roussion –Aude to be precise. What is to be our new home for the next few months here in Quillan is a small cottage situated on an old and large mill site which itself hugs the banks of the Aude River– a meandering beast of around 224 km who’s source can be found in the Pyrenees Mountains near Les Angles. By the time it reaches the sides of our cottage and run through the moulin situated in one of the stone built buildings on our site it has already visited places such as Formiguères, Vendres Axat and Belvianes-et-Cavirac. Here on our stretch of the river it provides the home for a number of birds such as the Purple Heron, the Grey Heron and more notably the Dipper and Grey Wagtail before flowing onwards through medieval towns such as Carcassonne before reaching the Mediterranean north of the city of Narbonne.
And what of our home? Well the cottage itself is quite basic -it comprises of two bedrooms (one now a studio for ‘A Natural History‘), a kitchen/living room and a bathroom/shower-room (which hosts remarkable view onto the river). Taking centre stage at the heart of the cottage is the wood-burner which, in itself, produces enough warmth to heat the whole cottage as well as send Watson, our Border Terrier to sleep. The stove has certainly been needed! One thing that we have learnt so far from our stay here is how fast the weather can change here in the foothills of the Pyrenees. Glorious warm sunshine welcomed us when we arrived here a month ago but since then we have experienced a melange of weather – temperatures have an dropped and risen here and a large amount of rain has fallen. In the last few days we have witnessed the Aude turn from a seemingly benevolent stream to a disgruntled river with the power to tip logs over the mill’s weir as if they were Pooh Sticks. It goes without saying that we didn’t venture far that day!
But we have, and we will, be exploring this amazing part of France. We’ll be updating the site regularly to let you know about the landscape, wildlife and history that we have seen here. I’ll also be sharing the new work which has been inspired by our adventures.
In the meantime thanks for listening and keep dropping by!