February 5th 2009
On our 6th day of rain, stuck in a cloud with no end in sight. No I'm not writing this from Potters Bar, but supposedly sunny Cote d'Azur. Everyone is saying it's the worst winter here they can ever remember, typical that it had to be our first. The flip side is that it is also the best early snow the alps have seen in many, many years so we are taking advantage of the fabulous ski conditions. There is two metres of snow at the top of Greolieres, 40 minutes drive away, and the snow ploughs are out in force every day clearing the roads. It's quite amusing watching the UK news and seeing the entire country in complete shutdown mode due to a few feet of snow when it's business as usual here.
When we arrived last summer, my cynical London sensibility quickly mellowed into a naive 'I live in a pretty village, what could possibly go wrong' mentality. This is a small, friendly close knit community in the hills, and feeling very safe here, I was soon leaving the front or back door unlocked or the main gate open to do the half hour school run. That is, until a few weeks ago, when one of the school mums came panting up the hill at home time to announce she had just seen a gang of thieves battering down the door of a nearby house. Worse, they spotted her but instead of running off, they carried on breaking in, safe in the knowledge that by the time she raised the alarm they would be long gone.
Keren ran to tell the local gendarme who mans the school crossing and he radioed for help but it was over half an hour before the police arrived, by which time the gang had made a clean getaway with their spoils. This is the second burglary in the village in the space of a few weeks, so it's back to being vigilant, locking doors and not taking any chances.